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June 2 2019

By: Rick Walker

Lee Iacocca, the man who gave birth to the Ford Mustang, and saved Chrysler corporation had died at the age of 94.

Iacocca was a charismatic executive who rose through the ranks at Ford, but ultimately wound up at Chrysler when the company was about the collapse.  He convinced the government to bail out Chrysler, and brought the company back to life, always pointing out that the loans the government provided were paid back in full and early.

Henry Ford II fired Iacocca in 1978 even though the company had made healthy profits for two years running. When Iacocca asked why he had been fired Ford replied, "Sometimes you just don't like someone". 

When he left Ford he took his idea for the Mini Van with him. It was an idea Ford had rejected, and he turned it into a runaway success starting in the 1980's. The "Magic Wagon" and the K-Car together turned the company around.  

His autobiographies became best sellers during the same period and for a time there was some talk of Iacocca running for President of the United States, but it was an idea he only flirted with and ultimately he decided against it. He was instrumental in refurbishing the Statue of Liberty and had a clear love for his country.

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His career in the auto industry spanned five decades. The proud son of Italian immigrants, Iacocca made the covers of Time, Newsweek and the New York Times Sunday Magazine at his peak in stories that portrayed him as the leading symbol of the American Auto Age. He even organized the  purchase of Lamborghini and put that iconic supercar brand under the Chrysler umbrealla for a time.

Iacooca saw Chrysler through troubled times again in the 1990's acquiring the remnants of the old American Motors Corporation and most importantly adding the Jeep brand to the Chrysler line up. His bold moves kept the company afloat and healthy while the rest of the industry struggled.

In retirement Iacocca decided to invest the casino business, and an olive oil company, and wrote another book in 2007 called "Where Have All The Leaders Gone" which was critical of Presidents of the time. 

Iacocca had two daughters with his first wife, Mary, who died of diabetes in 1983. After her death he started a family foundation to fight the disease.

He married twice more. His second marriage was brief and ended in annulment, and his third ended in divorce.

Family members say Iacocca passed away at his home in Bel Air California of complications from Parkinsons disease.  - SST CAR SHOW NEWS


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