What Killed Chrysler?

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The news may come today – but it won’t be a surprise: Chrysler’s going the way of Plymouth. Maybe Dodge, too. They are not right for the times and it would take too much money to make them right. Enter the needle.

RIP, old friends.

FiatChrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been releasing Five Year Plans for Jeep and Ram trucks, the latter’s having been cleaved away from the Dodge brand being a telling indicator about the future of that brand. There will be Desert Hawk Jeeps and a 6.2 liter supercharged/Hellcatted Ram Super truck to go up against Ford’s SVT Raptor, but the silence is funereal about future of Chrysler – which already hardly exists.

A minivan (the Pacifica) and a sedan (the 300). That’s it.

And soon, not even them.

But what killed Chrysler? One word – vampirism. Chrysler was sucked dry until nothing but the husk remained.

First by Mercedes, which – some may remember this – “partnered” with Chrysler back in the ‘early 2000s, when Chrysler was riding high on the success of its cab-forward designs – which you may also remember.  You don’t see them around much anymore, but when Clintigula was diddling Monica, Chrysler had a full lineup of hot-sellers, including the 300M (a latter-day revival of the company’s iconic Letter Series cars of the ‘50s and ‘60s) the LHS and Cirrus sedans and the Sebring coupe/convertible.

Mercedes had a much smaller lineup – nothing like today’s lineup. You may see how this ended up.

Mercedes leveraged Chrysler’s cash to expand its model lineup to encompass literally every conceivable niche short of a Mercedes rickshaw. Today, there is a Mercedes minivan, several Mercedes SUVs, a plethora of Mercedes sedans in every size (and in between) and even sedans with “coupe” styling. Plus multiple actual coupes and convertibles. There are currently at least a dozen different Mercedes models and then permutations and sub-models of those models.

Back in the late ’90s, just before the “merger of equals,” Mercedes had just seven models.

The merger was a boon for Mercedes, which swelled like Bella Lugosi on Chrysler’s cash. But it was a bust for Chrysler – which got not much in return for extending its lily white neck except for the cast-away chassis of Mercedes’ old E-Class sedan – which became the foundation for the new (and current) Chrysler 300 sedan. And the old SLK’s chassis, which was briefly re-skinned as the Chrysler Crossfire.

When Daimlerpulled out of Chrysler in 2006 – just in time for the general collapse of the car industry – Chrysler was left with not much cash and very little new. This usually creates a swirling effect, as in circling the bowl.

The E-Class based 300 sedan did  help, for awhile. And not just Chrysler, either. This platform also became the basis for the popular Dodge Charger sedan and the Challenger muscle coupe. All three of them gave back to Americans something which the government, via its fuel efficiency fatwas, had taken away from them: Large, rear-wheel-drive cars with available V8 engines that weren’t priced like an E-Class Mercedes.

They sold – but without something new on deck, it was a delaying action.

Enter Fiat.

Literally.

Fiat wanted back in – to the North American market, which it had left back in the late 1970s. The problem – no dealer network. Chrysler had that. Access. And Fiat had what Chrysler needed.

Money.

The cash injection desperately needed to revivify the brand’s aging inventory.

There was also the prospect – and eventually, the actuality – of shared resources, access to Fiat’s (and even Alfa’s) platforms, which could be used to spawn new Chryslers and Dodges, too. A deal was made. A sale. Fiat bought what remained of Chrysler, post-Daimler and the merged company became FiatChrysler, which it still was as of May 30, 2018 – but may not be by the time you read these words.

Fiat was kinder to Chrysler. There was give as well as take. Chrysler got one new car – the 200, which was based on an Alfa and not a bad one or an old one, either. But the timing was very bad. Chrysler got a new sedan at just the moment in time when sedans were becoming hard-sells no matter who was selling them. Even Toyota and Honda are having trouble convincing people to buy Camrys and Accords because people have come to prefer crossovers, with their more versatile layouts and more space-efficient designs.

On the other hand, Fiat didn’t give the 200 much of a chance. The car was cancelled before it got old – and without giving it a second chance at bat. The promised small car – it was to have been called the 100 – never materialized, nor the crossover SUV (possibly a shared platform project, cousin to the Alfa Stelvio) that might just possibly have pulled Chrysler out of its slow-motion death dive.

Meanwhile the 300 – which, despite its aging underthings, is still an appealing car because it’s the only rear-drive/V8-available car the masses stand any chance of ever owning – is being killed by neglect. It (and its cousin, the Charger) will probably be the last rear-drive/V8-available big sedan the masses will ever stand a chance of owning.

It is all very sad, particularly because Chrysler – unlike, say, Pontiac by the time of its rendering – still has life in its veins. A reason to live. But sometimes, the Motor Gods do not smile and then the sky grows dark and – just like that – it is all over.

. . .

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97 COMMENTS

        • How many miles did it have on it? Sounds like my old Ford full-size van- 300K miles and still ran like a clock. I regret selling it. 🙁

          • Not that many maybe 150,000 just used it for vacations. Last couple of years I only filled it up a couple times a year 3 at the most just used it to go to the gold course. Less than a mile to the club house. Broke my heat to get rid of it but I love the extra space in my garage.

            • That’s even more impressive, ’cause spending a lot of time sitting and not getting getting driven, is about the hardest life a vehicle can lead (‘cept perhaps for being a NYC taxi!).

              • Better yet driving new minivan on month long vacations and coming home after sitting a month the little sob would always start. It might have been slow starting but it always started. And that became a game with me to see if it would start after letting it sit for as long as 5 weeks at a time.

                • Very happy with our 15 year old Grand Caravan as well.

