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Average User Score
4.9 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 11 reviews
1979 Dodge Magnum Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 11 reviews
The original Dodge Magnum XE had a mere 2-year lifespan, with only 25,367 produced in 1979Ã¢â¬âperhaps cut short by the energy crisis, perhaps by a lagging interest in muscle cars. The 1979 Magnum XE tried to straddle 2 segments, sporty and luxury, and combine the thrill of a muscle car with the high-end practicality of a roomy family car. The 2-door coupe sat 4 comfortably and was a good compromise for those who weren't yet ready to let go of the Mopar spirit.
The 1979 Dodge Magnum XE showed only a few exterior and engine option changes from the year before, most notably new taillights and the lack of the 400-cubic-inch engines. The last of Chrysler's B-body cars, it shared a body style with the old Charger SE and the Cordoba. The sleek front nose with retractable headlights and rear opera windows hinted at the popular racers of the late '60s and early '70s. Under its hood it came standard with a 318-cubic-inch 2-barrel V8 Lean Burn that put out 135 hp, matched with a 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission. The optional 2-barrel 360-cubic-inch, a 4-barrel 360 or a 360 high-performance E58 police engine were also available. The E58 had its horsepower and torque increased by 20 hp and 20 lb-ft, respectively, making 195 hp/280 lb-ft in 1979, versus the '78's 175 hp and 260 lb-ft/torque (slightly less in California).
The 1979 Magnum came in standard XE trim or with a GT option package that added front fender medallions, silver GT logos, wheel lips, color-keyed fender flares, heavy-duty 15-inch by 7-inch extra-wide GT Rallye wheels, charcoal astratone wheels painted with a bright center dome, lug nuts and deep-dish trim rings, GR60x15 white-letter Goodyear aramid tires and a leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel (a 2-spoke wheel if the tilt option was ordered at no extra cost). The GT's Firm Feel suspension included heavy-duty torsion bars, heavy-duty anti-sway bars front and rear, heavy-duty shock absorbers with special valving and heavy-duty rear springs. The special Firm-Feel power steering system and special engine-turned instrument rallye dash panel and crash pad applique included matching console trim with the console.
FYI: The GT (Grand Touring) package had nothing to do with performanceÃ¢â¬âyou could order it with any engine, transmission or rear axle. There are plenty of Magnum GTs with the 318-cubic-inch 2-barrel or 360-cubic-inch 2-barrel engines in them. Only 1674 Magnum XEs had the GT package in 1979!
Luxury car nods came in the form of interior options, such as leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power rear-window defogger, power sunroof, power antenna, T-tops, power windows, power seat, power trunk release and locks, cruise control, digital in-dash clock and more. An optional center console with shifter and optional tachometer maintained
the sporty image.
The 1979 Magnum XE would be replaced by a lighter, shorter Mirada the following year. However, as the last lone representative of the muscle-car era, the Magnum XE & Magnum GT remain much-loved cars. They last forever, say owners, and handle smoothly. The inside is very comfortable for long rides. Some do report having problems with the Lean Burn emissions system.
--This review was written by Christopher (MAGNUM GT XS22L9R), Super Moderator @ Moparfan.com, a place where the real Magnum owners hang out!
by Steve Halloran
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