One of my favorite Dodges is the V8-powered, rear-wheel drive Dodge Magnum, a wagon that came out of one of the darkest eras in Chrysler’s history. It arose from the failed DaimlerChrysler merger, and its essential bones are still shared with the modern Charger. Does that mean you can swap the new Charger’s front onto the wagon? Hell yes, it apparently does.
Let’s start from the beginning. The United States has been facing a major crisis since the death of the Cadillac CTS-V: There’s a huge shortage of new 6.2-liter supercharged V8 wagons.
Sedans, coupes, and even SUVs with 6.2-liter supercharged V8s are in plentiful supply, but as any board-certified car-ologist would confirm, wagons are vastly superior due to their ability to offer tons of interior volume without major aerodynamic compromises, and also because they simply look better.
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For some reason, Dodge clearly doesn’t agree with these irrefutable facts, and after the 2008 model year—the Magnum’s fourth year and the one that brought the squared-off front fascia shown shown below—the brand killed off its beloved LX-platform wagon in the U.S. (an LX-based wagon continued a bit longer as the Chrysler 300 in other markets).
The Dodge Magnum wagon first showed its face at the 2003 Los Angeles Auto Show as the “Dodge Magnum SRT8 Concept,” which was actually the debut of the LX platform that would act as the basis for the Charger, Challenger, and 300. This was a big deal, with Chrysler writing about the supercharged 5.7-liter V8-powered wagon in a press release:
Dodge’s first rear-wheel-drive configuration in more than 10 years enabled designers to sculpt new proportions for their latest concept vehicle. The result is a long hood and bold grille that give the Dodge Magnum concept vehicle its classic, noble proportions.
The return of rear-wheel drive also allowed deep-dish wheels to push out of massive wheel arches, visually planting the vehicle on the road.
Here’s a look at the concept vehicle:
Chrysler wrote about how the new vehicle shared certain components with Mercedes, which belonged to the “Daimler” part of DaimlerChrysler, as the merged company was then called. From the press release:
Although Chrysler Group had already decided before the merger that the next generation of premium vehicles would be rear-wheel drive, the 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz afforded Chrysler Group a great portfolio of technology and components. For example, Mercedes-Benz is the leader in stability control systems, and spreading that technology across a higher volume will result in reduced per unit costs and proven quality. The production version of the Dodge Magnum will use adapted Mercedes-Benz components, including the five-speed automatic transmission, steering and front suspension system, seat structures and electronic architecture. Additionally, Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300C, will use five-link rear suspension architecture based on adapted Mercedes-Benz technology.
The Chrysler 300C concept followed shortly thereafter, and both it and the Magnum entered production in 2004 for the 2005 model year, with the Dodge Charger coming the following year. In 2010, Dodge showed off its new 2011 “LD” platform Charger, referring to it a number of times in its introductory press release as “all-new.” From the release:
All-new premium hydrobushings combined with new monotube shock absorbers, spring rates and redesigned front and rear multi-link suspension geometries provide the 2011 Dodge Charger with exceptional performance handling dynamics, smooth braking characteristics and a comfortable, smooth ride.
The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger combines advanced steels, nylon composites and Chrysler Group’s new second-generation rear-wheel-drive E-segment architecture for maximum structural stiffness. This world-class torsional strength contributes to the seventh-generation Dodge Charger’s tighter and stiffer characteristics and provides the driver with an added sense of confidence and control during higher speed maneuvers.
As “all new” as the new Charger may have been, it wasn’t so new as to make it that difficult to swap its fascia—which was revised for the 2015 model year—onto the original LX-platform Magnum. Per Stef Schrader’s article on The Drive, there are actually kits to help facilitate such a conversion.
Now, onto what you see here. The face you see on this amazing Charger Wagon, which reader “dgoodkuma” spotted in the Bronx and sent us via email, is the revised fascia that debuted on 2015 SRT models. It has since become the standard face on all Chargers sans the base SXT model.
As much as I like the old Dodge Magnum front end, I have to admit that this new Charger face on an over-a-decade-old Magnum wagon body just looks fantastic. This is why this mod is apparently a fairly common one, with Chrysler-focused car website Allpar writing about one man who planned to put a Hellcat engine into his Charger-ified Magnum. From the story:
One such Magnum fan is Will Arwady, who owns the Magnum-Charger conversion shown here. Will’s Magnum has the front end of a 2015 Hellcat Charger, and he plans to add the Hellcat Hemi itself. Will’s combination is not unique; there are a few Magnums out there with modern Charger fronts. His choice of the Hellcat fascia makes it appropriate for this piece; the car could easily fit into the Dodge lineup right alongside the Charger.
More than 700 horsepower would be a lot of power for a vehicle only set up to make 425 (yes, there was an SRT-8 Magnum and it was magnificent), but a Hellcat Charger wagon is what this world needs right now. Our lack of wagons with 6.2-liter supercharged V8s is going to have serious long-term effects, and they won’t be good.
In the meantime, if you have to make your own, do so with our blessing.