Reporting on Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the most popular and most trusted name in general-population reviews, but how good are they with cars? The magazine and its annual car book have been both praised and critiqued for years; I did a large critique on Allpar one or two decades ago, and recently revisited it. Not to turn this …

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Chrysler resurgent: 1992-97

Recently, a Chrysler employee posted part of an internal brochure, and it reminded me of the time when Chrysler came back with a vengeance. This was not the first time, as most readers know; the company has had an absurd number of comebacks under charismatic leaders—under Walter Flanders, Walter Chrysler, Lee Iacocca, Bob Lutz, and …

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When AMC won in Trans Am

1973 AMC Javelin

In 1971, 1972, and 1976, little American Motors—the combination of Hudson, Nash, and Jeep—managed to win Trans Am with the Javelin, a relatively small car with a huge engine bay. The Trans Am series was still a relatively new series, created in 1966 out of the SCCA’s amateur racing classes; the cars were modified from …

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1949 Dodge cars: practical at the wrong time

see the 1949 Dodge cars

The “completely new” 1949 Dodges, like the lower Plymouths and the higher DeSotos and Chryslers, were created to the specifications of Walter Chrysler’s protegé,  K.T. Keller. K.T. was a great wartime leader for Chrysler Corporation, ordering daily miracles for the United States military; the company did an incredible job of producing anti-aircraft guns, aircraft parts …

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Plymouth police cars of 1976: Valiant to Gran Fury

1976 Plymouth police cars (A38)

The muscle car era is usually officially closed with the 1974 models; the Hemi was long gone by then, but the big 440s remained, as did the high-po small-blocks. The writing was on the wall, with soaring gasoline prices, occasional shortages, and new life for smaller cars. The Valiant Brougham drew in many former big-Chrysler, …

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Speculation: How a Peugeot-style branding system could work in the USA

Peugeot SA, like Volkswagen AG, tended to reflect American automakers of the 1930s-to-1980s: similar cars were sold under different brands, varying in trim, soundproofing, convenience features, and such. Peugeot maintained four brands—Citroën, DS, and Opel being the other three. That system, in Chrysler’s case, led to extremely similar cars being sold, with varying sizes, trim …

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Chrysler’s electric minivans—of the 1990s

epic electric cars

“Who killed the electric car?” asked a movie, some years ago, implying that General Motors deliberately destroyed the rebirth of electrics. The movie ignored Chrysler’s epic electric car program of the same time—a program which sold cars, rather than leasing them, and was something of a success. Made in Plymouth and Dodge versions, the EPIC …

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