                  But the Pacifica clearly has some teething problems, especially with the hybrid.

                  Hope to lease a leftover 2018 if the price is right when the 2019 goes on sale, but I doubt I’ll buy.

  1. GM had signed a deal to buy Fiat, but they changed their minds. They paid Fiat $2 Billion to get out of the deal. Fiat took that money (thanks, GM !) and bought Chrysler. So GM could have bought Chrysler. Lucky for Chrysler that they did not. Of course, if GM had not paid $2 Billion, though, GM might not have gone bankrupt.

  2. My understanding is that the only weak link on the 300 series platforms is the stupid e-class front end-which wears out prematurely compared to a standard a-arm or macpherson front end…if Chrysler ever chose to try to salvage what is otherwise a good platform they could do so easily but re-doing front end to a less complex/more robust front end and have a “new” platform for a not a lot of tooling investment.

    Don’t get me wrong, Uncle is making it tougher for for auto manufacturers to meet EPA fuel mandates, but at lest Trump gave a reprieve on that for a bit and wants to push some auto manufacturing back into the US.

    Seems like a good time for Chrysler to take a moderate risk and do some medium level updating to their V8 RWD platform.

    • Hi Point,

      You make an excellent… point! I am pulling for Chrysler. Dodge, too. It will be a dark day if either – or both – shuffle off to Buffalo.

  3. FCA has had a poor reputation for reliability. Fiat will no longer be sold in the U.S. because their cars are absolute unreliable heaps of garbage. Chrysler has all but disappeared now because of the unreliable garbage they (FCA) makes. The Dodge brand doesn’t have much to offer either. They are discontinuing the very ancient Grand Caravan mini-van. I guess FCA plans to have the Pacifica be their mini-van, or some re-badge derivation. I suppose the Challenger will still be around. FCA’s money comes from their Jeep and RAM brands. So, like Ford, sedans are all but going to be gone it seems. Unless you count Maserati or Alpha Romeo. The FCA chief plans on keeping those brands around.

  4. I have been driving a Chrysler 300 since about 2000, the V-6, my current one being the 2011 Hemi. I have put very little mileage on that one but all in mostly big city freeway driving. Very few problems with these once the initial break in. Nice and big and safe from the psychopaths and cell phone mommies out there. My wife has the same in V-6, still quite punchy.
    We drive across TX on occasion and it is a sweet ride. The Hemi purrs and has excellent acceleration for a large sedan. Quiet too, huge trunk. The rear seats even fold down so I could sleep back there w/ my feet in the trunk if need be. While I only have about 33K miles on it, I’m wondering if I should get a 2019 model of the same? I want this to last and an eight year old car (the 2011 was virtually the same as the 2010 due to a strike in Canada) might be a risk, even w/ low mileage. I don’t want an SUV or truck either. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Mike,

      Yes. I strongly advise you to order a new one to your specifications and get it in your hands before the plug gets pulled. As Arnold used to say: Do it! Do it now!

      Because tomorrow may be too late….

    • I actually like the 300 myself- I would just be scared of owning one, by reason of the fact that it’s a Chrysler…and when have Chryslers ever aged well? But there’s always a first, eh?

  5. Have to give the nod to those commenters who point out the atrocious quality issues. Often well-designed cars, but poorly executed and put together.. Chrysler’s been that way for a long time, like the 70s Jags.
    One commenter mentions the Routan:
    Alone amongst the VW offerings, it had JD Powers ratings 30% points below the worst other VW, 40% vs. 70+%. (yeah JD Powers, but these large differences do point to a serious issue).
    Various VW dealers have, hand in front of mouth, told me, “I shouldn’t say this, but don’t consider a Routan, it’s a Chrysler and is built badly…”

    Whether or not deserved, Chrysler has had this shoddy quality rep for so long, it’s been a hindrance a lot of the time.

    As to Mercedes vampirism, this merger was not the boon Eric makes out.
    Plus Obama, see below.

    Initially, and maybe for a little while, there was a benefit to MB.
    Overall, it was a detriment to Mercedes, totally weighed them down, and was just a drag on the “paren” company. They had to PAY Cerberus to take the thing off their hands, NO one else wanted the company, and MB had been shoveling cash their way for years.
    In the year of sales, Chrysler lost 1.5 billion, and that despite the fact that they outsold Ford that year. The warranty repair expenditures draining the income were horrific.

    Did MB mismanage Chrysler? Possibly / likely, and not the first time stuff like that has happened.
    But did they take a fundamentally sound business and ruin it the way so much of Wall Street financial engineering has done? Don’t think so.
    The almost 1 decade loss to MB and its shareholders was bad, and killed Schrempp’s position.

    The line-extension niche market model creation is a general industry trend that others, like BMW, did also, hard to pin all of that just on Chrysler and its purported cash.

    These types of mergers have failed more often than not, when an un-healthy entity was aauired by a “stronger” one. GM – Saab, Ford – Jag, Honda/BMW- Rover, AMC, not to mention the history of failed-despite mergers companies from the American past, like Studebaker-Packard.

    Finally Obama,
    him screwing the bondholders out of their stake, by preventing an ordinary Chapter 11, and then saddling the company with union control, deserves more than a passing mention.

    Sad news, no matter what the cause.

    • “Finally Obama,
      him screwing the bondholders out of their stake, by preventing an ordinary Chapter 11, ”

      In truth, Obama only did the pimping for all of that carnage. He’s a barely literate, semi-retarded asshole with the gift of gab, not some evil genius. As usual, all the evil accomplished by the puppet masters during his tenure is blamed on him, and he’s well compensated for being the sin eater for his betters.

