By on November 19, 2010

Initial stock offerings, bankruptcies, brands being shuttered, established manufacturers being taken over by other concerns, financial crises – a time of turmoil in the auto industry. The time I’m describing is not just the present, it could well describe just about any period in automotive history. With the possible exception of the 1960s, when the Big 3 consolidated market share gained after the independent automakers were reduced to American Motors, there really never has been a long period of stability in the domestic auto industry. Even in the 1960s, Chrysler Corp. stumbled badly.

About a month ago Wayne State University Press, one of the leading publishers of automotive history books, sent me a box full of their recent titles, most of which concern the earliest days of the American auto industry: David Buick’s Marvelous Motor Car by Lawrence Gustin, Maxwell Motor and the Making of the Chrysler Corporation by Anthony J. Yanik, The Dodge Brothers: The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy by Charles K. Hyde, and Hyde’s latest book, Storied Independent Automakers: Nash, Hudson, and American Motors.

While reading up on early American automotive history and I couldn’t help being struck by a sense of the more things change, the more they stay the same.

GM’s post bankruptcy initial public offering of stock was a major step in the company’s revival, but stock offerings, subscriptions and speculation have always been a part of the industry. At the turn of the 20th century there were very few securities regulations and you might say that stock manipulation was a standard practice back then. While some automotive pioneers, like Henry Ford, Ransom Olds and David Buick, were tinkers and engineers, others, like Billy Durant and Benjamin Briscoe, saw a business opportunity.

Briscoe, who by hedging his bets ended up being the financial backer of the two companies that eventually became the basis of General Motors and the Chrysler Corporation, repeatedly tried to sell or merge the companies he controlled so that he could profit in the exchange of stock. Billy Durant was not just a superb promoter, he was an acknowledged stock manipulator.

After Durant acquired Buick, he used it to anchor his assemblage of General Motors, buying up car, truck and component companies left and right. Overextended to his bankers, Durant lost control of GM. He started a new car company fronted by successful racer Louis Chevrolet and turned it into a success. He then traded Chevrolet stock to reacquire control of GM. Durant at the time was backed by Pierre DuPont, who saw a double opportunity to profit. In one hand the DuPonts gathered money selling GM quick drying “DuCo” paint and the then newly developed plastics. In the other hand they reaped wealth from dividends and increasing value of GM stock. The DuPont company effectively controlled General Motors for most of the 20th century but they were forced to divest in 1961.

When asked about the GM IPO, Roger Penske said that his broker had subscribed to the offer and that, yes, he would be buying shares of the new General Motors. I would assume that some members of the DuPont family got similar calls from their brokers.

While the recent financial meltdown of GM and Chrysler burned through billions in cash, figures that would have boggled the minds of even wildly successful industrialists like the Dodge brothers, the early days of the auto industry saw their share of bankruptcies and financial crises. David Buick never really controlled his company because he was indebted to Briscoe. Because of securities laws passed since then, things have been pretty stable but before the Great Depression financial panics were not uncommon. During those low points in the economic cycle, like during the depression of 1920-21, even established companies like Nash Motors had difficulty raising capital needed for product development. That same problem would doom most of the independents in the 1950s and is still a problem for Chrysler today. Fiat’s intended IPO of Chrysler stock will be used to fund future product development in Auburn Hills.

Chrysler is only the latest car company to be acquired by another car company. I already mentioned Durant’s creation of General Motors by buying up other companies. Maxwell Motor, looking for production capacity, took over the Chalmers car company. Later, after Walter P. Chrysler took control of Maxwell Motor, he bought Dodge Brothers from the bankers who bought that company from the brothers’ widows.

