Founded by Walter Percy Chrysler in 1925 by
using what was left from the Maxwell Motor Company.
Chrysler wanted to compete with General Motors,
and so needed to create a range of product lines
in sync – thus in 1928 a multi-tiered range
would be introduced, Plymouth at the lower end,
DeSoto in the lower-middle, then Dodge and Imperial
at the upper end with Chrysler being the flagship.
As if shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, management
could never decide just where each division sat
within the Chrysler empire, and by the end of
the 1930’s the order had been changed (from
lowest to highest) to Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto,
Chrysler and Imperial. The 1934 Chrysler Airflow
was somewhat of a revolution in automobile
the beautifully elegant streamlined body being
designed in the auto industries first ever wind
tunnel to meet aerodynamic
are plenty of cars throughout the Unique Cars & Parts
gallery pages that have proven to be too far
ahead of their time for their own good, and the
Airflow was such an example.
Despite the divine
looks and streamliner appearance, it was the
lower ranked Plymouth and Dodge divisions that
would help secure the companies tenure through
the depression era. During these tough economic
times, only Plymouth would make an increase in
sales, while the company would create a formal
parts division under the Mopar brand (short for
Motor Parts). After so much effort and financial
investment had been put into the spectacularly
unsuccessful Airflow, Chrysler opted to take
a far more conservative approach to later iterations,
although the 1942 DeSoto’s did feature
a remarkable hidden headlight system.
advances would see the introduction of the wonderful
Hemi V8’s in 1951, and in 1955 Chrysler
unveiled the Forward Look style penned by Virgil
Exner. Wonderful models would follow, including
the 1957 Plymouth Fury and 1957 Chrysler 300C.
In 1960 Chrysler introduced unibody construction,
the first of the big three, then the new compact
line of Valiant’s would win critical acclaim
(and none more so than in Australia).
Chrysler had expanded into Europe by acquiring
the British Rootes Group along with Simca of
France, to form Chrysler Europe. In hindsight
this was not such a good move, industrial problems
afflicting the British auto industry would take
a heavy toll on the once great Chrysler conglomerate. It would be forced to sell the Simca division
despite it turning a handy profit, to PSA Peugeot
Citroën in 1978. The downfall had begun,
but thankfully a 1998 merger with Daimler Benz
would ensure the survival of the marque.
Also see: Chrysler Reviews
| The History of Chrysler (USA Edition)