Iacocca: An Autobiography

⥥ Read Hardcover  ᘜ Iacocca: An Autobiography  ⦠ By Lee Iacocca 䐈 ⥥ Read Hardcover ᘜ Iacocca: An Autobiography ⦠ By Lee Iacocca 䐈 Lee Iacocca is the former chairman of Chrysler Corporation and the author of Talking Straight and the autobiography Iacocca From the Trade Paperback edition. Chapter OneTHE FAMILYNicola Iacocca, my father, arrived in this country in 1902 at the age of twelve poor, alone, and scared He used to say the only thing he was sure of when he got here was that the world was round And that was only because another Italian boy named Christopher Columbus had preceded him by 410 years, almost to the day.As the boat sailed into New York Harbor, my father looked out and saw the Statue of Liberty, that great symbol of hope for millions of immigrants On his second crossing, when he saw the statue again, he was a new American citizen with only his mother, his young wife, and hope by his side For Nicola and Antoinette, America was the land of freedom the freedom to become anything you wanted to be, if you wanted it bad enough and were willing to work for it.This was the single lesson my father gave to his family I hope I have done as well with my own.When I was growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, our family was so close it sometimes felt as if we were one person with four parts.My parents always made my sister, Delma, and me feel important and special Nothing was too much work or too much trouble My father might have been busy with a dozen other things, but he always had time for us My mother went out of her way to cook the foods we loved just to make us happy To this day, whenever I come to visit, she still makes my two favorites chicken soup with little veal meatballs, and ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese Of all the world s great Neopolitan cooks, she has to be one of the best.My father and I were very close I loved pleasing him, and he was always terrifically proud of my accomplishments If I won a spelling contest at school, he was on top of the world Later in life whenever I got a promotion, I d call my father right away and he d rush out to tell all his friends At Ford, each time I brought out a new car, he wanted to be the first to drive it In 1970, when I was named president of the Ford Motor Company, I don t know which of us was excited.Like many native Italians, my parents were very open with their feelings and their love not only at home, but also in public Most of my friends would never hug their fathers I guess they were afraid of not appearing strong and independent But I hugged and kissed my dad at every opportunity nothing could have felt natural.He was a restles and inventive man who was always trying new things At one point, he bought a couple of fig trees and actually found a way to grow them in the harsh climate of Allentown He was also the first person in town to buy a motorcycle an old Harley Davidson, which he rode through the dirt streets of our small city Unfortunately, my father and his motorcycle didn t get along too well He fell off it so often that he finally got rid of it As a result, he never again trusted any vehicle with less than four wheels.Because of that damn motorcycle, I wasn t allowed to have a bicycle when I was growing up Whenever I wanted to ride a bike, I had to borrow one from a friend On the other hand, my father let me drive a car as soon as I turned sixteen This made me the only kid in Allentown who went straight from a tricycle to a Ford.My father loved cars In fact, he owned one of the first Model T s He was one of the few people in Allentown who knew how to drive, and he was always tinkering with cars and thinking about how to improve them Like every driver in those days, he used to get a lot of flat tires For years he was obsessed with finding a way to drive a few extra miles with a flat To this day, whenever there s a new development in tire technology, I always think of my father.He was in love with America, and he pursued the American dream with all his might When World War I broke out, he volunteered for the Army partly out of patriotism, and partly, he admitted to me later, to have a little control over his destiny He had worked hard to get to America and to become naturalized, and he was terrified at the prospect of being sent back to Europe to fight in Italy or France Luckily for him, he was stationed at Camp Crane, an army training center just a couple of miles from his home Because he could drive, he was assigned to train ambulance drivers.Nicola Iacocca had come to America from San Marco, about twenty five miles northeast of Naples in the Italian province of Campania Like so many immigrants, he was full of ambition and hope In America he lived briefly in Garrett, Pennsylvania, with his stepbrother There my father went to work in a coal mine, but he hated it so much that he quit after one day He liked to say it was the only day in his life that he ever worked for anybody else.He soon moved east to Allentown, where he had another brother By 1921, he had saved up enough money doing odd jobs, mostly as an apprentice shoemaker, that he could return to San Marco to bring over his widowed mother As it turned out, he ended up bringing over my mother, too During his stay