Pontiac and Oldsmobile were not the first well established brand names to disappear. Maxwell was a leading automotive brand from 1904 until 1925 and was still selling well when Walter Chrysler took control. However, even before the company was reorganized under Chrysler’s name it was already making a car branded Chrysler and the Maxwell name quickly disappeared after the reorganization. Well, at least as a living automotive brand. Unlike most dead and orphaned brands, the Maxwell brand name had a benefactor, sort of. Comedian Jack Benny‘s penny pinching radio, tv and movie persona drove a Maxwell. The incomparably great Mel Blanc did the sound effects for the Benny radio show, including the sputtering old Maxwell, which became a character on the show. The Maxwell moved to television with Benny. In “Jack’s Maxwell Is Stolen“, the car is so decrepit that the car thieves return it a la Ransom Of Red Chief. More people today probably associate Maxwell with Benny than with Chrysler. Jack Benny drove a 40 year old car, in 2050 I wonder if some movie (or whatever they will watch 40 years hence) director will use a Pontiac as a sight gag.

Today, suppliers like Magna or Valmet can deliver a fully assembled car to the company whose brand it wears. This is also hardly a new phenomenon. Until 1914, when they started building and selling cars with their own brand name, Horace and John Dodge supplied Henry Ford with what were almost completed Model Ts. Though Ford Motor Company would later be famous for its vertical integration, making almost all components in house, in the early days most Fords were built by the Dodges. The delivered what we’d describe today as rolling chassis, and Ford’s Highland Park plant added only bodies, interiors and wheels.

In an industry that is well into its second century, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that history repeats itself. As the US Treasury starts to divest its equity in General Motors, the issue of government control of the auto industry is a contentious one. However, it’s not unprecedented – if not in the United States, certainly there is the cautionary example of British Leyland. Even in the United States there’s the precedent of the WWII era War Production Board. Not only did the WPB allocate war materiel production to companies during the war (I had no idea that there was a Nash plant on Plymouth Road in Livonia that built Sikorsky helicopters), in the immediate postwar era it also controlled how raw materials were allocated.

Today there are examples in the automotive and battery industries of government subsidies distorting the market and playing favorites. The Chevy Volt and the $7,000 tax credits for purchasing it or other EV type vehicles is cited as an example of such favoritism. Charles Hyde points out that in allocating a higher percentage of raw materials to the independent automakers right after WWII the WPB artificially distorted the market. The independents started taking more than 10% of the market. When the WPB was phased out in the early 1950s and controls on raw materials were relaxed or eliminated, the independents started losing market share. A price war between Chevy and Ford drove a few more nails in the independents’ coffins. Just as it was clear in 2008 that Chrysler could not survive without an automotive partner, in the 1950s the independents had no choice but to merge. Studebaker merged with Packard, Willys Overland with Kaiser-Frazier, and Nash merged with Hudson to form American Motors, later to acquire Jeep from the Kaiser Corp.

So it shouldn’t surprise us that much that GM filed for bankruptcy, reorganized and made a stock offering, Chrysler’s product lineup got stale, Pontiac is no longer, and that Fiat now owns Jeep. Like Kohelet said, there’s nothing new under the sun.

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27 Comments on “‘Twas Ever Thus...”


  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    You are absolutely right.  There were lots of fortunes made and lost in the auto industry in the 20th century.  Here in Indiana those with long memories will recall the empire assembled by E.L. Cord in the 20s and 30s with the Auburn, Cord and Dusenberg automobiles.  Cord’s companies built perhaps the most beautiful cars of the classic and art deco eras, and the Dusenberg SJ became the unofficial car of classic Hollywood in the 30s.  But it all came crashing down during the great depression.

    I would imagine that post WWII ushered in one of the most stable periods in the history of the industry, because pre-WWII was the wild west.  Ironically, today we as consumers probably have more vehicle choices out there than anyone since about 1941, if not before.  There is certainly much more choice than we had in the 60s and 70s.  For those of us interested in cars, this is a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Not helped in the slightest that by 1937 Erret (sp?) Cord was getting more than a little paranoid and strange in his behavior. As things were getting real tight, he started going off the deep end, ensuring that he wouldn’t be able to keep the car companies going.

      Cord was another mini-Durant. Besides Auburn and Duesenberg, he also owned Lycoming who was one of two best engine manufacturers selling to automobile producers (Continental was the other).

