Chrysler; UAW; FIAT; Walter and Victor Reuther; Ricardo Montalban; Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; Hill Street Blues; Walter Chrysler; Stephen King;
Last week, I posted photo and video tributes to Pontiac on the occasion of the announcement of Pontiac's discontinuation. This week's announcement of a Chrysler/UAW/Fiat/Obama deal/bankruptcy is not an official discontinuation, but the end of the storied carmaker is all but official.
Chrysler will now be effectively controlled by a combination of the UAW and the federal government, with a foreign automaker thrown in for window dressing. Private ownership is dead at Chrysler. While UAW control may seem preferable to government control because the UAW appears to be a private entity, UAW exercises many of the powers of the government, including the right to use force to obtain favorable contracts. The UAW is a de facto arm of the government. It was Walter Reuther and Victor Reuther, the UAW founders, that wrote to an ally in the labor movement in 1934, "Carry on the fight for a Soviet America." [Congressional testimony, 75th Congress, vol. II pp. 1659]. It appears that they have succeeded.
The last trace of the profit motive is gone from Chrysler and it is taking with it the last remnants of individual initiative and any need to please the consumer. From now on, MSM/DNC news reports about Chrysler will de-emphasize sales and "numbers" and will focus, instead, on glowing reports of worker satisfaction and benefits, the environment, dubious references to Chrysler's history, the need to "buy American," community outreach and revitalization and other non-business oriented items.
Chrysler will now be the politically correct car to buy. When you buy a Chrysler, your money will go first to the UAW where it will then be diverted to Democrat candidates for public office. If and when the other carmakers are laid low in this or similar fashion, Chrysler can fulfill the left's vision of making cars similar to the Euro-socialist models:
In order to understand what we have lost, here is a tribute to the Chrysler that was euthanized this week. As I wrote last week about Pontiac:
The point is that our civilization and our culture are composed of many interwoven elements. Even something as seemingly mundane as a line of cars can have an impact on our education and our entertainment. As our civilization is destroyed by the barbarians from within and without - as each strand that comprises our culture disappears, the impact will be felt far beyond the loss of any one particular item. Only when we see how far something like Pontiac had become ingrained in our society can we truly appreciate what we are now losing.
I include a very few of the Chrysler cultural references over the decades:
Christine - 1957 Chrysler
From the Stephen King movie, Christine.
Christine giving chase under fire
The Darts from the early 1970's lasted for years. It was not unusual to see these and similar Dart models in traffic well into the 1990's.
Chrysler always seemed to provide the vehicles for TV cop shows (with some exceptions like The Andy Griffith Show, which used Fords).
Here is the opening theme from Adam-12, featuring the 1968 Plymouth Satellite:
In 1981, Hill Street Blues debutted on NBC, with opening credits featuring mid-1970's Plymouths.
I believe these are 1974 Plymouth Gran Furies, but I could be off by a year or two. The show continued to use this opening sequence until the end of the series in 1987.
There were other police shows featuring Chrysler vehicles (e.g. The Rookies).
One of the most well-known examples of Chrysler police cars appeared in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963, which featured many car chase scenes and numerous police cars.
The photo below is of a Chrysler taxi from the final chase sequence.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
In the film clip below, the police cars are early 60's Chryslers (probably a 1962 Dodge Polara and a 1962 Plymouth) and the red convertible is probably a 1962 Dodge Polara. [The blue car is a 1961 Chevy.] You can also catch a glimpse of a 1961 Plymouth Valiant being run off the road at one point.
Someone has uploaded a Youtube clip containing only those portions of the movie featuring a 1962 Chrysler Imperial Crown convertible.
Chrysler produced its share of concept cars over the years.
1963 Chrysler Ghia turbine concept car
Only 50 of the Ghia turbine concept cars were produced. The idea of a turbine operated engine had potential, but mechanical difficulties prevented the concept from being successful. The design resembled a prior version of the Ford Thunderbird because the designer had recently left Ford to join Chrysler.
1958 Ghia coupe concept car
General Lee - Dukes of Hazzard - Dodge Charger
Of course, everyone remembers "soft corinthian leather" from Ricardo Montalban and the 1975 Cordoba:
Montalban later commented on this term and the marketing behind it:
Chrysler was saved from bankruptcy the first time (in 1980) by the K car (and a government backed bailout).
1981 Reliant K
In the mid-1980's, Chrysler pioneered the minivan that has become a staple of American transportation.
1984 Plymouth Voyager
And last, but not least, George Costanza's "Jon Voigt car" from Seinfeld.
Jon Voigt car - mid 1980's LeBaron
As I said earlier, these references only barely scratch the surface. Like all of the car makers, Chrysler has enjoyed many cultural references over the decades. These cultural items will not disappear. We still have copies of the old movies and pictures of the old cars, but we can only wonder what kind of culture we will be left with, not to mention what will be left of our industry now that Chrysler is a government operated shell. I cannot imagine the Euro-socialist cars pictured above forming the basis of classic movies or classic themes from TV shows. As the left destroys our economy piece-by-piece, the left also takes away our history and our culture.