To fit in a garage the van had to be low and this meant a front wheel drive configuration. And Ford had no suitable front drive package. The second was that Henry Ford II did not see the future as clearly as Sperlich and regularly told him to “forget about it”. Sperlich persisted with the idea and in the end Mr Ford got tired of hearing about it and fired him. Hal went to Chrysler where he continued to work on the idea. In 1978 “Hank the Duce” also got tired of Iacocca being President of Ford and fired him. And over to Chrysler he went as well. You all know the story from there on. Iacocca saved Chrysler with government backed loans and a plain, four cylinder, front drive automobile called the K-Car. Once Chrysler was again financially stable Lee and Hal turned their attention the Mini-Max idea. They had the money, they had the front drive platform, they had the K-Car parts bin and there was no Henry Ford II to get in their way. The Chrysler Mini-Van was launched in late 1983 and the rest is history. The irony is that Chrysler never thought to trademark the name “minivan”. The second irony is that General Motors were also looking at the Mini-Van idea in 1979. They called it the “Nomad”, and had a prototype running on a front wheel drive platform (see image below). Despite strong consumer interest in research clinics, product planners calculated that the potential market was too small to make real money out of the idea. Go figure. 43