Chrysler Alpine: the European-American small car that never got a chance
The boss (President) in 1974 was Lynn Townsend. He sent George Butts (Vice President of Product Planning), Len Piconke (Director of Marketing), and I (Director of Product Planning) to Europe to find a small car for Chrysler USA. We worked Monday through Thursday at the Chrysler-Europe Technical Center at Whitley near Coventry, England and flew home on Friday. We worked Saturday and Sunday at Highland Park on the presentation for Monday AM.
We recommended that Chrysler build the Chrysler Europe C6 in the USA. After our presentation, Lynn said, “I sent a bunch of high priced executives to Europe to find a subcompact and they come back with a stupid blankety-blank recommendation like this!” He never explained why he felt that way — too expensive and not profitable enough I guess.
The C6 (Chrysler Alpine) was only a clay model in 1974, and it won Europe's Car of the Year award in 1976 — beating out BMW, Ford, VW, etc. It was the right product for Chrysler America!
In 1975 I was made head of the Whitley Technical Center and we did another European Car of the Year in 1978 — the Chrysler Horizon. Lynn Townsend had retired and Chrysler decided to build that design in the USA. The American version (Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon) was Car of the Year in 1978. Between Europe and the USA we built more than 3,000,000 Horizon/Omnis over the next ten years. Chrysler USA could have had a winner two years earlier.
was one of the better-known examples of the Simca-based , and you still see 80s Dodge Chargers here and there. What you won’t see often is today’s Junkyard Find, a first-year Plymouth Horizon. I found this one languishing in a Denver self-serve junkyard.
We don't have a lot of complaints on file for the Plymouth Horizon — feel free to . Probably because it's so old, no one bothers to post complaints anymore.