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Written by Chrysler Corporation, 1966. Provided by J.P. Joans
The first Chrysler cars were introduced on January 5, 1924, at the New York Automobile Show — one year before Chrysler Corporation itself was created. These cars, launched by Maxwell Motors, had a revolutionary new six-cylinder, high-compression engine, a seven-bearing crankshaft, carburetor air cleaner, replaceable oil filter — and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Features like this had never been offered in a mediumpriced car before, and the 32,000 first-year record sales substantiated the tremendous appeal of the first Chrysler car.
The Chrysler Six was borne of a unique combination of talent — Fred M. Zeder, Owen R. Skelton, and Carl Breer. These brilliant engineers had attracted the notice of Walter P. Chrysler in 1920 with their novel ideas about designing and engineering. The ultimate outcome of their efforts was the first Chrysler car.
On June 6, 1925 Maxwell Motors Corporation, of which W. P. Chrysler was board chairman, voluntarily transferred its business and physical properties to a new company organized as Chrysler Corporation. Generally, Chrysler uses the 1924 date for anniversaries, though properly, given later corporate changes, Chrysler Group’s 2009 or Maxwell’s 1904 founding date would be appropriate.
1926 CHRYSLER 70: By 1926, Chrysler production was 1,250 cars a day, lifting the young corporation to sixth place among all 49 American automobile manufacturers. A few of the new engineering features of the 1926 Chrysler were rubber engine mountings, rubber spring shackles and adjustable front seats.
1927 CHRYSLER FINER 70: Chrysler moved up to fourth place in sales with 192,083 deliveries. Four different cars bore the Chrysler name; the Chrysler 50, 60, 70, and Imperial 80. Advertisements called attention to the fact that Chrysler cars like the 70 were so-named because of their ability to travel at least 70 mph.
1928 CHRYSLER 72: Chrysler Corp. had spent $23 million to expand its plants; a $100 investment in Maxwell stock on January 2, 1923, would have grown to $1,756.08 in Chrysler stock on June 15, 1928. Chryslers finished third and fourth at Le Mans.
1929 CHRYSLER 75 : The 1929 Chryslers had new slender profile radiators and long, sweeping fender lines which made them instantly recognizable. Shutters, painted to match the body tone and automatically controlled by a thermostat, covered the radiator of 75 models. A convertible sedan and coupe joined the 75 line. Both body styles were designed by Chrysler and built by Locke.
1930 CHRYSLER 77: Chrysler 70 and 77 cars were wired for a new option, the radio. Chrysler became the first major car to adopt the downdraft carburetor for better fuel distribution; the gravity flow vacuum tank was replaced by the cam driven fuel pump, and the carburetor was moved to the top of the block, at the same time.
1931 CHRYSLER DELUXE EIGHT, CD: The first eight cylinder engine to be offered for Chrysler made its debut in 1931 along with free wheeling. Prices ranged from $885 for the Chrysler Six to $1565 for the Deluxe Eight. Fully automatic spark control was an important new sales feature, and V-shaped radiator shells were a distinct styling departure.
1932 CHRYSLER EIGHT, CP: The revolutionary Floating Power rubber engine mountings gave further smoothness to Chrysler's already outstanding ride. A vacuum controlled automatic clutch allowed the driver to free himself from the bonds of a clutch pedal as he shifted with the silent gear selector. Oilite, an oil-impregnated sintered metal, took care of leaf spring squeaks. The CP also was the first to use universal joints with roller bearings.
1933 CHRYSLER ROYAL EIGHT, CT: A whole host of improvements greeted the Chrysler buyer of 1933: a silent three speed transmission that used helical gears throughout; exhaust valve seat inserts of special steel alloy; Silent U spring shackles with their greater capacity for retaining lubrication; the coincidental starter: starting by depressing the accelerator pedal instead of using a push button.
1934 CHRYSLER SIX, CA: The 1934 Chrysler Six was produced on two different wheelbases 117 inches and 121 inches. Both used the 241.6 cubic inch, six cylinder engine rated at 93 horsepower. The Chrysler Six also offered one of the earliest and best (for its time) independent front coil spring suspensions, and it had a vent window that could be rolled down with the side glass.
1934 CHRYSLER AIRFLOW, CU: Visitors to the 1934 New York Auto Show went home talking about a car that was completely unlike anything else, the Chrysler Airflow. It had a streamlined shape, could seat three in the front, and with the rear seat moved ahead of the rear axle and the engine over the front axle gave a new floating ride sensation. The Airflow body was a unique structure of body panels welded to a network of steel beams.
1935 CHRYSLER AIRFLOW, C-1: The 1935 Airflow closely resembled the 1934 original but had a new hood that extended f orward in a V-shape. Single broad bumpers replaced the elaborate tripletiered design used in 1934, and the louvers on the hood became more decorative than functional.
