Hammer Time: Bye-Bye Miss Minivan Pie

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

It’s heartbreaking. To see a major company that literally carried a healthy portion of America’s heartland go up in Euro-flames. I remember the beauty of it. The 1990’s minivans that completely obliterated their competition. LH sedans that were state of the art for their time. Cloud cars that had more power and road feel than their American brethren. Neons that were so good that even Toyota was jealous. Believe it or not, I still think the talent base of Chrysler is there. But to get it out…

You need a reality check. Chrysler has been lead by idiots for 10 years now. The few successes of modern times have been so limited, that not even the word Limited means anything at Chrysler anymore. Limited. As in a last gasp of breath before the good night. We all have discussed what’s worth saving (Jeep, Ram, and the Vans). But how about the memories? What cars will be the halo for Chrysler’s journey to the automotive afterlife.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Paul Niedermeyer Paul Niedermeyer on Nov 28, 2009

    On behalf of the editorial team, I apologize for this inadvertent double posting.

  • Supremebrougham Supremebrougham on Nov 29, 2009

    I have a few Chrysler memories. In 1983 my dad brought home to my mom a 1980 Omni with a 4-speed manual. Mom didn't know how to drive a stick. After a while she learned. That Christmas my uncle had died and we had to travel to Ohio for a few days. On the way back to Michigan something went screwy with the transmission. Every time mom would try to push the car past sixty, the transmission would pop out of gear. It was just me and her in the car, and she was scared to death. A couple of months later dad traded it in for an '82 Aires sedan. I thought the car suited our little family, but my dad hated it. It made a series of what my dad called "popping" noises that the dealer had no idea how to fix. That car stayed with us for eight months until it was traded for the new Buick that would eventually become my first car. Fast forward a few years to 1989, we had moved to Florida and my dad decided to trade his F-150 in on an '88 Dynasty LE. Now that was a nice car in it's day! I LOVED that car. It felt so upscale, and the Infinity stereo sounded incredible. Were any of those cars perfect? No, but I still have fond memories of them.

  • Keith Tomas Keith Tomas on Mar 13, 2010

    F++k 'em. They had their moment in the sun...they blew it...

  • Mnm4ever Mnm4ever on Sep 09, 2010

    OK, I am calling total BS here. Nothing Chrysler has made between about 1972 and 2005 has been worth crap. People mistake fond memories of experiences with the cars they had during the experience. The K-cars were utter crap compared to thier competition. They were sold to buyers who would buy anything Mopar, just like the crap from GM was sold to die hard GM guys and the crap from Ford was sold to Ford people. The LH cars were a vast improvement over thier predecessors, but compared to its competitors? Crap. The Neon??? Toyota was jealous of the Neon?? In what universe? It was junk, the only benefit was low price. The so-called "cloud cars"?? Total crap. All those FWD pony cars of the 80s? Sure, they could be fast, but they sucked. Everything they made in the 80s and 90s fell apart. Sure, the 80s were bad for everyone, but Chrysler was far from the top of the pile. Utter crap, even in a decade of crap. The PT Cruiser?? Sure it was a design revolution, I will give them that. But reliable? No, dont think so. Same old crap, poor execution. Just read the comments... most everyone who owned a Chrysler product had major mechanical failures. A few had decent ones, but I would most likely guess those people simply accepted component failures because of years of being conditioned that replacing transmissions is OK. Even thier new cars mostly suck. The few hits they have are OK, but nothing is top of the heap. The 300/Charger is a nice car, saddled with a crap interior. Its benefit is styling and the big V8. The G8 killed it in design and engineering, but it was too late. There are no import competitors for the 300, thats why it succeeds. The Jeep Wrangler will always sell as long as they dont totally screw it up, but we all know it could be better.... and once again doesnt really have any competitors. The Grand Cherokee was OK, but cmon, not better than its competition. But at least it isnt crap. The new one though does look pretty nice in pictures, but its also a Mercedes in Jeep clothing. What else do they have? Caliber? Crap. Journey? Nice idea, crappy execution as always. All those dorky FWD Jeeps?? WTF?? The Avenger? Now they were set up to have a solid mid-size partner for the Charger, people would have lined up. And they offer us that crap-pile instead. Thier minivans? They were on top of the world for some reason, people ignored how crappy they were and loved them. And they blew it, cant even stay on top of thier own mountain. Its sad. The Ram? I guess they are OK, but everyone I know who owns one has to replace the tranny, although the rest of the truck seems to hold up well. But why suffer? You can get a Ford or Chevy that does the same things, looks almost as good, and doesnt need a tranny replaced! Dodge guys buy Dodge, no matter how crappy they are, and thats who buys the Ram. Chrysler used to be great, back in the 50s, 60s. They had style, they were classy, they were fast. Since then, sure they had one or two winning designs. Not a lot, but a couple. The Viper was gutsy to make. Too bad they never figured out how to build on it with lesser performance cars. But everything they have produced since then was never as good as thier competition. it may have been acceptable, decent, OK, good enough. But better? Never...