      The same is true of every American president, and it was ever thus, as the old wordsmiths used to say.

      • And speaking of wordsmiths, WP was created by some ahole I’d like to kick in the ass. Freedom of expression evidently wasn’t in the lexicon of the programmer who created such an automatic censor. Why does the only thing I wanted to reply here not acceptable, not enough letters? Fuck you WP. Why is ‘No Shitsky” not a complete thought?

        • And what practical purpose does Turdpress’s restriction on short posts serve? It can’t be to filter-out spammers, as spam would require MORE words!

          Just proves the point, that even without any prodding from Uncle/tyrants, people just don’t give a damn about individual liberty and the principles by which it is achieved. Their first instinct is always control.; censorship; needless rules; infringement; etc.

          And I seem to be forever logged out now……

          And sadly, the reality is, that this is one of the better platforms.

          It’s not even just Uncle that I want to get away from anymore- it’s the also the average person, who thinks that all of this garbage is just great, and who can’t even see the dysfunction- much less desire to oppose it. It’s as if this whole world has become infected with insanity. There has to be a quiet little corner out there- some isolated off-beat far-away place where life is still simple, and humans still have functioning brains.

          • In my case, the most apparent change of late is that I am unknown to the site and must fill in my ID and e-mail address each time I post. As a result, a couple went as anonymous, one went as ARU since I bumped the send key somehow when trying to delete the U and complete the id and off she went, even with no e-mail address entered.

            /I\ made no changes to my systems but I will accept that Microsoft may have. Has everyone seen this, or is it likely something I will have to dig out on my own system?

            • There are many realities. My friends, for the most part, have called me “Uncle”. It worries me. I dont’ demand anything from anybody. Some call me ‘Captain” and the rub there is my father’s friends called him “Captain”. I’m not sure what to make of it. I do my own thing and never considered imposing my views on anyone else.

              Seriously,it’s always bugged me although I don’t take offense to much of anything.

              Eric and I may have our differences but I doubt it. I respect his professionalism. i respect his respect for me and every other person on eath.

              Want to pick a fight with someone? Choose me. I don’t give a shit. Take eric to task for some stupid shit and I’ll be tearing your ass(for him). Clover was an idiot and if she’s gone,good riddance.

              I know what eric has done and what he’s done and what he wants to do for true friends. It’s the very reason I hang out here. I hope it’s the same for everyone else…sincerely.

              • When I was young, they used to call me “Chief”- even strangers. I don’t know why- I’m not a big guy, and I don’t look like an Injun. Kinda liked it though. I’d never tell anyone else what to do- but if the bootlickers want to assume I would…better to be waiting for orders from me that never come, than ones from their usualy cadre of tyrants and psychopaths.

                • Last round in the patch the young who have never seen me call me Chief or Boss. I take no offense since they don’t know my name and need to tell me something.

          • Nunz the best platform I ever used was Ron Unz’s own siteware he designed and uses for his Unz review. The problem there is that 98% of the participants are pseudo-erudite assholes who have to post 1000+ word screeds even in response to the opening question of a knock-knock joke.

            Also, the articles are a small collection of two or three reperirious pundits, and shitwork like the leftist “libertarians” and dickhead conservatards whose crap appears everywhere you go.

            Ron himself will suddenly jump into a discussion and say something like “anyone who sees things that way should just get the fuck off of my site”. Too bad his siteware isn’t available for sale. It would be great if more site owners had access to it, or to something as good.

            Sadly, many have gone to Disqus rather than put in the work required to host a discussion site. Eric is one of the few who are still willing to offer a discussion site like this.

            • Hey Ed!

              Good to see ya again!

              Yes, I really appreciate Eric’s allowing these free-flowing discussions. So many sites either censor, or have gotten rid of their comment sections entirely- and when ya see that, you know that they are not interested in fostering truth, or in hearing the opinions and observations of others- but rather, just in pushing their own brand of propaganda (Which is obviously why most mainstream news sites have axed comments, or so hobbled them that they are only cheering sections and platforms for the politically-correct and SJWs.

              I like Disqus too. Ultimately though, i do think the time is just about when in order to have any real freedom of speech, functionality and privacy, site owners are going to have to buy or develop custom code (Hey, it doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive!), ’cause ALL of the free or cheap things on the interwebs seem to be going the same way- towards more control and less privacy of both the site owners and users.

              Hey, where have you been? I’ve missed your “Ringmeat Mongoloid Dickweed”s…..and now it’s too late, as the one to whom the moniker applies has left the building! 😀 (Although I did take the liberty of applying myself, while he was still here!).

              Ironic that I should be seeing YOUR post, now- as I was just watching a video of someone taking a fellow Creationist to task for admitting that the NASA “Moon landing” pics were fake, but continuing to believe in the Moon landing!

              • Morning, Nunz!

                I love the back and forth here, too. I learn something new every day, just about. I agree with you in re the comments section on other pages, especially MSM pages. I noticed about five years ago that they were disappearing or heavily restricted (i.e., you could only post via your Facebook linked account, so as to make sure all your information was properly collected).

                Vile.

                That will never happen here.

                • Tip of the morning to ya, Eric- as the mohel said 🙂

                  (Spell-checker says I’m spelling ‘mohel’ wrong- Oy vey!)

                  You are so right! The free exchange of ideas and information is truly the best form of edumacation- and that is what we have here.

                  There was a time when academia used to be about that- but obviously, the very opposite is true of their institutions now.

                  The internet is illuminating a lot of things; sadly, the most abundant of those is that academia and the media can not stand the light of day, and therefore must heavily censor and control everything, lest any truth shine forth.

