Car of the Month, July 2013:
Claude Lacombe's 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8

My name is Claude Lacombe and my Dodge story began in 2007. I saw an ad that Dodge was providing a lifetime warranty, so I went down to the local dealer looked at the cars and walked away with a 2007 Dodge Magnum R/T AWD. Thirty days later, after an exhaust, 20 inch rims, computer tune, and cold air intake, I took it to the dealer to show off my new modifications. Sitting in the used car lot was a 2006 Magnum SRT8.

I walked around that SRT8, having never seen one. The salesman gave me the keys and 15 minutes later I was trading in my brand new 2007 R/T AWD on a 2006 Magnum SRT8. I was bitten!

I did every bolt-on modification I could do, including another computer tune. Now, as an SRT8 owner, I did the SRT experience. I saw that the 2008 Magnum SRT8 was a cool car, it had a different front end and interior. Soon I heard that they were stopping production for the Challenger, and my hunt for a 2008 started.

dodge magnum SRT8 at the track

After three years with no luck, I found a 2008, online, in Maryland (I live in Philly). It was steel blue. I did a quick search on the internet for production numbers for the 2008 Magnum SRT8 and found there were 240 cars in total: 124 black, 52 TorRed, 34 silver, and just 29 steel blue. I knew I had to have the car. But I was scared, because the car had some defects. For example, the front seats did not have the SRT 8 logo on the headrests. I figured it was a flood car, so I did check on carfax, found nothing wrong, and took the 200 mile trip to Maryland to buy the car.

When I got there, I found out that the car had been on the lot for four months. Everyone came out to check out my 2006. They had no idea what was sitting on their lot, so I did everything I could to stay cool.

When I checked out the 2008, it was clear that the car was just used, no modifications, lots of chips in the paint, damaged by acid rain, and covered in tar. When I opened the door and saw a 02/08 build date, I knew it was one of the last ones built. Chrysler stopped production of the Magnum for the Challenger in February of 2008. Then I saw the window sticker in the glove box and found out that the car was a special order with all 3 option packages — but the sunroof was missing, the seats were different, and the steering wheel was missing the red stitching.

2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8 in steel blueI knew I was buying the car, but I was still sad to see the 2006 go, as it gave me a lot of fun and a lot of trophies. To have a 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8, the lowest production color 29, though, there was just no way I could walk away from the car, so I bought it! When I brought it home, my wife immediately asked if I was kidding. This car can't walk in the shadow of the 2006! It's ugly! All I could say was that when we take it to car shows, you will see people's reactions!

Then the hunt for true production information began. I was lucky to find someone at a Chrysler dealership that could run every 2008 Magnum VIN, then take out the SRT8s. Once that was done, the hard part was getting Chrysler’s VIP Report build sheets on every one of the SRT8s built, but I got them! This provided the information to create a spreadsheet on all 240 cars built, and made me the historian of the 2008 Dodge Magnums SRT8.  I have every production sheet on every car built and I offer any information to any owner of a 2008 Magnum SRT8 that asks for it.

It gets better. In June 2012, I went to Moparpalooza car show in Maryland and Mr. Ralph Gilles, Senior V.P Production Design, President and CEO of the SRT Brand, and head of motorsports, was there. I spoke to him, and in the end, he provided me a new spreadsheet of production sequence numbers within 48 hours of the 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8 — and within 2 weeks a letter.

So I am a very lucky guy. I have the rarest 2005 to 2010 SRT8 produced to date. I am trying hard to keep it looking stock and I've kept every part taken off of the car.

Some facts about the 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8

Total production: 240 VINs issued, 239 went to the public, car 240 never left the factory with a destination.

Production on the Magnum SRT8 stopped on February 28, 2008; my car was built on February 23, 2008, and is car #229 and #29 of 29 in Steel Blue Metallic. This 2008 Magnum SRT8 remains true to the credo of race inspired, street legal, setting the bar for 0 to 60 at 4.5 seconds and nailing the quarter mile in 12.13 seconds at 114 mph. Producing 466 horsepower and 432 torque from 6.1 liters channeled through a five-speed automatic transmission with specially calibrated, driver-selectable Auto Stick, it has fully automatic or manual shifting selection. The chassis setup for SRT8 is aimed at all-around performance with SRT-tuned dampers, tailored spring rates, suspension bushings, and large-diameter anti-sway bars. All four wheels have performance four piston brake calipers developed by Brembo.

Modifications

Exterior:

  • Stock Rims pockets painted brilliant black.
  • Modern Muscle Performance 6.1 HEMI Emblems.
  • Billet Technology Magnum Wing Wiper Delete.
  • Covercraft Bra Custom Modified to fit SRT8.
  • AAC Halo headlight rings.
  • HID's Low and fog lights.
  • Headlights insert paint flat black.

Interior:

  • Rebadged Custom Car #29 dash plaque.
  • Billet Technology Shifter Plate.
  • Custom Baby SRT8 Car seat.
  • Dash Board Signed by Ralph Gilles.

Performance Modifications:

  • High Horse Performance Stage 2 Racing Package
  • HHP/BES Stage 2R Custom High-Lift Camshaft.
  • HHP/BES CNC Ported & Polished Race-Grade Cylinder Heads.
  • Valve Spring & Titanium Retainer Upgrades.
  • HHP/BES CNC Ported & Polished Intake Manifold.
  • Precision Industries Double-Plate HEMI 2800 Stall Torque Converter.
  • SLP Harmonic Balancer & Underdrive Pulley.
  • Modern Muscle CNC Ported 87mm High Velocity Throttle.
  • Kooks LT Headers & Mid Pipes.
  • Magnaflow Exhaust.
  • Custom HHP Stage 2 CMR Race Dyno Tune.
  • GSM Cold Air Intake.
  • 180 Thermo Stat.
  • HHP Stage 2R Plaque.
  • Richard Petty Strut Brace.
  • Billet Technology Dress Kit with Catch Can.
  • Signed by Ralph Gilles.

Publications

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