This Front-End Swap Makes Me Wish Dodge Still Made the Magnum
Until today, I had all but forgotten about the Dodge Magnum station wagon. It was a once beloved American icon and it made Car and Driver's 10 best list for 2005. The Magnum had 3 trims at launch, the SE, SXT, or the R/T. The SE and SXT came with different V6s while the R/T came with a 5.7 L pushrod V8 making 340HP. For the 2006 model year, then-DiamlerChrysler released the SRT8 trim. This model, which was used for this swap, makes 425HP from its 6.1 L Hemi-V8. Unfortunately, the Magnum was cut from production just three short years later in 2008, along with the Crossfire, the Pacifica, and the PT Cruiser Convertible (ew). Over a decade later and I had entirely forgotten about its existence.
That brings us to today. As a "millenial" I tend to spend a bit of time each day scrolling through my Instagram feed. "Lamborghini Sian" this, "Bugatti Chiron SS" that, until I stumbled upon this post by the dudes at Fitment Industries.
It was captioned "This front end conversion is perfect 😍" and they snatched the words right out of my mouth. It actually took me a second to realize what was going on. This car isn't a Photoshop. It isn't a render. Some genius actually put a Hellcat front-end on his 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8 and I'm absolutely in love.
I checked the caption for whose car it was and decided to do some digging to find out how this conversion happened.
The conversion was performed by a gentleman named Kyle Tetreault, who goes by @kyle_t_srt on Instagram. Oddly enough, this converted Magnum isn't the first Magnum that Kyle has owned. He originally purchased a blue R/T, but likely yearned for the extra 85 horsepower from the 6.1 L Hemi V8. He bought an SRT8 just a few months later.
He enjoyed the car for a while as it was. 425 horsepower isn't something to shake a stick at and the Mercedes-designed suspension was surprisingly nimble for such a big vehicle. After some time though, he experimented with a front splitter and new wheels. Unfortunately he had issues with the way the splitter mounted and eventually opted to remove it. Dissatisfied with the stock look, Kyle decided to embark on his front-end conversion journey.
The Hellcat Charger front end conversion was the natural choice. The Charger and the Magnum shared a lot of styling queues back in 2006 and were built on the same Chrysler LX platform. Even today, the Hellcat Charger is still built on that same LX platform, meaning this conversion wasn't just possible, but relatively straightforward. The raised hood from the Hellcat model not only looks extremely aggressive, but it gave the engine bay more room for future engine modifications. It was the perfect way to modernize this unfortunately discontinued beauty.
The conversion happened in two big steps. The first was to throw everything on the car and see what fit. The front bumper and hood fit pretty well, but the fenders didn't match up and the new panels were obviously the wrong color. This meant custom bodywork was going to be necessary.
The second step involved removing the fenders and sending the car to a body shop. There the custom fenders would be measured and fabricated, and a new coat of paint would be applied after the fitment was perfected.
After six long weeks, this gorgeous beast finally graced the world with its presence.
Along with the custom fenders and a new coat of paint, Kyle had the headlights modified and reinstalled a sexy set of wheels he used to drive on before the conversion. Personally, though, I think the best choice he made was to install the SRT logo from his previous front-end in place of the Hellcat logo. It's such a subtle change but I think it really ties this whole build together. It pays homage to this car's history while still looking sleek and tasteful.
--- Kyle asked me to help give a shout out to Todd Larsh at Speed of Light Customs for the work they did on his headlights. Check them out here: @speedoflightcustoms on instagram ----
According to Kyle, this vehicle still isn't finished. He aims to have this vehicle perform the way it looks. Whether that performance comes by the way of a supercharger or a Hellcrate engine, we'll just have to stay tuned and find out.