Thursday 30 April 2009

The Highs and Lows of Chrysler

Chrysler has finally gone belly-up. It will survive in some form of course, but it might be a good time to review the highs and lows over the past 40-or-so years that brought it to this point:

High - The muscle car era: '65-73
Chysler Corp., especially Dodge and Plymouth, pumped out muscle cars like baby rabbits including, but not limited to: Plymouth Barracuda, Plymouth Roadrunner, Plymouth Duster, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Dart, Dodge Coronet/Super Bee. They stuffed big gas-guzzling V8's into everything and unleashed them on the world. Those were the days...

Low - The lost years: '73-83
Big boats like the Chrysler Newport, and boring pieces of crap like the Plymouth Volare. Let's not speak of this era again.

High (sort of) - K-car revival
Yes, the legendary K cars. Still crappy, but cheap to produce. Chrysler pulls itself away from the brink of bankruptcy.

Low - The Mitsubishi years
Though the relationship between the two companies is a long one, there was a point in time where just about everything Chrysler produced was a Mitsubishi clone. What? Can't afford your own engineers?

High - The Minivan
They created a whole new segment (if you don't count the VW Bus). Not everybody can say that. Thank God SUVs and cross-overs are here to save us from having to drive them.

Low - "Cab Forward"
What kind of a bull-shit trend was this? Big dashboards and you have no idea where the front of your car is. Thank you for that.

High - Retro fever
It starts with the AC-Cobra-inspired Viper, picks up steam with the Plymouth Prowler in '96, but really gets going with the PT Cruiser and on to the mobster-ish Crysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, the new Charger and the new Challenger. Everything bigger than a Camry is stuffed with a big gas-guzzling V8 and unleashed on the world. Those were the days ...

Low - Gas-price shock of '07-08
Hey, gas isn't cheap anymore! Geez ... maybe we shouldn't have stuffed Hemis into everything that we produce.

The Bottom - Financial crisis of '08-09
Nobody can borrow money to buy cars, but at least gas is a little bit cheaper.

I have to give Chrsyler cudos (or Cudas???) for putting out some of the most interesting designs of the past 15 years. Taking some chances, like the radical redesign of the Dodge Ram pick-up and building the crazy Prowler. But ultimately I think their compulsion for big engines and their inability to make a decent family sedan set the stage for their demise during this recession.

RIP, Old Chrysler. Let's see what Reborn Chrysler can do...


Shaun M Wheeler said...

I loved my '86 Daytona Turbo-Z when it ran. It's being donated so I can "feel great and get a tax rebate".

Unknown said...

Those early era Chryslers were the best. My neighbour is restoring a 67 Cuda - beautiful car.

cherenkov said...

I took my driving test in a 70-something Newport. Parallel parking is difficult when the car is longer than the parking stall.

Manitoba News said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manitoba News said...

Great post. You could fit alot of bodies in the trunk of the Chrysler Newport. The previous post was mine and removed due to bad spelling.

cherenkov said...

a lot of cases of beer too...

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