Bill Watson's Chronological History of Chrysler Corporation
Part VI: 1964-1971, the Muscle Car Era

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 History, Part 7

1964 - Barracuda; control of Rootes; California emissions

  • barracudaApril - Plymouth Barracuda launched, weeks before the Ford Mustang; perhaps “pony cars” should really be called “fish cars.” Mustang would, though, for various reasons, outsell Barracuda by 10:1.
  • 50 Chrysler Turbine cars built, bodies by Ghia, for extensive tests by average motorists.
  • Philip N. Buckminster named general manager of Chrysler-Plymouth Divison.
  • Chrysler Corporation purchases 30% of voting stock and 50% non-voting stock of the Rootes Group (UK), builders of Hillman, Sunbeam, Singer, Humber cars and Karrier and Commer trucks.
  • California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board (CARB) approves its first U.S.-developed exhaust control system - the system engineered by Chrysler Corporation (November)
  • Simca ships all tooling for Simca Vedette (nee Ford Vedette), including the Ford engine, to Chrysler in Brazil; the flathead Ford V8 carries on for a few more years, made in Brazil, for Vedette only.
  • Chrysler creates Chrysler Credit Corporation, which would later carry the company as it lost money on cars
  • Show car - Dodge Charger

1965: C body created; Chrysler Boat

  • New C body for 1965; Fury and Polara move up into “standard size” bodies (C size).
  • Old B bodies become Plymouth Belvedere and Dodge Coronet.
  • Sterling Heights stamping plant completed.
  • New aluminum die casting plant completed in Kokomo, IN
  • New foundry and expansion for second car line at Plymouth plant on Lynch Road
  • 1965 Chrysler New Yorker by Ian O'KeefeLast Crown Imperial Ghia limousine built.
  • Purchased: outboard engine business of West-Bend Co., Hartford, WI. and Lone Star Boat Co., Plano, TX. Together, they form Chrysler Boat Corporation.
  • December - Simca Automobiles S.A. becomes Societe des Autos Simca.
  • Show car - Plymouth XP-VIP, Dodge Charger II
  • 14 millionth Plymouth
  • 10 millionth Dodge car
  • Illustration: 1965 Chrysler New Yorker

1966: Dodge Charger

  • See our fully detailed 1966 page - with racing, the Street Hemi, and more
  • February 1 - Chrysler Corporation takes over marketing of Rootes and Simca products
  • February - Exchanges 25% interest in Simca Industries for Fiat's 8% interest in Societe des Autos Simca.
  • Belvidere, IL, assembly plant opens
  • April - Dodge Charger introduced.
  • May - Chrysler Corporation now controls 45% of voting stock of the Rootes Group and 77% of total equity.
  • K.T. Keller dies.
  • Show cars : Chrysler 300-X
  • Works starts, quietly, on Plymouth Duster, which will replace Barracuda as the sporty A-body.
  • 15 millionth Plymouth
  • 4 millionth Chrysler

1967: Townsend chairs board; Chrysler Financial; control of Barreiros

  • Lynn A Townsend named chairman of the board and is succeeded by Virgil E. Boyd as president of Chrysler Corporation
  • Glenn E. White becomes general manager of Chrysler-Plymouth Division; Robert J. McCurry becomes general manager of Dodge Division.
  • In June, purchases Redisco Inc. from American Motors and merges it with Chrysler Credit Corporation to form Chrysler Financial Corporation.
  • October - Acquires 77% control of Barreiros Diesel S.A. (Spain)
  • Chrysler has a 92% interest in Chrysler do Brasil S.A.
  • Show cars: Plymouth Barracuda Formula SX, Dodge Deora. Deora was created by an independent shop and was leased by Chrysler as a show car.
  • 11 millionth Dodge car
  • See our detailed 1967 page


  • March - buys auto business of King-Seeley Division from King-Seeley Thermos Co. for $28 million, and uses it to create the Introl Division.
  • August - Forms Chrysler Plastic Products Co., producing sheet vinyl and fabrics for automobiles and other applications.
  • Chrysler Corporation becomes the world’s fifth largest industrial corporation
  • As Huntsville starts transitioning from rocketry, the division’s parts checking system is adapted to use in Chrysler plants
  • Signs agreement with Nissan Diesel Motors Company, Tokyo, Japan, to distribute Chrysler-Nissan diesel engines in North and South America.
  • Show cars - Dodge Charger III, Dodge Daroo Dart
  • 16 millionth Plymouth
  • Plymouths of 1968.

1969: Joint agreement with Mitsubishi

1970: E body created; Duster; Rootes becomes Chrysler UK

  • townsend and riccardoDodge Challenger introduced - shares "E" body with Plymouth Barracuda
  • Plymouth Valiant Duster introduced
  • Richard K. Brown named general manager of Chrysler-Plymouth Division
  • John J. Riccardo named president of Chrysler Corporation.
  • Chrysler Corporation now owned 73% of the equity capital of the Rootes Group, which on July 1st becomes Chrysler United Kingdom Ltd.
  • Societe des Autos Simca becomes Chrysler France SA
  • Byron C. Foy dies.
  • Show cars : Cordoba de Oro, Cencept 70-X, Dodge Diamante
  • Huntsville delivers its first car radio, engineered and built by the division created to support NASA; the 2-watt AM radio is an evaluation sample. They also delivered an electronic ignition module, which in 1971 would be the first used as a standard feature in mass-market cars.
  • 18 millionth Plymouth
  • 13 millionth Dodge car
  • 5 millionth Chrysler

1971: Colt, Cricket imported; last year of the Street Hemi

  • See our fully detailed 1971 page - with racing, the Street Hemi, and more
  • July - Los Angeles assembly plant closed.
  • The industry moves to net horsepower ratings, instead of gross, reducing reported horsepower and confusing generations of ill-informed buyers, owners, and enthusiasts. Most engines drop 40-60 horsepower as the effects of alternators, water pumps, oil pumps, fans, and fuel pumps are part of the equation; the Street Hemi, notably, remains at 425 horsepower, gross and net.
  • Dodge imports Colt, built by Mitsubishi in Japan, beginning with 1971 models.
  • Plymouth imports Cricket, built by Chrysler United Kingdom, beginning with 1971 models.
  • Chrysler Corporation purchases 15% interest in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Japan, starting a relationship that would not end until DaimlerChrysler tried, unsuccessfully, to acquire Mitsubishi.
  • Electronic ignition is standard on many cars; Chrysler is the first to adopt this feature on a mass scale.
  • Huntsville unveils a new auto emissions analyzer, the first dispersive-type test system for the purpose.
  • Dodge Dart Demon introduced, based on Plymouth Valiant Duster.
  • Plymouth Belvedere was renamed to Satellite, formerly a high trim level Bevedere.
  • Plymouth Valiant Scamp introduced, based on Dodge Dart Swinger.
  • Dodge Coronet two door models dropped, replaced by Dodge Charger models.
  • The post of general manager of Chrysler-Plymouth and Dodge Divisions is vacant.
  • 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)

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