The minivan famously arrived in 1983, for the 1984 model year, starting with a Mitsubishi-engined Plymouth Voyager which was followed by a Dodge Caravan*. But it could have started by 1976 or 1977. According to artist Dennis Kline, minivan work started around 1972… <>Read more
Harry’s U-Pull-It, which has four locations in Pennsylvania, sometimes comes across cars too good to junk—and in this case, they have a neat Chrysler 300, with some rust, up for grabs. The car has a clean title, an amazingly low 45,401 miles, skirts, caps, and trim, and a reasonable amount of rust. It needs upholstery … Read more
When the fuel crises of the 1970s hit, American automakers were unprepared. Once Chrysler saw that big car owners were dropping their V8s in favor of newly-available slant sixes to save fuel, they authorized a two-barrel slant six to make the smaller engine more satisfactory—but could they go further? Chrysler had more than one slant … Read more
One of the less-likely NASCAR champions was a full-sized L-head straight-six car from a premium brand, brought out in the same year as the first, 180-bhp Chrysler Hemi. The Fabulous Hudson Hornet may not have had a V8, but it had three other things going for it: lighter weight, a stiff unibody, and a sunken floor and engine which gave it phenomenal handling when compared to most American stock cars of the day. The straight-six was nearly as big as the first Hemi—308 cubic inches (while that first Hemi was 331 cid)—but was hooked up to a manual transmission and had less weight to push around. <>Read more
Chrysler’s role in creating the Moon rockets has long been ignored; it’s not even mentioned on multiple Wikipedia pages which ignore the prime contractor but mention Rockwell and Boeing. Yet Chrysler did not just have a hand in creating the Saturn V vehicles used in the Apollo missions; they were the prime contractor for these and for the Redstone missiles which came before.
Chrysler started working with the combined Army-Air Force rocketry program from its earliest days, running the Warren, Michigan factory which produced the Redstone missiles. While the rocket engines and fuselages were produced by other companies, Chrysler coordinated them, put them together, designed and produced some of the electronic control and ground systems, and provided part of the ground support crews. The photo above, from the 1965 Chrysler Annual Report, clearly shows ground crew members wearing Chrysler shirts.
Motales recently recovered the story of Chrysler’s role in rocketry, including their work in developing digital telemetry for the Apollo missions. From the Redstones to the final launch (of Skylab), Chrysler was America’s chosen leader in aerospace. The company only left the business when NASA rejected its space shuttle design. (See https://www.motales.com/chrysler-corp/aerospace-defense/rockets-by-chrysler.php for more) <>Read more
The original Hemi V8 debuted on the 1951 Chrysler and then moved out to Dodge and DeSoto cars; Plymouth never had one because at that point Chrysler, Dodge, and DeSoto were strictly upscale and Plymouth was mass-market. To make a V8 practical for Plymouth, it had to be cheaper and faster to make—much cheaper, much … Read more
Henry Ford famously increased his pay to a high $5 per day, saying everyone should be able to buy the cars they made. … But did he actually do it? It turns out that Henry Ford only paid a small number of people that high wage; the rest of his employees had to make do … Read more
The Valiant was all very fine, but didn’t cover the whole market. As a result, South American dealers decided to adapt the car to sportier and more luxurious segments, taking names from bigger American cars; that brought the Polara, Coronado, Super Bee, and GTX. (Never mind that two of these names were taken from Plymouth; all were sold under the Dodge name.)
These weren’t sticker packages; the sheet metal and fascias were changed to make the cars look more like 1968 Chargers than 1968 Valiants or Darts, and they were based on the sportier first-generation “narrow body” Valiants. <>Read more
The Dodge Charger was introduced as its own model line for the 1966 model year, and while the ‘66 and ‘67 models sold well enough, the debut of the second generation for the 1968 model year really led to the boom in popularity for the legendary nameplate. As we all know, the second generation Charger, … Read more
This week’s Mopar Flashback Friday takes us back to 1956, with a classic marketing video which showcases the Dodge Lancer. This video is very unlike any modern car commercial, as it is more than two minutes long, it doesn’t actually mention the name of any vehicles and it has a unique theme song that makes … Read more
The Dodge brand showcases its history better than any modern brand in the US market, with classic colors, classic trim names, classic packages and even some marketing campaigns that hearken back to the early days of the muscle car. From the Shaker hood atop a Hemi engine to colors like B5 Blue or Go Mango … Read more