                  I have learned immensely from you and most others who post here. The only other site that has ever come close to providing the thought-provoking exchanges like we have here, was one that is now long defunct, that I used to participate on in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

                  I’m grateful for your site- but saddened that in a world so full of supposed “information and communication” that sites like this are truly a rarity.

              • Disqus steadfastly refuses to allow me to register with their system, and has done so for the last 5 years or so.

                I remember a few years ago, one blogger complaining that the Disqus software was restricting comments on his site and he suspected that some commenters were being “soft banned” as he put it.

                It’s a pernicious form of censorship that operates without notifying site owners who install it to take the moderation load off of them.

                • Turdpress must be doing the same thing to me- since I have to now enter my info and check the subscribe box every single time I post.

                  I was gonna say to you, Ed, why not just delete any relevant cookies and use a different email for Disqus?- and now I’m thinking: I could do that here with Turdpress….but then again, next time I say ‘nigger’ or ‘faggot’ or something, I’ll be right back in the same boat- and I’ll be damned if I’ll let them censor me! It’s all, or nothing- I’ll either say my piece the way I want to say it, or I’ll be banned by them….but I’m not going to self-censor, which is exactly what they want.

    • I drove my 19 year old Dodge minivan 19 years no problems now drive 2018 Chrysler Pacifica don’t agree with your rant. DSC03495.jpg

      • Yeah, right! Caravans fall apart like Chinese motorcycles (Actually, Chinese motorcycles these days are better!).

        Power window problems (perpetual)
        Brake issues.
        Suspension issues.
        Transmission issues.
        Bad oil seals on the engine.
        Head gaskets.
        Spark-plug fowling.
        Stalling.

        Not to mention the usual Chrysler squeaks and rattles and pieces falling off….

        If you haven’t experienced at least half of the above issues, you must be leading a charmed life!

        • 19 years to and from California for 19 years of driving bliss. I also drove a Dodge Durango for 8 years “0” repairs. Jeep Compass 6 years “0” repairs now drive the new Chrysler Pacifica and what a great vehicle. Getting 27 mpg in the city and it’s not a hybrid. Do you also have problems sleeping at night?????

          • Ah! A left-coaster. Maybe that’s it. Maybe Nope-ars (Mopars) do better in a drier climate…. 🙂

            ‘Round here, owning a Chrysler product is what keeps one up at night… 😉

            • Nope from the middle 2000 miles from the west coast. Been there many times as much as 5 times a year for grandkids. Had my old Dodge minivan on the 405 many times. Hope the president can level the playing field for our American companies can compete without the foreign tariffs. Foreign companies have had a free ride long enough. Time for America 1st not last.

              • 5 times…in a DODGE? The only thing I’ve ever seen a Dodge do 5 times, is break down! 😉

                Meh…the only way to level the playing field, is to have a truly free market- and we all know as long as their are politicians and people who vote for them, that ain’t happening.

                Taxing the crap out of “our” corporations (who get most of the parts and or labor from overseas, anyway…) and then taxing foreign businesses even more so that we have to pay an even higher price for superior products which would otherwise be cheaper, isn’t leveling the playing field.

                You’re taxed when you earn the money to buy the vehicle.
                Your taxed again on that already-taxed money when you buy the vehicle.
                The company who made the vehicle is taxed on the profit they make on the vehilce.
                The stealership is taxed on their profit; on their building and lot; on their inventory…

                The communists must be drooling.

                And then what’s more, Uncle mandates what equipment “your” vehicle must have, and how many MPGs it must get…..

                It’s shameful.

                • Back to taxation without representation. Hope Trump succeeds in cutting foreign tariffs and change our tax codes. Trump already lowered the unreasonable mph mandated by Obama. The one big improvement in my new Pacifica is the stop/start technology getting 27 mpg in city driving. And the 10,000 miles between oil changes.

                  • Wait…wait…your Pacifica has start/stop? I hate to break it to ya…but that extra 1/2 of an MPG you might be gaining is not going to make up for the $500+ starter job you’ll be needing shortly…and every few years….

                    • I’ll let you know if the started goes out. But so far so good. I wonder the same thing but I’m not going to go off half cocked. I have more faith in Chrysler engineering. You remember when Chrysler started making tanks for WWII and they didn’t and couldn’t get an engine for it so, they mated five 6 cylinders together for a 30 cylinder engine to kick start making 48.000 Sherman tanks for WWII and that’s just some of the good history for Chrysler engineering not all the negative BS.

                • Nunz, there were two old Texans telling tall tales about their ranches one day. One of them said, “Aw, your ranch ain’t that big. I can get in my pickup at sunup, and take off for the mailbox, and I get there about noon.”

                  The other old guy said, “Yeah, I used to have a Dodge pickup myself, one time.”

        • Both anon’s 19 year old & my 15 year old Dodge minivan were made BEFORE Chrysler was passed around like a Tijuana prostitute.

          I certainly wouldn’t buy the next generation newer than mine…

  6. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as the Brits would say. I have owned several Dodge and Chrysler products through the years. They seem to make up for their unreliablility by being stupidly engineered and expensive to repair. We had a Dodge van at one time. The thing had the alternator go out in Flagstaff, about 140 miles from my house in the snows of December. I had it towed to a local garage. They informed me that the alternator failure had caused a voltage spike that destroyed the ECM of the vehicle. I asked if there was a good ECM available in a wrecking yard up there, and checked around here in Phoenix as well. No such luck. All gone. And a new one was some ungodly amount of money like $1200 or something. I gave the garage owner the van in exchange for the towing bill.
    Who builds a product like that and expects repeat customers?
    And this has been a recurrent problem throughout Chrysler’s history. Remember the bailout of Chrysler during the Carter years? How many other bailouts and government handouts have they gotten over the years? Put a car on the road that is easy to fix, rather inexpensive to repair, and reliable so you don’t have to fix it so often. Why couldn’t you, Chrysler? Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda all did…
    Screw lamenting the death of Chrysler. The marketplace is doing it’s job.

