What's the coolest dead car brand?

In the history of the automobile, promising car brands have come and gone — some yielding to industry shifts, others to bad management and still others to the dominance of the big three. What's the coolest dead car brand?

Plymouth was Chrysler's first lower-priced brand; a brand whose link to New England pilgrims signified values of frugality and practicality. During the 1950s, Plymouth sat among the top-selling brands — the "low-priced three" — along with Chevrolet and Ford. And then, Virgil Exner's forward-looking 1960s designs propelled it to record sales, though poor build quality continued to haunt Plymouth buyers.

Advertisement

But by the late 1960s, Plymouth had found a new audience — muscle-car kids. With low-priced V8 monsters — and a beneficial licensing deal with Warner Brothers — Plymouth turned out flashy tire shredders like the Road Runner, which despite its origins as a mid-pack economy coupe, nailed the youth market dead on. In its later years, Chrysler's attempt to revive Plymouth's youthful mojo with the sprightly Neon and (for nostalgia's sake) a postmodern hot rod, the Prowler, landed with mixed results. A lame V6 and automatic transmission only served to make the Prowler, as Dan Neil once wrote, a "flaccid little jerk of a car." By then, Plymouth's best days were far behind it.

(QOTD is your chance to address the day's most pressing automotive questions and to experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits, and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good Question of the Day, send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter