Plymouth's Time Has Come: a rebuttal

Reply to the Rebuttal, by Jim Deane

  1. Yes, Dodge was wholly responsible for the reliable engines in the Model T.
  2. Plymouth was not bought out by Chrysler. Plymouth was a new brand invented by Walter P. to be his cost leader line, and the original Plymouths were the reworked cars of the Maxwell-Chalmer (sp?) line. Plymouth and DeSoto were created the same year that Dodge was purchased, 1928.
  3. The original HEMI was developed by and for Chrysler's line, not Dodge. It spilled over into the other lines.
  4. The 318 A block Poly head motor was developed for and by Plymouth to be its V8 engine when Dodge, Chrysler, and DeSoto were using the small Hemis. This was to hold down costs on Plymouths. The wedge LA block (273-318-340-360-ViperV10) engines are all decended from this Plymouth engine.
  5. Plymouth and Dodge shared the 426 Hemi, and Plymouth had a successful racing image (does the name Richard Petty ring a bell?).
  6. Plymouth the 'runt' of the family? Does that include the 40 year or so period of time when it outsold every other Chrysler division, and the many years it held one of the top 5 production slots (far far ahead of Dodge, Chrysler, or DeSoto)?
  7. I suspect that when I get the time to analyze car lines and chassis specs from 1940-1990, I will find significant evidence that the Dodges of today are nothing more than logical decendants of the Plymouth and Valiant lines. That's why it kept competing more and more with the Plymouth line. (That and the obvious model copycatting).
  8. True, MoPar fans can and will (if they choose) despise Daimler (the 'Chrysler' part is now very silent) for eliminating a historic nameplate in an age when respect for and attention to heritage is, in other companies, becoming a major concern.
  9. Later:

I still find it somewhat amusing that people think Plymouth has been riding on Dodge's laurels (and platforms) in the recent past. Plymouth traditionally has the smaller wheelbase cars, and concentrates on value, economy, and has a certain amount of high performance. Dodge was nearly all higher performance, larger cars.

What is Dodge now? As far as cars, most of its cars have small, fuel efficient engines, not Hemis or V10s. Most of its cars ride on the smaller platforms (Neon, Stratus, Avenger), not the intermediate or fullsize platforms.

Who rode on whose platforms? Even without the Plymouth name around to kick around, Dodge will just be rebadged Plymouths. That's been coming since the Dodge version of the Plymouth (the Dart) was introduced in the early '60s.

Now that Dodge will have no sibling in the company to point the finger at when auto sales drop, it will be amusing to watch them squirm and try to wriggle their way out of their problems.

Curtis Redgap rebuts the rebuttal, too

As I see it, dilution of the names, whether it be Plymouth or Chrysler, will not do either any good in the long run.

If merging of products meant making more money, then companies such as Proctor and Gamble would have one brand of soap, one kitchen cleaner, one bathroom bar, and so on. Cheapening Chrysler, and eliminating Plymouth will save DCX how much money...... perhaps the cost of a few dealership advertising signs? As well, if global expansion is the aim of Daimler, then why would you toss out an all American name like Plymouth?

Other countries compete to get a niche in out market place. Honda makes Acura exclusively for the United States market. Perhaps Daimler knows something that most other major worldwide automakers do not?

I don't know how a business can justify the elimination of a company that is selling over 300,000 units a year..... with barely no advertising expended to do it! Plymouth Voyagers sold 296,641 1999 units. I don't have a count on the number of Breeze autos sold, but if the rental car units are any indication, they sold well over 4,000 of them here in Orlando alone! Taking into account that this country's marketplace just seems to keep on expanding, going from 15 million cars sold in 1998 to over 17 million in 1999, I fail to grasp the concept that elimination of Plymouth is a smart marketing ploy.

In the long scheme of it, I think eventually Chrysler stock holders, duped in the merger by calls for "equal treatment" will revolt and the marriage will sour. Ending Plymouth may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Second Rebuttal by Curtis Redgap

You know, the more I read that Rebuttal about the end of Plymouth, the testier I get! I know basically, I made some comments about the loss of Plymouth, but I sure would like to enter some more.

First of all, if you plan on knocking down an icon, you really ought to get the facts of history straight. Firstly, the Dodge Brothers did not start a truck company then move on to cars. They started a bicycle company and moved into building parts for the Oldsmobile car. They then built parts for the Ford Motor Company while acquirig millions of dollars in Ford Company stock. They discontinued the bicycle company to concentrate on automobile parts for Olds, Leyland, Ford, and others. In 1914, they sold all their rights, title and interest in Ford to form the Dodge Motor Car Company. Cars. The first fore runner of the truck didn't appear until 1917, and that was basically a car for the military that was converted into an ambulance.

