First year's worth of Dodge ownership

Justin Plant

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Okay, so first off never thought my first classic Chrysler product would be a 75 Royal Monaco. 58 Fury, 69 Coronet, 68 Satelite something other than what I have now. I love Muscle cars, most do. However, I love big cruisers as well. But, by and large I'm a GM guy. That said, I do see any reason to get rid of this car. Ever. I learned in the past year why ( I believe ) Chrysler went out of business, There's no good reason to make so many different everything. From window cranks to throttle and kickdown linkage. Nothing is the same. It blows my mind, I know others did this too, but the window crank in my 70 El Camino is the same as every other car Chevy and GM built for quite some time. Enough of that, I love it. I enjoy the search, this site has been invaluable. I have read and learned so much from all of you here. I've purchased stuff from some folks here that just isn't anywhere else. I did enter it in a benefit car show last weekend. Along with my El Camino. Didn't win anything, Apparently the judges were only interested in Tri 5 Chevys and Challengers. They swept up the awards. Plus, it hard to judge anything in the dark. Maybe next time. Thanks again to all of you. Happy Fall!

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Beautiful cars, but really, really big. hard to consider tha Royal Monaco or full-sized Fury when a Chrysler was available for a little more. I parted out a 75 Royal Monaco and it had everything a Chrysler had. Still have most all the parts, because the cars were not big sellers or big restoration projects. Nice rides, however. Enjoy it....
 

1970FuryConv

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Glad you are enjoying your Chrysler!

GM had different engines for different carlines. Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth all shared the same engines. I don't agree that Chrysler has less compatibility than GM.

Of course, I left GM behind after behind sold an 85 Eldorado 4.1 V8 that was junk, an 86 Chevy Celebrity 2.5L that was junk, an 83 Pontiac Gran Prix 3.8L that was junk, and an 87 Pontiac Gran Am that was junk. I am not an expert on GM, particularly 1990 and later.
 

CBODY67

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Starting with the Motoramic 1955s, GM and Fisher Body seemed to start using some standardized itmes across the GM brands. Like their outside door handles, sun visor designs, that distinctive "dip" in the belt line ahead of the rear wheel, etc. These styling cues identified the cars as "General Motors", and all that that meant. Not to forget the Fisher Body logo that was on each front door sill plate, either.

Each of the GM brands had been acquired by Billy Durant to form "General Motors" as an entity. Starting with Buick, then the entry-level Chevrolet (Louis Chevrolet was Buick's race team operator), and the other brands were already free-standing brands with their own unique identity in the marketplace. Then Durant brought other suppliers into the fold, too, as Albert Champion (after he left Champion Spark Plug) as a part of GM, most in the Flint, MI area. And things grew from there.

From new reports of the time, Chrysler did not go bankrupt due to "build variations", I observed that it's financial woes came AFTER "The Merger of Equals", when the mountain of Golden Eggs (amassed during the LH platform years of their very successful 1990s!) seemed to evaporate. Plus some of Lutz's financial controls also seemed to dmininish after he left, too. Followed by some very bad product decisions under the Daimler time. Think "Neon replaced by Caliber", plus the Chrysler Sebring models. By that time, the upcoming 300 was close enough to production that only some Daimler components could be used, rather than complete re-designs.

Chrysler, by itself in the 1990s, was very successful with stock prices which did double for several years, with each new product introduction. LOTS of excitement in the corporaiton and in the marketplace. AND they had amassed lots of financial reserves to fund future products well into the future, but one stockholder wanted MORE dividends, so he caused a ruckus about it. Plus Chairman Lee had retired and apparently "wanted back in", it seemed. So living in Vegas and being good friends with the stocholder, a plan was in the formulation stages. Bob Eaton got wind of this and crashed their "Donate to the cause" party being held in Vegas. And THAT proibably was the start of doing something to position Chyrlser Corp to resist such a stockholder revolt, I highly suspect. Eaton had been working in Europe and obvioiusly knew the Mercedes people, very possibly . . . and the rest happened as it did.

With GM, Fisher Body had been after the carline to have more unseen metal stampings common between them for decades, to save costs. This seemed to increase with the new 1977 models, I suspect. More cost issues were arising with the cost of certifying each engine family in the GM Powertrain portfolio, too. So they were playing the "fewer unique parts" game, too, as always.

But the amount of unique-to-carline parts depended upon WHICH carline was involved, by observation. In the 1960s Chevy cars, the focus was on "end of assembly line cost", so that was primary, but the cost of heavier-duty parts for optional engines was figured into the price of the option. End results, over a 10 model year spread, there was a total of about 50 differnent drive shaft slip yokes for various engine/transmission/body model combinations. In Buick, there might be three. Similar with Olds. Cadillac had fewer. Pontiac might have had 10. When the cost of inventory was considered, Chevrolet could have possibly done well with just 10 different slip yokes, but that was not their focus.

The interesting thing is that the more the GM carlines became alike, the lower the GM market penetration became. Saving money with fewer products made the financial people happy, but when GM market penetration decreased to below 20%, when it had been over 50% several decades earlier, THEN they got nervous! By that time, it was too late, no matter what they did.