  • avatar
    windswords

    Thank you Ronnie. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And those TTAC posters who don’t know Auto history will post comments not based on fact. I have stated for some time now that ALL the US based car companies went thru boom and bust cycles. They ALL lost huge sums of money, had near death experiences, and came back to make boatloads of profits. Chrysler being smaller has had more dramatic swings but if you read some of the comments here it is them and only them who are continually getting into trouble while Ford and GM somehow keep making gobs of money, thus they should be killed off. Well folks that’s not what the history books tell us. In every major recession for the last 50 years ALL of the Big Three has lost gazillions of dollars. And laid off thousands of workers. And saw their stock prices drop like a rock. My economics professor had a term for it – what was it? – oh yes, Cyclical Industries. That’s what he called it. No one, not even the mighty GM was immune to it. Chrysler’s worst moment before Carmegeddon was in the late 70’s early 80’s when the US government co-signed for the bank loans to keep them solvent. They recovered in no time, just like ALL the big three have in each recession after WWII. But I run into people here and on other sites that think that Chrysler went to the government for help after 1980 and that Daimler “merged” with them because they were in trouble “again”.
    Something else. All of the Big Three have suffered from bad management as well, not just Chrysler. Henry the Duce (later years), Nasser, Roger Smith, Wagoner, etc. Yet whether unfit leaders or an unfit economy they have survived. That is something to be celebrated. The only unknown factor has been the involvement of foreign makers. It’s been both good and bad. It has taken away market share and market segments but it has also bought new investment money and partnerships into the market. Time will tell if this ends up being a good thing for the former Big Three or a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      There are all kinds of cyclical industries. GM went bankrupt, that’s way beyond cyclical.
      Chrysler did go to the govt for help in the form of loan guarantees. They did get acquired by Daimler and now Fiat out of desperation.

      Thousands of other US companies have come and gone since 1900 and most were not bailed out.
      You might ask for a tuition refund from your professor.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      We are talking history here not the recent Carmegeddon and the governments intervention. Chrysler was never in any kind of desperation when Daimler sang her siren song (actually it was Daimler who was worried about being acquired by someone else – but you have to read the foreign press to get the whole story). That debacle would not have happened if Robert Eaton formerly of GM were not in charge. Even the much maligned Bob Lutz knew it was a disaster in the making. We will never know what would have been if Lutz had been CEO and Chrysler kept the billions in cash they had amassed to get them thru the next down cycle. Based on my current financial status I would say the tuition money for my economics professor (as well as my other instructors) was well earned, thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      It’s true that all three of the major companies went through lean periods. But the bottom line is that Chrysler would have gone bankrupt in 1981 without federal loan guarantees, and was again saved in 2008-09 with a direct federal bailout. GM also needed a federal bailout to survive in 2008-09.

      Ford almost went under in 1980-81 and again in 2006-07, but it righted the ship without federal help. That’s a crucial distinction.

      Even during the relatively “easy” years from 1945-1979, Chrysler was much more of a boom-and-bust company than either GM or Ford. Chrysler Corporation sales sank dramatically in 1954, boomed in 1955, declined slightly in 1956, boomed again in 1957, and fell through the floor in 1958. That’s one heck of a roller-coaster ride for a five-year period.

      Chrysler’s sales were depressed through 1963, then they recovered through 1969, when it hit another wall, made a slight recovery during 1971-73, and then was devastated – far more so than GM or Ford – by the Arab Oil Embargo of late 1973.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      During the “gravy” years of 1945-1979, every time there was a major recession the Big Three lost money. GM might have made it without a loss when they had half the market, but I’m not sure of that. No doubt that Chrysler being the smallest suffered the most because it didn’t have the deep pockets of it’s rivals.

    • 0 avatar

      Geeber, funny that you should use that phrase.
       
      Riding the Roller Coaster

      A History of the Chrysler Corporation

      By Charles K. Hyde
      From the Chrysler Six of 1924 to the front-wheel-drive vehicles of the 70s and 80s to the minivan, Chrysler boasts an impressive list of technological “firsts.” But even though the company has catered well to a variety of consumers, it has come to the brink of financial ruin more than once in its seventy-five-year history.

