Lee Iacocca, the legendary auto executive of Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation, has died. He was 94.
TMZ broke the news and said a family member confirmed Iacocca’s passing. Additional information is not currently known at time of publishing.
Iacocca was born on October 15, 1924 in Allentown, Pa. to Italian immigrant parents. He would graduate from Lehigh University in 1945 with a degree in industrial engineering before moving onto Princeton University, where he would graduate in 1946. That same year, Iacocca would be hired as an engineer by Ford and rose through the ranks until he became president in 1970.
Iacocca is credited as one of the main forces behind the Ford Mustang, which was introduced in 1965. He also oversaw the production of the Ford Pinto, whose fuel tank design led to all Pintos to be recalled in 1978 due to a number of fatal fires that resulted after rear-end collisions caused the fuel tank to rupture.
Iacocca was fired from Ford in 1978 by Henry Ford II, with whom he famously did not get along. He was quickly hired by Chrysler that same year and would become their CEO in 1979.
Iacocca helped save Chrysler from bankruptcy and would eventually retire from the company in 1992. While with Chrysler, Iacocca would appear in the automaker’s television commercials along with the catchphrase, “If you can find a better car, buy it.”
Iacocca will be portrayed by Jon Bernthal in the new movie Ford v Ferrari, the true story of American car designer Carroll Shelby and British racecar driver Ken Miles and the building of the Ford GT40, the racecar created to take down Ferrari in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.