in Italy this thirty one year old bachelor fell in love with the seventeen year old daughter of a shoemaker Within a few weeks they were married.Over the years a number of journalists have reported or repeated that my parents went to Lido Beach in Venice for their honeymoon and that I was named Lido to commemorate that happy week It s a wonderful story, except for one problem it s not true My father did take a trip to Lido Beach, but it was before the wedding, not after And since he was with my mother s brother at the time, I doubt that his vacation was very romantic.My parents voyage to American wasn t easy My mother came down with typhoid fever and spent the entire trip in the ship s infirmary By the time they reached Ellis Island, she had lost all her hair According to the laws, she should have been sent back to Italy But my father was an aggressive, fast talking operator who had already learned how to manage in the New World Somehow he was able to convince the immigration officials that his new bride was merely seasick.I was born three years later, on October 15, 1924 By this time, my father had opened a hot dog restaurant called the Orpheum Wiener House It was the perfect business for somebody without much cash All he really needed to get started were a grill, a bun warmer, and a few stools.My father always drilled two things into me never get into a capital intensive business, because the bankers will end up owning you I should have paid attention to this particular piece of advice And when times are tough, be in the food business, because no matter how bad things get, people still have to eat The Orpheum Wiener House stayed afloat all through the Great Depression.Later, he brought my uncles Theodore and Marco into the business To this day, Theodore s sons, Julius and Albert Iacocca, are still making hot dogs in Allentown The company is called Yocco s, which is or less how the Pennsylvania Dutch used to pronounce our name.I came pretty close to going into the food business myself At one point in 1952, I seriously considered leaving Ford to go into food franchising Ford dealerships operated as independent franchises, and it occurred to me that anyone who could franchise a food operation would get rich in a hurry My plan was to have ten fast food outlets with one central buying location This was long before McDonald s was even a gleam in Ray Kroc s eye, and I sometimes wonder if I missed my true calling in life Who knows Maybe today I d be worth half a billion dollars, with a sign out front proclaiming Over 10 billion served.A few years later, I did open my own place, a little sandwich shop in Allentown called The Four Chefs It served Philadelphia cheese steaks That s thinly sliced steak with melted cheese on an Italian roll My father set it up, and I put in the money It did very well too well, in fact, because what I really needed was a tax shelter We made 125,000 the first year, which raised my tax bracket to the point where I had to get rid of it The Four Chefs was my first exposure to bracket creep and the progressive nature of our tax laws.Actually I was in the food business long before I got involved with cars When I was ten, one of the country s first supermarkets opened in Allentown After school and on weekends, my little pals and I would line up at the door with our red wagons, like a row of taxicabs outside a hotel As the shoppers came out, we would offer to take home their bags for a small tip In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense I was in the transportation end of the food business.As a teenager, I had a weekend job in a fruit market run by a Greek named Jimmy Kritis I used to get up before dawn to get to the wholesale market and bring back the produce He paid me 2.00 a day plus all the fruit and vegetables I could lug home after a sixteen hour workday.By this time, my father had other enterprises besides the Orpheum Wiener House Early on, he bought into a national company called U Drive It, one of the very first car rental agencies Eventually he built up a fleet of about thirty cars, mostly Fords My father was also good friends with one Charley Charles, whose son, Edward Charles, worked for a Ford dealership Later Eddie bought a dealership of his own, where he introduced me to the fascinating world of the retail car business By the time I was fifteen, Eddie had convinced me to go into the automobile business From that day forward, all my energies were directed to doing just that.My father is probably responsible for my instinct for marketing He owned a couple of movie houses one of his theaters, the Franklin, is still in use today Old timers in Allentown have told me my father was such a great promoter that the kids who came down to the Saturday matinees used to get excited about his special offers than about the movies People still talk about the day he announced that the ten kids with the dirtiest faces would be admitted free.I doubt Iacocca An Autobiography Lee Iacocca, William Iacocca William Novak on FREE shipping qualifying 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    • Hardcover
    • B004G8P2OG
    • Iacocca: An Autobiography
    • Lee Iacocca
    • English
    • 13 January 2016
    • 402 pages

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