2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8: Power Lifting
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/2006-do ... r-lifting/
A wagon with low 10-sec timeslips and a couple child seats. That's awesome!Covertly chasing the title of the World’s Strongest Street Magnum
I grew up in NYC — a great city, but arguably the worst place in the world to be a gearhead. From high school on, I had to satisfy my hunger for horsepower with everything I could learn from books, magazines, and later, the internet, along with occasional road trips to a car show or the track. The upside of all that armchair enthusiasm was that when I relocated to Los Angeles three years ago, I knew exactly what I wanted in a project car — powerful, American, rear-wheel drive, all that for sure — but there were a few more X-factors I was looking for too.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to oddballs — the obscure comic book character that only appeared a handful of times, the underground metal band with only one EP. My taste in cars is no different, so it had to be something a little off the beaten path. I also wanted something that would spark gas station conversations with other gearheads, while remaining largely invisible to civilians. And it had to function as a daily driver and family car.
I’d loved the Magnum SRT8s since they first came out — that a mean-looking modern American V-8 wagon even existed was truly cool. The Magnum ticked all the boxes on my mandatory requirements list — with the added bonus of being based on a popular platform with lots of aftermarket support.
My concern was whether I could find a clean, low-mileage Magnum with no major issues after all these years. Poking around online, I stumbled across a well-cared-for example in my preferred color (black) with only 19,000 miles on the clock in Austin, Minnesota. After a couple phone calls with the owner, I took a leap of faith and soon the car was on a trailer headed to me in L.A. When it arrived, I was thrilled. The wagon looked even better than the photos I’d seen and was a blast to drive.
I started out doing all the things you do when you’re just dipping your toe in making a car your own — Mopar CAI, Corsa Xtreme cat-back and a DiabloSport 91 Octane tune. That was fun … for a while. A mechanic friend put me in touch with “Viper Dan” Cragin at Specialty Performance in Alhambra, California. Dan and I hatched a plan to wake things up a little. A Mopar transmission-programing upgrade and AMG blue-top solenoids made for some more lively shifting and a Wavetrac LSD with a 3.55:1 ring-and-pinion allowed for proper burnouts and a little more out-of-the-hole grunt.
The car remained in that state for a while, serving as my daily driver and providing a lot of smiles per gallon. My twin daughters have always liked calling cars by name, so the Magnum clearly needed one. My wife suggested Magnus — after Magnús ver Magnússon from the old World’s Strongest Man TV show — based on the similarity to Magnum and connotation with power. It stuck and that’s what my family calls the car to this day.
I’d heard that if I wanted to make serious modern Mopar power in SoCal, Adam Montague at SpankinTime Motorsports was the guy to see. I drove from L.A. to his shop in San Bernardino to sit down with him and formulate a plan — the first of many such trips I’d make over the next couple years. We decided to go with a 2.9L Whipple twin-screw supercharger sitting on a custom-built 393 stroker with a Crower custom-grind blower cam, CNC-ported heads, a BBK 95mm throttle body and Driveshaft Shop 1,400hp axles.
This setup proved to be good for 717 rwhp and 673 torque on 91-octane pump gasoline with 12-psi boost. I ran 11.49 seconds at 124 mph at Famoso Raceway on street-legal drag radials — that’s a pretty solid effort for a full-weight family wagon and a lot better than the mid 13s the car ran from the factory.
Next, SpankinTime installed a Southern Hotrod War Viking NAG1 transmission, a ProTorque 3,000-stall converter, Fore Innovations fuel system, Black Ops 1,300cc injectors, and an E85 tune. Also added were a custom SpankinTime icebox for the supercharger, a Driveshaft Shop two-piece driveshaft, and a set of Race Star wheels wrapped in Hoosier rubber. This setup really tied things together. It dyno’d at 786 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque, and I ran 10.63 seconds at 133 mph on 15-psi boost.
