Walter P. Chrysler (An Icon)
In 1892, a 17-year-old Walter P. Chrysler begins an apprenticeship as a railroad engineer with Union Pacific in Ellis, Kansas.
As a young train mechanic Chrysler develops and builds his own special tools because, as he said ‘A good mechanic should never trust a tool that he didn’t put together and harden himself.’
In 1908 Walter P. Chrysler, at the age of 33 and already a top manager at Chicago Great Western Railway, with a monthly salary of $350, buys his first automobile for $5,000 – a white Locomobile Phaeton with a red interior. He takes the car apart and puts it together again several times to get to know its technology. As a result, he learns to drive.
In 1912 Walter P. Chrysler becomes production manager of the Buick Motor Company in Flint, Michigan, a subsidiary of the General Motors Company. His starting annual salary with Buick is $6,000. During his time with the company, Chrysler raises daily production from 20 to 550 vehicles.
In 1916 the General Motors Company becomes General Motors Corporation and makes Buick its first division.
In 1917 Walter Chrysler becomes President and general manager of Buick. Under his leadership, Buick becomes ‘GM’s biggest money maker.’
In 1919 Walter P. Chrysler becomes the first Vice President of General Motors Corporation in charge of production, in addition to his responsibilities at Buick.
In 1920 – Because of differences with GM chief William C. Durant, Walter P. Chrysler, age 45, resigns from his General Motors posts. Only a few months after his resignation, creditors of Willys-Overland Co. recruit Chrysler as Executive Vice President. Chrysler would be given total freedom to operate the company and a two-year contract for the unheard-of salary of $1 million per year. Within two years, Chrysler turns the company around.
Parallel to that, Chrysler, also at the behest of the creditor banks, revives the Maxwell Motor Company, 90 percent of which belongs to the Chalmers Motor Company.
In 1935 Walter P. Chrysler resigns as President of Chrysler Corp., but remains Chairman. K.T. Keller, who joined Chrysler in 1926 from General Motors, becomes President.
In 1936 Total Chrysler output reaches a million vehicles per year.
1940- Walter P. Chrysler dies at age 65 on August 18.
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