Although it might be hard to remember now, but the last twenty years in the life of the Chrysler Corporation has seen some of the most innovative and time tested designs ever set forth on the American automotive landscape. Sure, there have been quality issues here and there but for design bravura few automakers can lay a finger on the bold shapes featured regularly on Chrysler Corporation products.
Chrysler, the company embodies everything from Jeep to Dodge to the now deceased Plymouth to the flagship nameplate itself. Chrysler may now be under the stewardship of Italy’s Fiat, but that isn’t to say bold design will fall by the wayside. The Fiat is world renowned, as well, for having some of the most stylish and innovative designs on the market today.
The Fiat/Chrysler union will be put to the greatest test when the American public is finally allowed to see what sort of product mix that this unlikely pair will unleash upon our streets. One thing can be counted on for certain, however, and that is that it definitely won’t be boring.
Jeep Cherokee–Give credit where credit is due. This is the grand-daddy of all SUVs and old ones still look ruggedly cool is a squared off, macho sort of way. They may have had fuel-inefficient 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines that ran pretty rough and were a bit underpowered but who cares when you they still look so cool?
Dodge Viper–This giant phallic-snake of a sports car was over-the-top in every respect including the hugely overpowered truck-based V10 engine. The suspension of the Viper is super firm and handling can only be best described as tricky but few exotic cars get as many double takes from passer-by as Dodge Vipers no matter what the vintage. They are also surprisingly robust and reliable for a high powered exotic thanks to the bomb proof V10 motor and cement truck strong manual transmission.
Plymouth Prowler–Granted, it had a pretty weak 6 cylinder engine under the hood and the only celebrity credibility given to this 50’s style hot-rod ragtop was that Lance Bass owned one. Yes, Lance Bass from ‘Nsync (don’t ask how I know that). Still, Chrysler only made very few copies of this vehicle so it is highly collectible.
Dodge Caravan–Ever since its introduction in the mid-1980’s Chrysler has continued to introduce highly innovative features in the quintessential family carry-all. The pinnacle of this innovation was the Stow n’ Go system which allowed the middle seats to disappear entirely into compartments in the floor so owners would never have to find seat storage room in their garages. So clever.
Dodge Challenger (2010 version)–Okay, it doesn’t steer or handle as well as a Camaro or Mustang and it is ridiculously hard to see out of but this muscle car is the epitome of cool.
Chrysler 300C–This sedan very nearly was the savior of the company much like the Caravan but in such a fractured new car market it is impossible nowadays for one car to perform such a miraculous feat. A fine full size American luxury sedan based on Mercedes mechanicals. Best ordered with the all-American Hemi 5.7 liter V8 engine.
Dodge Ram Pickup–If you want a fancy interior and clever features you buy an F-150, if you have no soul you buy a Chevy Silverado but if you want to look bad-ass and intimidate other drivers you buy a Dodge Ram.
Jeep Grand Cherokee–Truly innovative at the time of its introduction with the levels of car-like comfort and luxury on offer. A true ride and handling revelation compared to the original Cherokee and the styling has also stood the test of time.
Jeep Wrangler–The only Chrysler product whose sales continued to rise even during their pre-Fiat bankruptcy proceedings. There is a huge cult of Wrangler owners who love this off-road darling that will guarantee its popularity for generations to come.
Dodge Intrepid (LH Sedans)–Okay, the quality may have been terrible but their “cab-forward” design was revolutionary in the 1990’s. Admit it, you thought the Intrepid and its three clones looked snappy.