Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 720 pages
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Walter P. Chrysler was a man who loved machines, an accomplished mechanic who also had highly developed managerial skills derived from half a lifetime on the railroads, and whose success came from his deep understanding of engineering and his total commitment to the quality of his vehicles. Here, Vincent Curcio presents a richly detailed account of one of the most important men in American automotive history, based on full access to both Chrysler Corporation and Chrysler family historical records.
Curcio traces Chrysler's rise from a locomotive wiper in a Kansas roundhouse to his rescue of the Maxwell-Chalmers car company, which led to the successful development of the 1924 Chrysler--the world's first modern car--and the formation of Chrysler Corporation in 1925. Chrysler was quite different from the other auto giants--a colorful and expansive man deeply involved in the design of his cars, he established his headquarters in New York City and built the world's most famous art deco structure, the fabled Chrysler Building. Because of his emphasis on quality at popular prices, the company weathered the Great Depression with flying colors and remained profitable right up to Chrysler's death in 1940.
The definitive portrait, Chrysler is a must read for all car enthusiasts and for everyone interested in the story of a giant of industry.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SiSarah - LibraryThing

This is a tiresome, long, unfocused book that lauds its subject with overly purple prose and winds on endless tangents. By its conclusion, I felt largely relief that it was finally done. While ... Read full review

Chrysler: the life and times of an automotive genius

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Walter P. Chrysler (1875-1940) is the subject of this splendid new biography by Curcio (Suicide Blonde). Although he established the mighty Chrysler Corporation (now DaimlerChrysler), there was much ... Read full review

Contents

The Land from Which Walter Chrysler Sprang
3
The Background of the Chrysler Family
7
Kansas the Plains Indians the Stage Coach and the Coming of the Railroad
16
The Birth of Walter Chrysler How Financial Corruption Built the Railroads What Texas Cattle Meant to Kansas
26
Ellis Kansas The Cradle of Walter Chryslers Life
37
Boyhood in Ellis
44
Going to Work at the Union Pacific Roundhouse
55
Working on the Railroad
68
Chrysler at Buick
215
Chrysler at Willys
261
Putting Together the First Chrysler Car
281
The Significance of the First Chrysler Car
307
Maxwell Becomes the Chrysler Corporation
323
Art and Color Take Over the Car Business
336
Chrysler Makes It the Big Three
361
The Chrysler Building
400

Getting Married and the First Big Break
77
Putting a Lid on It and the GoAhead Signal
83
Trinidad The First Major Responsibility
86
Childress Springboard to the Future
99
Oelwein Iowa Superintendent of Motive Power and the First Car
104
The First Manufacturing Job ALCO
117
THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE ASSEMBLY LINE
125
The Early History of the Automobile
127
The Development of Mass Production
178
GREATNESS
213
1929 The Crash
445
The Great Depression Hits the Automobile Industry
466
Streamlining and the Airflow Car
518
Labor and the Strike of 1937
558
How He Lived Summing Up
603
Acknowledgments
667
Sources
671
Index
691
Copyright

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About the author (2001)


Vincent Curcio, a veteran theatrical manager-producer, is the author of Suicide Blonde, a biography of Gloria Grahame. A long-time car enthusiast, he divides his time between Union City, New Jersey, Paris, and the White Barn Theatre in Westport, Connecticut.

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