Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Monday February 20, 2017
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

Fiat + Chrysler = ?

 

continued

In the early years, Chrysler hired local farmers to test or repair cars on the night shift. Art Patstone, a retired Chrysler vehicle development and evaluation staffer, remembers hearing former Chrysler president Bob Lutz tell some engineering students that he liked to hire engineers raised on farms because they understood machinery.

The roads at the proving grounds simulate everything from California freeways to the winding roads of the Smoky Mountains, Patstone says. There are forty-seven miles of asphalt, thirty-six miles of concrete, and twelve miles of gravel, plus off-road trails.

"You can drive around and really get a feel for a car as if it were driven across the country," says Patstone.

Patstone, who now lives in Florida, also remembers helping with some of the first foreign-car tests at Chelsea. In 1969, Chrysler engineers at the proving grounds put the Toyota Corolla, the Opel Kadett, and the Volkswagen Beetle through their paces. "You have to understand where the market is," Patstone explains.

At its peak, the Proving Grounds employed about 1,000 people. But Chrysler, the smallest of Detroit's "Big Three," barely survived the oil-price shocks of the 1970s. In 1979, only a government bailout kept the company afloat.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3 l 4 l 5 l 6 l 7 l 8  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News

You might also like:

Software Blues - What happened to the city's Nu... Software Blues - What happened to the city's Nu...
Map of Restaurants that are Disability Friendly Map of Restaurants that are Disability Friendly
Lynch Law on Huron St. - In 1931, a mob threate... Lynch Law on Huron St. - In 1931, a mob threate...
Crime Map Crime Map
Photo: Go ahead touchdown Photo: Go ahead touchdown
Photo: Diver at Canham Natatorium Photo: Diver at Canham Natatorium
Closing Kaleidoscope - Jeff Pickell readies a r... Closing Kaleidoscope - Jeff Pickell readies a r...
Dom Flemons - The American Songster Dom Flemons - The American Songster
Ann Arbor Donations Ann Arbor Donations
Ann Arbor Fellowship and Service Ann Arbor Fellowship and Service
spark
custom blinds and window treatments, flooring, and furniture
top of the lamp. All your in home lighting needs.
Holiday Inn Ann Arbor. Comfortable Hotel, a home away from home.
Become of Fan of the Ann Arbor Observer on Facebook
Victors For Art February 18th through June 11th
A visitor's guide to Ann Arbor