Highland Park’s most important and influential automobiles… and trucks!
From its inception, Chrysler was engineering-led, and its multiple divisions (Plymouth, De Soto, Dodge, Imperial) were for many years satisfied to case its numerous technical advances—hydraulic four-wheel brakes and Hemi V-8 power to name just a few—in car bodies that were decidedly workaday. Chrysler’s strength was good solid engineering to advance the cause of the automobile, and to help it last longer than you might have thought worthwhile in those days of trading up every three years.
Traditionally, styling wasn’t part of Chrysler’s makeup. In an era of longer, lower, and wider, Mopars were styled so drivers could continue to wear their hats as they drove. Meanwhile, GM and Ford competed for the sexiest designs, and the best sales.
In the 1950s, once Chrysler finally figured out that styling really mattered, man, they went for it, pens a-blazin’ with up-to-the-moment creativity and stylistic flourishes that are seared into America’s collective memory. Some were design whimsy, but a couple of them changed the automotive industry for good.
This is not a story about the prettiest Mopars ever built. It’s about designs that opened eyes and shifted markets, and about style that would have long-lasting effects out there on the American road. It’s about success and failure, sometimes simultaneously.