You’ve probably heard of the Dodge Magnum from the 2000s, the Hemi-powered wagon that could haul more than just your family and their stuff.
You may have even heard of the Dodge Magnum from the 70's, a car known for playing Stayin’ Alive on repeat while causing its owner to spontaneously grow a mullet, and whose only driving mode was “cop show”.
But there was another Dodge Magnum... A Magnum that Americans never got, but would’ve loved. It was almost like a vehicle from an alternate universe, one which lacked the horsepower-sucking, performance-strangling smog equipment that plagued American cars of the time. It was... The MEXICAN-MARKET DODGE MAGNUM!
Made possible by Mexico’s less-restrictive emissions regulations, these glorious beasts may have looked like average American malaise lumps on the outside, but on the inside they were anything but. They came with cop suspension and a powerful, 300-horsepower version of the 360 V8, which was coupled to either an A727 automatic transmission or a four-speed manual, depending on the customer’s taste. They also featured blacked-out trim, fancy rims, and several optional stripes.
Lasting only from 1981 to 1982, this generation of Mexican Dodge Magnum was replaced in 1983 by a FWD, 150 hp K-car-based thing:
Which wasn’t quite as cool as the previous version, but still provided lightweight performance and decent fuel economy until 1989, when it was finally discontinued.
But during its brief production span, it gave the world a glimpse of what American muscle cars might’ve been like if emissions regulations hadn’t gotten in the way.