The History of the Chrysler Training Films

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These are an extraordinary set of reference booklets, posters, filmstrips and teacher's guides which were created decades ago. They currently benefit people who collect and restore automotive Chrysler products of the 1940's though the 1970's.

These materials were sent to each MoPar (Chrysler Products) dealer's repair department every month from 1948 through at least the late 1970's. They covered a different topic each month, and they were written to educate the simplest of minds.

The booklets, called the MASTER TECHNICIANS SERVICE CONFERENCE SERVICE REFERENCE BOOKS, were about 4 inches by 6 inches, and had around 20 or 30 pages packed with LOTS of helpful information. They came five to a box, along with a filmstrip in a metal or plastic canister, a 33-13-RPM record to act as the soundtrack for the filmstrip, a poster for the front of the room, a teacher's guide for a senior mechanic, a set of short, pre-sharpened pencils, and a fresh needle for the record-player.

The booklets are small and user-friendly, and they hold a massive wealth of information of interest to someone who is restoring a 1956 Imperial or a 1949 Plymouth or any other fine old MoPar.

The films are just as simple to understand, and they are a valuable resource.

They usually featured the gruff-voiced wooden puppet pictured above, named "Tech." His role was to get the discussion going, and moving along briskly.

If a car collector buys an elderly shop manual for their car, expecting to learn all about fixing their car or giving it a good tune-up, they are not normally going to have a very easy time of it. This is because the shop-manual assumes that the reader is a mechanic who has completed the training course provided by these materials, among others.

As time goes by, more and more of these materials in digital form, whether as web-pages or as motion video, may be provided. It's a LOT of work for no pay, so don't expect much for a while.


A sharp-eyed person may notice that there is a three-month gap between the February 1950 and the June 1950 booklets. This is the only gap in the sequence.

Chrysler Training Films of the 1940's through the 1970's

Chrysler hired the Ross Roy corporation to make a LONG series of instructional film strips, records, booklets and wall charts to train beginning mechanics. I have an almost complete set from 1947 through 1962 (210 films). Back at the end of World War II, Chrysler had a few "Master Technicians" who knew all there was to know about fixing any darned thing on a Chrysler Product, but they couldn't keep up with the huge workload when everybody else came home from the war. These grizzled old-timers also lacked the time and patience to train the new guys who came on the job.

So, the MTSC (Master Technician Service Conference) series was begun. These were sent out every month to every dealership's repair department. Work would stop, the filmstrip projector would be set up, the record player needle poised over the first groove, the technicians gathered together, the booklets and study materials would be handed out, and the poster would be mounted on the wall.


Here is a short list of topics covered, one per month:

THE CASE OF THE LAZY GAS THIEF (HOW TO CHECK AND ADJUST DISTRIBUTOR ADVANCE MECHANISMS) Servicing the distributor. Mechanical and vacuum advance mechanism. Relation of the distributor to gasoline economy. (September 1947)

FLUID DRIVE, SPECIAL KIT A REALLY huge series of 3 records and 2 filmstrips concerning EVERYTHING about the transmission that was so popular (1, 2, 3). (August 1948)

SHIFTING INTO HIGH The first of two sessions dealing with the servicing of the standard 3-speed transmission. This session explains the fundamentals and how to recognize troubles in the transmissions. (February 1949)

FIXIN' FACTS Explains the operation of the pressure-type cooling system. Also discusses factors contributing to instrument panel noises--a suggestion for eliminating brake squeaks--and servicing procedure for two types of deck lid locking handles. (October 1950)

CHRYSLER V-8 ENGINE DISTRIBUTOR Discussion of general ignition theory plus the procedures for testing and adjusting the V-8 engine distributor. Use of scientific testing is emphasized. (September 1951)

POWERFLITE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION (CONTROLS) Driving instructions applicable to cars equipped with the PowerFlite transmission. Complete adjusting instructions covering the gearshift and accelerator pedal linkage, throttle pressure, and the kickdown and reverse bands. (November 1953)

1959 MODEL FEATURES The wall calendar has some GREAT pictures of all of the 1959 cars (September 1958)



The films always included "Tech," or "Mister Tech," the little wooden puppet with a gruff, harsh voice and mannerisms. Imagine Popeye's voice with a sore throat. The film's plotline would nearly always run the same way. It would start out with a shop manager seeing a junior mechanic puzzled over something. The senior tech would begin instructing him, and then Tech would appear, seated on a Plymouth's fat fender and butting into the conversation. He ALWAYS knows better than anyone else, and he mas maniacally devoted to excellence in customer service.

The three-way conversation would continue throughout the film, with the new guy asking "stupid" questions, and getting answered by the senior tech on the one hand, with the alternative way of approaching a problem coming from Tech.

These films were designed to be understood by around a fifth-grade comprehension level. The booklets covered the exact same ground as the film, but included more charts and tables. The wall poster was designed as simply as possible for maximum impact. It showed that month's topic (a brake assembly, or a car's frame viewed from below) with a minimum of distractions, so the instructor could point at the poster and ask questions. The questionnaires were filled out with short, black pencils bearing gold letters saying "Special M.T.S.C. Pencil" that came in every month's box of materials.

Chrysler was the very first corporation to use IBM computers for their inventory and accounting. Your 1950's or 1960's car very likely came with a Hollerith "punch-card" under the back seat (it may still be there) to help the assembly line workers keep track of what options to install. The MTSC kits also came with these cards --   front & back here -- (DO NOT Fold, Spindle or Mutilate) for each of the session's trainees, so they could be filled out and mailed back to Chrysler for statistical study.

After a trainee completed a certain number of these courses, he would start receiving MTSC goodies, including a set of gold-anodized Mopar tools. They weren't really meant to be used, but the techs would usually wear them out with daily use. One guy has a complete, unused set, but he won't sell them at any cost. He feels he earned them, and he'll never get rid of them

We don't know when the MTSC series ended. Chrysler's association with Ross Roy ended sometime around the late 70's. Watch for many of these films and booklets being converted into multimedia study materials.


This page was last updated 12 August 2006.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club