Early Chrysler History

Early Chrysler History
A look at the early days of Chrysler History
Published by: All Car Central Publishing
Date published: 03/07/2014

Walter Chrysler started his automobile career with Charles Nash, the year 1911. We know that he was a management trainee but there is little recorded about his time with Nash. It can be assumed that things were not that attractive as he joined Willys-Overland a few years later. That relationship also ended when Chrysler raised enough money to purchase two existing automobile companies...Chalmers and Maxwell.

1911 Maxwell AB Runabout


The latter, the Maxwell, was quite a successful vehicle and the company had been in business for several years before it was purchased by Chrysler. Its reputation was a middle price car with the slogan that if you owned a Maxwell there was nothing else to buy; the car had everything that the new owner may require. This may sound rather strange to today's purchaser but the early vehicles often came without a spare wheel, tools and even lights in some cases ....Why...To keep the purchase price as low as possible and to attract Vehicle Dealers who made their real profit by selling not only the car but the extra goodies that may be required like that spare wheel and lighting set.

Like many other motor manufacturers Maxwell was hit by the Post War slump and was purchased in company with the Chalmers Motor Company by Walter Chrysler The first thing that he did was to upgrade the Maxwell and renamed the car "The Good Maxwell" In a matter of only a couple of years Maxwell sales had increased to over 48,000 and the company showed healthy profit for the shareholders. Chalmers however proved to be a less attractive purchase and was written off after losing over a million dollars in its first few years under the new ownership.

1925 Chrysler touring Car Chrysler

By the mid twenties a new name joined the list of American Motor Manufacturers the Chrysler Six a semi luxury vehicle that looked very much like the Maxwell except that the quality of the new brand was superior as to be expected!

In 1928 the Chrysler Imperial 80 was offered to the public, promoted as "America's Most Powerful Car". , boasting of 112 Horse Power under the hood and the deserved image of real luxury. A selection of coach bodies were offered, some made by the Chrysler motor company others by individual companies such as LeBaron, who were the top manufacturer of the day. However this could double the price of the vehicle yet despite the financial depression various examples were made and sold in the early 1930's. By purchasing Maxwell and Chalmers a readymade dealership network was acquired and of course professionally developed. In 1929/30, a more modest Chrysler came onto the market the MODEL 75 Royal Sedan that sold for about $1,600. This price put the car into the middle price range of the time, and it sold well based on the presentation of strength and beauty. However, the real attraction was the fact that it came out of the same stable as the Imperial 80.

1936 DeSoto Deluxe Airstream Taxicab


It is also interesting to note that the "DeSoto' also came from the same company. By any standards a truly quality car. It was also presented in 1928 and in its first full year (1930) sold over 81,000 vehicles. To put these prices into perspective a three bedroom home on a fair size lot could be purchased for around $2,750 in most communities. If you wanted somewhere to put your new car the luxury of a garage would set you back another $150 but would certainly add to the value!

1915 Dodge 110 W B Touring


Two brothers Horace and John Dodge started their own manufacturing business in 1914 and within a few years it proved to be a success. They were the first American company to feature all steel bodies. They also had a respectable sales and production record with trucks. Dodge also had another rather unique feature they built their own test track where all their cars were tested before being sent to the dealers and of course the general public.

Regretfully at the peak of their success John Dodge died in 1920 of pneumonia and a few months later brother Horace followed his brother to that big car club in the sky. Two brilliant technicians and of course good business men lost to the American Motor Industry in the same year. Acquired by Chrysler the Dodge Company progressed and developed year by year with attractive priced cars and of course trucks that in many ways set the pace and style for the developing trucking industry of the 1930's

Even as late as 1928 Chrysler continued to use the term Dodge Brothers in their advertising for the company. There seems to be no rational reason for this unless it was to continue the image of a family business developed by the two brothers. Every manufacturer tries to associate some attractive feature with their product and Dodge was no exception. If quality was the theme for Chrysler, Dependability was the theme in every promotional advertisement for Dodge. Ford promised cars for the masses and kept that promise so next time I would like to take a look at the most successful car manufacturer in the world Mr Henry Ford, who set the pace and direction of automobile manufacturing that the world has followed even in these days of Robots!

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