Walter P. Chrysler and the 1924 Chrysler Six.

Walter P. Chrysler and the 1924 Chrysler Six. 

Heritage,Uncategorized | June 14 2019

Remembering a few of our ‘fathers’ for Father’s Day

As people around the world salute their fathers this Sunday for Father’s Day, we want to honor a few of our “fathers” who have helped make FCA what it is today.

Walter Chrysler: He launched the Chrysler Corp. in 1925 from the remains of the Maxwell Motor Co. In addition to creating the Chrysler, Plymouth and DeSoto brands, he bought Dodge in 1928, the same year he was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

1934 Chrysler Airflow sedan
1934 Chrysler Airflow sedan

Carl Breer: An engineer who, with fellow engineers Fred Zeder and Owen Skelton, were early proponents of automobile aerodynamics. Breer’s work with cars in wind tunnels (he found that then-current designs were more aerodynamic running backward) led to the creation of the Chrysler Airflow, noted for its slippery design and use of unibody construction for strength with reduced weight. The Airflow, marked by curved grille, windshield and fenders to smooth the flow of air over the car, was built from 1934-37 in two-door and four-door configurations. It remains an inspiration to auto stylists today.

Virgil Exner with the 1957 models.
Virgil Exner with the 1957 models.

Virgil Exner: He joined Chrysler’s Advanced Styling Group in 1949, ultimately becoming Chrysler’s design chief. Winning control of the design process from engineering, Exner and his staff created the “Forward Look” designs of the mid ‘50s to early ‘60s, marked by tail fins, long hoods, short decks and lowered rooflines. Exner’s design savvy helped ensure the success of the 1955 Chrysler 300 — a car that was a true sport coupe.

Tom Hoover, regarded as the father of the HEMI® engine.
Tom Hoover, regarded as the father of the HEMI® engine.

Tom Hoover: In a 25-year career at Chrysler Corp., Hoover had an impact on some of the most-storied performance milestones in company history, including leading the team that developed the 426 HEMI® racing engine and the Max Wedge big-block racing V-8; helped develop the Hyper Pak, a group of performance parts for Chrysler’s renowned Slant-6 engine; and was a founding member of the Ramchargers, a group of Chrysler engineers who were thrilled by drag racing and used their skills to boost the company’s performance image.

Tom Gale's design teams produced the "Cab Forward" LX sedans, as well as the Dodge Viper and Plymouth Prowler.
Tom Gale’s design teams produced the “Cab Forward” LX sedans, as well as the Dodge Viper and Plymouth Prowler.

Tom Gale: In 1985, 18 years after joining Chrysler as an engineer, Gale was put in charge of product design for the company. Gale and his team developed the “Cab Forward” styling look that debuted in 1993 on the Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid and Eagle Vision. Gale design teams also created the Dodge Viper, the Plymouth Prowler, the Dodge Stealth and the ground-breaking 1994 Dodge Ram pickup, as well as a series of lauded concept cars.

These are just a few of the people who made a lasting impact on the company that today is FCA. We salute them and all fathers for their contributions.

Dale Jewett

Do you know your blood type? Mine is 100 octane (not your standard blood bank classification). At any given moment, I’m thinking about cars – driving one, fixing one, buying one or (in my dreams) restoring one. So I love to tell stories that involve horsepower, brake and wheel diameters
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Do you know your blood type? Mine is 100 octane (not your standard blood bank classification). At any given moment, I’m thinking about cars – driving one, fixing one, buying one or (in my dreams) restoring one. So I love to tell stories that involve horsepower, brake and wheel diameters and 0-to-60 times – and the people who make it happen. Because behind every awesome vehicle are amazing people with vision and the desire to make it a reality. I cover Mopar, Dodge, SRT and motorsports for FCA Digital Media. I learned to drive on a 1973 Jeep CJ-5 with the rare Super Jeep option package and three-speed manual transmission. I still belong to the dwindling club of people who prefer to shift their own gears, and think the best way to drive is with the top down!