Chrysler 72

Some of Chrysler’s early high-performance, high-style cars startled industry observers and customers alike, but mid-range pricing added value and assured the success of the brand. Model numbers told customers how fast each Chrysler would go; the Chrysler 72, for example, featured an optional "Red-Head" engine for better pickup and hill climbing.

Chryslers would also perform commendably in other period racing venues, winning the 1925 1,000-mile Stock Car Speed Trial at Los Angeles and placing second, third and sixth at the Belgian Twenty-Four Hour Grand Prix of 1928. They also did well in endurance competition, completing a 1926 Kansas City-Denver test at an average speed of 51.8 mph and a 1927 New York-Los Angeles round-trip speed run at an average speed of 40.2 mph.

The 1928 acquisition of Dodge Brothers made Chrysler the third of Detroit’s Big Three automakers — and Walter Chrysler one of the most successful industrialists of his generation.

Gallery: Chrysler 72