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I love reading the stuff about Chrysler history, especially the years 1955-1957. I thought you'd like to know that Harry Truman is driving a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker 4-door sedan in the photo. He continued to own Chryslers during his post-presidential years until he stopped driving. He and Bess often traveled the country, stopping to stay and eat at simple places. Too bad the post-Presidential years have become an imperial entitlement program today.
 

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Plymouth Makes It
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Brief, concise I like it. A 1954 Plymouth was my first car (cost $25) and with only the necessities it was easy to repair and fairly quick (to 50). All the stuff to keep a new driver in money and interested. The AM radio was capable of getting stations as far as Indiana in the evening, who needed satellite! Had a convertible 54 with fluid drive and power steering that made it easy to get in to a small parking space. My 1957 Fury was like Christine shot out of a cannon and would do 360s if the road was damp. My 66 Valiant was my first new car cost $1 more than a VW Bug but had a Gas gauge and 2 other instruments and an oil pressure light that VW didn't plus bumpers that would not fold and space for 2 more passengers than the bug. My1968 Plymouth Satellite was was sporty as anything on the road and lots of fun. Charger stole my heart and I owned them till 1981. My last car may be a Plymouth.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
On our celebrities page we also have a photo of President Truman getting a 1970 Chrysler!

http://www.allpar.com/history/celebrities.html

We have President Eisenhower (he bought a Dodge wagon while in office) who was a lifetime Chrysler man, and many others, in the list. We are missing some. President Obama himself went from a Neon to a Chrysler 300 before (like many candidates) an election-time swap to a "more correct" Ford hybrid. Colin Powell had a PT. President Roosevelt was a Plymouth man... Bob Dole, a big-LH man.
 

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Chyrsler Historical Buff!!
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On our celebrities page we also have a photo of President Truman getting a 1970 Chrysler!

http://www.allpar.co...elebrities.html

We have President Eisenhower (he bought a Dodge wagon while in office) who was a lifetime Chrysler man, and many others, in the list. We are missing some. President Obama himself went from a Neon to a Chrysler 300 before (like many candidates) an election-time swap to a "more correct" Ford hybrid. Colin Powell had a PT. President Roosevelt was a Plymouth man... Bob Dole, a big-LH man.
Yes Dave. The first poster is correct. The picture of Harry Truman operating his own car is not a Dodge as depicted in your caption. It is in fact a 1955 Chrysler, very likely the New Yorker model as well.

Great aticle though. :thumbsup: :3rd:

BTW, if you can imagine, when Mr. Truman left office, after his last term, he drove himself home from the train station in his own car, an older model Chrysler. He had not yet been given any pension, as Congress had never voted to provide one for any previous retired US President. However, due to the circumstances of Mr. Truman's retirement, and a sympathetic Congress, he was the first of all the subsequent retired Presidents to receive a pension. It was modest, but adequete. Mr. Truman was pleased.
 
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Chyrsler Historical Buff!!
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Chyrsler Historical Buff!!
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Good point. We will need to fix that.
Two different actions. Moroney stickers claried, and codifed the original intent of Congress in fixing the "dumping" situations. Still took 4 years of chicanery to get through to law. Original stickers did not look anything like the Moroney does. Manufacturers acted quickly to still the voices of those who were being disenfranchised by the overall effect of the dumping. Largely independents, such as Packard, Studebaker, Kaiser, etc. As well as some pretty big Ford - GM dealers that had excess inventory in markets that were already saturated with new sales. Couldn't give them away!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Curtis, can you supply revised text?

Congress finally stepped in, to a degree, requiring clearly posted window stickers from the factory to clarify prices. Nash, Hudson, Kaiser, Packard, Studebaker, and other independents could not stand the pressure of the price wars. Many would soon pass from the scene.
 

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Chyrsler Historical Buff!!
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Curtis, can you supply revised text?

