1928 – It Was a Very Good Year… for Walter P. Chrysler

 

1928 Chrysler Six with right hand drive

Click on the anaglyph stereo 3D image to launch a Flash player and view the entire gallery of photos in 2D or your choice of S-3D formats.

The oldest cars at the WPC Club Great Lakes Region all-Mopar meet were from 1928. There was a 1928 Chrysler, made for sale in England with right hand drive, and a 1928 Dodge. It’s appropriate that models from that year would be at a show from a club named for the founder of the Chrysler Corporation. 1928 was a very good year for Walter P. Chrysler. The entire decade had been kind to the hard working engineer and businessman who had gained a sterling reputation restoring Buick to success. It started when he was hired in 1920, for a then unheard of salary of $1,000,000 a year to save the faltering Willys Corporation.

1928 Dodge

Click on the anaglyph stereo 3D image to launch a Flash player and view the entire gallery of photos in 2D or your choice of S-3D formats.

A little more than a year later, having succeeded at Willys, he was hired by Maxwell to do the same job. A few years earlier, when Maxwell Motor Company was going well and needed more production capacity, they entered into an agreement with Chalmers, wherein Chalmers would make Maxwells, and Maxwell dealers would market Chalmers cars. The companies were two companies were also financially intertwined, with Chalmers owning a good deal of Maxwell stock. Chrysler quickly righted Maxwell’s financial ship, then bought the assets of Chalmers for $2,000,000. He also put Fred Zeder, Owen Skelton, and Carl Breer, highly regarded engineers whom he’d known while turning around Willys, in charge of developing a completely new car, using facilities at Chalmers. In 1923, the Chrysler Model B was introduced, to great success. In 1924 Chrysler Motor Corporation was founded by WPC. It’s purpose was to sell Chrysler branded cars that would be made by Maxwell-Chalmers. It was separate from that company and could be said to compete with it. At the time there was nothing illegal about that. It really didn’t matter because Walter Chrysler and his associates had been acquiring Maxwell-Chalmers stock for the previous two years. In 1925 Maxwell-Chalmers ceased to exist and its assets were moved into the new Chrysler Corporation. Walter P. Chrysler may have been the most capable automobile executive ever. The new company gained market share and Chrysler became fabulously wealthy (as opposed to merely wealthy). In 1927, Chrysler Motors Limited was started in London. It was the roaring ’20s and in 1928, few anticipated the world wide financial depression that would start with the stock market crash of 1929. Flush with optimism, Walter Chrysler started not one, but two new car companies, Plymouth and DeSoto, in 1928. He also bought the Dodge Brothers company from the bank that had bought out Matilda and Anna Dodge, the brothers’ widows. If that was not enough, Chrysler started Fargo Motor Corporation, that same year, to make and sell commercial trucks.

 

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