      How Chrysler has achieved monumental success and then managed colossal failure and sharp recovery is explained in Riding the Roller Coaster, a lively, unprecedented look at a major force in the American automobile industry since 1925. Charles Hyde tells the intriguing story behind Chrysler—its products, people, and performance over time—with particular focus on the company’s management. He offers a lens through which the reader can view the U.S. auto industry from the perspective of the smallest of the automakers who, along with Ford and General Motors, make up the “Big Three.”

      The book covers Walter P. Chrysler’s life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925 when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation. The author traces this journey, explaining the company’s leadership in automotive engineering, its styling successes and failures, its changing management, and its activities from auto racing to defense production to real estate. Throughout, the colorful personalities of its leaders—including Chrysler himself and Lee Iacocca—emerge as strong forces in the company’s development, imparting a risk-taking mentality that gave the company its verve.

      How Chrysler has achieved monumental success and then managed colossal failure and sharp recovery is explained in Riding the Roller Coaster, a lively, unprecedented look at a major force in the American automobile industry since 1925. Charles Hyde tells the intriguing story behind Chrysler—its products, people, and performance over time—with particular focus on the company’s management. He offers a lens through which the reader can view the U.S. auto industry from the perspective of the smallest of the automakers who, along with Ford and General Motors, make up the “Big Three.”

      The book covers Walter P. Chrysler’s life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925 when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation. The author traces this journey, explaining the company’s leadership in automotive engineering, its styling successes and failures, its changing management, and its activities from auto racing to defense production to real estate. Throughout, the colorful personalities of its leaders—including Chrysler himself and Lee Iacocca—emerge as strong forces in the company’s development, imparting a risk-taking mentality that gave the company its verve.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I don’t believe that GM had an unprofitable year until either 1980 or 1981. Even Ford only lost money for one or two quarters during the 1958 recession, if I recall correctly.

      Neither company experienced the wild swings in market share that Chrysler did during that time. Chrysler management was simply less consistent than its counterparts at Ford and GM, which was reflected in its very uneven product planning, marketing and styling (not so much its engineering – Chrysler drivetrains and suspensions were always good).

      Plus, Chrysler, as the smallest of the Big Three, had the most incentive to aggressively exploit new niches and market segments, but that role fell to Ford.

      Ronnie Schreiber – that book is now on my Christmas wish list!

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    I wish GM would dry up and blow away.  You would have to be crazy to buy their stock…especially a second time, considering what they did to their shareholders this time.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    GM and Chrysler’s bankruptcy weren’t for “cyclical” reasons. It was because of a continuous loss of market share (to imports) combined with staggering retirement and health care benefits. That’s what brought them down, but that never happened before.
    GM made profits right through the Great Depression. It was much easier then to layoff workers without any residual obligations. If the Big Three had been saddled with the same retiree/health care costs combined with market share losses in the past, they would likely have crashed back then too.
    History may appear to repeat itself in certain limited ways, but there are always new factors too. And they may be the key ones that shape history in the making (examples: climate change, globalization, oil depletion, environmental issues, longer life expectancy, health care costs, etc….) Essentially, none of those played a significant role back then.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not so much the flexibility of the workforce as much as it’s the close-to-the-wall nature of corporate finance and operations.

      JIT, MIS and to-the-second finance allows a company to run very lean, but also leaves very little cushion should revenue suddenly stop.  The modern corporation is very much a shark: lean, vicious, capable and, if it stops swimming forward, dead.

      And make no bones about it, GM’s problem was revenue, not cost.  They were selling product for less than what it cost, despite their costs being reasonable.  This was happening partly because of an incentive-based war of attrition, but also because the products weren’t good enough to sell at a premium.  Profits on trucks masked this situation, but when truck sales cratered there was no cushion to fall back on.

      Back in the old days, you didn’t run this way.  You couldn’t, because the technology to do it didn’t exist.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      To me, the near-death experiences of GM and Chrysler were caused by the nature of the carmaking industry. You have a few big, cumbersome dinosaurs dominating the industry. New entrants are kept out by big barriers to entry. Since no old, failed companies are allowed to die, no new, successful companies can reinvigorate the industry.
       
      It’s a little like the airlines industry. I always liked what Warren Buffett said about that industry. I think it applies just as well to carmaking.
       

