On this day in automotive history, the founder of the Chrysler Corp., Walter Percy Chrysler, died in 1940 after succumbing to a cerebral hemorrhage.
According to AutomotiveHistory.org , Chrysler was born in Kansas in 1875 and began his career as a machinist and mechanic in the railroad industry. His railroad career peaked as works manager of the Allegheny locomotive erecting shops of the American Locomotive Co., also known as Alco.
His introduction to the automotive business would come in 1911, when he was approached by James J. Storrow, an investment banker who was critical in the formation of General Motors just a few years prior.
Chrysler made his final resignation from railroading to become works manager (in charge of production) at Buick in Flint, Mich., according to Wikipedia . He found many ways to reduce the costs of production, such as putting an end to finishing automobile undercarriages with the same luxurious quality of finish that the body warranted.
It was January, 1924, that the Chrysler 70 debuted with a six-cylinder engine. The car was marketed as an advanced, well-engineered car at a more affordable price than the competition. (Elements of this car are traceable back to a prototype which had been under development at Willys at the time Chrysler was there).
The original 1924 Chrysler included a carburetor air filter, high-compression engine, full pressure lubrication inside the engine and an oil filter, at a time when most autos came without all these features.
Among the innovations in its early years would be the first practical mass-produced four-wheel hydraulic brakes, a system nearly completely engineered by Chrysler with patents assigned to Lockheed.
Chrysler pioneered rubber engine mounts to reduce vibration; Oilite bearings; and superfinishing for shafts.
Chrysler also developed a road wheel with a ridged rim, designed to keep a deflated tire from flying off the wheel. This safety wheel was eventually adopted by the auto industry worldwide.