The Dodge Magnum caught the eyes of many people during the mid-2000s before it was replaced by the 2008 Dodge Challenger. But before the Magnum made it into production, Dodge rolled out the Magnum in concept form with the 2003 Dodge Magnum SRT-8 Concept. This was the first time in more than 30 years that the Dodge brand unleashed a car ready for production with a HEMI power and rear-wheel-drive. The brand had teased the fans with the Super8 HEMI Concept, but the Magnum was slated for production, not just a dream car.
“Dodge Magnum SRT-8 Concept is the new shape of American muscle,” said Dieter Zetsche, then President and CEO, Chrysler Group. “With its innovative packaging, performance, and utility, there’s nothing else like it. Dodge Magnum is the performance sports tourer that packs a powerful punch and the functionality of an all-wheel-drive sport-utility. Armed with HEMI inside and rear-wheel drive, Dodge Magnum SRT-8 Concept delivers power in a package that offers unmatched flexibility and versatility.”
Dodge stouted its legendary muscle car past of the 1960s with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. At the time the production HEMI numbers were only own for the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 and Heavy Duty trucks, but not the cars. So much to the public’s surprise, that along with the debut of the Magnum wagon was the Magnum SRT-8’s supercharged 5.7-liter HEMI V8.
The supercharged 5.7-liter HEMI V8 featured a Whipple supercharged atop, that provided around 430 horsepower, which at the time was way above most of the vehicles on the road at the time. The supercharger created a unique combination of maximum power at low RPMs for drivability and ultra-high efficiency for top-end horsepower. Dodge never released official numbers of the engine combination, as it was only meant for the concept model. This was just a hint of what was to come, a dozen years later with the introduction of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT HELLCAT.
Much of the design from the concept, made it to the 2005 Dodge Magnum production model. Even the wheel design was scaled down from 20-inch to 18-inch units for the 2005 Dodge Magnum RT. The biggest changes to the exterior were the design of the grille going up with the hood, similar to the Ram Trucks of that era was changed to the grille being stationary for the production unit. Different headlamps and tail lamps were also used on the production model.
The Dodge Magnum SRT-8 Concept was the first true public look at the upcoming LX platform vehicles. The Magnum went into production with a four model year run. That included an SRT-8 model featuring the 6.1-liter SRT HEMI V8 with 425 horsepower, that appeared in the 2006 model year until the model’s demise in 2008.
2003 Dodge Magnum SRT-8 Concept Image Gallery: