By 1965, Chrysler sales had increased 65 percent and the brand moved from 11th to ninth place in national rankings. Models ranged from the “affordable luxury” of the Newport line (with no fewer than 376 trim and color combinations), through the high-line New Yorker to the sporty 300 with its 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine.
1971-1979: One design highlight in Chrysler’s rapidly evolving 1970s lineup was the Cordoba – a 115-inch-wheelbase coupe billed as “Chrysler’s new small car.” With its Jaguar-like front end, formal roofline and one-of-a-kind rectangular taillamps, it became one of the era’s most memorable cars – along with the TV commercials featuring actor Ricardo Montalban extolling the virtues of its “rich Corinthian leather” interior. Cordobas sold better than all other Chrysler models combined, inspiring other new, “smaller” Chrysler designs, like the LeBaron Medallion coupe.
1980-1987: The automotive “back to basics” era peaked with the 1984 introduction of the minivan. Chrysler Corporation’s most practical vehicle proved to be its most popular and eventually led to the revival of the Chrysler Town & Country nameplate on an upmarket version.
The design highlight for the Chrysler brand during this period was unquestionably the LeBaron convertible, which reintroduced the convertible to the American market and enjoyed a nine-year run as it brought style and excitement back to the brand.
1988-1998: In the late 1980s, new leadership at Chrysler, determined to return the brand to its roots of engineering and design excellence, decided to create an entirely new line of “Euro-Japanese-ethic” cars – and developed platform teams to get the job done quickly and affordably. The new product philosophy was reflected in the development of concept cars like the 1988 Portofino and the 1989 Millennium.
Chrysler’s renaissance began in earnest with the mid-size 1993 Concorde sedan, which was quickly followed by the full-size LHS and Chrysler 300M, the smaller Cirrus sedan, the companion Sebring luxury sports coupe and the separate Sebring convertible, and the next-generation Town & Country minivan.
2000+: The new millennium ushered in a decade of innovation and design accomplishments for Chrysler, most notably the launch of the iconic Chrysler 300C-the latest generation in a long pedigree of champion 300s built for excitement since 1955. When it was launched in 2005, the stunning 300C turned the eyes of the automotive world back to Detroit. And shone a new spotlight on great American design.
But the Chrysler 300C wasn’t the only shining example of Chrysler design innovation this decade-the introduction of the PT Cruiser fused modern amenities with a retro sensibility romanticizing an era of hot rod Model A wagons. And the decade was one of remarkable reinvention of the minivan. By the people who invented it. With our family flagship Town & Country receiving a host of technology and safety innovations to maintain its status as the minivan benchmark into the new millennium and beyond.