    • Yes the market place is showing how it loves the Jeep line being built in 6 different countries now and doing very well. Daimler tried their best to do away with the Jeep line so they wouldn’t have to compete against the Jeep but Daimler failed because we Americans love our Jeeps and if you don’t then maybe you need to take another good look at what Jeep is doing.

  7. Rotten news at the end of a rotten day. Chrysler has teetered at the precipice a number of times and has regained its balance each time; I hope it can do it again. I’ve long been a Mopar fan, at least of the models from the ’60s through the ’80s (couldn’t afford anything newer anyway). My brother built hot rod 440s way back when and my dad had a ’62 Chrysler 300 H, the only car he owned that I still lust after–two staggered four bbl. carbs, 413, etc. Several old Dodge trucks populate my yard ( let’s here it for rural living).

    Sorry to ruminate, but not too sorry to retell an early experience with a Chrysler product, an old Plymouth flathead from around 1949. It was well-used and clapped-out but still a far better car than its Chevy and Ford peers of the time, at least those we owned. Its column stick shift was a dream compared to the “move the lever and hope it doesn’t hang up again” Chevy sticks. The car rode and handled well, and all in all gave every indication of superior engineering.

    The fall of Oldsmobile was saddening–I owned a couple–but losing Plymouth was heartbreaking. At least I still have one. Sic transit gloria mundi.

    Well, nuts.

    • Ironically, I’ve always loved the Dodge pick-ups of the late 60’s/very early 70’s. My favorite pick-ups ever. (I say ironically, ’cause I’ve never cared for anything else Chrysler ever made…well, ‘cept of course for the old flat-fender Power Wagons)

    • Good reason to be Mopar fan had it not been for companies like Chrysler, Ford, GM, Packard, Stuetabaker, we might be speaking Japanese or German in slave labor camps and your father wouldn’t be American he would be Japanese or German. Your mother would be a sex slave. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  8. Pfffft! Good riddance!

    Dashboards that collapse under their own weight.
    Sludge-box engines (The modern Hemis and some of the V-6’s are some of the least durable engines out there)
    Cars that get old before their time (How many 10 or 15 year-old Chrysler products you see on the road vs. Ford, Chevy and the Japs?)- Their cars simply don’t last- and such has been the case for the last 40 years).
    They’ve turned Jeep into nothing but another maker of unreliable name-status toys.
    Their cars have always been among those which have the lowest resale values.

    The minivan saved ’em in the 80’s….the trucks saved them in the 90’s, and kept ’em going to today….so why make all of the other crap?

    Chrysler seems to have always had a thing for partnering with the bottom-dwellers. AMC; Renault; and now Fiat.

    • Nun, they all made some stinkers…..and some well above average for the day. I recall a classmate got a new Ford Fairlane coupe with a 390 and it’s sorta gagging to have to say it was a two barrel. Back then 2 barrel engines would appear in unlikely places in all brands and that reminds me of Malibu Sports of 66, 67 with Blue Flame sixes and Powerglides.

      But that Fairland wasn’t six months old when he and I took a little trip. He had a throw pillow stuffed down beside the shifter(no console…go figure). I asked what it was for since it was a bench seat. He pulled it out and that shifter made a godawful noise. I don’t know what brand 4 sp it was but I didn’t want one. The 390 was probably THE best V8 Ford made in those days as far as longevity but everybody in town could outrun it including a plethora of “Stangs” with 289’s….and those old Mustangs had the worst axle wrap I’ve seen in any car.

      My ex BIL drove a 56 shoebox that the shifter was always hanging up but he gave it good enough reason to do so even though it did when he bought it.

      Back then Mopar made some models that had some of the worst clunks and clanks you never wanted to hear. Not that any cars were cared for back then because a new one was cheap but I recall the models “Made by Fisher” that were a cut above any other American cars. The 50’s brought the new Hydramatic 4 speed auto’s which kept a lot of people out of some of the nicer cars. They even had them in pickups……briefly.

      And speaking of Chrysler and their first bail out by GM. GM couldn’t afford not to save them since they’d been fearing something bad from the SEC because it was flexing its muscle even back in the late 40’s.

      In the early 50’s the SEC made a ruling in a case that gave GM a sign it wouldn’t pursue creating a monopoly. When a reporter asked Harley Earl what percent of GM cars would be made (comparing what their competitors sold) he posited 50% and Harley More like 70. They didn’t do it since they really would have loosed the SEC dogs. Strange times back then but some fairly unique styling by all concerned.

      • Basically 8, truly good cars have always been hard to come by- from any manufacturer on any continent. Seems like the collection of parts that truly work well together and can endure, are the anomaly rather than the rule.

        It’s just that Chrysler always seemed to make their dysfunction more obvious.

        My best friend bought a brand new Dodge 4×4 pick-up (gas) in ’98. I remember when he got it- I liked it. It was a nice truck….but darned if that thing didn’t have those Chrysler clunks and creaks from day one! Although the truck was mostly only used as a car- for driving to work and stores, and pulling a 19′ boat a few times a year, I was amazed at the way that thing started falling apart early on. Stuff would just get loose, or break or rust for no reason, whereas the ’84 K-5 Blazer I had at the time was still solid.

