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Chrysler Firsts: Cars with Carburetors

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Daimler claims to have invented both the car and the truck, but Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot beat them to both, having made working, self-propelled cars and trucks starting in 1769, with three and four wheels and both steering and brakes, some in tractor-trailer form. However, the USA certainly advanced the art and science of making cars.

Zeder, Breer, and Skelton—themselves or their era

Fred Zeder and Airflow

The “Three Musketeers” (Zeder, Skelton, and Breer) under Walter Chrysler had pretty much everyone beat. After that, there would be another sudden spurt of innovation as electronics specialists were brought back from the Huntsville aerospace/military headquarters, and then another when AMC’s methods and people were adopted.



The silly stuff

The rest of the car

The 1934 Airflow did have a frame, which Carl Breer said accounted for around 10% of the torsional stiffness; it was only included because it was the only way they could figure out to actually build the car. The first true unibody was likely the 1941 Nash 600; this can also be claimed for Chrysler after the acquisition of AMC (which was Nash and Hudson). However, the Nash wasn’t really a modern unibody, because the sheet metal on the outside provided structural strength. Chrysler’s main unibody advance was switching every single car they made, mostly at once (slow sellers such as station wagons and Imperial came later), from body-on-frame to unibody—with no quality gaffes.

The first two-door hardtop is said to be the 1949 Buick, but Chrysler built seven Town & Country two-door hardtops in 1946—the same year Chrysler claims credit for a hardtop convertible.

Hardened valve seats: Actually, hardened valve seat inserts, these were unique at the time. Other automakers had the valves close on a machined part of the block or head, so owners needed valve jobs by 30,000 miles. Chrysler’s inserts allowed 80,000 miles before the first valve job.

Later, in the 1940s, Chrysler started using a “Superfinish” process on bearings which reduced friction and increased longevity; with this process, grinding marks were less than one millionth of an inch. Oil consumption was extremely low on the Chrysler engines, compared with, say, the 1936 Ford V8, whose owners manual told people to put in gallons, rather than quarts, of oil over the course of a year.

From 1952 to the end of carburetors

Chrysler used the first modern fuel injection system in 1958 (dubbed Electrojector by DeSoto); it was extremely similar to the systems used today. However, they did not develop the system, and due to materials issues, it turned out to be a major failure.


Brakes, tires, and wheels


Climate control

Comfort, safety, and such

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