The last Plymouth
in history will be a
silver Neon that rolls off the assembly line June 28. Like many other
retirees, it's going to Florida. Even though Plymouth was the former
Chrysler Corp.'s top-selling car brand from 1930 to 1978, the company
will not mark the end of production with any ceremonies or publicity
started by Walter P.
Chrysler in 1928 as a high-volume, low-cost brand. Chrysler announced
it was killing the brand in 1999.
In recent years,
Chrysler let the
Plymouth brand wither by starving it of new products. Recent Plymouth
models, except the Prowler, were shared by other divisions, and the
brand's image in the marketplace had become murky. The death knell
for Plymouth came when the company badged the PT Cruiser a Chrysler.
With its similarly shaped retro styled grille, the PT would have been
a perfect sibling for the Prowler.
Automakers such as
General Motors and
Mercedes-Benz place historic cars in their corporate museums. But the
last Plymouth has been sold to Darrell Davis, Chrysler's vice
president of parts and service.
"I sent a note to
(former CEO) Jim
Holden right after I heard we were discontinuing the brand," Davis
said. He asked to buy the car. Holden said yes.
Davis, who has a
house and a collection
of vintage cars in Orlando - mostly Plymouths and Chrysler-brand
vehicles - says he won't drive the Neon much, if at all. Davis said
he asked personnel at the Belvidere, Ill., plant to provide
documentation that the car is the last Plymouth-badged vehicle to be
Chrysler group has
a history of
ignoring its failures. The last Eagle, a 1998 Talon, was shipped and
sold retail. No one knows the whereabouts of the last DeSoto, a 1961
model. A spokesman for the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills,
Mich., says the company traditionally saves the first of many models,
not the last.
The Prowler, which
was introduced as a
Plymouth, has been wearing a Chrysler badge since January.
News. Copyright 2001
Crain Communications Inc. All rights reserved.