1920-1924: Chrysler teamed up with three ex-Studebaker engineers, Fred Zeder, Owen Skelton and Carl Breer, to design a revolutionary new car. They defined what the products of the Chrysler brand would be – affordable “luxury” vehicles known for innovative, top-flight engineering.
1924: The first was the 1924 Chrysler Six, an all-new car priced at $1,565 that featured two significant innovations – a light, powerful, high-compression six-cylinder engine and the first time four-wheel hydraulic brakes were standard on a passenger car. The well-equipped Chrysler Six also featured aluminum pistons, replaceable oil and air filters, full-pressure lubrication, tubular front axles, shock absorbers and indirect interior lighting.
1930-1935: Within a decade of its founding, Chrysler Corporation’s leadership in innovation had earned for it the label of Detroit’s “engineering company.” Chrysler’s list of early automotive “firsts” included Floating Power (a new method of mounting engines to isolate vibration), replaceable oil filters, downdraft carburetors and one-piece curved windshields.
Chrysler entered a higher level of competition with its richly appointed Imperial series. With a custom-built body from LeBaron or Briggs, a 145-inch-wheelbase chassis, a 125-horsepower engine and a price tag of $3,145, a typical Imperial of the early 1930s rivaled a Duesenberg in style, but cost only about a third as much!
1946-1954: The first indication of changing times at Chrysler came with the 1951 development, and enthusiastic reception, of the authoritative, hemispheric-head V-8 engine. The soon-to-be legendary HEMI® combined better combustion, higher compression and lower heat loss to create much more horsepower than previous V-8s. Close behind was the fully automatic Powerflite transmission.
Chrysler then reaffirmed its engineering reputation by commissioning a revolutionary gas turbine engine program. This 27-year campaign to apply an aircraft engine turbine’s smooth power and low maintenance requirements to automobiles became part of the Chrysler brand’s folklore.
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