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Tag: mopar

January 11, 1989 – Dodge Viper concept debuts
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January 11, 1989 – Dodge Viper concept debuts

First generation Dodge Viper After only a year of development, a non-running prototype Dodge Viper made its first appearance at the North American International Auto Show on this day in 1989. It received an enthusiastic response, prompting Chrysler to put in line for production. However, then chairman Lee Iacocca hesitated on green lighting the $70 million required for the job, citing no guarantee of financial return. However, within a few months the project was underway with chief engineer Roy Sjoberg at the helm. Dodge Viper history With Lamborghini being a subsidiary of Chrysler at the time, the team of more than 80 engineers benefited from the Italian connection. Lamborghini cast an aluminum block for the concept in May of 1989. By fall, a test mule was on the track being pus...
January 2, 1994 – Introducing the  Dodge Neon
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January 2, 1994 – Introducing the Dodge Neon

Chrysler introduced the Neon on this day in 1994. At various times, the name would find itself on Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth cars until production ended in 2005. While the US only saw Dodge and Plymouth Neon cars, Chrysler carried the name in Canada and Europe. The compact provided some stablility for Chrysler, as it continually exceeded sales goals. However, it was often deemed bare bones by buyers. But what the Neon lacked in comfort, it tried to make up for in speed. Whereas other small car producers added accessories to their compacts, Chrysler added horsepower. The original Neon R/T could hit 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, a solid time for a compact. Neons regularly entered competition in SCCA Solo autocross and showroom-stock road racing. After a trip to SEMA in the late 1990s...
December 14, 1987 – AMC Eagle production ends
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December 14, 1987 – AMC Eagle production ends

1983 AMC Eagle Wagon. By Christopher Ziemnowicz The history of American Motors Corporation (AMC) begins with the 1954 merger of Nash and Hudson and ends with its acquisition by Chrysler in March of 1987. Just a few months later, on this day in 1987, AMC Eagle production came to a close. The last AMC Eagle was not quite the end of the line for American Motors, but all in the industry knew it was drawing near. Lee Iacocca, the head of Chrysler at the time, had made it known that the AMC acquisition was primarily to secure the highly profitable Jeep brand. The 4x4 AMC Eagle, looked back upon as one of the first crossovers in an era before the term existed, didn't make the cut despite its quality sales. Offroading AMC Eagle. By Choogler - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 AMC Eagle History F...
November 30, 1960 – The last DeSoto
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November 30, 1960 – The last DeSoto

1961 DeSoto Less than a week after Chrysler acquired Dodge Brothers, it debuted its new mid-priced DeSoto line for 1929. The two brands gave Chrysler two makes aimed at the same consumer, resulting in a back and forth flip flop in terms of price seniority. The original plan had Chrysler at the top, followed by DeSoto, then Plymouth as their entry level ride, but buying Dodge threw a bit of a wrench in things. Ultimately, DeSoto faced identity problems as executives tried to figure out where it sat on the Mopar totem pole. At its introduction, DeSoto rode below Dodge and above Plymouth. In an attempt to boost Dodge sales, Chrysler reversed the Dodge and DeSoto pricing models in 1933. This resulted in DeSoto receiving a futuristic new design that mimicked top-of-the-line Chrysler cars. U...
November 11, 1978 – The Dukes of Hazzard films iconic jump
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November 11, 1978 – The Dukes of Hazzard films iconic jump

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKs1iF-g...
October 17, 1969 – The first Plymouth Superbird is completed
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October 17, 1969 – The first Plymouth Superbird is completed

Workers at Chrysler's Clairpointe Pre-Production facility completed the first Plymouth Superbird on this day in 1969, initiating a historic run of iconic NASCAR inspired muscle cars. Superbirds, which began life as 1970 Plymouth Road Runners, underwent most of their assembly at Lynch Road, about five miles away. Final assembly, including installing the nose cone and wing, occurred at Clairpointe so as not to disrupt an entire production line for a small run of parts. The build process of the Superbird is quite fascinating, as told below by Mopar historian and author David J. Patik, who sadly passed away in 2020. Thanks to David, we are able to imagine traveling down the Superbird assembly line... The following article contains rare history of the Plymouth Superbird: LYNCH ROAD ...
September 21,1959 – Plymouth Valiant starts rolling off the line
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September 21,1959 – Plymouth Valiant starts rolling off the line

1960 Plymouth Valiant. By Emdx - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 It could have been the Falcon, given its code name during development, but Henry Ford II called dips on the bird. So, Chrysler settled on Valiant for its all new entry into the compact car market dominated by the VW Beetle at the end of the 1950s. As headlights illuminated the end of days for tail fins and excess chrome, Chrysler produced its first Valiant on this day in 1959. It would debut as a stand alone model for 1960, before receiving Plymouth script for 1961. In '62 and '63 it returned to lone wolf status, but it's Plymouth badge became permanent the next year. It would survive for four generations, with Plymouth Valiant production ending in 1976.
Five 1950s project cars for $5,000 or less
Cheap Classic Cars

Five 1950s project cars for $5,000 or less

By Cody Clark Every day, classic cars become more expensive. But for $5,000, can you still drive around in a relic from America’s golden era of motoring? While these project cars for sale on Craigslist may not be the best examples of the height of American manufacturing, they prove that on a budget there are still cars out there that require just a few very long weekends to roar back to life. Great investments start when the car can’t lose any more value, right? 1955 Chrysler for sale This 1955 Chrysler Windsor is available in Long Beach, CA for $3,600. It looks like it still has a few years before it rusts fully into the ground, and the seller states the engine turns. The dash mounted shifter, ‘Power steering’ label on the steering wheel and extremely wide white walls make t...
Escaped New Yorker – Restore-ready 1965 Chrysler New Yorker
Cheap Classic Cars

Escaped New Yorker – Restore-ready 1965 Chrysler New Yorker

By Cody Clark Coming off of his conservative, sleek days at General Motors with the Continental, Elwood Engel had a plan to save the Chrysler New Yorker. He adopted that same less-is-more design language with 1965’s offering and essentially saved the model - Detroit’s red-headed stepchild sold 62% more New Yorkers over the prior year. Available on craigslist in Renton, WA for $4,500, this 1965 Chrysler New Yorker for sale is an example of Engel’s iconic design philosophy without the hefty price tag of the Continental but still brimming with all the retrofuturism your heart desires.  Information is sparse on this example, although the critical parts are at least somewhat visible. The paint looks like a cloudy melange compared to the deep blue this car would have shown in its ...
January 26, 1979 – The Dukes of Hazzard premiers
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January 26, 1979 – The Dukes of Hazzard premiers

“Ooooh, those Duke boys!" Cousins Bo and Luke Duke and the rest the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard first crashed onto the small screen on this day in 1979. The CBS action comedy brought cars into the starlight, especially Bo and Luke’s 1969 Dodge Charger, the “General Lee.” This car often stole the show as the boys made their get away from Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.  Top: Still from the Dukes of Hazzard 2005 movie. Above: Opening credits imagery. The premise revolves around the Duke boys, who are on probation for distilling moonshine and aren’t allowed to leave Hazzard County. Through their daily shenanigans they tend to find themselves foiling the plots of corrupt county commissioner Boss Hogg. Aside from the General Lee, the show featured Daisy Duke’s 1974 Plymouth Road Ru...

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