        Only good thing, was that that Dodge only cost $20K + tax and stuff….seems like a bargain today…even for a truck that falls apart.

        Interesting about the SEC and all- I always learn new stuff from your posts, 8! Much appreciated!

        • Nun, there you go. A friend who’s a truck mechanic bought a 98 or 99 Ram 1500 at a Richey Bros. auction with the 5.7 L engine and true 4WD he recognized as being true 4WD for $1500.

          The dash was shit but he found another for $100 and changed it out. That truck rode good and drove good and had plenty power. i drove it one day when he and I were doing maintenance on a pipeline in some real rough stuff and it never spun a tire even though there were some radical inclines on rough ground and through creeks and the like.

          An aside to it, he put it in 4WD……for me. I got a kick outta that since I’d been doing such long before he’d arrived via birth canal. I spent most of the day in 2WD although he didn’t know it. It’s a good riding, tight truck even though it had a lot of miles. Well, there are good Dodge trucks and those that aren’t.

          As Gilda(Rosannadanna) used to say “You just never know”.

          • 8, you ignorant slut! 😉

            Darn! Where’d that guy find a dash for $100? My neighbor here had a 1-ton dually Cummins 4×4; dash literally disintegrated to nothing. Searched high and low, and couldn’t even find a good dash…and the few he heard of, they wanted like $1000 for ’em!

            Yeah, ironically my friend’s gas 1/2 ton, after all of the annoyances and falling-off-stuff was sorted out, wasn’t a bad truch mechanically. It just sucked as a brand-new truck (and that damn blue paint peeled off, too!) but he kept it till just recently, just to tow his boat with (No longer has a boat now…he got married…so now he just has a whale)- but since that thing did have a good old simple solid drivetrain….that was never an issue- it was just the stuff wrapped around it that was forever falling apart.

            Suspensions always sucked on the Rams, too. Other friend (I only have 2 :D) used to buy a lot of ’em at Copart to resell. [Funny- he just called as I was writing this!]- all it took was hitting a moderate curb, and the the A-arms would fold. When he saw how bad they were, he switched to Fords as his trailer-towing go-a-thousand-miles Copart-getter.

            I like my neighbor’s idea for the perfect truck: Old-school Ford truck with a 12V Cummins swap. Stick. Manual Transfer case. Now that’d be simple and bulletproof. (Old-school Chevy could be just as good that way, if you don’t mind a single cab…)

            • I used to know a guy who had a fleet of one ton GM’s with 6 cylinder Cummins like you find in a big rig. He had some hellacious springs in the front and pulled huge goosenecks.

              Back to Chrysler again, it’s like Monica said: It’s hard to convince people you’re a lady when you were a whore for so long.

            • Nunzio, I wanted a nice car, but couldn’t afford the prices, so I had the backbone, as a lady with an Actron Scanner, to independently buy on Copart, a newer hail damage Toyota Avalon in TX. Great deal except the taxes and fees are “Killer” for non-dealers. Ideas welcome to find a workaround. LOVE the V6 power of the Avalon, but my old man wants something that “sits up” higher and that he can see better while driving (dreaded “columns” make it hard to see). It will be hard to find a V6 with anywhere as great of gas mileage as the Avalon (’15). About 28-32 mpg. As Eric says buy a V6 or V8 WHILE YOU CAN!

              • SARA, I applaud you for your initiative! Hail-damaged cars can be a great bargain- ‘specially if you’re like me, and aren’t too fussy- I’d probably drive it “as-is”.

                Copart though…. It is REALLY hard these days to get a good deal from any place like that. Between all of the foreign bidders from all over the world; people dumping stuff with hidden damage; the buyer and gates fees and all…. I tend to think it’s easier just to deal privately. Offer sellers what you think something is worth. Worst they can do is say no.

                Gotta watch out at Copart and similar too: I’ve noticed that a LOT of vehicles that come from there, tend to have damage underneath, from being handled by the forklifts. Everything from ruptured gas tanks to cracked transmission housings….

                Sometimes, I’m beginning to think, if you can find a really good vehicle, even at full retail…you’re often just better off paying it.

                My “thing” is high-mile vehicles. Get something privately that was driven every day and taken care of…still going strong at 240K miles? It’ll easily keep going to 300K, and you’ll get it for a song.

                I like sitting up high too. Tell hubby to get an Excursion! Mine’s a V-10….gets almost 11MPG…king of the road. Best. Vehicle. EVER!

              • I considered something along a ’90 Peterbilt 379. Stretch it about 20 feet and put an old ragged out fiberglas camper on it like a friend did with a Freightliner. Make a bumper from 3 pieces of 5″ drill pipe and chrome it. Register as RV.

                Get tired of traffic and pull into a rest area, close the curtain or door to the camper and chill out.

                Get hungry and pull something from the fridge or the microwave. Lie down and watch a movie, drink a cold one, go to bed. I see these rigs commonly in RV parks for a day or three.

                A couple of air ride captains chairs with massage, heat and a/c.

    • You conveniently missed Mercedes who used and abused Chrysler!!! And you keep talking in the past when all car companies were in bankruptcy due to taxing the hell out of American companies until now that Trump has cut corporate tax from 35% to 21% and now American companies can profit and next step is to cut foreign tariffs!!!!! And by the way I have driven Chrysler products for 50 years and haven’t experienced any of your attacks on Chrysler products. Had it not been for Chrysler you might be speaking Japanese!!! R U Japanese????

      • Had we not provoked Japan into retaliating for our cutting off of their oil from Sumatra, and then allowing them to attack Pearl Harbor as an excuse to foster “patriotism” to get us into WWII….

