Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

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Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby action » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:55 pm

Lee Iacocca passed away this morning at the age of 94.

He had impact on Lincolns as Executive Vice President of Ford from 1967 to 1978. Notable for bringing back the Continental Mark III in the 1969 model year. After a nine year absence of the Mark series. An interesting note about the Mark III that came out in 1969. The word Lincoln is not found on the car at all. No badging that has the word Lincoln!

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a2827 ... -obituary/


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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby papawayne » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:33 am

Sorry to hear about Mr. Iacocca. I'm sure the Chrysler people will be missing him, too. It is curious to me that many Lincolns do not seem to have the word Lincoln in prominent places. My 63 only has it on the glove box. Nothing on the outside of the car. This was back in the day (maybe?) when Lincolns were easily recognized by the general public, so it was not necessary to put the word on the outside? Just thinking out loud, here. Wayne
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby ContiFan » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:03 am

action wrote:He had impact on Lincolns as Executive Vice President of Ford from 1967 to 1978. Notable for bringing back the Continental Mark III in the 1969 model year. After a nine year absence of the Mark series. An interesting note about the Mark III that came out in 1969. The word Lincoln is not found on the car at all. No badging that has the word Lincoln!

Although the Continental division had been gone for a decade, I think they still wanted to market the Mark III more as a Continental than a Lincoln model. Some have tried to argue the Marks from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s weren't Lincolns at all but rather Continentals even though no Continental division/brand officially existed.
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby ContiFan » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:06 am

papawayne wrote:It is curious to me that many Lincolns do not seem to have the word Lincoln in prominent places. My 63 only has it on the glove box. Nothing on the outside of the car. This was back in the day (maybe?) when Lincolns were easily recognized by the general public, so it was not necessary to put the word on the outside? Just thinking out loud, here. Wayne

Over the decades, there have been a number of examples of cars being marketed with few if any brand name badging. Most recently (a little over a year ago), GM announced that they were eliminating Buick nameplate badging on Buicks starting in 2019.
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby JonW » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:07 pm

Sadly, there are no more visionaries like Lido in the car business. Men like Iacocca, Bob Lutz, John DeLorean and others who had the drive to succeed and the ability to build cars that people actually wanted to buy are sorely missed. RIP Mr. Iacocca.
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby TonyC » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:05 am

Funny how I missed that! I must have had the radio off that day, because I'm sure that had to be big news that day. I may be the only one who won't cater to the fawning over Lido, but I'll give credit where credit is due (and none where it isn't). Let's not forget the Pinto, even though I'm sure we would like to; that was his doing. I'm not going to definitively place that debacle as the primary reason for the feud between him and "The Deuce," but it was without doubt a contributor to his expulsion from Ford.

Granted, he was quite a salesman; he could sell ice cubes to Lucifer. But much of what he is credited for is either overrated or misleading. The Mustang is a perfect example of that: He did not have anything to do with the creation of the Mustang; John Najjar created the Mustang, including the name. Lido only marketed them...granted there's nothing "only" about the the Mustang's marketing—Lido pulled that off with unequaled proficiency. But, Lido did have a good idea with the Mark III; at a time when "personal-luxury" or "luxury-sport" cars were in vogue, he came up with a nuclear-hot product that would, in short order, obscure GM's star offering, the Cadillac Eldorado. There is no such market anymore, but it was the right car for the right time.

Funny how the article doesn't get into great detail of one of the major tactics he employed to yank Chrysler out of the grave hole it dug for itself: Selling out to Mitsubishi. Fact is that most of the Chrysler cars sold since he took over were built with components from that firm. Somehow, he managed to get Mitsubishi to do the work while letting him give the credit to Chrysler—nearly half the cars offered were Zekes, the only difference between them and their Mitsubishi-proper twins being the nameplates pasted on. BUT, it worked; he repaid the government early and was even able to use Chrysler's new market success to absorb the Romney legacy, plus a couple more brands for a while. Granted, he was a very shrewd businessman when placed at the top rung.