This 1935 Airstream was the result of the public reaction to the Airflow. Whether one credits a whisper campaign from GM or Ford, or just the looks, Airflow did not sell well, despite being far more comfortable and agile than other cars in its class. The Airstream pictured here is largely original, and powered by a 105 horsepower eight-cylinder engine, with a three-speed synchronized manual transmission. The Airstream was styled by Raymond Bel Geddes and Ray Dietrich. RM Auctions, which provided the photos, sold this car for $27,500 in summer 2012.
1935 CHRYSLER AIRSTREAM SIX, C-6: Chrysler gave the Depression-wary public a new model called the Airstream which provided Chrysler quality at an economy price. Balanced weight distribution, the all-steel body, and other advanced Airflow features were used in a more conventional shape. The Airstream was available as a 118-inch wheelbase Six or a 121-inch wheelbase Eight. It had a solid front axle, and shared its basic body with
1936 CHRYSLER AIRFLOW, C-9: Slight modifications to the Airflow design were a built-in luggage compartment and smooth roof contours, the latter made possible by a new steel top. Life Guard tire tubes a heavy duty tube with a second tube floating inside were stand ard. The front seat now became adjustable in an up and down direction as well as fore and aft.
1936 CHRYSLER SIX, C-7: The Airstream Six and Eight of the previous year was renamed the Chrysler Six and Deluxe Eight. Silent running rear axle hypoid gears became standard equipment. Sedans had a built·in luggage compartment accessible from the outside. Automatic overdrive was optional to both cars.
1937 CHRYSLER AIRFLOW, C-17: For 1937, only one series of Chrysler car was offered as an Airflow the C-17. It had a new grille, head lamp trim, and hood louvers. When the last of 4600 C -17s rolled off the production line, the Airflow ceased as an automobile, but not before it had made its mark as an important forerunner of the modern motorcar.
1937 CHRYSLER ROYAL, C-16: The Chrysler Six became the Chrysler Royal, and the Chrysler Eight now was referred to as the Imperial. Provisions were made in the instrument panel to divert heater air across the windshield from built in vents at the top of the panel. New body mountings completely insulated by rubber gave a quieter ride.
1938 CHRYSLER ROYAL, C-18: All one had to do to learn of the virtues of the 1938 Chrysler was to tune in the radio each Thursday evening and listen to Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour. The Royal was equipped with a new design "Gold Seal" six cylinder engine that developed 95 horsepower.
1939 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER, C-23: In keeping with the advanced concepts displayed at the 1939 New York World's Fair, Chrysler unveiled Superfinish a process in which all major chassis components subject to wear were finished to a mirror-like surface. Other features new to Chrysler were push button inside door locks and rotary type door latches.
1940 CHRYSLER SARATOGA: Along with other Corporation cars, Chrysler adopted the new sealed beam headlights which gave over 50% more light in high beam. At midyear production, a special model called the Highlander was introduced as a closed coupe and convertible. It had authentic Scotch plaid and moleskin leather upholstery. The Saratoga was introduced as a performance version of the New Yorker. Two tone paint combinations became available.
This Chrysler Royal Six Business Coupe has an in-line six with a three-speed Fluid Drive transmission, and comes from the last full year of car. Fewer than 7,000 were made in 1941. RM Auctions handled this car at the St. John’s auction in 2012.
1941 CHRYSLER SARATOGA: Walter P. Chrysler died on August 18, 1940, after two years of illness, as preparations were under way for the 1941 model year. A new semiautomatic transmission called Vacamatic was available. The Chrysler could be purchased with or without running boards. Fluid Drive was standard in all Chryslers.
1942 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: A horizontal wrap around grille theme, long hoods and concealed running boards were identifying characteristics of the short lived 1942 models. By February, 1942, Chrysler plants had halted production of passenger cars for civilian use and had turned completely to wartime work.
1946-48 CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY: Strongly reminiscent of the custom body era, the car had white ash and mahogany panels securely attached to metal plates. One of the five original body styles which had a short-lived production of seven cars later became known as the first hardtop. Super cushion tires became standard in 1948.
1949 CHRYSLER ROYAL: The nine passenger station wagon was revived from pre-World War II days and given a Town and Country look with modifications; the mahogany panels were eliminated and the sheet metal covered by a special photographic transfer process which simulated a highly polished mahogany. The 1949 Chrysler was the first completely new Chrysler built since World War II.
1950 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: Carried over into its second year of existence was Chrysler's pioneering use of a thick, leather covered pad of sponge rubber extending across the top of the instrument panel as a safety feature. The hardtop body style was brought back, this time with great success. Electric window lifts, another Chrysler "First," were introduced as a new option.
