In the mid-1960s, I owned a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon that housed a 1962 Corvette 327-cubic-inch V8 with dual quad carburetors and 340 horsepower, a floor-mounted four-speed manual transmission with Hurst shifter, and a 4:11 rear end ratio.
Needless to say, the car was very fast off the line.
Drivers who took on the Nomad were shock and some what irritated that a two-door wagon easily beat their pony and muscle cars.
Though my Chevy Nomad was quick, I’m happy I never had to go up against a station wagon like the 425 horsepower 2007 Dodge Magnum
I can say this with authority after clocking over three hundred miles on a silver Magnum
What instantly impressed me was how DaimlerChrylser’s Street and Racing Technology engineers turned the already powerful Dodge Magnum
with its 5.7-liter V-8 and hemispherical combustion chambers into an even more ferocious Magnum
We’re talking 0-60 mph in low-5-second range and 0-100-0 mph in mid-16-second range directly off the showroom floor.
After a little investigating, I learned that the SRT engineers added more cubic inches, increased the compression ratio, and redesigned the cylinder head, intake and exhaust systems for better flow and increased engine speed.
For the increase displacement, the diameter of the cylinders in the 5.7-liter Hemi were bored out by 3.5 millimeters each, increasing the total displacement to a 6.1-liter.
A performance-oriented camshaft was developed to allow more air in and out of the cylinders, as well as manage a higher engine speed.
In fact, the SRT8 Hemi improved the engines peak power output from 5,000 revolutions per minute to 6,000, nearly a 20 percent gain.
Also, the compression ratio was increased to 10.3:1 from 9.6:1 for enhance engine performance.
Unique to the 6.1-liter Hemi are new higher-flow cylinder heads with larger-diameter valves and reshaped ports, a specially designed larger-diameter intake manifold with shorter runners for higher speed tuning, and exhaust headers containing individual tubes encased in a stainless steel shell.
To help dissipate engine heat more efficiently the exhaust valve stems are sodium filled, plus the intake and exhaust valve stems are hollow.
Exhaust is routed through a large-diameter (2.75-inch vs. 2.5-inch) exhaust system highlighted by 3.5-inch chrome tips.
One of the most addictive characteristics about being in a Magnum
SRT8 is hearing the deep, resonating tones that play out of the dual exhausts.
All the engine modifications increased the horsepower rating by 25-percent to 425, which amounts to a whopping 85 additional horses over the 5.1-liter V8.
Knowing the punishment that drivers will inflict on the high-performance 6.1-liter Hemi, the SRT team strengthened the engine with a reinforced block, forged steel crankshaft, high-strength powdered-metal connecting rods, floating-pin pistons (cooled by oil squirters), and an oil pan modified to manage oil return to the pan sump at high engine speeds.
Channeling all that power from the SRT8 Hemi is a five-speed automatic transmission with specially calibrated driver-selectable AutoStick, which offers fully automatic or manual shifting selection.
A heavy-duty four-flange prop shaft sends the torque from the transmission to an upgraded differential and axles.
Just as important as the muscle upgrades on the V8, the braking system on all four wheels feature performance brake calipers by Brembo that come finished in red.
Each is equipped with four pistons for even clamping performance, and 360 x 32 millimeter vented rotors up front, with 350 x 28 millimeter vented rotors in the rear.
This new setup allows the SRT8 to brake from 60-0 mph in approximately 110 feet.
Chassis setup is aimed at all-around performance with SRT-tuned dampers, specially tailored spring rates and suspension bushings, and large-diameter anti-sway bars.
For added stability and aerodynamic benefit, the ride height of the Magnum
SRT8 is one-half inch lower than the Dodge Magnum
, while the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) has been specially tuned for the 2006 Dodge Magnum
SRT8's performance handling characteristics.
What made the 1955,56,57 Chevy Nomad styling so unique was its suave roof with slated B-pillars.
The same holds true for the latest Dodge Magnum
s with the hot rod “chopped” top.
To achieve its lower appearance, the beltline was actually raised and the roofline was pulled only slightly down tautly around the windows.
Though I had several inches of extra headroom when sitting in the driver’s seat, a negative aspect to the roof is reduced vision, especially the slanted rear side glass, the thick C-pillars and small tailgate window.
The good part is that it did not take long to adjust driving habits to accommodate for the rakish design.
s are looking sharp, but the SRT8 appears even meaner with its lower stance, and massive 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels.
These special hubs are shod with high-performance Goodyear F1 three-season tires, featuring asymmetrical tread.
For those who prefer, four-season tires are an available option.
Other ways to identify the SRT8 besides its badging is the mesh grille insert, new front fascia and front air dam, front and rear bumpers satin-finish inserts, rear body-color spoiler, body-color side mirrors and door handles.
In addition to the Bright Silver Magnum
I test drove, the SRT8 can also be ordered in Brilliant Black and Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat.
The equally handsome dark/light Slate Gray upholstered cabin features deeply sculpted and highly bolstered leather-trimmed front seats with performance suede inserts that prevented me from sliding back and forth during tight cornering.
Stitched into both front seat headrests is the black, white and red SRT8 logo
For better grip to control the powerful SRT8, the steering wheel comes with “carbon fiber” leather trim.
Also standard is the steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Facing the driver is a 180 miles-per-hour speedometer and 6,250 redline tachometer, flanked by fuel and temperature gauges.
Cargo area has 71.6 cu. ft. of space, and an assortment of bins and storage compartments.
My test Magnum
SRT8 had a base price of $37,670, which is up $350 over last years edition.
With all the optional goodies including sunroof, one year of Sirius Satellite Radio, Uconnect hands-free communications system with Bluetooth technology, and front and rear side curtain air bags the total manufacturers suggested retail price on the Monroney sticker came to $41,900.
For the record, Dodge
first used the Magnum
name in the late 1960s on high performance car engines, and continued to use it on some truck motors.
For the 1978 and 1979 model year, Magnum
was applied onto a sporty hardtop coupe.
Like the 1955-1957 Chevrolet Nomad, which is highly desirable today, I predict that the awesome Dodge Magnum
SRT-8 will be a future collectible.