Congress finally stepped in, to a degree, requiring clearly posted window stickers from the factory to clarify prices. Nash, Hudson, Kaiser, Packard, Studebaker, and other independents could not stand the pressure of the price wars. Many would soon pass from the scene.
I am not certain what you are asking about. When the Congressional debate and threat of investigation began, manufacturers were quick to respond to the scandalous factory behavior. One of the issues was the lack of clear pricing on new vehicles. The Moroney codifed how ALL window stickers should be made. Prior to this, all manufacturers followed their own designs for MSRP window displays. Needless to say, it made for some interesting styles, as well as being in compliance, sort of, to the intent of the nature of the proposed law. Some stickers were well made, clearly showing MSRP.......but some had additional information or.....lacked the same that became quite a chore to detect amd put it all together. Ford, which originated the "dumping" pricing war upon it's own dealers, was keen on making MSRP window pricing not so easy to detect, and was not so fast in adoption of the pricing stickers. Not surprising. Even given it's all out effort to beat GM Chevrolet division, it did not succeed. By a fluke, Ford did finally outsell Chevrolet......in 1959, and not by all that much. However, by then, the damage to the industry had been incurred, and Moroney was the law of the land.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Gotcha. So basically the stickers started in 1954 but the standardization was 1958.

I never objected to the Monroney. I thought it made sense -- a trivial cost to the manufacturer but given how low dealership ethics became in the 1970s and 1980s, the only way for an average customer to know when they were paying over list. Before the Internet, it wasn't easy to figure out a car from books; you'd basically have to buy the book, take it to the dealership, and add every option up while there (and you couldn't be sure what options the car had without a window sticker.) In the 1930s it may have been unnecessary, or the 1940s, but as options and models proliferated... 'course before the 1940s, there were so many different body styles, ...

I never object to customers having more (relevant) information. A trip to the store shouldn't take more research than a dissertation.
 

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Gotcha. So basically the stickers started in 1954 but the standardization was 1958.

I never objected to the Monroney. I thought it made sense -- a trivial cost to the manufacturer but given how low dealership ethics became in the 1970s and 1980s, the only way for an average customer to know when they were paying over list. Before the Internet, it wasn't easy to figure out a car from books; you'd basically have to buy the book, take it to the dealership, and add every option up while there (and you couldn't be sure what options the car had without a window sticker.) In the 1930s it may have been unnecessary, or the 1940s, but as options and models proliferated... 'course before the 1940s, there were so many different body styles, ...

I never object to customers having more (relevant) information. A trip to the store shouldn't take more research than a dissertation.
Agreed! However, a smart shopper should check out many sources BEFORE accepting the MSRP Monroney sticker. MSRP is hardly "the bottom line." And do not fall for dealer price or invoice price or below sticker price.

The real price of a car would shock the pants off anyone who is shopping for a new vehicle. Production lines, along with standardization of parts makes for far cheaper final factory prices than the public will EVER see. Nor should you accept the NADA price book or the Kelley Blue Book. Edwards.com is about as truthful and honest about pricing than anyone else. On average it costs a manufacturer about the same amount of money to build a Dodge Dart as it does to build a Chrysler 300. Argue if you want, however, overall, a vehicle is a vehicle. The assembly line techniques, materials, labor, machining etc: is the same. You are not buying the "bacon" but paying for the :"sizzle." One of the reasons that NEON became so successful is that Iaccoca, Lutz, and Castoiang knew how to combine assembly into units so as to turn a profit in a small car. Something that Ford with all it's "throw away" vehicles never learned.GM methods never really got a success in small cars like Chrysler did with the NEON. According to Edwards, the actual, true cost to manufacture a car is about (hold your breath) 42% (AVERAGE) of the MSRP. This is up over what it used to be at around 35%.

That is why Chrysler, GM and to a lesser extent, Ford had divisions. For Chrysler, Plymouth was always the price leader. It made it's real profit from the large number of units it could sell. Move on up to Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, Imperial, and the MSRP goes up correspondingly, in actuality for the same car. Same stuff, different looks. So a 1955 Plymouth retailed at $1578.00 on the MSRP sticker. It cost Chrysler about $552.00 dollars to build it in 1955. An Imperial run up to $5277.00 which cost Chrysler about $1294. to build that. Difference? $1056 for the Plymouth in potential profit. While the Imperial shows a $3,983 amount to be made. That is 35% less the $552 standard amount for a Plymouth. A car is a car. Doo-dads and upgraded (so called) upholstery make for big profits.

In the mid 50's my word, the techniques used by dealers to sell cars would have made a horse trader of old, embarassed! Monroney sought to end all that. It did in a way, but, like all laws, the intent does not always end up as the practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The good thing about Monroney is it does tell you exactly what options are on the car, and where the packages cut costs. The packages and options are often bewildering. And of course the list price... generally speaking, gives you a place to start.