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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby action » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:23 am

Ahh the Pinto - wasn't really as bad as the media hype.
Based on stats the Pinto was similar to all other sub-compacts.
Based on the media it was a death trap

The 3 teenage girls that died in a Pinto in Indiana in August of 1978, were stopped on a highway and were hit in the rear by a full sized van doing 55 mph.
The driver of the van had empty beer containers, pot and pills. he was never charged. I would dare say anyone would have a sustained injuries being hit at that speed.
It was horrific and tragic. However no worse than other sub-compact vehicle of the day.

There were other Pinto crashes that the circumstances were not like that. The car WAS rushed to market. And did need some mods because people dies in the car. But people die in lots of cars and few remember the other events. Just what media wants to sensationalize.

I worked for the company a year after the recall was issued. The recall was a joke. But everyone felt safer.
It was just a feeling. The design issues of small cars back then wasn't something that was going to prevent serious injuries of a 2 ton truck hitting a passenger car of half the mass doing nearly a mile a minute with an impaired driver.

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2017/10/1 ... ord-pinto/

Ironically Pintos are now in high demand

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Last edited by action on Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby ContiFan » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:50 pm

TonyC wrote:Granted, he was quite a salesman; he could sell ice cubes to Lucifer. But much of what he is credited for is either overrated or misleading. The Mustang is a perfect example of that: He did not have anything to do with the creation of the Mustang; John Najjar created the Mustang, including the name. Lido only marketed them...granted there's nothing "only" about the the Mustang's marketing—Lido pulled that off with unequaled proficiency.
John Najjar and Philip T. Clark were responsible for the design of the original Mustang but Lee Iacocca and Donald Frey, chief engineer under Iacocca, were instrumental in championing the actual development and launch of the car and in that sense "created" the Mustang.


TonyC wrote:Funny how the article doesn't get into great detail of one of the major tactics he employed to yank Chrysler out of the grave hole it dug for itself: Selling out to Mitsubishi. Fact is that most of the Chrysler cars sold since he took over were built with components from that firm. Somehow, he managed to get Mitsubishi to do the work while letting him give the credit to Chrysler—nearly half the cars offered were Zekes, the only difference between them and their Mitsubishi-proper twins being the nameplates pasted on. BUT, it worked; he repaid the government early and was even able to use Chrysler's new market success to absorb the Romney legacy, plus a couple more brands for a while. Granted, he was a very shrewd businessman when placed at the top rung.
Chrysler was in partnership with Mitsubishi, including owning a 15% stake in the company which eventually grew to around 25% by the mid 1980s, long before Iacocca joined the company. Struggling Chrysler really needed Mitsubishi in the 1970s and 1980s to help them market and develop small cars and trucks (e.g. Arrow, Colt/Champ, Challenger/Sapporo, etc) and various components. I wouldn't call any of the Chrysler-Mitsubishi relationship a "sell out" on Iacocca or Chrysler's part. It was basically what U.S. auto manufacturers were doing at the time e.g. Ford had a partnership with Mazda and GM had a partnership with Isuzu and eventually also Toyota, Suzuki and Daewoo.
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby TonyC » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:59 am

Lee Iacocca and Donald Frey, chief engineer under Iacocca, were instrumental in championing the actual development and launch of the car and in that sense "created" the Mustang.


Essentially, he sold it. That's it. Not enough in my book to claim all credit for its creation. That's like Bordinat taking the bows for Engel's Continental design (which, by the way, happened). Sure, Bordinat and DeLaRossa were responsible for coming up with a final production design, but they did not create it. The same applies to Iacocca. Seems there was a lot of that kind of sneaking around in Ford back then... :think:

As for the Mitsubishi thing, maybe there is more than I had perceived over the decades. I know that Mitsubishi were responsible for the tiny cars (Omni, Colt) in the late-'70s, but they did not extend to the shells of the American-made cars. When I saw a Mitsubishi engine in a Reliant, that told me that Iacocca gave them a lot more "unofficial" flexibility after he took over. I'm still convinced that was a shady tactic...but, I will not argue that it worked, at least for them back then. I'm also convinced that Mitsubishi might have skimped on quality control for the cars and parts they allocated to Chrysler...and Mitsubishi already was certainly not the best car-maker Japan had to offer by any means.

