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Historical Timeline 1930-1939

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All Chrysler, DeSoto and Dodge dealers are franchised to sell the Plymouth.

Graham Brothers Truck and Dodge Brothers Truck are merged to become Dodge Truck; similarly, the Dodge Brothers car becomes Dodge.  However, both retain the Dodge Brothers star logotype as a symbol until the end of the 1938 model year.  Fargo is retained as a brand name for trucks sold in Canada.

The DeSoto Model CF, featuring a straight-eight engine, is introduced.

Dodge also introduces an eight-cylinder model.

K. T. Keller named President of Dodge.

Imperial begins production of an elegant dual-cowl phaeton.

At the end of its third sales year, Plymouth has risen to eighth place in national auto sales.

Safety Concerns (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde -– From an interview with Doug Fraser, retired president of the United Auto Workers.


A straight-eight engine is introduced for the Chrysler brand.

Plymouth introduces Floating Power engine mounts to reduce four-cylinder engine vibration.

Joseph Fields is named President of Chrysler Corporation.

The Depression mandates some corporate cutbacks, but Chrysler Engineering continues to add staff, reflecting Walter Chrysler’s commitment to product innovation.

Despite modest sales gains, Chrysler market share continues to grow; Plymouth leapfrogs competitors to go from seventh to fourth in national sales rankings.

The Chrysler Building is completed.

Floating Power (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde -– In July 1931 Plymouth introduced the Model PA featuring Floating Power – a radically new engine-mounting system developed by Chrysler engineering executive Fred Zeder.


Chrysler Engineering First:  Floating Power® engine mounting to neutralize engine vibration by flexibly mounting engines aligned with torque center of gravity.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Roller bearing universal joints.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Tungsten alloy exhaust valve seat inserts.

The Plymouth PB will be the last four-cylinder Plymouth until the 1978 Horizon.

Chrysler begins construction of an assembly plant in Los Angeles.

Dodge truck assembly ceases in Evansville, Indiana.

Plymouth achieves third place in national sales rankings, surpassing Buick and Pontiac, and adds a convertible sedan and seven –passenger sedan to the lineup.

Hugh Chalmers dies.


Production of the DeSoto is shifted from the Lynch Road plant to the Jefferson Avenue plant (Detroit).

Byron Foy drives the Chrysler Imperial Phaeton pace car to start the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

West Coast Dodge truck production is shifted from Stockton, California to the new Los Angeles plant.

The Chrysler Institute of Engineering receives a charter from the State of Michigan to operate as a degree-granting institution to train automotive engineers and provide technical training.


Due to lack of demand for eight-cylinder engines at the depths of the Great Depression, Dodge decides to offer only six-cylinder models.

Chrysler announces the Airflow, the world’s first streamlined automobile, available as a Chrysler Eight, a Chrysler Imperial Eight, a Chrysler Custom Imperial Eight (in two lengths), a DeSoto Six, and, in Canada, a Chrysler Six.

The Chrysler Custom Imperial Airflow CW features the first one-piece, curved windshield.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Use of aerodynamic body design based on wind tunnel testing.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Scientific weight distribution and use of synchronized springs to control ride pitch.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Body providing majority of structural strength.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Automatic overdrive.

Chrysler Engineering First:  One-piece curved glass windshield.

Fargo Truck production for export markets begins in August.

Airtemp Division is formed to manufacture heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment.

The one-millionth Plymouth rolls off the assembly line.

Chrysler purchases General Motors’ Wyoming Avenue plant in Detroit as a new assembly facility for the DeSoto.

Chrysler Airtemp (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde -– In 1934 Chrysler Corporation entered a field seemingly far from its automotive roots – the manufacturing of air conditioning equipment.

The 1934 Airflow – The First Modern Car (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde – From an interview with retired Chrysler engineer Gene Weiss.

Trouble and Triumph in the Thirties (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde


The three-millionth Dodge car is built.

Thanks to stringent cost control through the early years of the Depression, Chrysler is debt-free.

Walter Chrysler resigns his position as President of Chrysler Corporation on June 22 but remains Chairman of the Board.

K. T. becomes President of Chrysler Corporation.

John North Willys dies.

Renovated and expanded, the Evansville, Indiana plant begins production of Plymouth cars, beginning with the 1936 models.

Capacity at the Lynch Road plant is increased to 2,800 vehicles per day.

A plant is acquired in Marysville, Michigan.

The Plymouth Motor Corporation is renamed Plymouth Division; Dodge Brothers Corporation becomes Dodge Division, DeSoto Motor Corporation changes to DeSoto Division and Chrysler Motor Corporation becomes Chrysler Sales Division.


The Airtemp Division moves to Dayton, Ohio.

Chrysler reports impressive profits of $62.1 million and pays $2.3 million in year-end employee bonuses.

Chrysler and the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, 1936-1940 (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde -– In the mid-Thirties, Chrysler turned to an exciting new medium – network radio – as a cost-effective means of promoting its vehicles to an affluent national audience.


Despite its breakthrough design and engineering, the Airflow line is not a sales success; production will end this year.  Under the tutelage of K. T. Keller, who was stung by public response to the Airflow, Chrysler will maintain a conservative design policy through the early 1950s.

An export version of the DeSoto Six, based on the Plymouth P3, enters production at Lynch Road.

Dodge cars are assembled at the Evansville plant for 1937 and 1930.

A transmission plant is opened in Kokomo, Indiana.

The two-millionth Plymouth is built, and a Plymouth truck is introduced.

For the first time, Chrysler Corporation builds over one million cars in a model year.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Fully-insulated rubber body mounts.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Safety padding on rear of front seat backs.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Oilite® self-lubricating bearings.

Chrysler, Keller and the Union:  1937-1951 (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde -- From an interview with Douglas Fraser -– From an interview with Douglas Fraser, retired President of the United Auto Workers.


A new Dodge truck plant is completed in Warren, Michigan.

W. J. O’Neil is named President of the Dodge Division.

Joseph Frazier leaves Chrysler to become President of Willys-Overland.

Designed for the export market, a line of DeSoto trucks enters production.


Chrysler Engineering First:  Superfinish® to reduce wear on metal surfaces in contact.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Fluid couplings employed in drivelines to eliminate clutch chatter.

The new Fluid Drive semi-automatic transmission is introduced in the Chrysler Imperial product line.

Land is purchased for future plant expansion in San Leandro, California.

With wartime conditions looming, assembly of Chrysler and Dodge vehicles ceases in the United Kingdom.

All-new bodies are introduced for the 1940 model-year Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge and DeSoto cars.  This is the first year of production for the top-of-the-line Chrysler New Yorker, a model name that will last through the mid-1990s.

The three-millionth Plymouth is built.

Chrysler begins design work on the first HEMI® engine, a V-16 for fighter aircraft.

The Willys-Overland Plant in World War II (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde -– From an interview with John Rossbach, former member of the Jeep® product design team.