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Chronological History of Chrysler, 1950-63: The Virgil Exner Years

1864-19111912-191920-391940-49 1950-63 1964-19711972-801981-921993-97
History By Year • Coming: 1998-2007 (Daimler disaster) • 2007-09 (Cerberus) • 2008-2015 (FCA)

The story so far. Walter P. Chrysler, after rising in the railroads as an engineer, turned around faltering Buick, then left to head Willys, and started working with Zeder-Skelton-Breer Engineering on the most advanced car ever produced. Maxwell-Chalmers runs into trouble after trying to blend together numerous companies as U.S. Motor Car Company, and hires Walter Chrysler; he rescues and takes over the company, putting it into a new shell called Chrysler Corporation. Plymouth, Fargo, and DeSoto are started and Dodge Brothers is purchased.

1950 - Keller and Colbert; Familiar car names debut; Newark announced

1951: Proving ground purchased; new 331 Hemi; Fluid Torque Drive

1952: Trenton plant; FireDome

1953: Dodge shares Plymouth body; Red Ram; Powerflite

1954: Turbine, Belmont, more

1955: Imperial on its own; dealer-installed A/C; HyFire.

1956: TorqueFlite debuts with push-button drive; Keller retires; transistor radio

1957: "Dodge DeSoto"; B engines; New Process Gear

1958: Chrysler buys part of Simca.

1959

1960: Dart replaces Plymouths at Dodge dealers; Valiant appears; Colbert chair, president

1961: DeSoto ends; Valiant becomes Plymouth; Virgil Exner leaves

1962: B bodies brought out based on reduced-size Exner theme

1963: Last direct Exner influence; Chrysler controls Simca; Super Stock 426-II

Burton Bouwkamp wrote, when we asked if there were any cars he was particularly proud of other than the Omni/Horizon: “Probably the 1963 Chrysler. It was the first all new car that I planned as Manager of Chrysler Product Planning. It was styled by Cliff Voss. It had formal elegant lines which I still admire when I see one at Chrysler meets. The car had two shortcomings - the rear track was not wide enough for the body and the stamped grille was cheap looking for a Chrysler. We tried to sell a wider track axle housing and a cast grille to management but they were judged to be too expensive.”

1864-19111912-191920-391940-49 1950-63 1964-19711972-801981-921993-97
History By Year • Coming: 1998-2007 (Daimler disaster) • 2007-09 (Cerberus) • 2008-2015 (FCA)

Chrysler HeritageHistory by YearChrysler People and BiosCorporate Facts and History


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