      Question: Do you still regard USAir as your worst investment?
      Answer: I made the comment that if a capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk back in the early 1900s, he should have shot Orville Wright. He would have saved his progeny money.
      But seriously, the airline business has been extraordinary. It has eaten up capital over the past century like almost no other business because people seem to keep coming back to it and putting fresh money in.
      You’ve got huge fixed costs, you’ve got strong labor unions and you’ve got commodity pricing. That is not a great recipe for success.
      I have an 800 number now that I call if I get the urge to buy an airline stock. I call at two in the morning and I say: “My name is Warren and I’m an aeroholic.” And then they talk me down.
      Warren Buffett

    • 0 avatar

      Paul,
      Looking down at my new phone that has web access, gps, a camera and an mp3 player, I’d be stupid to say that things don’t change. That the whole point of Plus que ca change, plus que c’est la meme chose. Situations change but humans don’t, and people keep acting the same way.
      Clearly the circumstances of 2008 are different from 1920. As I mentioned, securities laws and regulations create a far different climate. GM’s IPO yesterday took place in a market that is far different than when Durant, Briscoe & Chrysler were wheeling and dealing.
      While the circumstances change, there’s always going to be wheeling and dealing. There are always going to be economic swings.
      While GM & Chrysler’s bankruptcies were long coming, you can’t discount the financial meltdown and subsequent freezing of the credit markets in 2008 in terms of the timing of the bankruptcies. Would Ford have stayed solvent if they had waited until 2008 to try to refinance the company?

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    The big story in this is that the industry has always been in a state of flux. Companies were born, prospered or not, weakened then either were bought out or died. All this was done without government interference and without costing taxpayers a dime. People lost jobs and moved on to other jobs, again without any government help. Founders and owners made fortunes and lost them without running to the government for bailouts. All you statists and union zombies could see this but you just didn’t care. It would have worked out the same way this time too for GM and Chrysler and their suppliers without a bailout. Government cannot allocate capital efficiently can only destroy jobs and companies.

    General Motors in bankruptcy, taken over by its creditors, with new management and no union contracts would still be in business and out of bankruptcy and making more money than even GM’s cooked books now. Ford would be healthier with a broken UAW instead of an empowered UAW looking to hamstring Ford to help make their GM stake worth more.

    • 0 avatar

      While there weren’t bailouts, as I pointed out, there have been times when the government distorted the market through price controls, raw material controls etc. I’m not fan of the Obama administration’s policies but it’s not like the Roosevelt/Truman administrations had a hands-off-of-business policy.
       
      Right now the administration is picking favorites. Relying on gov’t grants or subsidies can be risky, as Firefly Technologies found out. They were hoping for some Energy dept money to develop the next stage of their high performance lead-acid batteries, but most of that money went to established battery companies working on sexier Lithium chemistries.
       

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Ronnie;

    Great article – and not filled with personal venom! I applaud you. Finally, an objective piece which is honest, true to history and straight-forward. As I stated earlier: “NO HATERS ALLOWED”

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It is interesting that we often cite British Leyland, but never the successful government/industry partnerships like Renault (and possibly Toyota et al, via the keiretsu system).
     
    GM and Chrysler’s situation is looking more like Renault’s and less like B-L these days, albeit at a faster pace.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The French government aggressively limited sales of Asian cars in France for many years. Renault benefited from a protected market, a boost not available to British Leyland in the 1960s and 1970s, or GM and Chrysler today. Part of Renault’s success was at the expense of the customer.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I don’t think the “aggressive limit on Asian cars” really applies, not when the Asian marques haven’t made significant headway in Europe as a whole, even to this day.  The real truth there is that Toyota et al didn’t have quite the soft underbelly available to them that the North American marques allowed
       
      Even if that were the case, you would have expected companies in other EEC member states (if not PSA) to have poached Renault badly, but VW, FIAT et al didn’t really manage that, either.
       
      I think it’s safe to say that nationalization can work when you have committed and accountable government with a real plan (which France or Japan has) instead of disjointed, limp-wristed contrarian policy (like that which sank British Leyland), or outright complacency (like AutoVAZ).

