Mopar - AMC trivia
Many are aware that AMC used Chrysler Torqueflite transmissions in their cars from 1972, but probably are not aware that Chrysler and AMC had a very close and long standing relationship. Club members may find it interesting that some of their Mopars may have actually been built by AMC!! Here is a quote from the book "American Motors The Last Independent" by author Patrick R. Foster:
"Also in mid-1986, Chrysler Corporation, experiencing a sales explosion and running short of production capacity, approached AMC . A deal was proposed wherein AMC would build, under contract with Chrysler, the midsize Chrysler Fifth Avenue , Dodge Diplomat, and Plymouth Gran Fury. Chrysler had planned to end production of these cars and replace them with new front-drive models. But the old Chryslers, the "M" bodies is what they were known as, proved to be still popular and sellable. Chrysler wanted to use the old Kenosha plant to build the "M" cars for as long as they remained popular, which of course would help AMC earn some badly needed cash. It was a very unorthodox plan, but not completely without precedent. In the history of American automaking it had been done before, but it was certainly not the usual state of affairs.
For AMC it was as good a deal as they were going to get, and at least it would put some dormant production capacity at Kenosha to work, hopefully bringing in profits.
By March 1987, the news finally broke. Chrysler was indeed going to buy AMC . Time magazine called it "A Daredevil Wheel Deal." In a very complete and well written article, Times George Russell noted that the buyout deal had been code-named "Project Titan" by the Chrysler people. Iacocca was quoted as saying, "(The merger) will strengthen both of us in whats already become a tough market."
It was curious timing to sell now, for it was almost a certainty that AMC was going to be profitable for 1987. A combination of the lower costs of using the 4.0 liter engine, contract concessions from the unions, profitable Chrysler production in Kenosha , and strong sales of the highly profitable Jeeps meant that AMC really was on the comeback trail for 1987.
Some thought Iacocca was making the mistake of his life. Standard and Poors announced that it was putting Chrysler credit rating on its watch list, with "negative implications." Iacocca himself explained it best in his book "Talking Straight" when he wrote that the assets he most coveted at AMC were its 1,400 dealers, its Jeep line, and the new Bramalea factory, fully built and currently producing the pilot line models of the all-new intermediate car."