Lee Iacocca, the former head of Chrysler Corp. who brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1980s, has hit out at DaimlerChrysler Chairman Juergen Schrempp for refusing to bring him back for another try at rescuing Chrysler.

In an interview with the Detroit News newspaper, Iacocca said Schrempp pursued him in discussions over the last two years about a possible role at Chrysler, then spurned him.

Iacocca, now 77 and living in Los Angeles, told the Detroit News: "I'd give my right arm to do it, to be honest."

He also told the newspaper, "Chrysler was my life. I feel bad it is where it is today. People say well, it's just another German company. No. This was a great American company."

Iacocca told the Detroit News that he has regularly met with DC executives in clandestine talks over the past two years, but Schrempp has stopped calling him.

Iacoocca believes that Schrempp does not want to deal with him because of worries that his control of the company would be undermined and the he would be upstaged.