Trenton Engine was built in 1951 to make high-volume V8s; today, it makes V6 engines and motor parts. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, the plant was just about at its capacity, as Chrysler had been building up its sales through the 1990s and dropping imported Mitsubishi fours and sixes. They made aluminum-block V6 … Read more
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
Jack Benny, a vaudeville master of ceremonies with a suave manner and self-deprecating jokes, went on the radio in 1932 radio show. He was to become a legend, inspiring Johnny Carson, other comedians, and at least one Shakespearean actor…. 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 six … Read more
A quarter of a century ago, Daimler took over the growing and highly profitable Chrysler Corporation in a move which proved disastrous to the American company. Chrysler at the time was fairly truck-and-Jeep-heavy in sales, but that meant that the company was well positioned for the rapid American move to pickups and crossovers.How can we … Read more
In 1896, Henry G. Morris and Pedro G. Salom, makers of the Electrobat taxi cab, formed the Electric Carriage & Wagon Company. Nobody knew that gasoline was the future of the car then: the very first cars, made in the 18th century, had been steamers. Karl Benz made several copies of a single gasoline-burning car in 1885, but then Thomas Edison had opened the world’s first generating station for commercial and residential buyers even earlier—and electricity seemed like it might be the fuel of the future.
Dave Van Buren sent in these two photos from Trenton Engine’s archives. The first shows final inspection of engine blocks for Department 72 Main, which made the low-deck B-engine blocks—the 361, 383, and later 400. The bore sizes were painted onto the blocks because there were variations in the diameter of both blocks and pistons … Read more
Created solely for racing, the famed 426 Hemi was a cross between Chrysler’s first V8 engines, which had hemispherical heads, and the big Cross-Ram Wedge engines which were winning on the street but failing in NASCAR—the company’s second completely new V8 design.The engine people believed that the wedge engines would have an edge if they could … 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
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 with … 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, offered … 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
No April 26 would be complete without at least one Hemi Day story.The 426 (as in 4/26) Hemi was created solely for racing. At the time, the ingenious Mopar cross-ram wedge engines were winning on the street, but failing in NASCAR. In 1963, executives approved engineers’ plan for putting Hemi heads, which were part of … Read more
Way back in the early 1990s, Chrysler worked with a power company group to build its first all-electric minivans. They were never too famous—the maker of Who killed the electric car? apparently missed them completely—but some of them ended up in private hands and lasted a good many years after their creation.Chrysler followed up the original … Read more
When NASCAR officially told manufacturers they could no longer directly support racers, a prohibition that was only lightly observed by GM and Ford, Chrysler sought a new series to test their mettle and gain publicity. They chose the new Daytona Continental road race, and built up a 1965 Plymouth Belvedere with the 426 Hemi dual-carb … Read more