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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1959 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: 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.
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).
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.
1965 CHRYSLER 300: 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.
Chrysler 1904-2018 •
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