Will Chrysler reload with another wagon?
|David Phillips is deputy managing editor of autonews.com|
Is Chrysler aiming to get some of its old swagger back by dusting off a recent gem with customizers?
The Dodge Magnum wagon with its "gangsta" profile proved a sensation with tuners and urban dwellers when it arrived in showrooms in 2004. But it was quickly spiked when Chrysler hit the financial skids and restructured under bankruptcy a few years ago.
It remains a source of pride inside Chrysler.
"With the Magnum, we owned the station wagon segment," Ralph Gilles, the Chrysler design chief who helped create the wagon, told The New York Times. "It was always a pleasure to go to car shows and trade fairs and see the number of Magnums that owners had personalized with such obvious loving care."
Gilles said the Magnum "was single-handedly killed by one executive who is no longer with the company. He's retired. A lot of people in the company still like that vehicle -- a lot."
Gilles, now in charge of jump-starting Chrysler's high-performance SRT unit, in addition to leading design, may be just the insider to champion Magnum II.
"A lot of things that weren't possible back then, now are. The Dodge Viper, certainly, is a likely choice for an SRT version," Gilles told the Times. "Also, we know we need an entry-level vehicle of some kind."
But when asked whether a design for a second-generation Magnum might be found in one of his sketch pads, Gilles took a pass.
"Stay tuned," he told the Times. "Great things are coming. That's all I can say."
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