Instrumental Names Within Dodge
Although the Dodge brothers, John and Horace, was the initial thrust behind Dodge that eventually led to automotive history, there were also some other names that helped make Dodge, Chrysler & Plymouth one of the Big Three.
WALTER P. CHRYSLER
Walter P. Chrysler was a Kansas boy, whose initial interest was as a machinist in the railroad industry. Chrysler’s automotive career began in 1911 when he became a works manager for Buick.
Chrysler was then hired by bankers to save Willys-Overland Motor Company in Toledo, Ohio. He demanded, and received, a salary of US$1 million a year for two years. He attempted to get control of Willys, but when he failed, he acquired a controlling interest in the Maxwell Motor Company, who was in trouble. Chrysler phased out Maxwell and absorbed it into his new company, the Chrysler Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1925. Chrysler then created Plymouth and DeSoto and in 1928 Chrysler purchased Dodge. That same year he financed the construction of the renowned Chrysler Building in New York City, which was completed in 1930.
Virgin Exner was well known for designing military vehicles and Studebaker’s 1939 and 40 models. Exner joined Chrysler in 1949 when their cars were being designed by engineers as opposed to designers. After witnessing the Lockheed P38 Lightning’s influence on the Cadillac and its famous fins, Exner incorporated that concept with Chrysler and was instrumental in designs such as the 1955 Imperial, the Dodge Custom Royal and the Chrysler 300C.
Most notably known for the Mustang, then the Pinto, Lee Iacocca’s impact on Chrysler of the 80’s with the minivan started a new automotive era, which has now evolved into SUV’s & SAV’s.
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