The History of the Delco-Remy Division (DR)
Keeping the Memory
Start it, Light it,
Ignite it! (SLI)
1925 Remy Service Catalog added in "Service
Wright Museum of WWII page added in "Museum"
North Carolina Maritime Museum page added in
Missouri Museum of Military History page added in "Museums" 7-31-2017.
of the Remy name!
In 2015, Borg-Warner
bought Remy International Corporation. In late November 2016, the sign
in front of the the engineering and office headquarters building at the I-69 at the Pendleton, IN exit,
was changed from the Remy
It no longer had
"Borg-Warner" now replaced it. For 119 years, the name Remy was
associated with a company started and, for most of its years, located in
Anderson, IN. The Remy Electric Company, Delco-Remy, Delco-Remy
America and Remy International (Remy) have all carried the original Remy
brothers' names, who founded the company so many years ago. That
connection with the past is now gone!
May the Remy name rest
The Remy name may be
gone, but the Delco-Remy name lives on!
While the Remy name may have disappeared
from the corporations, office buildings, and factories, Delco-Remy
products are and will be on display at museums throughout the United
States. The first display a visitor encounters when entering
John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion at the National WWII Museum in
New Orleans, LA is this cutaway of a Packard 4m2500 marine engine.
The Delco-Remy cranking motor on the engine is prominently visible
from the entrance of the building. In September 2017 the
National WWII Museum was ranked the Number 2 museum in both the USA
and the world by TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice. Visitors from
around the world see the Packard cutaway with its prominently
displayed DR cranking motor. Author's photo added 3-28-2018.
All the visitors that view the engine at
one of the world's most visited museums will see the Delco-Remy
naval starter and its distinctive oval DR tag. Author's
photo added 3-28-2018.
The starter is model 824 and has serial
number 8904. Author's photo added 3-28-2018.
Delco-Remy DC generator is located on the opposite side of the
Packard engine. While not as easy to see, the DR tag is still
identifiable. Author's photo added 3-28-2018.
World War Two era Delco-Remy starters and
DC generators do more than just sit on display at museums.
They still start and provide electrical power to the three Packard
4M2500 1,500 hp marine engines in PT-305. Just like they did
for the 745 PT boats built in WWII, the Delco-Remy electrical
components continue to function as they did 75 years ago when PT-305
operated in the Mediterranean, and completed 77 combat missions,
assisted in two naval invasions, and sank three watercraft.
PT-305 is the only operable Higgins built PT boat combat veteran in
the world. Instead of going on combat missions in the
Mediterranean, it currently provides 45-minute rides on Lake
Pontchartrain in New Orleans. The boat tours cannot begin
until the DR cranking motors start the Packard engines!
Author's photo added 3-28-2018.
This is the starboard Packard 4M2500
engine in PT-305. The Delco-Remy cranking motor and DC
generator are plainly visible from the deck. Author's photo
This is a history of the former and great Delco-Remy Division of General Motors. It supplied
electrical equipment component for millions of GM vehicles until 1994. For these cars and trucks, this
process began with assuring the vehicle was in Park or Neutral.
If not, the DR
Neutral Start Backup Switch (NSBU) would not let the vehicle start.
With that requirement met, the Delco Battery activated by DR
ignition switch, pulled in a DR solenoid that energized a DR starting
motor to start the engine. To supply high tension to the spark plugs,
a distributor with condenser and coil, or later a High Energy Ignition
(HEI) would supply up to 20,000 volts. Once the engine was running, the Delco-Remy alternator, known for a long time as a Delcotron, would charge the Delco Battery and supply electrical power
to different electrical components. If someone got in your way, you
honked your Delco-Remy horn, activated by a DR horn relay. When it was dark, you turned on your
headlights; and, if necessary, the upper beams with DR switches.
When it rained, a Delco-Remy wiper switch would activate the
windshield wipers. If you needed to cool down or warm up, you turned on the A/C or
heat, and a DR vacuum actuated controller would open and
close the necessary vents to get the conditioned air to you. These are just
a few of the multitude of electrical components made by the
former Delco-Remy over its 98-year history.
