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Chrysler was founded by Walter
Chrysler , when the Maxwell Motor Company
was re-organized into the Chrysler
In late 1923 production of the Chalmers
automobile was ended.
Then in January 1924, Walter Chrysler
launched an eponymous automobile.
Chrysler has had a
as the third-largest
of Detroit’s auto companies.
Known in the years after World War II for
its well-engineered cars, it has spent
the last three decades bouncing
between highs and lows.
The company encountered financial
turbulence in the late 1970s that
prompted it to seek a Congressional
bailout, a process that
vaulted its chief executive, Lee A.
Iacocca, to national prominence.
Chrysler paid off the loans early
in the 1980s, when it enjoyed success
thanks to its minivans and a family
of fuel-efficient autos called
In 1897, Olds Motor
Vehicle Co. was
founded by Ransom E. Olds.
After the company moved from Lansing to
Detroit in 1900, a fire destroyed all of its cars
except its small, one-cylinder curved-dash
model. Light, reliable and relatively powerful,
the curved-dash Oldsmobile (
Oldsmobile name was first used) became a
commercial sensation after appearing at the
New York Auto Show in 1901.
Olds returned to Lansing in
1902 and began large-scale
production of the car.
The curved-dash Oldsmobile was the
first American car to be produced using
the progressive assembly-line system,
and the first to become a
In 1904, Olds left
to found the Reo Motor Car
Company (for his initials, R.E.O.).
After his departure, Oldsmobile struggled,
and in 1908 it was taken over by the new
General Motors (GM) company.
By the 1920s, Oldsmobile’s six-
eight-cylinder models sat in the middle of
GM’s lineup, less expensive than Buick
or Cadillac, but still comfortably ahead
Oldsmobile introduced the “safety automatic
transmission” in 1938, a precursor to the
1940’s “Hydra-Matic,” which was the first
successful fully automatic transmission.
The 135-horsepower “Rocket” engine,
introduced in the new 88 model in 1949,
made Oldsmobile one of the world’s top
performing cars. In 1961, with the release of the
upscale compact F-85 (powered by a V-8 engine),
Oldsmobile launched its Cutlass, which would
become one of the industry’s longest running
and most successful names.
And the Cutlass Supreme
would reign as the
best-selling American car for much of the
1970s and early 1980s.
In 1928, the
Plymouth automobile was
It was Chrysler Corporation's first entry
in the low-priced field, which at the time was
already dominated by Chevrolet and Ford.
Plymouths were initially priced higher than
the competition, but offered standard features
such as internal expanding hydraulic brakes
that Ford and Chevrolet did not provide.
Plymouths were originally sold exclusively
through Chrysler dealerships, offering a
low-cost alternative to the upscale
With Walter Chrysler’s
comment “Give the
public something better and the public will buy,”
the first Plymouth car was made that year.
By the time the year was out, 58,000
Plymouths had been shipped. To meet
demand a new Plymouth plant was begun on
40 acres of Detroit real estate in October,
1928, to be completed in 1929.
The origins of Plymouth can be traced
to the Maxwell automobile.
When Walter P. Chrysler took over
control of the troubled Maxwell-Chalmers
car company in the early 1920s,
he inherited the Maxwell as part of
After he used the company's facilities to
help create and launch the six-cylinder
Chrysler automobile in 1924, he decided to
create a lower priced companion car.
So for 1926, the Maxwell was reworked and
rebadged as the low-end four-cylinder
Chrysler "52" model.
In 1928, the "52" was once again
redesigned to create the Chrysler-Plymouth
Model Q.The "Chrysler" portion of the
nameplate was dropped with the introduction
of the Plymouth Model U in 1929.