Over Here - Series II
By: Web Editor
Mopar lovers rejoice! This month’s nostalgic look back at Yanks on the roads of Sixties Britain concentrates on Mother Mopar...
You’ll remember (I hope) that I recalled last month how my two favourite car makers as a youngster were Buick and Chrysler. We looked at Buicks then – now it’s the turn of Chrysler. We’re talking about the Virgil Exner era at Chrysler Corporation – he had moved there in the early Fifties and left in 1961 following the down-sizing debacle, when Mopar’s industrial spies got it all wrong and told their masters that Ford and GM were going to shrink their cars for ’62. What we actually got were the Ford Fairlane intermediate and Chevrolet’s Chevy II compact – and full-size cars as before.
I’ve banged on about Exner on many occasions – you’re probably bored with it by now. But I did fall in love with his quirky, distinctive ideas as a kid, and I still love them today. With the lead time on car production, his styles didn’t disappear from Mopar vehicles until 1964 or 65 – the ’64 Imperial was the first real all-new effort from his successor, Elwood P Engle. And even the biggest Chevy fan has to admit that the ’57 Plymouth was far in advance of the ’57 Chevy, style-wise – the slogan was ‘suddenly it’s 1960’, and it wasn’t far wrong!
And through much of the time we’re reviewing, Chrysler engineering was the envy of the industry, from the amazing hemi engines to the superb auto transmissions, especially the smooth and bullet-proof Torqueflite. Sometimes, build quality let them down, with doors that didn’t quite fit right and bits of trim that fell off – but I still love ’em! I hope you’ll love this little selection, too. Chryslers were even rarer when I was a teenager than Buicks, by quite a margin, but I’ve managed to put a decent number together for you. I’ve included a few Imperials to make up the numbers, although the luxury car was strictly a separate make from 1955 until 1974.
Words & Photography: Steve Miles
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Current Issue: June 2013
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