One of the more fun stories about Chrysler’s launch claims that the New York Auto Show refused to show the first Chrysler car during the 1924 show, so Chrysler showed it in the Commodore Hotel. The true story is described in this 1986 letter to Chrysler’s Glenn E. White by Michael J. Kollins. Kollins had started out as a service technician at Dodge Brothers, eventually rising to Manager of Chrysler’s Highland Park Service Center. While Kollins was not present at the 1924 New York Auto Show, he did later write a four-part series of books, Pioneers of the U.S. Automobile Industry.
I am writing to you, since I believe that you can do something about correcting a myth that has been circulated about the introduction of the first Chrysler car in January, 1924. This myth has been repeated in some Chrysler Corporation publications including the Chrysler Corporation, the Story of an American Company. The myth was again repeated by John Davidson in the recent television show, “Super Stars and Classic Cars.”
According to the myth, the revolutionary new car bearing Chrysler's name had to be unveiled in the lobby of Mahattan's Hotel Commodore, because the management of the National Automobile Show would not let the untried innovation be displayed at the Grand Central Palace.
The mythical account makes a fascinating story, but the facts are even more fascinating. With the intention of being constructively helpful, rather than critical or argumentative, respectfully submit these facts:
The myth might have gotten its beginning from the first exhibit of the new 1920 Lafayette car, during the week of January 3-10. (See page 540 of Automobile Topics, December 13, 1919.) ...
Thanks to the National Automotive Historic Archive for preserving Mr. Kollins’ letter.
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