Both the Dodge brothers died in 1920. Their automotive business was owned and run by a consortium for over 7 and 1/2 years BEFORE Chrysler came along. The brothers had been dead 4 years before Chrysler made his first car, so I don't see where "shortly" after their death, Chrysler bought Dodge. It might have been big business news, but the rest of the world hardly took notice of Chrysler acquiring the Dodge Company.

Plymouth was not "bought out" by anyone. It was the invention of Walter Chrysler, along with a companion make of DeSoto. From it's inception, Plymouth has hardly been the "runt" of the family. It produced hundreds more vehicles in a single production year than the totals of the combined Chrysler car lines. A bad year at Plymouth meant a bad year at Chrysler Corporation......PERIOD.

The slant six was not developed by Plymouth or Dodge. It was a corporate engine of 170 cubic inches designed for the Valiant, which was intended to be it's own division. Dodge and Plymouth engineers jointly developed the 225 cubic inch six by raising the block deck height and stroking the rods of the corporate 170 ci six.

Dodge did NOT make the 318. That was a bored out Canadian sourced 303 that was adopted exclusively for Plymouth for the 1957 Fury. Dodge opted to build it as one of its own when they usurped the Plymouth price niche in 1960 with the Plymouth sized and priced Dart.

The 340 V-8 was a corporate engine built from the "LA" family. Eventually, both Dodge and Plymouth had it. The HEMI was strictly developed by and for Chrysler in the early 1950, finding its way into the 1951 Chrysler cars. The later 426 racing HEMI was built by Chrysler Industrial Marine Division, not by Dodge. The subsequent street version of the 426 HEMI was built by Chrysler, not Dodge, at the Marysville Michigan plant and shipped to Dodge and Plymouth divsions.

Robert Eaton went to Daimler with hat in hand. Why he felt Chrysler had to be sold leaves thousands of people wondering where his brains were, if not just in his wallet. With a 7.5 billion, that is B I L L I O N dollar war chest, Eaton should have bought Daimler. To get the deal past the share holders, Eaton touted it as the pairing of "equals". Anyone that has been around awhile smelled that dead fish right away. Funny that everyone says that the old way of doing business isn't going to work in the new global economy. Yet, companies that stick with traditional business as well as they are now and are feeding the nostalgic sources are going great guns. Are you trying to say someone like Ford is going to fail because they buy car companies like Volvo, Jaguar, Aston-Martin and acquire others, instead of begging someone to buy them? New business must be like new math..... and the answers just don't figure in either case in lieu of common sense!

James P. HoldenThe traditional Chrysler car is DEAD. Daimler killed it. They now dilute the image by selling it as a Plymouth. There will be no more great Chrysler products because that part is buried right along with Plymouth. The great staff that made Chrysler great has taken a great hike! With Eaton finally getting his at the end of this month, name the people left that made Chrysler what it WAS prior to Daimler. Take a good look at the big picture. If you are following the lead of the new guy at Chrysler, Holden, and his "just get over it" statement, then in rebuttal, I wish both of you a wonderfully long trip off an equally very short pier.

Performance based vehicles will die with Plymouth. Plymouth never made a car that Dodge didn't like, and attempted to copy in an effort to promote their own "performance" image over the years, while all the time Plymouth was out racing and winning. Fleet sales which can be the tail that wags the dog, always saw Plymouth beating the pants off Dodge in any area you wanted to look. Even unto the later years where not one red cent was spent on Plymouth, it STILL outsold Dodge for taxis and cop cars! Is it a name to bury..........NOT!

The one sure fire way to compete head on with Ford and Chevrolet in the "traditional" low price market is to inject life in the Plymouth as the "value" line, as promised, and rev 'er up. General Motors is ripe for the picking, particularly Chevrolet, if Daimler left Plymouth alone, and Chrysler got its collective head out of its own rectal function.

As to performance, it has only been the last couple years that Chrysler, under the quise of MoPar Performance Parts, has made major inroads into the aftermarket business. Finally taking a page from Chevrolet's book and allowing other parts manufacturers to participate in MoPar parts manufacture with MoPar's blessing. Suddenly, racing, like the outlaws, sprint cars, and psudo dragsters are finding how much power and bang for the buck a MoPar engine can give them as opposed to the traditional Chevrolet block. Now kill Plymouth and take that image all away. Sure, you can promote Dodge heavily as is being attempted. However, it is going to take another full generation to obliterate the image of Plymouth in the public's mind. Maybe more, given the great sales of Plymouth's mini-van, the former Voyager.

As well, my Cousin, who is still in the racing engine building business, was pulling over 1,000 horse power out of the early 392 Hemi blocks before it was deemed smart to do so. Big Daddy Don Garlits heard about the North Carolina operation and came all the way from Florida to visit back in the 1960s. Chrysler snubbed my cousin when he offered his stuff to them. And it was his camshaft profile that sent the 1956 Plymouth Fury down the Daytona Beach sand at a record pace! They didn't have anything like it. I see the same stupid attitude in Holden.

