Walter P. Chrysler founded what is now Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles on June 6, 1925. That makes it 90 years this year since the automaker’s inception, and Chrysler has decided to mark the occasion by taking a quick look back at their history.
Chrysler wanted to focus his company’s efforts to excellence in engineering combined with building luxurious cars that were affordable. Its first vehicle was the Chrysler Six, which stayed true to the brand pillars with a low price of $1,565.
Soon, however, Chrysler would follow in the footsteps of crosstown rival Cadillac and offer a more expensive and luxurious model called the Imperial. The Imperial would live on, but Chrysler was forced to also offer economically priced models amid the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In the 1940s Walter P. Chrysler passed away, however his legacy would live on thanks to his now successful car brand. Chrysler was forced to halt production of civilian automobiles in 1942 to support America’s WWII efforts, building well known products such as the M4 Sherman tank and Chrysler-Bell air raid sirens.
The 1950s proved to be extra-important for Chrysler with the birth of the Hemi V8 engine, which debuted in the Chrysler Saratoga, New Yorker and Imperial. The innovation continued in the 1960s, with all of Chrysler’s cars now unibody rather than body-on-frame.
Much like the rest of the automotive industry, Chrysler was forced to end production of many of the outlandish muscle cars from the 1960s in the 1970s. This was the beginning of the brand’s transition toward economic front-wheel drive cars such as the K-Car platform of the 1980s.
Different K-Car models included the LeBaron, Town & Country “woody” wagon and the LeBaron convertible. By the 1990s, all Chrysler models were front-wheel drive, a fact that held true until 2005 when the rear-wheel drive Chrysler 300 debuted.
Today, Chrysler says it “continues to engineer excellence,” following its emergence from bankruptcy. With some of its latest products being the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Dodge Challenger Hellcat, it’s hard to argue with them, and it says it will continue the trend when the new Chrysler Town & Country van debuts in the first quarter of 2016.