Lido Anthony Iacocca, an American icon in business and car design, has passed away. The automobile industry legend, best known as “Lee,” died at the age of 94 on Tuesday morning (July 2, 2019) , his family confirmed to the media.
Iacocca was a lion of the Detroit automobile industry and an executive best known for the development of classic Ford Mustang and the infamous Pinto cars, while at the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s.
Later in his career he resurrected the flailing Chrysler Corporation and became its CEO during the 1980s. After he retired he immersed himself in philanthropy.
Most car aficionados know that he was directly involved with at least four iconic vehicles, including the Ford Mustang, the K-Car, and minivans. The Pinto was bedeviled by design flaws that saw the vehicle involved in fiery rear-end crashes and was subsequently pulled from production.
Iacocca was a true American success story. He was born in Allentown. Pennsylvania, and his parents were Italian immigrants of modest means. Yet he became one of the top executives in Detroit, named president of Ford Motor in December 1970.
A tumultuous reign there saw his exit, fired by heir Henry Ford II, in 1978. A challenge awaited him with Chrysler, rejigging the company and product line to avoid a potential 1980 bankruptcy. Automobile magazine Car & Drive has an excellent career retrospective.
After Iacocca retired, he devoted himself to charitable work, raising impressive funds to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — the immigration port in New York Harbor where his own parents entered the country.
What was his net worth?
Estimates at the time of his death put Lee Iacocca’s net worth at $100 million plus dollars.
He leaves behind two daughters and eight grandchildren. When he was hired by Chrysler to save the company he famously only asked for a $1 dollar a year salary.