As for the actual cost of production -- yes, it's relatively low -- but then look at the cost of engineering and marketing and warranty work! Engineering is probably the big one on a lot of cars.

Dart is a special case, I'd argue -- other than power, it's really a premium compact. There are a lot of places they spend more than competitors -- the seats for example. Its big issue, IMHO, is weight. There's no cost effective way, I suspect, to reduce weight, but they wanted it to be the quietest car in its class, because Chryslers are seen as rubbish by most non-Chrysler buyers, and low noise is associated with high quality by most Americans. (So is heavy weight, by the way.)

But yes, when things go well, automakers make lots of money. So do the dealers but they do not get the car at, say, 50% of MSRP! What the customer can never know is how much any particular dealer really profits on a car, between holdbacks, incentives, invoice, etc.
 

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Chyrsler Historical Buff!!
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The good thing about Monroney is it does tell you exactly what options are on the car, and where the packages cut costs. The packages and options are often bewildering. And of course the list price... generally speaking, gives you a place to start.

As for the actual cost of production -- yes, it's relatively low -- but then look at the cost of engineering and marketing and warranty work! Engineering is probably the big one on a lot of cars.

Dart is a special case, I'd argue -- other than power, it's really a premium compact. There are a lot of places they spend more than competitors -- the seats for example. Its big issue, IMHO, is weight. There's no cost effective way, I suspect, to reduce weight, but they wanted it to be the quietest car in its class, because Chryslers are seen as rubbish by most non-Chrysler buyers, and low noise is associated with high quality by most Americans. (So is heavy weight, by the way.)

But yes, when things go well, automakers make lots of money. So do the dealers but they do not get the car at, say, 50% of MSRP! What the customer can never know is how much any particular dealer really profits on a car, between holdbacks, incentives, invoice, etc.
What you said about dealers and MSRP is so absolutely correct!! In my opinion, for the most part, a dealer, doing an honest business, really selling to customers, gets burned right in the shorts due to the actions of those MANY fast track stores that just "want to sell you a car" and hope it is good enough to get through warranty without a claim. Go back to any one of those kinds of places, and the entire selling staff will have turned over every couple of months. Must move units or die! Customer be hooted!

The old image of "horse trader" still paints many car dealers, even yet today. In the old so called "wild west" those type of people were hanged! Some should still be!

In actuality, a dealer can even "give" cars away at the price it cost him to get in to his store. He will still make money on those units with the factory incentives and other schemes, which include a monthly tidbit from your car payment, IF you let the dealer finance you That is why a dealer, in most instances will work like crazy to get your signature on their financial paperwork. If your payment works out to be, say $250.00 a month for that new V-8 Belchfire, the dealer is getting from 2% to as much as 25% of that monthly payment. Just one avenue for revenue. Another nice stipend for a dealer is to sell you extended warranties. Upholstery. Paint. Extra mileage. Electronics. Virtually, most of those are just outright theft, amount to nothing, and most,if not all the payment goes straight into their coffers. There are a lot more back room stuff that goes on. I don't know if you can still buy direct from the factory, with your own financing any more. I know Chrysler quietly moved away from that, with no more outright FOB pricing in the early 1960s.

But even with the Monroney, you still need to do your own research. Much of the equipment you see, particularly extra cost options, (likewise special standard stuff too) are heavily marked up. Knowledge is power, and can keep you from being "steeped in the ether" of that new car smell. Whereby you are ready to sign for that V-8 Belchfire at any cost, making the deal at your own peril. Confusion can reign especially with special equipment package vehicles. That is, if you get this, then * (check out * ) due to this, but not this * because that is a part of package X which has to be part of package W when you get package D and E, which may have the option you want, but only when purchased with all of package G. Then you save $250.00, even though the total actual price of all that other doo-daded up jobbie is probably $2,500.00! Of which you either do not possibly need of even want it. The factory AND the dealer both know it. However, they will never post a secondary Monroney list to clarify their own derived confusion.
 

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Unusually Geeky
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Fascinating stuff! This is definitely my era of automotive history. We had both a blue '56 Plymouth Savoy and yellow/black/white '56 Dodge Royal while I was growing up. My mom called the '56 Dodge "The Yellow Peril" because of its uncanny ability to stall out in the middle of intersections. :)
 
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