Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Historical Timeline 1970-1979

Se​lect Period: 1800s | 1900s | '10s'20s | '30s | '40s | '50s | '60s | '70s | '80s | '90s | 2000s | '10s



John J. Riccardo is named President of Chrysler Corporation.

The Plymouth Valiant Duster is introduced.

The Dodge Challenger / Plymouth Barracuda “E-body” models are introduced.

Chrysler control of Rootes Group equity reaches 73 percent; the company is renamed Chrysler United Kingdom Ltd.

The eighteen-millionth Plymouth vehicle is manufactured.

Buddy Baker is the first driver to break 200 mph on a closed course in a HEMI® Dodge Charger Daytona stock car.

Society des Autos Simca becomes Chrysler France S. A.

The Cordoba de Oro, Diamante and 70-X concepts are displayed at the Detroit Auto Show.

Bobby Isaac sets a closed course speed record of 201.104 mph in a Dodge Charger Daytona after winning the NASCAR championship.

Sox and Martin HEMI® Plymouths win 17 major championships and are runners-up in all other major events.


The thirteen-millionth Dodge car vehicle is manufactured.

An “E-body” Dodge Challenger serves as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

The “Street HEMI®” is discontinued, victim of new emissions regulations and rising insurance costs.

Chrysler purchases a 15 percent interest in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Japan.

The Los Angeles assembly plant is closed.

Dodge imports the Colt small car, built by Mitsubishi in Japan.

Plymouth imports the Cricket small car, built by Chrysler United Kingdom.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Four-wheel wheel-slip brake system (Chrysler Sure Brake®), forerunner of modern ABS.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Automatic tailgate locking interconnected with ignition system.

The Dodge Dart Demon, based on the Plymouth Valiant Duster, is introduced.

The Plymouth Valiant Scamp is introduced, based on the Dodge Dart Swinger.

The Environmental Protection Agency awards Chrysler $400,000 to continue its gas turbine research program.

Bobby Isaac breaks 28 records at Bonneville in a Dodge Charger Daytona, reaching a top speed of 217.363 mph.

Chrysler acquires an additional ten percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors.

Richard Petty wins his third NASCAR Grand National championship in a HEMI® Road Runner.

Don Garlits introduces the HEMI®-powered rear engine dragster at the NRHA Winter Nationals.

Sox and Martin win six of eight NHRA events, then represent the drag racing industry at a Presidential reception.


Chrysler Engineering First:  Electronic ignition as standard equipment.

Joseph Frazer, former President of Willys-Overland and Kaiser-Frazer, dies.


New full-sized Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler models are introduced.   

Total industry production falls 24 percent; Chrysler drops 26 percent.


Chrysler establishes the first industry rebate program – “Buy a car, get a check.”

The Chrysler Cordoba is introduced as the “new, small Chrysler.”

Lynn Townsend retires as Chrysler Corporation Chairman of the Board.

John Riccardo is elected Chairman and Eugene Caffiero assumes the title of President.


The companion Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare “F-body” cars are introduced as mid-model year entries.

The Chrysler LeBaron and Dodge Diplomat “M-body” cars are introduced for the 1977 model year.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Lean Burn® system of electronic spark advance control.

The Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart are dropped from the product lineup.

The new Aspen and Volare receive “Car of the Year” honors.

The Plymouth Arrow, built by Mitsubishi, is imported.

The Airtemp Division is sold to Fedders Corporation.

The not-yet-completed assembly plant at New Stanton, Pennsylvania is sold to Volkswagen.

The U. S. Army awards Chrysler a billion-dollar contract to build XM-1 tanks.


The Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon “L-body” front-wheel drive sub-compacts are introduced as 1978 model year vehicles.


A completely new line of 1979 model year “R-body” cars, to be built at the Lynch Road plant, is introduced.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Articulated exhaust system for transverse four-cylinder engine.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Microprocessor-controlled AM/FM stereo radio.

Chrysler Chairman John Riccardo hires Lee A. Iacocca as President.

Chrysler’s European operations are sold.


The 400- and 440-CID engines are dropped.

On September 20 the Chrysler Board of Directors announces that Lee Iacocca has been elected Chairman of the Board.