        And had we not built their modern industrial economy via The Marshall Plan…..

        I don’t think that the little tiny nation of sandal-wearing goldfish-tenders would be of much consequence either way. Although maybe if we did have some Jap ancestry, it might be good, as we might then at least have some honor, instead of being the disgraceful corrupt mess we’ve become.

        • I know what you talking about the last 5 presidents have been of great disgrace to the USA. Now we have a president that will stand up for America and not go around the world asking for forgiveness for defending Fascism.

  9. “When Daimlerpulled out of Chrysler”. Isn’t that from a Henry Miller book?

    My favorite quote from HM: Life is 440 horsepower in a 2-cylinder engine.

  10. Iacocca’s hard work of saving $20 billion was for nothing. That was what Chrysler had and MB needed. Gotdamn krauts. After that Chrysler really struggled. The amazing part is that Chrysler still makes attractive looking products that stand out from the rest. I’d love to have a 2013 Charger sitting in my driveway. In later years, Chrysler products stood out from the rest of the industry as for looks and performance, and for defying those epa and other bureaucraps in Washington trying to kill off inexpensive mobility in order to comply with the banks. Of course, this latest CCO (Chief Crap Officer) did Chrysler no good, but only slightly better than MB. Euro car companies do not understand the market, nor do they want to.

    • They also made some of the ugliest cars ever produced, starting with every model 300 that ever came off their assembly lines. They would start with the most hideous fads from Ford and GM and amplify them.

    • Thank you, Iacocca is one of my hero’s too. He was a car guy that took changes some winners and some losers. When Iacocca bought Jeep he broke the bank but he knew what a winner Jeep would be . Jeep is Iacocca’s dream child!!!!

  11. Damn! Farewell to the company that brought us the Hemi, the import fighting K-Cars, and the minivan. Not to mention the Charger, the Challenger and the Viper. An iconic part of American culture is fading into the sunset.

    No 21st Century Iacoccas waiting out in the bullpen this time.

    Tonight, I’m tipping a glass of my best Chardonnay to salute the Chrysler era.

    Good-bye Mopar. You had one hell of a run!

    • Hi Mike,

      Amen. The company is among the few that still produces cars made for people who care about driving – as opposed to being driven while they play with gadgets. I wish I had the means to buy a lime green Challenger R/T 392 before they go away…

      • If I had the cash I would buy a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T with a 440 cubic-inch V-8, and drive it to Frisco in 15 hours.

        • Hi Guerrero!

          I love my Pontiac, but have always lusted after a Mopar muscle car, especially a ‘Cuda or Challenger. A buddy of mine had a 440 GTX and that thing was a road cannon. Terrible brakes and horrendous in the curves – but in a straight line, that thing was ballistic!

    • Chrysler “brought us the hemi”? Jaguar were building hemi combustioin chambers back in 1948. I had one. And a ’51. Ive got a ’54 in the shop now for a full on engine rebuild. Phil Hill drove a ’53 D Type to the World Championship that year. Friend of mine had the car some years later. As of the early 1970’s that car held the pal speed record on the Daytona oval at some outrageous (for mid-1950’s) speed, I seem to remember around 160 mph. All of those cars had the same basic engine displacing only 3.4 litres (less that 210 cubic inch, same displacement of the old Ford Flathead V 8’s.
      Alfa Romeo (before they oozed into Fiat) back in the late 1950’s ran a series of four and six cylinder engines that were also hemi combustioin chambered powerplants All of them VERY sophisticated. LIke Jaguar, they were offered in roadsters, coupes, sedans, but Alfa offered a range of displacements. Even their tiny 1300 was strong.

      • Hondas have had hemisperical combustion chambers and high domed pistons since they hit the continent in 1959. I could put a “Hemi” badge on my Honda Dream 150 and it would be correct. Chrysler simply marketed the decades old design as a high performance feature and made badges for bragging rights.

        • Hi Graves,

          The 426 Hemi gets lots of honor for being one of the high water mark muscle car engines, but others – less well-known – arguably deserve at least the same honors. I am thinking of two in particular:

          The Buick GSX Stage 1 455 – and the Pontiac SD-455.

          These were both relatively mild, very streetable engines with lots of untapped potential. And bone stock, they were among the quickest muscle cars ever sold.

          The ’70 Stage 1 GSX was capable of 12 second quarters on slicks, with a power tune. Ditto the SD-455.

          • Probably you don’t recall “L 88′. Better heads and a firing order better for power. It was rated at 436 HP and 550 lb ft of torque since it first only existed in a stripped Corvette design specifically for racing, no heater.

            • I do! Remember who you bee talkin’ to! 🙂

              Lots of love for the L-88 427, but it wasn’t exactly an everyday street car engine! The SD-455 Pontiac had a pretty mild hydraulic cam and a single Quadrajet (not triple Holleys) and was very docile, given what it was. It even worked with an automatic… IIRC, the L-88 was a manual-only deal…

              • There were 20 made the first year and the agreement to buy one included no racing in local competition near the dealer. Another great thing from Mr. Duntov that won international races the first year.

    • Mopar is alive and well it’s America and as long as we have Americans in the WH Mopar will live on but if we ever put another Obama in there then we might be speaking a different language.

  12. “Video killed the radio star”…….everybody sing with me! That was literally the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the title of this article, lol! It is sad news, but not surprising, really. I think Eric pretty much got it down pretty pat here. Not much more to do now than sing, and now I can’t this tune out of my head. Lalala-laaaaa-lala-lala-laaaaaa, what the heck! Chevy’s next folks….”see the USA going to Hell in your Chevrolet”…..

