Do you set your stop watch to time your Costco shopping run? Or do you like scaring unknowing pedestrians with a loud V8 soundtrack? If yes – you would feel right at home in the Dodge Magnum SRT-8. By now, the “SRT” acronym is widely recognized and respected as one of the premier performance brands in the world, and the Magnum is a fine example.
The base Magnum is arguably one of the meanest looking vehicles on the road, but after the folks at Street and Racing Technology do their magic – it turns downright evil. This car could not be boring even if it tried. The name alone evokes images of powerful rifles and handguns; and the small side windows make you wonder whether the occupants may be carrying some of those guns. This SRT-8 is not a coupe or a convertible, but it does have a unique look which is important for collectability.
The Magnum builds on the aggressive high beltline and short window profile styling from the Chrysler 300c and the Dodge Charger. The styling is the work of Ralph Gilles – a true car enthusiast and may be the only automotive executive who is not afraid of doing a massive burn out during a televised interview. It’s sporting the obligatory large 425 hp HEMI which is backed up by a beefy 5 speed automatic. It has a specially tuned suspension, large wheels, and Brembo performance brakes. Only its hefty weight and large size are holding it back from braking into a sub-5.0 second 0-60 mph runs.
On the other hand, this is a spacious and practical vehicle. The rear hatch has a large opening to swallow bulky items and the rear seat leg room is second to none. In fact, the Magnum can be used to haul a family with two small children with all their strollers and gear. Yet somehow, being a family hauler will not downgrade its “street cred”. The SRT badge is becoming more and more desirable and the Magnum is one of the more rare examples.
The official production numbers for the Magnum SRT-8 are not easy to find, but the data gathered by people in the know point to just 3,845 SRT Magnums that left the factory over the 3 year production run. There were 2,720 examples produced the first year, 885 the second year, and just 240 in the final year. The sinister Brilliant Black exterior color was the most popular, while a Steel Blue was the rarest at just 142 of those produced in total.
There is something else special about the 240 Magnums from the 2008 model year. The whole Magnum line went through a face lift that year, and the SRT-8 gained an extra mean looking hood scoop along with the distinct squared off head lights. This should get any car collector excited. Production numbers reference 1 and reference 2.
Ultimately, the Ralph Gilles connection and the rarity of the Magnum SRT-8 combine to create a desirable collector item. The 2008 model has the definite rarity advantage. A country wide used car search yields just one high mileage 2008 example, so these things do not come up for sale too often. The SRT brand continues to gain momentum and the environmental protection guidelines will not kill the big HEMI any time soon. These are all good things for the car collectors of the future.
Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.
Check out this TFLcar interview with SRT Chief designer Ralph Gilles.