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December 5, 1977 – Chrysler Corp debuts FWD compacts Omni & Horizon
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December 5, 1977 – Chrysler Corp debuts FWD compacts Omni & Horizon

The first mass produced front wheel drive cars from the Chrysler Corporation debuted on this day in 1977. The subcompact Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon would help save the company. They became a popular alternative to economical imports at a time when Chrysler was losing major money. Aside from being the first FWD cars from Chrysler, they're among the first from any American automaker. Previous domestic FWD cars include the Cord 810/812, introduced for 1936, followed by the Oldsmobile Toronado, first offered in 1966, and the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado. The cars remained in production for eleven years with few changes. Some 2,500,000 Omnis and Horizons left the factory by the end of their run in 1990.
November 2, 1983 – The first minivans from Chrysler leave the assembly line
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November 2, 1983 – The first minivans from Chrysler leave the assembly line

Lee Iacocca with the first Plymouth Voyager A few years before automotive executives Lee Iacocca and his Mustang sidekick Hal Sperlich found themselves kicked to the curb outside of Ford headquarters, the two spearheaded a new concept car known as the Carousel. Henry Ford II, who often butt heads with Iacocca, was less than impressed. It's design was radical, unlike anything else on the road. The Edsel fiasco also weighed heavy on Hank's shoulders, reducing his will to take a chance on a new vehicle. In the late 1970s, Iacocca and Sperlich both ended up fired from Ford and then hired by the struggling Chrysler Corporation. With Iacocca as president (later chairman and CEO), the two brought their concept back to life. Renamed the Magic Wagon during development, the project would res...
October 15, 1924 – Lee Iacocca is born
Features, This Day

October 15, 1924 – Lee Iacocca is born

On this day in 1924 Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca was born. He would become one of the most influential men in modern American automotive history. In his career he would achieve many incredible feats throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s at Ford and Chrysler.  Due to a childhood illness, Lee was barred from service during WWII. Though this may have saved his life, Lee recalled wanting nothing more than to fly a bomber over Nazi Germany. Unable to join the fight, Lee took the opportunity to study engineering at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He would later attend Princeton before joining Ford’s own educational engineering program. Following his graduation from the Ford institution he became an engineer with the company. He soon found a better fit in sales and marketing afte...
August 18, 1940 – Walter Chrysler dies
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August 18, 1940 – Walter Chrysler dies

The founder of the Chrysler Corporation, Walter P. Chrysler, passed away on this day in 1940 after succumbing to a cerebral hemorrhage. Chrysler was born in Kansas in 1875 and began his career as a machinist and mechanic in the railroad industry. His railroad career peaked as works manager of the Allegheny locomotive erecting shops of the American Locomotive Company (Alco). His introduction to the automotive business would come in 1911, when he was approached by  James J. Storrow, an investment banker who was critical in the formation of General Motors just a few years prior. Above: Walter Chrysler (right)and his car from when he worked on the railroads. Can you identify it? His brother Ed at left. Top: Walter Chrysler and 1924 Maxwell Chrysler B-70. Storrow also happened to be...
August 4, 1928 – DeSoto is founded
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August 4, 1928 – DeSoto is founded

1929 DeSoto On this day in 1928, Walter Chrysler founded DeSoto, which provided Chrysler Corporation a vehicle line aimed at the mid priced auto market. The plan was to pit the brand against Oldsmobile, Willys, Studebaker and other similarly valued automobiles. However, Chrysler acquired Dodge Brothers soon after DeSoto made its 1929 model year debut, giving Chrysler two mid priced brands. Additionally, Chrysler had just announced Plymouth about a month prior, which was to be Chrysler’s entry level vehicle. Chrysler was soon trying different juggling acts to make their entire line up profitable. DeSoto had a strong first year, selling 81,065 cars in 1929. This broke a record for the most vehicles sold for a new model of car in 365 days. Chrysler priced Dodge slightly above DeSoto at...
July 24, 2000 – Fourth generation Dodge Caravan begins production
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July 24, 2000 – Fourth generation Dodge Caravan begins production