    • Hi Graves,

      I expect Buick and Cadillac to be next. Buick sells well in China, but not here. And once the Escalade is gone, Cadillac won’t have much that sells here, either.

        • Considering the garbage Crapillac has become, I think even I’d rather take my chances with Chrysler….

          Heh…I remember back when Chrysler used to make outboard motors…. They were the one motor you stayed away from if you ANY sense at all.

    • Not me brother I’m still driving Chrysler products namely the Chrysler Pacifica minivan the number one rated minivan again. My 3rd Chrysler minivan and by far the best!!!!!

  13. Agree Chrysler is going away. When is the question. The Brampton Ont plant recently re-upped the union contract to I think 20 or 21. The plant makes Charger/Challenger/300 on the same line.
    I recently bought my first ever 300 last Sept. and I can easily say it is my favorite vehicle of all time (35 years, and I don’t even remember all but at least 30 vehicles). I’ve owned and driven almost everything GM made, car and trucks. But also rented a lot of others, and I never liked them as much as my GM stuff.
    Not anymore: GM has gone down the dark hole of MPG-first for everything and the cars-trucks drivability suffers a lot for this guy.
    Enter my search for a RWD-V8. Drove them all, most don’t offer RWD-only anymore so they got scratched off the list. When I drove the RWD V8 300 last summer, I almost cried. It was what I’ve wanted for a long time and didn’t even know what I was missing. I had driven the 300-V8-5sp before and I didn’t like it, but the new 8sp AND Chrysler putting a ‘sport’ button in the S version makes me enjoy driving again.
    The only super high tech thing on the Hemi is the MSD, which I hope breaks, cause it sucks, but can be defeated in sport mode,
    I will be sad when they go away. I will be buying the last one made. Maybe I should buy 2 and mothball one, haha……

    The triplets are still selling pretty well though.
    I will add that since I got my 300 and my daughter a Charger V6, a LOT of friends and acquaintances have commented on them. My daughters Charger was the first in her school parking lot, now there are 5+. She got a lot of attention from the ‘boys’, about the car, and then they started showing up.

    What will happen with the Charger/Challenger though?
    What ‘larger’ semi-luxury car will Fiat be offering?

    • Hi Brazos!

      They’ll get a great deal, no doubt! But it won’t do much to save the brand. The death report may be released today; Sergio is expected to say something…

        • That sucks. They have the least amount of money for developing vehicles and then they are going to waste it on vehicles that nobody but the government wants.

          • And what really sux is that you and me and all those in this country not making enough money to hire someone who knows tax law well enough to keep us from paying all the taxes the wealthy don’t pay are bankrolling, and have been for decades, 10’s or more millions of dollars every year to produce propaganda making everyone who’s bought a car or wanting to buy one be persuaded by gummint programs to appease those already paying for vehicles so they feel better about it.

            Everyone who brags on their vehicles are being taxed to do so
            While we all have favorites, we know they could be better but planned obsolescence is the goal of companies who make everything.

            Want a pickup that will work like nobody has ever seen? I could build one and it wouldn’t need to cost $80K. Oh, I forgot, I’d have to make it cost that much for just the bullshit the gummint dictates…….hmmmmm, dictates, I think I’ve heard that before. It’s what the dictators here always accuse dictators everywhere else of being.
            Bend over muchachos, we all get it in the END. Hey bud, pass me the PrepH. I recommend Corona to stop the bleeding, Evan Williams white label to numb your ass(inside out) and some point, Blueberry Kush or Purple Haze or Skunk XXX or some….oh, better not. And now I take my hat off to Marc Emery who spread the good will, gave his money where it was needed and paid the price of American bullyanism and Canadian pussyism.

            Marc, I’d like to present you with an award…..but not of the sort they gave suckass BO and his Nobel “peace PRIZE”. I’d like to have him looking at a piece of my steel toe and the blank space between his legs. TANG!!!!

          • Hi Anonymous,

            No – Elon won’t let me near one. He tightly controls access to his cars – for good reason. GM is doing the same now. Fish heads, for all!

    • Your so called minivans happens to be rated number one again and by far the best minivans on the road again. I’m getting 27 mpg in the city in my new Pacifica minivan and need a road trip now that it’s broke in. This is my 3rd minivan and the first one I kept for 19 years, so I have some experience with minivans.

    • Chrysler is back to making a $billion profit a quarter don’t think they need to be bailed out unless Americans stop buying them and buy foreign cars. But wait isn’t Trump trying to do away with foreign tariffs???? And didn’t Trump cut corporate tax by 40% and isn’t Trump renegotiating G7 as we speak????? We just need a string of Trumps in the White House and please no more Obama’s!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Hi Anonymous,

        I want Chrysler to survive – to thrive. But I don’t see how, unless they get new product. Right now, they are barely a car company. One car, one minivan. How does Chrysler keep its doors open, given that? And there is nothing new on the horizon… it looks bleak.

        • Chrysler could survive on Jeep alone. Jeep now has more plants than all other Chrysler plants put together and fastest growing product in the world. Jeep has finally caught fire and when Trump takes all the barriers down like to do business in China you must have a Chinese partner give him 50% of your profits and can pull your partnership at a drop of a hat, but can own all kind of companies in US and buying up all the farm land China can get their hands on in America. Same way with Japan!!!! Can’t own a company in Japan have to have a Japanese partner. Well that’s why Trump is out negotiating for a fair trade bill not a free trade bill for foreign companies. And it’s about time the rest of America realizes how bad our previous presidents have been!!!!

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