Maybe I am being too harsh on the Pinto; Action's right, tiny cars are not meant to be safe transpo, and that specific incident...well, those girls probably might not have survived even in a Galaxie. That description he gave actually triggered a memory from Fort Bliss: I had to deal with a separation packet for a Soldier who killed a girl because he too was driving plastered-drunk. I saw the camera footage: She was at a red light (she was driving a late-'80s/early-'90s Maxima, not the smallest of Nissan's offerings); and suddenly, in a 50th of a second, a huge blur flattened the entire rear half of her car and shoved what was left of it to the side out of camera view. The suv the Soldier was driving also tore off the rear fender of a Crown Vic which was in the other lane, before going half-airborne and skidding to a halt about 500 feet down on its side. The girl died less than an hour after that collision.

No car is really 100% safe...although a '65 Suicide Lincoln will withstand a 55-mph s**t-pushing far better than many cars (a member or former member could testify from experience). At least the Pinto didn't have a tendency to spontaneously combust, like the Tempos did (but that car wasn't Iacocca's doing).

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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby ContiFan » Sun Nov 24, 2019 6:39 pm

TonyC wrote:Essentially, he sold it. That's it. Not enough in my book to claim all credit for its creation. That's like Bordinat taking the bows for Engel's Continental design (which, by the way, happened). Sure, Bordinat and DeLaRossa were responsible for coming up with a final production design, but they did not create it. The same applies to Iacocca. Seems there was a lot of that kind of sneaking around in Ford back then... :think:
I think it's questionable that the Mustang would've ever gotten off the ground or certainly sold as well as it did without Iacocca. Because of that, I think he deserves a lot of the credit for the "creation" (not so much the design) of the Mustang.


TonyC wrote:As for the Mitsubishi thing, maybe there is more than I had perceived over the decades. I know that Mitsubishi were responsible for the tiny cars (Omni, Colt) in the late-'70s, but they did not extend to the shells of the American-made cars. When I saw a Mitsubishi engine in a Reliant, that told me that Iacocca gave them a lot more "unofficial" flexibility after he took over. I'm still convinced that was a shady tactic...but, I will not argue that it worked, at least for them back then. I'm also convinced that Mitsubishi might have skimped on quality control for the cars and parts they allocated to Chrysler...and Mitsubishi already was certainly not the best car-maker Japan had to offer by any means.
Colt yes, but I don't think Mitsubishi had much to do with the development of the Omni/Horizon. Chrysler and the other U.S. auto manufacturers were not as experienced as foreign companies when it came to developing and selling smaller vehicles and engines which were growing in demand in the U.S. in the 1970s thanks to the energy crises. Smaller cars and trucks had already been much more popular overseas. The Mitsubishi products were of good quality and Chrysler and its dealers were not shy about mentioning the Mitsubishi connection in advertising as the Mitsubishi/Japanese connection was largely viewed as a positive. The optional 2.6L engine in cars like the Aries and Reliant was made by Mitsubishi and Chrysler offered Mitsubishi V6 engines in various models in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even the V6 in Chrysler's TC by Maserati roadster was from Mitsubishi.
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Re: Lee Iacocca, passed away at 94

Postby TonyC » Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:45 am

Still don't agree about the Mustang, for the same reasons I already posted. But, it's an academic debate at this point. Heck, it wasn't even really the first car of its class, despite the consensus of automotive historians; the Avanti beat it out by a year and a half, and I think it could be argued that the Hawk beat that out. But, we all know that nobody really gave Studebaker any serious regard by that time.

Yes, I remember well the big fad of anything Japanese in the 1980s; no matter what, the Japanese could do no wrong. Even Consumer Reports chose to turn blind eyes to the one flaw in all Japanese car makes: The taillights. Not one Japanese (or Korean, for that matter) car went without serious wiring problems in the taillights after three years. Even though Mitsubishi's quality was no better than Chevrolet's, people still turned favor to Mitsubishi just because it was Japanese. Remember all the Japanese references in songs and TV? I do.

But I'd rather deal with Japan or Taiwan now.

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