By on August 14, 2009

Originally published by Brandt Rosenbusch, Curator to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum and Historical Collection Coordinator for Chrysler Group LLC, at Chrysler’s Corporate blog.

In my role as Archivist for Chrysler Group LLC, I can appreciate in-depth research followed by thoughtful conclusions, even when the opinions differ from my own.

But I was struck by the untruths and general carelessness in the editorial titled “Chrysler Destroys Its Historical Archives; GM to Follow?” by Bob Elton, published on The Truth About Cars blog last month.

In the piece, Elton charges that Chrysler and GM “turned their back on their own heritage and destroyed a priceless piece part of our collective past.”

It’s my job to make sure that we save Chrysler’s heritage for future generations. We’re proud of the efforts we have made over the years to carefully preserve historic documents and make them available to anyone following a request. If Elton had made such a request, perhaps he wouldn’t have made such erroneous statements in his article.

However, Elton jumped on our recent decision to close the Chrysler Engineering Library, one of a series of necessary steps to cut costs, and then proceeded to report on numerous falsehoods that put Chrysler in a bad light.

Elton’s assertions that our previous owner Cerberus “eliminated (Chrysler’s) archivist position” is untrue, as is his statement that when we closed the Engineering Library, people were allowed to carry any and all material away.

As the Archivist for Chrysler for more than 20 years, I had initial and priority access to the material in the Engineering Library for my review, and I transferred all critical books and materials to our Corporate Archives. All historical documents were shipped to the Chrysler Archives, and most of the library books were sent to the appropriate corporate departments to utilize. I can assure you that the materials absorbed by Corporate Archives deal directly with the history of Chrysler, including but not limited to reference books, internal engineering reports and publications.

Following the initial review, our Corporate Records Retention staff then reviewed the remaining materials. Any and all material that was deemed relevant to preserving the historical relevance of Chrysler was sent to storage.

It was then, only after these two extremely in-depth and professional reviews, that Chrysler Group LLC employees – and not just “anyone” as Elton states – were allowed to take the remaining materials. This material consisted of duplicate reference books, periodicals, and trade journals – material that is not core to our goal of retaining Chrysler’s rich and storied history.

Elton also wonders whether Fiat knows of the existence of the Archives and if they think it is worth preserving. I can verify that, after several visits from Fiat management, they recognize the value in the materials and wholeheartedly support our ongoing efforts at preservation.

We have historical documents beginning with the 1902 introduction of the Rambler to the present day.

If anyone would like to request information, photographs or manuals from the Chrysler Archives, we can be reached at the address below.

Chrysler Historical Collection
12501 Chrysler Freeway
CIMS 41-011-21
Detroit, MI 48288
Fax – 313-252-2928
www.chryslerheritage.com

Chrysler has played a central role in the automotive industry, and will for many years to come. We want to protect and share our heritage, and with this article, set the record straight on that.

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27 Comments on “Chrysler: TTAC Archive Elimination Story Is Crap...”


  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    That’s not firing back, either they’re lying now or TTAC got the story very wrong and should run a correction and apology.

    Which is it?

  • avatar
    adonasetb

    Happy to see that TTAC published the rebuttal

  • avatar

    baldheadeddork

    We’re looking into it.

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    OK, the guy who’s been in charge of this stuff for 20 years (obviously not a “corporate suit”) writes you and tells you that you are wrong.

    And you’re “looking into it”.

    Sounds like more imaginings of nefarious corporate intrigue that just don’t exist.

  • avatar

    dkulmacz

    We take nothing at face value. We admit our mistakes. That’s how we roll.

    I’ve asked Mr. Elton for clarification. Please allow the author time to respond.

  • avatar
    paulie

    If true, this is indeed good news to me.
    I wonder if we would have gotten such an in depth reply if not for the initial cry of fire.
    So, although we all dislike false innuendos, misrepresentations of truth or vindictive writings, I hope this is true.
    And I have never seen TTAC back down from an official apology or admission of error.
    TTAC is bigger than that.

    Except when scolding me, that is.

  • avatar
    zaitcev

    Are you going add an update to the old post with a link to this entry? Verified or not, it’s part of the story now.

  • avatar

    zaitcev

    The link is embedded in the post. But you can click here as well.

