November 2, 1983 – The first Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager

The world of soccer moms and baseball dads changed forever on this day in 1983 when the first Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager minivans rolled out of the factory for the 1984 model year. The introduction of the minivan would bring forth a new era of motoring for American families. Combining the driveability of a passenger car with the storage and seating capacity of a larger vehicle, the minivans were an immediate hit. Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich originally designed the minivan for Ford but the idea and a prototype were rejected by Henry Ford II in 1974, likely due to personal disputes between For and Iacocca. Sperlich moved to Chrysler in the years following and when Iacocca was hired to head Chrysler in 1979 they brought the project back from the dead. Designed by Bob Hubbach, the project was known internally as the T-115 minivan, but were pushed as the “Magic-wagon” in initial marketing. At a time when Chrysler was still rebuilding after major financial woes, they were indeed magic for their profits. The vans used the Chrysler S platform, an extended version of the K platform, and initially featured either a 2.2 or 2.6L engine. They were available in 5, 6 and7 passenger seating configurations, with an 8 figure model being available in 1985 for one year only. Today the heritage of the vehicle exists as Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. There has been talks of dropping the Dodge version for several years, but it continues to appear on showrooms. Pics1986 Grand Caravan at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History – By CZmarlin — Christopher Ziemnowicz

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