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Henry Ford II wanted a small, two-seater sports roadster for his company and, in 1953, his executive and engineering teams created the Vega. Alas, the car didn't have enough power, was "too European" in looks, and had a high price tag. The car never made it to production but inspired a different idea.
The Thunderbird was born in 1955, with more American style, a luxurious interior, and was marketed as a personal luxury car, which eventually created its own market niche. The T-bird went on to become one of America's most recognized cars, played leading roles in TV shows and movies (American Graffiti anyone?), countless ad campaigns, and even appeared on a U.S. postage stamp!
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For more than 100 years, the Dodge name has been an industry leader in the pickup truck arena. In 1994, with impressive credentials already in hand, RAM trucks introduced a second generation and, seemingly overnight, catapulted the brand into pickup truck infamy.
Ubiquitous on farms and ranches, at construction sites and hunting shacks, RAM trucks are firmly entrenched in America's landscape. Dodge began including the ram head logo on trucks in the 1930s and 1981 saw the first glimpse of the 'Dodge Ram' name, complemented by the wildly popular ram hood ornament, a recognized symbol of strength and toughness. The ram head first appeared on Dodge truck hoods in 1933 and stayed there until the 1950s. After a nearly three-decade hiatus, Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca revived the venerable mascot to coincide with the first generation of RAM trucks. The Dodge customer fan base welcomed the new trucks with open arms, but the best was yet to come.
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In a 1950's bid to make their presence known with industry-leading Chevy, Ford funneled millions of dollars into launching Edsel; a new, mid-range brand aimed to win over the public with fancy new technology and innovative styling. Led by none other than Henry Ford II and legendary family lineage, the Ford Motor Company harnessed the creative and strategic chops of America's most brilliant and respected minds. Heralded as the Whiz Kids, the executives, engineers and planners set out to boost Ford's market share. Unfortunately, their efforts proved to be a vivid lesson in corporate failure.
What Should We Call It?
With no shortage of good intentions and accompanying effort, Ford dedicated a considerable wealth of talent in producing the Edsel. As it turned out, there were simply too many hands and not enough direction. They couldn't even decide on a name, in spite of public contests and upwards of 20,000 suggestions. Eventually, one harried and impatient executive declared Edsel the new brand moniker, named after Henry Ford's son. It simply wasn't a good name for a car brand, yet Ford plunged ahead.
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In the mid-1800s, two boys were born to a hardworking couple in Niles, Michigan. John Francis and Horace Dodge grew up helping their father, Daniel, in his busy shop repairing marine engines. The boys quickly took to the trade and after the family moved a couple of times to Battle Creek and then Port Huron; they eventually settled in Detroit around 1886. John and Horace leveraged their considerable skills into machine shop jobs at boiler and typography companies, but their future held something on a much grander scale.
From Bikes to the Big Time
The intrepid brothers were inseparable and, as the 1800s came to a close, they partnered with a like-minded friend names Frederick Evans, and formed the Evans & Dodge bicycle company. The company's calling card was ball bearings, invented and patented by Horace, that were highly resistant to dirt and grime and wouldn't clog or freeze up. Not keen to sit still, however, the brothers soon left the bicycle business and opened a machine shop manufacturing parts for kitchen stoves.
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Mopar is the parts, service, and customer care organization within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which includes Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands along with Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Mopar has also been previously involved in the designs and builds for a small number of customized vehicles. In recent years, Mopar has assumed responsibility for the full line of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles parts, while also adding a variety of different accessories. All Mopar parts are original equipment manufactured parts for FCA US LLC vehicles.
The term "Mopar" was first used by Chrysler in the early 1920s prior to being introduced as a brand starting in 1937. The name itself was introduced by a committee as a label for antifreeze cans called "Chrysler Motor Parts" antifreeze. It's a small leap to mesh the last two word of that term into one word: MoPar.