Lee Iacocca, the quintessential brash chief executive of the 1980s, revamped the American automotive industry. From his first gig as a student engineer at Ford Motor, all the way up to CEO at Chrysler, his passion, vision, and love of the automobile created some of the most memorable and most successful car stories in the U.S.
Here, we take a look at this auto-industry titan's favorite vehicles of all time.
By Constance Parten, Senior Producer
Posted 8 August 2011
CNBC Titans: Lee Iacocca, premieres Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. ET, and reairs at 1 a.m. ET.
Iacocca: "I like this vehicle not only because it's my name sake, but a moving work of art!"
Nearly two years in the making, the Iacocca Silver Edition Mustang was a collaborative effort by Iacocca, designer Michael Leone, and Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters, the world-class coachbuilding and design company in Fountain Valley, Calif. Only 45 of the V8 engine autos were made.
Iacocca: "I just have a soft spot for this vehicle."
The K-car series (Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Chrysler LeBaron, Dodge 400) was a very successful line for Chrysler, selling between 280,000 and 360,000 every year from 1981 to 1988.
Iacocca: "It was one of the first V10 powered cars and the historical take on the classic American sports car."
Total Production: Just 285 Vipers were produced in 1992.
Before it hit the production line, Carroll Shelby piloted a pre-production Viper as the pace vehicle in the Indianapolis 500 race. The 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 created a look and sense of excitement that spread across the entire Chrysler line up in the 1990s. Its powerful V-10 was good for 400 bhp.
Iacocca: "This little beauty was destined to be a star!"
The Ford Thunderbird became the first "personal luxury car" when it was introduced to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette in 1955.
At left, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird once owned by John Travolta gets polished at the RM Auctions, Automobiles of London event at Battersea Evolution in London.
Iacocca: "It was a fun car that captured my heart. I restored mine to mint condition and gifted it to my oldest granddaughter."
The MG TF was only produced between 1953 and 1955. A 1955 model sold at a Gooding & Co. auction in 2010 for $42,900.
Iacocca: "Looks exactly like a super car should!"
Total Production: 1987–1992 (1,315 produced)
At left, a Ferrari F40 at the 2007 Cavallino Classic at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach, Fla.
Iacocca: "I liked it so much, I bought the company!"
Under Iacocca's leadership, Chrysler bought Lamborghini in 1987, but was unable to return the company to profitability. It was ultimately sold in 1994. Today, Lamborghini is owned by Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.
At left, the new Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce at a preview ahead of the 79th Geneva Car Show in March 2009.
Iacocca: "The jeep followed The World War II Jeep for the public. Best all purpose vehicle."
First Production Year: 1993 (The Grand Cherokee was the first Chrysler-badged Jeep product
Total Production: 1,428,095 (Total first generation Grand Cherokee ZJ's sold through 1998)
At left, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee sits on display following its debut during a media preview of the 2009 New York International Auto Show in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 8, 2009.
Iacocca: "This vehicle has been a continuous 'cash cow' and made billions with its staying power."
First Production Year: 1990
Total Production: Less than 10,000 units
At left, the 2005 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan at DaimlerChrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Iacocca: "This was my first 'home run,' which became a 'cult' vehicle and would be impossible to duplicate."
Original Price: $2,557 (convertible); $2,320 (coupe)
Total Production: 121,538
The quintessential brash, bold, imperial CEO of the 1980's — when this type of chief executive reigned supreme. Lee Iacocca began his career as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company. He quickly gravitated to sales and rose to become president of the company.
Premieres Thursday, August 11th 10p | 1a ET