Then there was the takeover of the GM Board by a Proctor and Gamble retired executive whose "Brand Management" orientation he finally rammed down GM's throat. Only thing is that HE forgot that people bought cars and vehicles on desires rather than popular utility functions. So he brought in lots of former consumer good executives to oversee GM carlines and manage them a bit. Bad thing was that brand management probably greatly-inflated GM's employee numbers, with what became (from my observations on the sidelines) "a parade" through mangement offices. Somewhere in that timeframe was an economic recession and some brand suffered more than others. As Cadillac needed rebuilding, Oldsmobile suffered along with a multitude of "Cutlass" models, for example. And things tended to go downhill from there. Which allowed Chairman Lee to tout that "ALL of the Chryslers now have a driver's side air bag as Standard Equipment" as GM had none.

The hallmark of original GM had been "A product for every purse". That worked great back then AND Chrysler's offerings also matched GM, product level for product level, until April 15, 1961 when DeSoto ended.

What MANY marketing types did seem to not observe was that for every product model/brand GM deleted, the import brands seemed to have anticupated this and had new models ready to arrive in that now-vacated model segment. AND they did well with that. Growing as GM downsized. When Oldsmobile died, that brand had a last-year's sales volume of MORE than some import brands had in total! Yet GM was allegedly losing money with every Oldsmobile they sold, even the ones with the very identidal production costs as the similar Pontiacs built in the same plant.

So, to me, Brand Mis-Management led to GM's ills more than anything else. Which looked at profits rather than real product excitement and innovations to build sales from. No real amount of innovative marketing can build sales on mundane products (which was what GM seemed to be focused on in the middle 1980s). Plus that "Not your father's Oldsmobie" ad campaign! What if Dad's Oldsmobiel had been a 1957 J-2 Rocket 88? Or a '70 W-30 "Machine"? There are MORE examples, too!

Just some observations,
CBODY67
 

Loadrunner

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Without getting too political but merely historical I've found it ironic that the Power Wagon "beat the Hun" only to be swallowed up by Daimler later. Headquartered in Stuttgart, which we'd probably flattened 70 years before.

Similarly, the Japanese handed us our @$$es in so many fields I can't count them all. Cameras, stereos, motorcycles, cars.

Some forms of warfare, economic, are obviously more effective than others, as well as infintely more productive.

Looks like Stellantis owns Chrysler now?
 
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CBODY67

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Chrysler is a part of the conglomerate "Stellantis". Which also includes many Euro brands which also have developed many electrified technology vehicle items. The Euro area has been under climate issues more than most over here are aware of, including restricted vehicle access to some areas. Other than the recent reveal of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee, it will be interesting to see what other vehicles are in the near future.

CBODY67
 

1970FuryConv

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Without getting too political but merely historical I've found it ironic that the Power Wagon "beat the Hun" only to be swallowed up by Daimler later. Headquartered in Stuttgart, which we'd probably flattened 70 years before.

Similarly, the Japanese handed us our @$$es in so many fields I can't count them all. Cameras, stereos, motorcycles, cars.

Some forms of warfare, economic, are obviously more effective than others, as well as infintely more productive.

Looks like Stellantis owns Chrysler now?
Yes, Stellantis.
Robert Eaton ended Chrysler's time as an independent publicly-traded American company when he sold out to Mercedes Benz.
Iacocca picked Eaton, who promptly ruined the company Iacocca saved by selling it to Germans who treated it as a cash cow.
Value when acquired $32B, value when unloaded $7B. Chrysler went bankrupt shortly thereafter in 2009.
 

Imperial dude

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I understand about the car shows, I went to one today (first one in awhile) about 70 cars, 4 69 camaro, a dozen tri fives( only 1 true Belair the rest were clones) a butt load of 90s to present mustangs, 2 darts, a 70 challenger a 67 Monaco, a 66 coronet, a 59 fury wagon, and a 64 Imperial ( mine) and yes the awards always seem to go to a tri five or a camaro guys, but what do you expect when you can buy every part reproduced at year one?
But who cares, I like to be different, I notice mostly old men check out my Imperial, probably thinking back to 64 when they wish they could have afforded one, but had to settle of an Impala or Galaxie
 
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Glad you are enjoying your Chrysler!

GM had different engines for different carlines. Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth all shared the same engines. I don't agree that Chrysler has less compatibility than GM.

Of course, I left GM behind after behind sold an 85 Eldorado 4.1 V8 that was junk, an 86 Chevy Celebrity 2.5L that was junk, an 83 Pontiac Gran Prix 3.8L that was junk, and an 87 Pontiac Gran Am that was junk. I am not an expert on GM, particularly 1990 and later.
1960 was the first year that Chrysler Corp tried to use the same engines for diffeent car lines. The 318 was a Plymouth engine in the late 50s, while Dodge had the 325 in 57 and 58 and the 326 in 59 as their base engine. These were totally different engines and very few things carried-over to other engines. Desoto had a larger base engine, and Chrysler in 59 and 60 Chrysler used a 383RB engine as base, 413 as an option..
 

