Bruce Thomas, Chrysler engineer-turned-historian

Bruce Rutherford Thomas, Sr., was born in 1925 in Brooklyn, New York; he graduated from Cornell, served in the Navy, joined Chrysler, and earned a Master’s in Engineering while working. He rose through the ranks quickly, reaching the executive levels, and spent some time in a leadership role at Chrysler Australia.

Bruce Thomas

He retired in 1980 but then joined the Transportation Research Center in Marysville, Ohio, until becoming the curator for the Walter P. Chrysler Museum early in its life; he also became curator for the Chrysler archives, a position he kept until 2020. Bruce was deeply involved in the history of Chrysler; chances are if you contacted Chrysler for historical information, you got a personal reply from him.

A charter member of the Classic Car Club of America, Bruce owned many significant cars over the years including the Trifon Special (prototype of the Airflow) and the 1939 Imperial used by King George VI and Elizabeth on the U.S. portion of their royal tour to the USA.

Bruce passed away this week at his home in Bloomfield Hills, at the age of 98. The funeral took place today at noon, at the A.J. Desmons & Sons Chapel in Royal Oak.

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