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Asian cars have been quite popular in Great Britain since the 1970s, and they have made inroads at the bottom of the market in the continent. French protectionist policies ultimately hurt the customer in two ways – it kept car prices high, and it gave French automakers little incentive to improve reliability. Even today, French cars routinely sit at the bottom (along with Italian cars – another market that was heavily protected until recently) of various quality surveys conducted among European car buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Asian cars have been popular in Great Britain since the 1970s, and they have made inroads at the bottom of the continental European market.

      Plus, French protectionism not only artificially boosted prices for all car buyers, it also removed the incentive for manufacturers to improve quality. French cars (along with Italian ones – another heavily protected market until recently) routinely place at the bottom of European quality surveys.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Excellent post and comments!

    I have been doing informal research on the early auto industry, and the rate of change was just staggering, and the only modern counterpart that I think closely matches up was the high-tech industry in the heady dot-com days of the late 1990s.

    Yet, as has been pointed out, there are significant changes between now and then.  Back then, direct government intervention in the industry (other than during the World Wars) was slim-to-none.  No local property tax breaks given, no legacy environmental cleanup or pention benefit costs to worry about, no worker-safety laws to fret about, no unemployment or workers-comp to pay in or pay out.  Now we have the US government choosing CEOs and determining which indepently-owned franchised dealerships are forced to close?????

    Back then, if you wanted to make things – first you went Back East (where the big $ was) to raise capital, then you formed a corporation, sold shares, and got to work.  You either made it or not.  In some cases, you failed several times before making it big (Henry Ford I, Durant, & many others).  I would love to go back in a time machine to this early era and just watch it all play out.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    Occasionally I will find a book on the carmaking industry from years ago. Like Wheels for a Nation: How America Fell in Love with the Automobile and Lived Happily Ever After … Well, Almost, by Frank Donovan (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York: 1965).

    The book is a scathing look at how in the late ’50s and early ’60s many carmakers tried to make money by screwing car buyers. It’s fascinating to see how, as you say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Unlike most dead and orphaned brands, the Maxwell brand name had a benefactor, sort of. Comedian Jack Benny‘s penny pinching radio, tv and movie persona drove a Maxwell. The incomparably great Mel Blanc did the sound effects for the Benny radio show, including the sputtering old Maxwell, which became a character on the show. The Maxwell moved to television with Benny. In “Jack’s Maxwell Is Stolen“, the car is so decrepit that the car thieves return it a la Ransom Of Red Chief. More people today probably associate Maxwell with Benny than with Chrysler. Jack Benny drove a 40 year old car, in 2050 I wonder if some movie (or whatever they will watch 40 years hence) director will use a Pontiac as a sight gag.
     
    If they’re smart they’ll use Oldsmobile in the same way a DeSoto is used in “Happy Days.”  Oldsmobile and DeSoto sadly found themselves with almost the same image at the end of their respective lives.

    • 0 avatar

      Yanik’s book is not immediately at hand to check, but I believe that Walter Chrysler announced the new Desoto brand on the same day in 1928 that he purchased Dodge Brothers. It seems to me that automakers were more cavalier with their brand names back them, discarding well established brand names in favor of new ones, and even renaming complete companies. Some of it was ego, like Charles Nash renaming the Jeffries company that made the Rambler after himself, or Chrysler renaming Maxwell Motors. Of course back then, the industrialists’ names themselves were effectively brand names with perhaps even more credibility than their car brands. Still they had a clue about branding. When Hudson under Roy Chapin brought out popularly priced and performance lines, they didn’t sell them as Hudsons but rather used the Essex and Terraplane brands.
       
      BTW, has there ever been a brand name that evoked an era better than Terraplane? Maybe it’s a bit of an inferiority complex, but car companies have long looked to aviation for styling and marketing direction. In the 1920s and 30s, the time of Earhart and Lindberg, we got the Terraplane, and in the 1950s we got Rocket V8s, Quadra-Jet carbs, and tail fins. Currently, FoMoCo is bringing Mullaly’s experience leading the design of Boeing’s first full digital flight deck to bear on infotainment and interior design.

  • avatar

    Larry Gustin is a very good customer of mine, excellent dude….class act too.

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