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    I’ll be impressed if TTAC was indeed wrong, and fesses up and admits it… or even gives a quick “sorry ’bout that.”

    That said, if this were Ford, and TTAC was wrong, they wouldn’t admit it, because (I am convinced that) TTAC despises Ford. In fact, if we were talking about the Ford archives here, and TTAC admitted that they were wrong (if that was, in fact the case), I might just make an appointment with the eye doctor, because I would *not* believe my eyes.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’ve visited the Chrysler Heritage Museum. It’s pretty cool, I had a fun afternoon there.

  • avatar

    Vorenus

    I’ll let your comment stand. It allows me to make some important points:

    1. If we’re wrong, we admit it. Period. Regardless of the subject matter.
    2. TTAC is not a monolithic enterprise, Although Eddy and I account for the majority of the posts, and we have a similar “take’ on some if not most stories, this site depends on a network of freelancers. We do NOT censor their opinions, or ask them to adhere to a “party line.”
    3. I encourage anyone who disagrees with a blog post, editorial or review to make a comment or send me a full rebuttal @ farago@ttac.com

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    We take nothing at face value. We admit our mistakes. That’s how we roll.

    Props for that.

  • avatar
    rolosrevenge

    This is why I love TTAC. If they are wrong, they post the evidence that proved them wrong. I wish more institutions were like this.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Vorenus :
    August 14th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    That said, if this were Ford, and TTAC was wrong, they wouldn’t admit it, because (I am convinced that) TTAC despises Ford. In fact, if we were talking about the Ford archives here, and TTAC admitted that they were wrong (if that was, in fact the case), I might just make an appointment with the eye doctor, because I would *not* believe my eyes.

    As the former managing editor for TTAC, I can tell you that there is absolutely no institutional bias for or against Ford among the writers or editorial staff. Period.

    If anything, I’d have to go the other way from your assertion that TTAC despises Ford; Ford is one of the only companies that has a working relationship with some of the TTAC writers, is willing to invite people to press junkets, and give out press vehicles.

    I can’t speak for commenters of course.

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    Well, Mr. Farago and Mr. Berkowitz, thank you for responding, and thanks also for not deleting my comment.

    For the record, I’m not a Ford guy at all; I’ve never owned one. I’m just going by my observations here. Specifically, it seems that Ford is the only domestic manufacturer that has any brightness in its future (regardless of how small that patch of brightness may be), but when there’s positive Ford news, TTAC is quick to give it the “yeah, but…” treatment.

    Now, regarding Mr. Farago’s assertion that he encourages “anyone who disagrees with a blog post, editorial or review to make a comment or send [him] a full rebuttal @ farago@ttac.com,” I would respond that the TTAC administrators should really take a look at what constitutes a violation of the site’s no flaming policy, because I have seen cases where comments criticizing the content of a POST (and *not* its author) have been deleted rather expeditiously.

    I can get behind a policy that stands against personal attacks, but if you’re telling me to post my disagreements with one sentence, while deleting our disagreeing posts with your free hand, then something’s not right.

    And yes, I realize this has been discussed here before. I even listened to the podcast wherein this was discussed by Mr. Farago and Mr. Berkowitz, but while they agreed that there’s a fine line dividing the posts that violate the no flaming policy and those that do not, they never really came around to pinpointing that line’s location. To me, either it’s personal, or it’s not. For example… Personal: “You’re a crazy fool for not liking the Subaru Forester XT.” Not Personal: “I disagree with your opinion of the Subaru Forester XT.”

    To me, the difference there couldn’t be any more clear, but based on the post deleting behavior I’ve seen on TTAC, it’s not so clear to the site administrators.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’m left wondering, did noted automotive historian Bob Elton get the essentials of his story right or wrong?

  • avatar
    Buick61

    How did TTAC get it so, so very wrong?

    It wasn’t just a little wrong, it was exceedingly wrong.

    And to add insult to the misinformation, GM’s name was dragged through the mud (even in the title of the post!) for absolutely no good reason. GM had nothing to do with this story. And “story” was the correct word to use.

    But, good of you guys to post this response.