Since Lee Iacocca introduced the Chrsyler minivans for the 1984 model year, the vehicle has earned a reputation for being among the best kid shuttlers around. Quickly copied by Ford and GM, it's hard to beat the timeless designs of Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth vans. However, as time goes on, designs change. On this day in 2000 the fourth generation of the Dodge Caravan began to roll down the production line in Windsor, Ontario, the same plant the first generation was built at. Above: Lee Iacocca introducing the new Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan in 1983Top: Fourth generation Dodge Caravan The 2001 Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country had been in development since 1996. Besides looks, the biggest change to the vehicle over the previous generation was its actual size, as it...
June 6, 1925 – Chrysler is founded
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June 6, 1925 – Chrysler is founded

On this day in 1925 Walter Chrysler founded Chrysler Corporation when he reorganized the Maxwell Motor Company as the new company. Before doing so, W. Chrysler had been hired by Maxwell-Chalmers, an ailing automobile brand, just a few years before. They had high hopes that Chrysler could save the company, as he had recently had success revitalizing Willys-Overland. Among the first steps Chrysler took was shutting down production of the Chalmers automobile in 1923.  Above: A Maxwell automobile, from which Chrysler was born In January of the next year the Chrysler Six was launched under the Maxwell brand. The six-cylinder car was highly engineered, and included such features as a high compression engine and a replaceable oil filter, which were both rare at the time. One of the most i...
April 23,1987 – Chrysler buys Lamborghini
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April 23,1987 – Chrysler buys Lamborghini

On this day 1987 Chrysler Corporation purchased Lamborghini for an estimated cost of $25 million. At the time, the luxury automaker was experiencing financial difficulty under the ownership of the Mimram Brothers. Above: Lamborghini 350 GT, produced 1964 to 1966Top: 1990 Lamborghini Diablo. By Mr.choppers - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the sports car company in 1963 after, as legend has it, he experienced mechanical issues with his Ferrari. To remedy the issues, he made an attempt to meet with Enzo Ferrari, that car company’s founder. After being turned away, Ferruccio, who had already made a fortune in the sale of tractors and air conditioners, set out to build better, faster cars. His efforts led to the development of the first Lamborghini, the 350 GTV, a V...
Dusty & Rusty – 1966 Chrysler 300 For Sale – $5,000
Automotive, Cheap Classic Cars, Dusty & Rusty

Dusty & Rusty – 1966 Chrysler 300 For Sale – $5,000

Sometimes you need muscle, sometimes style. This has a bit of both. The original Chrysler 300 hit the market in 1955 as personal luxury car that focused on performance. The first of these low production cars had a C-300 badge in '55. The following year they became the 300B, in '57 the 300C and so on. The letter series skipped "I" and ultimately ended with the 300L in 1965. A non-letter series 300 came about in 1962 as a baby brother to the alpha cars, of which prodution continued through 1971. What we have for sale here is a 1966 Chrysler 300, the first year since its inception that the 300 did not feature an alphanumeric badge. This example is located on Milwaukee Craigslist for $5,000 and "ran when parked," everyone's favorite thing to hear when buying an old car. Ran when parked - ...
January 24, 1957 – The 10,000,000th Plymouth
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January 24, 1957 – The 10,000,000th Plymouth

If you wanted a cheap car in 1928, you had quite a few options. Ford's first all new car since 1908, the Model A, could be had that year for around $500. A similar sized Chevrolet could be parked in your driveway for less than $100 more. Or, if you wanted something your neighbor didn't have, you could drive off in a Plymouth for around $675. Chrysler launched Plymouth, one of the first engineered brands, in July of 1928 to compete directly with low priced Fords and Chevys. Though about $175 more than a Ford (roughly $2,500 in 2021), Plymouths did have features its competition didn't, such as hydraulic brakes. Are you sold yet? Above: 1928 Plymouth Model Q. By DougW. Top: The 10 millionth Plymouth When the Great Depression began the next year, it would be Plymouth that would ensure C...

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