As to the Viper, can you afford one? I know I can't! I can see by the very few and far between on the roadways, that most other people can't either. Needs to be an alternative to Corvette, in the lower price range. Plymouth should have had its "Belmont" in 55.

As to cloning vehicles across car lines, it is "cheesy"! It dilutes both car names and reduces YOUR right to choose something different. To allude to a company saving "tons" of money by "badge" engineering doesn't quite stand up when one car line far outsells the other. Better to have at least the apprearance of being different than causing constrination for loyal buyers. Interchangeable parts is a non point, since Chrysler's lines have ALWAYS had that.

I say Plymouth's time has come all right. Time for it to be fulfilled with the promises that had been made to the division years ago. If revivial came, Plymouth could light up Highland Park to what it used to be. Number two manufacturer in the world! With a little "Avis" think of trying harder, it could even rock Chevrolet.

Original Editorial by Adam Baumbach

Well, I think some people need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to the end of the Plymouth nameplate. Let's take this whole issue from the very beginning. The Dodge Bros. started a truck company many years ago and soon after, moved into the car business. Little do people realize the importance of Dodge in the very beginnings of car production. Dodge supplied most of the parts used on Henry Fords first cars, back then Dodge was known as the premier supplier of car parts. One could "almost" argue that without the Dodge Bros. there would be no Ford Motor Company. Shortly after the Dodge Bros. died, W.P. Chrysler bought the Dodge Company. It was BIG news at the time since Chrysler was actually a far smaller company. One newspaper quoted it as, "...the minnow swallowing the whale...". Some more years later, Chrysler bought out Plymouth. So from that perspective, Plymouth has always been the "runt" of the family.

I do agree that Plymouth was mainly responsible for the great Slant Six engine that first appeared in Valiants BUT what about all the other great engines Dodge has made? The bulletproof 318, the underrated 340, the awesome HEMI and now the radically new V10 engines in both Rams and Vipers?

Somebody mentioned that Robert Eaton SOLD Chrysler to Daimler. That is absurd, Daimler basically bought out Chrysler on the terms of it being a merger. You people need to look at the BIG picture. The old ways of business are not going to work in the new global economy. Chrysler needed a way to pull in support and buyers around the world, this was the best way for them to do so. Just because Daimler is the primary owner of DaimlerChrysler doesn't mean an end to great Chrysler products.

Somebody also mentioned that Chrysler can't build any performance vehicles other than the Viper. Hello!!! The Prowler, Ram SS/T, Dakota R/T, and the Neon R/T are all performance vehicles. Chrysler also has many "works in waiting" that will be considered performance cars like the concept Neon SRT, Charger R/T, and the newly designed Viper GTS-R that has an estimated 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds. And what about Mopar's crate engine program? The 360-based crates, the 440-based crates and the new HEMI crates that can deliver 610 HP!!! Now that is performance people!

Somebody else mentioned that Chrysler didn't promote the Spirit R/T and Daytona IROC R/T very well. That's probably because both of these cars are highly unreliable. And don't say I don't know what I'm talking about. I own a 1992 Dodge Daytona ES with the 3.0L V6 and I've looked into MANY R/Ts and I know many people who own them. They are proud owners but all agree that the cars just aren't reliable enough for everyday use. Yes they'll blow the doors off respective Z28s and Cobras but they can't hold up to the years. And since Dodge and Chrysler designed them (the engines were of Dodge/Lotus design) how does Plymouth come into this picture? They didn't do anything for these cars.

Another thinks that bothers me is that many people complain that it's cheesy on ChryCo's part to have all these cars that look alike but with different nameplates (i.e. Neons, Voyager/Caravan, Stratus/Sebring). But what those people forget is that ChryCo is saving TONS of money by doing this. By having "cross-over" car lines they have many interchangeable parts thus lowering production and repair costs.

Now, I liked Plymouth a lot too. But time has come where the company name has outlived its usefulness. Its time for ChryCo and Daimler to move on to bigger and better things in the world wide market. I'm sorry to see it go also. I always have been and always will be a true Mopar fan. My dad has owned over 20 Mopar Muscle Cars including his current 1966 Dodge Charger 383, I've only owned one, my '92 Daytona. But I'm DAMN proud of what Mopar has stood for and what its going to stand for in the future. We just need to accept this departure of an old friend as a gateway to a better future. So if the reason you dislike ChryCo now is because they ditched Plymouth, you never were a TRUE Mopar fan. True Mopar fans lived and loved all three, Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth.

-Long live the Cuda, the Road Runner, the Duster, the GTX, the Fury, the Valiant, the Voyager, the Barracuda, the SuperBird, the Volare, the Horizon, the Reliant and everything else Plymouth. Your name may die, but we'll always remember you-

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