Willem (Bill) Weertman

Born as a first generation American to Dutch immigrant parents, I followed in the footsteps of my father, who also had a long and successful career as an engineer. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an engineer, and upon graduation from high school, I attended Yale University through the Navy V-12 program (during WWII).My entire professional career was spent with Chrysler Corporation starting in 1947 when, upon earning my Bachelor of Engineering degree, I was admitted to the Chrysler Institute of Engineering for its two-year Master of Automotive Engineering program. Graduation from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering was followed by a position on the staff of the Resident Engineering department at the Plymouth Lynch Road assembly plant. Interrupted by two years of active duty as an officer in the US Navy during the Korean conflict, in 1954 I was appointed Resident Engineer of the Plymouth V-8 engine plant, coincident with the original startup of the plant as a high-volume, world-class producer of engines.In November 1955, I was promoted to Managing Engineer of Engine Design at the Chrysler Central Engineering Division in Highland Park, Michigan, working under Assistant Chief Engineer—Engine Design Robert S. (Bob) Rary. The next years were filled with fast-paced engine design activity—changes and improvements to engines in production, finishing the designs and launching the new big-block B and RB V-8 engines, designing and launching the new Slant Six G and RG engines, and designing truck, marine, and industrial versions of the new engines.

With the promotion of Rary to chief engineer in 1962, I became Assistant Chief Engineer—Engine Design, leading the design effort for the LA V-8 engine series, the outstanding 426 Hemi® competition and street engine, and an all-new six-cylinder engine for manufacture in Australia. In 1976 I became Chief Engineer of Engine, Design and Development (a title that was changed slightly to Chief Engineer—Engine Engineering in 1980). During these years until my retirement in 1987, I was responsible for all the new engines needed to power the corporation’s new car lines of front-wheel-drive vehicles and for adapting and testing the engines purchased from outside companies.

Even after retirement from Chrysler in 1987, I continued to be professionally active. As a consultant on several engine programs, I assisted in the final development of a Maserati double overhead camshaft, turbocharged version of the Chrysler 2.2-L four-cylinder engine and in the design and development of the phenomenal Viper V- 10 all aluminum engine.

I am honored and grateful to have worked with so many innovative, brilliant and dedicated engineers, technicians and mechanics, bringing our concepts and designs to life, and to great success.