To allow for more boost, Adam custom fabricated a stand-alone eight-rib belt setup, which runs the blower up to 17 psi. We also upgraded to the 102mm Whipple throttle body and added JBA mid-pipes to the otherwise stock exhaust. Following these most recent upgrades, the car dyno’d at 812 hp and 763 lb-ft of torque and ran a 10.27 at 137 mph at Famoso — driving there and back.
What’s next? The car runs 10.2s on stock suspension, so it’s hard not to wonder if some help in that department might get it into the 9s. We’re going to add some Lakewood drag shocks soon and possibly a 15-inch rear brake conversion with a bigger tire down the road. We’ll see.
The exterior remains completely stock, as I dig the stealth-mode approach. Understanding that the car came with a 425hp rating from the factory, I think it can still be considered a sleeper. I’ve chosen to keep it as quiet as possible to continue the stealth theme. There’s a nice, low rumble when driving down the road and you can hear the cam, but I’m too old for a look-at-me obnoxiously loud vehicle.
I wanted the engine bay to feel like hidden treasure underhood, thus the Hemi Orange blower, the custom-painted coil-pack covers, and the Billet Technology billet accents. I’m particularly fond of the old-school hot rod lettering. It was hand-painted by sign painter Lorenzo Rams at Workhorse Sign Co. in Hawthorne, California. The quote is from Flannery O’Connor’s 1952 novel, Wise Blood, which was adapted into a film directed by John Huston in 1979. It’s the same line used by the band Ministry for their song, “Jesus Built My Hot Rod.”
This car is my true daily driver. I drive it to meetings, to pick the kids up from school, wherever. My now 8-year-old twins love it and have been known to say “Boost, daddy. Boost!” and I’ll give them a little taste to make them laugh. I like to joke that it’s for when you need groceries right now, and rest assured that my kids are never late for soccer practice! —Max Nichols
2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8
Max Nichols, Pacific Palisades, CA
Type: 393-cid Chrysler Hemi V-8
Bore x stroke: 4.070-inch (bore) x 3.7950-inch (stroke)
Block: factory 6.1L block
Rotating assembly: 2618 forgef CP Carrillo pistons, forged Molnar turbo connecting rods, forged Molnar crankshaft
Cylinder heads: modified factory 6.1L SRT8 Magnum cylinder heads, CNC-ported
Camshaft: Crower custom blower camshaft, 0.585-inch lift, 226-degree intake duration, 228 degrees on exhaust side
Induction: 2.9L Whipple twin-screw supercharger painted Hemi Orange, 102mm Whipple throttle body, SpankinTime custom 8-rib stand-alone belt system with 3.125-inch pull to generate 17 psi
of boost, Fleetrunner eight-rib belt and Spankin’ Time custom intake icebox, Fore Innovations full return-style fuel system running E85 fuel, Five-O-Motorsports Black Ops fuel injectors
Oiling system: Melling high-volume oil pump
Exhaust: stock exhaust manifolds, JBA mid-pipes, Corsa 4-inch polished tips
Ignition: factory stock ignition
Cooling: factory original cooling system with Moroso aluminum coolant tank
Engine/vehicle built by: Adam Montague, SpankinTime Motorsports, San Bernardino, CA
Transmission: Southern Hotrod War Viking NAG five-speed automatic, one-piece Driveshaft Shop custom two-speed unit
Shifter: steering wheel-mounted AMG paddle shifters
Rearend: 2006 Dodge 215mm differential, 3.55:1 gearing, Wave Trac Posi, Driveshaft Shop 1,400hp axles
Suspension: factory original, front and rear
Steering: stock power steering box
Brakes: stock Chrysler Brembo disc brakes
Paint: factory Black
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: 20×9 SRT8 Chrysler wheels (street); 17×4.5 (front) and 17×9.5 (rear) Race Star Drag Stars (track)
Tires: 255/45ZR20 (front) and 275/40R20 (rear) Nitto NT555 G2 (street); 27.5×4.5/17 Hoosier front-runners and 28×10-17 Hoosier bias-ply slicks (track)
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