1970FuryConv

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1960 was the first year that Chrysler Corp tried to use the same engines for diffeent car lines. The 318 was a Plymouth engine in the late 50s, while Dodge had the 325 in 57 and 58 and the 326 in 59 as their base engine. These were totally different engines and very few things carried-over to other engines. Desoto had a larger base engine, and Chrysler in 59 and 60 Chrysler used a 383RB engine as base, 413 as an option..
I should have said "Starting in 1960 C/D/P shared the same engines." I was thinking of c-bodies. Thanks for keeping me accurate.

Speaking of compatibility, I used to work on Dodge pickups a lot. 1961-1971 had the same frames and the same engines. Plus, 4WD components could be transferred to 2WD to make a 4WD truck. I had a 1968 Cab on a 1967 Frame, with a 1970 Grill on my 1967 Power Wagon.

Also, 1972-1993 pickups basically had the same frames. I've read that you can put a 1972 body on a 1993 frame, provided the frame was the same set up as 1972, without alterations. Motor mounts are the same. Everything. There's some compatibility.
 

CBODY67

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Back then, pickup trucks (i.e., light duty trucks, 1/2t - 1t) had major components which could be used for up to 10 model years, as cars platforms changed in somewhat similar ages, the outer sheetmetal could be different every model year. Some moreso than in others.

In a little bit less intense way, Chrysler Corp's engines were also brand-specific as GMs, which were extremely brand-specific. Chrysler used different engine sizes, with Plymouth being the smallest and Chrysler/Imperial being the largest. GM was similar, but each carline division had their own unique engineers who designed all of the mecahnicals for their respective vehicles. Main commonality, if any, was in transmissions, rear axles, and frames.

Interestingly, GM's engine heirarchy exists today, but in a somewhat different orientation than in the 1950s and such. Corvettes, then as now, had the most powerful engines. Which was "interesting" when the Turbo Regals of the 1986-87 timeframe arrived. Resulting in bumper stickers on some GNs and GNXs which noted "I Brake for Corvettes". But the Corvettes were always more accomplished at negotiating curves than the mundane-suspension (although upgraded!) GM Corporate mid-size car chassis.

The engine sizing to the carline had been in place for a good while (at Chrysler Corp) before the Gen I HEMI arrived, starting a bit in the straight 8 engines. Dodges had the "Baby Hemis" (which were known to break crankshafts in their earlier years), then DeSoto had the "smaller bore, longer stroke" Hemis, with Chrysler and Imperial having the "full-sized", largest displacement Hemis. And there were versions for light-duty trucks, too. Of course, the 1955 300 and the later 300 Letter Cars had the "meanest" Hemis. Then, in 1958, the B/RB engines were phased into production. After the "A" motors arrived in 1955.

In 1955, Plymouth got their first modern V-8, which was also shared with other carlines, too. I was not aware that the Dodge non-Hemi V-8s were different in other ways than just CID. Have to check into that. Uncle Tony has some very kind words for that original "A" motor in one of his videos. Calling it "the engine Chrysler should have developed" more.

First time I saw an "A" engine (301 out of a later 1950s Plymouth), I was amazed at the amount of cast iron in the main webs. Much MORE than a similar Chevrolet of the time! I'm thinking that the "A" motor could handle 6psi of boost with no problems, when I saw it laying on the workbench at my late machine shop operative's shop.

In any event, HISTORY we can all be PROUD OF !

Enjoy!
CBODY67
 
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Loadrunner

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"I Brake for Corvettes"

During the 1st Gulf War, I bought a '77 Ramcharger from a lot right next to the base, GI had fixed it all up and got sent, up for sale on the lot. A special one, 400, 4sp.

I got tired of the Holley 2bbl POS on the 400 real fast, scored a factory 383hp cast iron intake and carb, and man what a streetfighter.

I blew away Corvettes on numerous occasions in short drags, holeshots at lights, got pulled over in it lots, wild times.
 

CBODY67

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My somewhat fantasy was to have a 440 4wd, lock it in 4wd, and do a continuous burnout sliding around the local Sonic drive-in. And then watch as the K-5 Blazer 400 small blocks tried to do the same. LOL Neither ever happened, though.
 

1970FuryConv

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My somewhat fantasy was to have a 440 4wd, lock it in 4wd, and do a continuous burnout sliding around the local Sonic drive-in. And then watch as the K-5 Blazer 400 small blocks tried to do the same. LOL Neither ever happened, though.
My 67 Power Wagon 360, NP435, 4.10 gears would burnout nicely in first with the granny gear. Had to shift out quick or risk winding the rpms way too high. Problem was it got gallons per mile, not miles per gallon.
 

6pkrt

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A real good book about Eaton's sellout of Chrysler is "Taken for a Ride" by Vlasic and Stertz. About $3-4 used, $17 on Amazon. Worth a read.
 
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