LEE IACOCCA Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca was born in Pennsylvania to Italian immigrant parents in 1924. He is most famous for his important contribution to the American automobile industry. During his years working at the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s, he played a major role in the development of the Mustang and the Pinto cars. In 1978, he was hired by the struggling Chrysler Corporation. However, after a relatively short time, Iacocca helped Chrysler to show record profits, and as a result he became a national celebrity. Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992, but went on to play an active role in his family’s charitable foundation. Iacocca was a advocate of promoting American companies during the 1980s. He authored or co-authored several books, including the bestsellers Iacocca: An Autobiography and Talking Straight . Lee Iacocca died on July 2, 2019 at the age of 94.
drivers. Clay mock-ups were complete by August, and the water was tested with the Mustang II show car in October 1963. The models looked good, but there were still doubters. Not least among them was Henry Ford himself, who had never warmed to this idea of a small, sporty Ford. Eventually, Iacocca persuaded him to come back to the design studio for one last look. This was make-or-break time: Iacocca had been preparing the ground for months, dropping hints throughout the company, even to the motoring press, about the little car’s huge potential. “I’m tired of hearing about this goddam car,” Ford is reputed to have said at that meeting. “Can you sell the goddam thing?” Iacocca assured him that he could. “Well, you’d better.” It may not have been
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enthusiastic, but it amounted to a “Yes.” The Mustang was on. “The best thing to have come out of Dearborn since the 1932 V8 Model B roadster,” declared Car and Driver when the Mustang was finally unveiled to the public and press on April 17, 1964. Gene Booth of Road & Track hit the nail on the head when he described the Mustang as “a car for the enthusiast who may be a family man, but likes his transportation to be more sporting.” There were, in fact, two Mustangs at the very beginning, the notchback coupe and an open-top convertible, both with that big range of engines, transmissions, and other options. The basic power plant was mild indeed, by later Mustang standards, in the form of a 170-cu in (2.785-liter) straight-six producing 101 hp (75 kW), though a few months later it was replaced by a sturdier seven-bearing 12 Mustangs & Camaros
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