Featured Articles

Chrysler Asks, ‘Whatever Happened To Style?’

Posted in Chrysler, Design, General, Videos by Kurt Ernst | January 24th, 2011 | 5 Responses |

American cars used to be known for their style, for their engineering and for their build quality. The U.S. big three set the standard for automotive fashion, and Chrysler was a one-time design leader in the automotive industry. Take the 1934 Chrysler Airflow which brought streamlining to the automobile and was years ahead of its time. The 1951 Chrysler K-310 concept car is as stunning today as when it was penned, and the original Chrysler 300s were icons of both design and performance. Even into the late sixties and early seventies, Chrysler brought us cars like the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and the Plymouth Barracuda. By the end of the seventies, though, something had gone horribly wrong.

I’d be hard pressed to name a truly memorable Chrysler design of the last 20 years, so I can completely understand Chrysler’s perspective with their latest ad. The new 300 is a cleaner design than the model it replaces, and the 200 is nicer than the outgoing Sebring, but I wouldn’t call either a benchmark of American design. Fiat’s influence should help in the coming years, but I think Chrysler would be better served by emphasizing the improvements in the 200 versus just the change in sheet metal. Nostalgia, if you ask me, is what you promote when you have nothing else left.

Our Best Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 Responses

  1. Lewis deSoto says:

    I think it oddly appropriate that the Italians are influencing Chrysler now. In the 1950’s Virgil Exner sought out Italian design and construction techniques to create cars like the 1955 Chrysler 300, Imperial and New Yorker. Chrysler’s support of the Italian industry during the early 50’s kept a lot of people at Ghia at work. That Italian flair should return to Chrysler seems appropriate.

  2. Kurt Ernst says:

    Lewis, I agree with you. I think the marriage with Fiat may turn out to be a good thing for Chrysler after all.

  3. BigRuss says:

    yeah Chrysler has made some stylish cars in the past few years… and i hope they re-design the 300 cause its not that good looking… i can list on 1 hand the stylish cars they have had in the past decade

    1. Prowler
    2. PT ragtop (it just looked so damn good) with the turbo… not the regular model
    3. 300 SRT8
    4. Crossfire SRT6

  4. Taylor says:

    It’s not just the American cars that have failed in the style aspect of car manufacture. All have gone the way of the jelly bean due to ever tougher standards imposed by the government of the past few decades.

    The BMW 2000 looked like it was moving even while standing still. Look what has happened to them.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Taylor, I hear you. I used to refer to the Z4 as the “Margaret Thatcher of automobiles”, since they were equally attractive. Actually, that’s kind of harsh to Margaret Thatcher…