  • avatar
    paulie

    Hey, look.
    Simply giving us this latest update for the previous story, to me, is a very STAND UP thing to do.
    Its all good.
    And this sight isn’t anti Ford, just Lincoln/Mercury (lol)
    Infact, it allowed Baruth to give the Flex 5 stars!
    I think the Taurus got 4.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    And yes, I realize this has been discussed here before. I even listened to the podcast wherein this was discussed by Mr. Farago and Mr. Berkowitz, but while they agreed that there’s a fine line dividing the posts that violate the no flaming policy and those that do not, they never really came around to pinpointing that line’s location.

    As one who has been warned a few times, I can tell you that, initially, it’s a difficult line to discern. (Quite different than most other web forums) Yet I have to say that RF is pretty fair about it. Unless you’ve gone way way over the line, you’ll get a warning and your post deleted, but you survive to post another day. In time you learn what will fly and what won’t. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to leave it to RF’s discretion rather than try to formulate bright line rules.

  • avatar
    50merc

    It is a very great pleasure to read Mr. Rosenbusch’s letter, and to learn that Chrysler Group LLC is preserving the records of its long and momentous history.

    Incidentally, once I owned a ’28 Nash and wrote to AMC to inquire if they could tell me anything about that year’s models. They promptly sent me a large packet of wonderful materials. Archivists are good people!

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    I bet it really startles the (error-admitting averse) corporate clowns when TTAC is willing to admit error.

    Chrysler has played a central role in the automotive industry, and will for many years to come. We want to protect and share our heritage, and with this article, set the record straight on that.

    I always get a kick out of the irony of such statements. This is what pops into my head:

    “Chrysler has played a follower-role in the automotive industry, and will continue to be passed around among the stupid-rich and anyone else who cares to buy us, till we just can’t get no more of them bail-outs, for years to come. We want to protect and share this wonderful, occasionally leading, but predominantly reactionary, third-runner up heritage of being the bottom of the Big-3, during which we did more than our part to kill the American auto industry in the eyes of the buying public. We want to set the record straight.”

  • avatar

    Actually, TTAC wouldn’t have had to admit error had the writer simply checked with the company.

  • avatar

    newsslinger:

    Once again, I ask your patience while we check with our writer. If we’ve made a mistake, we will issue a full retraction.

  • avatar
    WetWilly

    Once again, I ask your patience while we check with our writer.

    Absolutely. In fact, the more interesting story might be finding out where Bob Eaton got his info from.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Detroit-X:

    “Chrysler has played a follower-role in the automotive industry…”

    You need to bone up more on your history. Chrysler has been far from a simple follower in it’s history. It was even the number two automaker in sales for a significant time. If you want to know about Chrysler’s history, it’s innovations, it’s more than occasionally leading of the industry, then I invite you to peruse Allpar.com for some illuminating information, including Chrysler’s role in developing the first atomic bomb and it’s role in Nasa’s quest to put a man on the moon:

    http://www.allpar.com/corporate/technology.html
    http://www.allpar.com/history/marine.html
    http://www.allpar.com/corporate/airtemp.php
    http://www.allpar.com/history/military/a-bomb.html
    http://www.allpar.com/history/military/chrysler-and-NASA.html

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    windswords

    So I wasn’t funny?

    I did say “occasionally leading” right? So I acknowledge Chrysler hasn’t been all bad. I read my history books. I was speaking mainly of the “quality/dependability observations” in my lifetime (post early 60′s).

    I loved the GLH Turbo era. The minivans were an amazing hit. Their truck remake years ago was spot on, and I still love the 300 styling better than any sedan. But now that I reflect on it, I think their greatest (recent) accomplishment was to get the Dailmer to blow $39B on them, and then Cerberus’s bucks. Wow.

    Anyway, your point is known/taken. I was mainly trying to be funny/entertaining in a SNL sort of way, responding to a “corporate suit’s” generic, committee-approved spew.

    I’m sorry that I raised your ire.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Detroit-X,

    As you may know, sarcasm is hard to interpret sometimes on a blog posting. Sorry if I mis-intrpreted your remarks. But hopefully someone will take a look at the links and learn something about Chrysler’s history. For a company that was number 3 for most (but not all) of it’s history it has produced a surprising number of innovations (I guess when you’re number 2 or 3 you really do try harder!).


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