Happy Fourth of July! To celebrate, we at VIP European Auto like to highlight the starting points of three American car companies to celebrate how far the industry has come.
Ford Motor Company
It all started with one man: Henry Ford. In 1896, Henry Ford had a vision to build a horseless carriage to modernize transportation. His idea turned into the Quadricycle. It was powered by a four-horsepower engine and had a tiller instead of a steering wheel.
It wasn’t until 1903 did Ford and 11 investors found the Ford Motor Company. The first Ford car was assembled in 1903 and, five years later in 1908, the iconic Model T rolled off the assembly line.
The Model T changed the world. Everyone wanted this car. To compensate for such high demands, Ford developed a new system: mass production. The methods allowed his company to produce the Model T in large quantities in less time.
This skyrocketed his business and allowed him to establish the industry’s first U.S. assembly branch in Kansas City, Missouri. He also opened the company’s first overseas production plant in Manchester, England.
In 1913, he introduced the assembly line, which revolutionized the entire country.
In 1919, Ford acquired full ownership of the company and jump started the American automobile industry.
It’s safe to say that without Henry Ford and his vision to get Americans moving, the car industry would not be what it is now.
Today, Ford is still a big name. Their most popular series is the Ford F-series, which is a line of pickup trucks. The series was first introduced in 1948 and has gone through 13 new generations since.
The most iconic vehicle from the series is the Ford F-150, which remains the best-selling vehicle since its release into the market in 1975. The Ford F-Series as a whole has exceeded 33 million units sold worldwide.
The company continues to manufacture passenger cars, trucks, and tractors as well as automotive parts and accessories. Headquarters are in Dearborn, Michigan.
Chrysler is not one of America’s oldest car companies, but it is one of the most well known. Opened in 1925, Chrysler Corporation would quickly become one of the largest car companies in the country, just behind FOrd and General Motors.
Chrysler’s origins are not as simple as Ford’s. It was founded by Jonathan Maxwell and Benjamin Briscoe, who developed the first Maxwell car for Maxwell Motor Company in 1904. However, the company was short-lived and as the 1920s rolled in, Walter P. Chrysler — who had resigned from the Buick division of General Motors — was convinced to join the team to revitalize the company.
Chrysler began to purchase the company and by 1925, it was officially under his name. With the purchase of Dodge Brothers, Inc. (founded in 1914), and the introduction of Plymouth in 1928, the Chrysler Corporation became a major presence in the American automotive industry.
Today, Chrysler isn’t the powerhouse it once was, but it still has a huge presence in the automobile industry. Following the Great Recession, Chrysler changed it’s name in 2009 to Chrysler Group LLC, in 2009, and in 2014 it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat SpA.
The Chrysler Dodge Charger is one of the most popular cars ever created. It is loved by many for its appearances in “Bullitt” and “Dukes of Hazzard.”
The car caught on almost immediately as Chrysler’s first official foray into producing muscle cars back in 1968. The Charger currently exists today as a much more modern version of the iconic automobile of the 1960s.
Let’s step away from the Big Three and take a look at the Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan, which opened its doors on November 3, 1911.
Chevy started slow due to their lack of inspired design and price tag. Their Classic Six models were nearly identical and came in at a whopping $2,150, which was a lot of money at the time.
Sales quickly picked up in the mid-1910s due to electric starters and lights. In 1916, Chevy manufacturing had grown to 70,000 units and produced 125,882 units the following year.
The following years saw many innovations including the D-series, Chevy’s first truck models, and phasing out wooden car bodies. Those bodies are now rare collectibles.
When the 1950s came around, Chevy’s 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air model was a huge success. It featured a power glide, was their first car with automatic transmission, and was affordable. But what really propelled Chrysler into the spotlight was the introduction of their 1953 two-seater Corvette sports car.
On November 23, 1954, the 50-millionth Chevrolet rolled off the production line: a 1955 Bel Air Sport.
On November 23, 1954, officials saw the 50-millionth Chevrolet come off the line, a 1955 Bel Air Sport.
Today, the most popular vehicle they produced is the Camaro. The Camaro has been a staple in the muscle car and pony car scene since it debuted in 1967. It’s sold more than 5.3 million units in 50 years and has earned the title as the all-time top-selling Chevy.
If you have an iconic muscle car or Ford F-150 that needs some TLC, we got you covered. Contact us today for a free estimate.