Lee Iacocca

Died yesterday at 94.

He did amazing things in the automotive world which still reverberate today. Even more amazing, in making these new markets, he didn’t develop them from new and expensive designs, but existing platforms.

You had to have been there to remember the excitement the new Ford Mustang created. It had a build up – a buzz – for months before its introduction. Ford’s publicity was brilliant.

People were lining up to order it before they even saw it.

Then it premiered at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

Ford had far more interest that it could immediately for fill.

A few years ago, I read what made the Mustang so successful. It was a car that in various iterations had something for everyone. From a simple coupe with a six cylinder engine to a Corvette challenger on the track with the Shelby GT350. Or something in the middle with a fastback and 289 V8.

After the World’s Fair introduction the public interest was white hot.

The car was so influential, and so unexpected, that it took GM almost 3 years to design and produce a competitor, the Chevy Camaro.

And the Mustang was a direct descendant of this car.

It was simply a re-bodied Ford Falcon.

Which wasn’t a bad car but never created the excitement of the Mustang.

Which, by the way, was named after the P-51!

Besides being instrumental in  saving the Chrysler Corporation, 20 years after the Mustang, he created another new market, the minivan, from this humble and unremarkable car.

And with saving Chrysler with the help of a $1.5 Billion guaranteed Federal government loan, paid back the government 7 years early.

He seemed bigger than life.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Lee Iacocca

  1. Joe F

    He also came up with the K car. I know it saved Chrysler. But given what Chrysler has produced since, maybe it didn’t need saving.

    • Bill Brandt

      I have often wondered where Chrysler would be today had Bob Lutz been the successor. Probably its own independent entity.

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