Auto Lite and Chrysler


For many years American automobile manufacturers relied on other companies to produce many subassemblies and parts.  Remember that it was the Dodge Brothers who had a major role in the production of Fords and Oldsmobiles. 


In the early ‘50’s I reached the age where I was getting seriously interested in girls - but I was even more interested in CARS. 


I grew up in Springfield, Ohio, where International Harvester Corporation built pickups, Travelalls, and medium trucks.  Back then most pickup trucks were owned by farmers and contractors, so the only thing IHC had that interested me was a job to help me buy gasoline for my car.  I was a MOPAR guy even then.  I had a 1949 Chrysler New Yorker - straight eight, and Fluid Drive. 


Wescott automobiles were manufactured in Springfield between 1912 and 1925.  Another automobile related industry in Springfield was the Buckeye Bumper Division of The Electric Auto-Lite Company plant where bumpers were made for Chrysler Corporation cars and trucks.  Buckeye Bumper also produced various  trim items, such as chrome over die cast hood ornaments and taillight housings.  The high quality of the chrome plated products produced by Autolite in plants like the one in Springfield have stood the tests of time and the environment.


Chrysler vehicles incorporated many parts and subassemblies from Autolite.  The most obvious were the Autolite electrical systems.  All Chrysler vehicles had Autolite electrical systems to include spark plugs.  They almost exclusively were delivered with Goodyear tires.  At the same time, Fords had Champion spark plugs.   Henry Ford was a close friend of Harvey Firestone and most Ford vehicles were delivered with Firestone tires. GM had Delco - later Delco-Remy - electrical systems, AC spark plugs, and US Royal or BF Goodrich tires.  By the way, Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company) was in Dayton, Ohio, 25 miles from Springfield, and was founded by Charles F. Kettering who invented the electric starter that first appeared in Cadillacs. 


Many of these suppliers of parts and subassemblies were independent corporations with plants all over the United States.  The automobile industry flourished in many parts of the United States.  Detroit was the home of most corporate headquarters, but “Detroit” should not be used to identify the US automobile industry.  “Detroit” does not reflect all the hard working folks all around the United States who contributed so much to the automobile industry.    


If you want to see many of the parts actually being manufactured that are still in use on your old Dodge, Chrysler, Desoto, Plymouth, or Dodge truck, click on this “Autolite” link for a 23 minute movie.  You will be amazed.  See how many parts you can identify.  


Youngsters who would rather be playing a game on their cell phone probably will not have the patience to watch the whole show, and - if they even have a Power Wagon they are working on - they most likely have already discarded the original parts shown.