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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 11, 1978 – The General Lee jumps Rosco’s patrol car
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November 11, 1978 – The General Lee jumps Rosco’s patrol car

On the campus of Oxford College in Alabama, “The Dukes of Hazzard” crew filmed the iconic General Lee jump that takes place in the opening credits of the show on this day in 1978. The 16 foot high, 82 feet long jump over Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane’s cruiser totaled the orange 1969 Dodge Charger. Of course, they had plenty more Chargers in the studio lot. The stunt coordinator for the show bought as many of the cars as he could find. At the time there was no shortages, as Chrysler sold about 85,000 Chargers in 1969. The cars received roll bars, heavy duty suspension, altered brakes and other custom touches to make them safe and show ready. The cars that went airborne often received trunks full of concrete to prevent them from flipping. Every purchase supports job training for inju...
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...
Cheap(ish) Mopar – One Owner 1971 Dodge Charger – $8,800
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Cheap(ish) Mopar – One Owner 1971 Dodge Charger – $8,800

It may not be a Hemi, but it's got a V8! This 1971 Dodge Charger for sale just popped up on Craigslist near Tacoma, Washington, with the seller claiming it to be a single family car since new. This basic muscle car is a little rough around the edges and it's showing a little gray (literally, see below for the primer shots), but it'll clean up well. With cars like this going for near $30,000 in slightly better condition, I believe this here's a pretty dang good deal. Let's take a closer peek. This green Dodge Charger 500 is equipped with the 318 V8 and an automatic, possibly the same ones it left the factory with, but it doesn't say for sure. Correct me if I am wrong, but with base muscle, I believe matching numbers are less critical to value. In any case, it may not be the most excitin...
September 14, 1969 – Dodge Charger Daytona makes NASCAR debut, wins at Talladega
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September 14, 1969 – Dodge Charger Daytona makes NASCAR debut, wins at Talladega

On this day in 1969 the inaugural Talladega 500 went under the green flag, despite many of NASCAR’s biggest names skipping the race. Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Wendell Scott, Buddy Baker and other members of the Professional Driver Association boycotted the event, due to concerns about tire safety. During Grand National practice at the new track, which held its first auto race just the day before, multiple drivers experienced blowouts. Many believed the cause of the trouble was the track being too fast, resulting in increased tire wear. To ensure the show went on, NASCAR founder Bill France enticed enough drivers from the previous day’s Grand Touring event to race the 500 too. Amid the controversy, a brand new car hit the track for the first time, the 1969 Dodge Ch...
August 20, 1960 – Dodge doubles sales figures over 1959 with introduction of Dart
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August 20, 1960 – Dodge doubles sales figures over 1959 with introduction of Dart

On this day in 1960, Dodge General Manager M.C. Patterson reported the marque's retail sales for the model year totaled 306,478, a 134 percent sales increase compared to the same time frame for 1959. By this day on that year, only 131,164 Dodges sold. Additionally, Dodge sold 18,468 vehicles in the first 20 days of August 1960, compared to 8,887 the year before. These numbers were a clear indication that recovery from the 1958 recession was in full swing. While all automakers had taken a hit when the economy began to tank in late 1957, of the Big Three, Dodge and its siblings took among the hardest punches. Top: 1960 Dodge Dart. By Rex Gray - CC BY-SA 2.0 Above: 1960 Dodge Matador. By FaceMePLS - Flickr, CC BY 2.0 Chevrolet and Ford continued to pump out a million plus cars eac...
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...
July 15, 1914 – Dodge Brothers make their last Ford part
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July 15, 1914 – Dodge Brothers make their last Ford part

John Dodge and his younger brother Horace were inseparable as children growing up in Michigan. Little changed in adulthood. Their father ran a machine shop and both took an interest in the trade from a young age. Their skills led them to start a bicycle company in 1896, which they later sold. With the capital they started a printing machine company in Windsor, Ontario, but this too would soon be sold. They returned to Detroit, where they'd spent many years in their youth, to start a machine shop. It wasn't long before they found themselves overloaded with orders from many of the cities new automobile businesses. Above: Henry Ford driving a 1903 Ford, which the Dodge Brothers built parts forTop: John and Horace Dodge in the back of the first Dodge Brothers car (1914) An order pla...
April 30, 1925 – Dodge Brothers is sold for record amount
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April 30, 1925 – Dodge Brothers is sold for record amount

An interesting transaction took place on this day in 1925 when Dillon, Read & Company, a formerly prominent American investment bank, purchased Dodge Brothers, Inc. It wasn’t so much the actual sale that stirred interest, but the terms of the deal. The car company sold for $146 million, plus an additional $50 million to be dispersed to various charities. At $146 million alone, the sale became the largest deal to date for any automaker. When adjusted for inflation, this totals more than $2.7 billion in 2020 dollars. Above: 1925 Dodge, from the year of the saleTop: Horace and John Dodge in the first production Dodge in 1914. Dillon, Read & Company was an investment powerhouse in the 1920s. They had a reputation for daring transactions outside the purchase of Dodge, which they ...

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