Retro Friday: diesel slant sixes

1977 Slant Six

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 six … Read more

Flashback Friday: the original Fabulous Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet logo

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.  

Flashback Friday: Chrysler Engineering makes Mercury, Saturn rockets a reality

Chrysler and the Saturn rockets from the Apollo missions

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)

Flashback Friday: the “other” GTX, Super Bee, and Polara

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. 

Mopar Flashback Friday: Introducing the New 1968 Dodge Charger

1968 Dodge Charger

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, offered … Read more

Mopar Flashback Friday: I Built a Dodge…I Built a Dodge!

1956 Dodge Lancer

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

Mopar Flashback Friday: 1970 Dodge Challenger Commercial

Dodge Challenger Ad

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