With the Charger sedan and the Challenger coupe still around after so many years, one might find it difficult to understand why Dodge had to retire their Magnum wagon relative after 2008. Fortunately, though, the muscle estate has earned a special place in enthusiasts’ hearts, which is how we end up with outstanding custom examples like this 2007 Dodge Magnum dubbed Mopar Express.
Introduced in 2005, the Dodge Magnum enjoyed reasonable sales for the first four years of production (think: around 40,000 units per year). Alas, with crossovers and SUVs taking a much higher toll on wagon demand compared to what minivans had done starting from the mid-80s, and the financial crisis hitting the economy hard in those days, Dodge was forced to axe its station wagon.
Nevertheless, the Mopar Express, which debuted during last month’s Detroit Autorama show, harkens back to an era predating the original 1960s muscle cars that inspired modern machines like the Magnum—here’s the Chevy that received the 2022 event’s Ridler Award.
And, with its two-door conversion, this Dodge can always be labeled as a custom sedan delivery.
What is a sedan delivery?
We’re looking at a long-departed body style which, not unlike the coupe utility, involves a passenger vehicle transformed for cargo use.
However, while coupe utility models (this Pontiac example shined at the Detroit Autorama) are car-based pickup trucks, sedan deliveries involve wagons that mostly packed two doors (a few four-door versions were available, though) and had their rear side windows replaced with sheetmetal.
It all started with carmakers putting all sorts of bodies over the same chassis at the beginning of the 20th century, light-duty trucks included. However, in the 1940s, big players in the car industry introduced dedicated frames and bodies for their light-duty trucks, which meant the passenger car-based sedan delivery models truly started standing out. The sedan delivery trend had started earlier, with the first such machines being based on sedan bodies, but the rise of the wagons in the late 1940s saw this body type serving as the new base. And since the name was already in use, it stayed.
The sedan delivery’s popularity peaked between the late 1940s and the late 1950s, with Chevrolet and Ford dominating this golden age of the segment.
In the early 1960s, though, four-door wagons took over the two-door wagon market, which saw the cargo haulers being phased out.
Over the decades that followed, Detroit’s Big Three did make multiple attempts to revive the sedan delivery. And while the retro-styled wagons of the late 90s/early 2000s briefly bringing these vehicles back on the radar (think: Chevrolet HHR panel model), people will mostly remember the said golden decade of sedan deliveries.
The 2007 Dodge Magnum “Mopar Express” is a Pro Street drag racer (think: still road-legal)
From a distance, this slice of America might pass as yet another Magnum with funny-looking windows. And while getting close to the machine reveals the two-door wagon conversion, the OEM-like appearance of the build might convince an untrained eye that the body is a factory effort.
There’s a subtle widebody—even less extroverted than the factory Widebody of the Charger Hellcat—while the whole thing is covered in Tangerine paint.
However, the supercharger protruding through the hood is just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, that blower is linked to a Gen III HEMI (the current iteration of the V8) that’s been bored and stroked to 572 ci (9.4 liters). But perhaps the most dramatic change comes from the Pro Street chassis, which features a tubbed rear end.
This means the inner wheel wells have been extended inboard to allow uber-wide wheels and tires to be fitted, so that big, blown V8 can put its power down, whether at the drag strip or on the road.
The cabin only seems to pack two seats, while a six-point roll cage is there in case the said meaty tires aren’t enough. Behind the seats and the cage, we also find a fuel cell.
As shown in the video below, which takes us to the Detroit Autorama show floor courtesy of YouTuber ScottieDTV, the vehicle was designed by Michigan-based Pfaff Designs. The owner, Tom Szott, who is part of a family running a dealership network in the state, used his operation to apply the eye-catching paint of the Mopar Express.
Our favorite part of the build—past the obvious sedan delivery look—has to be the stable mix between the modern look of the side exhaust and the retro appearance of the custom wheels.