1951-52 CHRYSLER SARATOGA: Fulltime power steering made its initial bow as another Chrysler "First", but most of the news was captured by the new Fire Power V-8 engine with its hemispherical combustion chambers and a 180-horsepower rating. It became the most powerful U. S. production car engine built during this time. The 1951 and 1952 models looked identical except for tail lamps.
1953 CHRYSLER WINDSOR DELUXE: Power Flite, Chrysler's first fully automatic transmission, was put into production and appeared in June, 1953. The one-piece curved glass windshield which had been initially introduced and used only on the Airflow Custom Imperial, CW, of 1934-35, now became a feature attraction.
1954 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER DELUXE: On June 17, 1954, a Chrysler New Yorker, driven by Tony Bettenhausen alternating with four Chrysler test drivers, completed a record 24-hour endurance run with an average speed of 118.18 mph for 2836.42 miles as certified by the AAA. The endurance run was a feature in the dedication of Chrysler Corporation's Proving Grounds at
1955 CHRYSLER C-300: The Chrysler 300, first of a now famous Chrysler breed, made its debut in 1955. It was given the title "300" in honor of its being the only stock car of its time wielding 300 brute horsepower. An Imperial grille and wire wheels were its trademarks. One of the C-300's won NASCAR's 1955 Grand National at an average speed of 92.05 mph for 160 miles.
1956 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: A second Chrysler 300, the 300B, was brought out with a 340 horsepower engine. Tim Flock drove a bright red 300B to the fastest flying mile of the unlimited displacement class (over 350 cu in.) for 1956 at the Daytona Beach Annual Speed Trials. Speed was 139.373 mph. All told, the 300B won 21 NASCAR Grand National Races for the year.
1957 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: The famed Torque Flite 3-speed automatic transmission, Torsion - Aire front suspension, and compound curved windshields heralded the introduction of the 1957 Chryslers. The number of Chrysler series was consolidated so that Chrysler now offered the Windsor, Saratoga, New Yorker, and 300C. A new air conditioner featured the "reheat principle."
1958 CHRYSLER: Dual head lamps became standard equipment on all Chrysler cars. An electrically operated fuel injection system was offered on the 300D, and the Sure-Grip, a limited slip differential, could be purchased for a Chrysler. The
Windsor had a new, shorter wheelbase of 122 inches.
1959 CHRYSLER: A new V-8 was introduced with wedge shaped combustion chambers, replacing the previous Hemi head FirePower engines. Back-up lights were made standard equipment. A new optional first was an electronically controlled rearview mirror which automatically adjusted to a dim or nonglaring attitude when a head lamp beam crossed its surface.
1960 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: Unibody construction techniques were used for the 1960 Chrysler. The new 300F was given a 375 horsepower, ram induction engine. Swivel seats front seats that swung outward when the front doors were opened became a popular option along with vacuum door locks. Hardtop station wagons were a new body style.
1961 CHRYSLER NEWPORT: The Newport was inaugurated as a full size Chrysler class car that ran on regular grade fuel and had an economical price tag. To make its debut even more auspicious' the
Newport won its class of the Mobilgas Economy Run with an average of 19.99 miles per gallon. The alternator became standard in all Chryslers (alternator story).
1962 CHRYSLER 300: A new 300 sports series replaced the Windsor and could be obtained with leather bucket seats and engine options ranging up to a 405 horsepower, short-tube ram manifold 413-cubic inch V-8 engine. A Chrysler New Yorker, averaging 18.11 miles per gallon, took top position in the Luxury Car Class of the 1962 Mobilgas Economy Run.
1963 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER SALON: All Chryslers now were built on a new 122-inch wheelbase and painted in a buffable acrylic enamel which permitted a wider range of metallic colors. Positive crankcase ventilation was standard. On
February 14, 1963, a new limited production Chrysler, the New Yorker Salon, was announced. It had a vinyl-clad roof, and all major power equipment and accessories were standard.
1964 CHRYSLER 300K: Many new optional items directed toward passenger comfort were introduced. These included a reclining seat for the passenger side, removable adjustable front seat headrests, a seven position adjustable steering wheel, and a reverberator unit with rear seat speaker to give "concert hall" sound. A new four speed manual transmission also appeared.
1965 CHRYSLER: Chrysler Corporation spent 300 million dollars tooling up for the 1965 model year. The Chrysler received an all new body and longer wheelbase of 124.0 inches. Galvanized sills and full front wheelhouses gave important corrosion protection, and the luxury ride of the New Yorker was enhanced by a constant-velocity joint added to the drive line.
1966 CHRYSLER 300: Chrysler entered the 1966 model year with a new 440-cubic inch V - 8 engine, the largest displacement engine offered by Chrysler to this time. It developed 350 hp at 4400 rpm. A new option available only to the Chrysler was the first independent rear heater to combine heating, defrosting, and defogging operations in one unit.
Chrysler 1904-2018 •
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