This proud brand has persevered through a difficult history. Founded in 1925 by automotive entrepreneur Walter Chrysler, the company consolidated Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth brands under a single roof and proceeded to become a survivor of the relentless rationalization of the U.S. auto industry over the next 40 years, eventually settling in as one of the Detroit-based "Big Three." Along the way, it became known for engineering and product innovations such as the first steel-roofed station wagon, in 1941; the first transistorized car radio, in 1955; and the Plymouth Road Runner "economy" muscle car in the mid-Sixties. But new CEO Lee Iacocca had to rescue Chrysler in 1981 by landing federal-government loans. A couple of years later Chrysler pioneered a new vehicle concept, the minivan; regained its financial footing; then went on to acquire American Motors and the Jeep brand in 1987. Yet by 1998, it was ripe for takeover by Daimler-Benz. That arrangement yielded a few good vehicles, such as the new 300 sedan, and a famous revival of Chrysler's Hemi V-8 engine. But the Germans discontinued Plymouth and couldn't figure out how to position the Chrysler brand successfully. The huge marketplace retrenchment of 2009 required Chrysler's second government bailout, and Fiat was awarded a controlling interest in hopes that the Italian automaker could revive Chrysler yet again.