John Spears now has a
Performance Ignition Systems Website. John's website
includes many of the high-performance ignition systems from the 1960's
and 1970's, and contains important historical information not found in
David D Jackson 10-9-2016
Ted Vinson, Delco-Remy Historian
Emeritus, published "The Delco-Remy Story
1896-1994". This limited-edition book is available at
Historical Society, P. O. Box 696, Anderson, Indiana 46015-0696 for $40.00
plus $8.00 shipping. Checks or money orders are accepted.
Ted Vinson's book fills a void in the history of Delco-Remy. Ted provided
facts and inside information that he acquired during his 41-year tenure
at DR. The book is written in a narrative fashion that includes an
in-depth look at the Remy family, added information on the early products and plants, and
various events over the 98 years of DR existence. Ted also
delves into the success and eventual downfall of Delco-Remy, which
in my estimation pretty much hits the nail on the head. I totally
recommend purchasing a copy of this limited-edition history they are
This photo was taken 11-29-1918 during the construction of Building
45, or what would be the front east end of Plant One east of the middle
stairway. The four-story Building 30 was completed in 1917 and is
the background. Building 5 on the right housed Schoolrooms 1-4 in
later years. Photo courtesy of Bob Scharnowske.
The Plant One or Columbus Avenue Complex with
Plants 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 15 and 16 circa 1973. Today only Plant 15 and 16
survive. Plant 15 is now owned by S&S Steel. Plant 16 remains empty
and like most of the former GM property in town, is owned by the city of
Anderson. The Plant 1, 2, and 4 areas are now soccer fields.
Note in this photo that the color of the brick shows up in two shades of
red on the front of Plant One. The more brownish toned brick is part of the original 1919 construction and the red tint is from
the 1929 addition.
"The Acre" with Plants 3, 7, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19,
20 and water treatment plant circa 1973. Today only Plants 18, 19 and 20 still
exist. Plant 20 remains forlornly vacant behind a deteriorating
fence, while the west end of Plant 19 burned in an arson fire several years
ago after being purchased by AMACOR, a magnesium recycling facility.
Magnesium makes for one intense fire! Plant 18, after being vacant
since 2003, was purchased in 2008 by Hy-Tech Machining of Anderson for
$425,000, which also included 22 acres of land. Hy-Tech's original
intent was to utilize the lab area for its operations and tear down the
three story building. However, in early 2010 Families Forever
began operating in the front through the old Plant 18 lobby entrance.
It took considerable time for me to adjust to not seeing Plant 11 as I
drove south on Scatterfield Road across the railroad tracks. It
always dominated the west side of the road across from Plant 18.
When these two photos were taken in 1973,
17,501 persons were employed by the by Delco-Remy in Anderson.
This corresponds with the Delco-Remy published number of 17,431 that
were employed at DR Anderson in 1965. It is hard to see in the
photos but the parking lots are filled with mostly General
Motors cars, trucks, and vans. (The painted van craze was going on
at the time.) While it is our intent not to go into the reasons for
the demise of DR and GM, I have always wondered if the powers that be at
GM ever realized that it had a huge built-in market for its vehicles in
the component divisions in Anderson, and Kokomo, IN; Dayton and Warren,
OH; Flint and Saginaw, MI; Rochester and Lockport, NY along with several
other locations. Employees in many cases were buying new GM cars
every year if not every couple of years, creating a large market for its
vehicles. When GM decided it no longer needed the component
divisions throughout the Midwest, the former employees and potential
future employees had no further GM loyalty, when making their vehicle
purchases. Just one of many reasons GM went bankrupt in
The Redevelopment of the former Delco-Remy
The former Plant 11 is now the
location of Buick-GMC and Ford car dealerships. Author's photo
Community Hospital is constructing a new
medical arts building in the south-east corner of The Acre. This
area to the south of the former Plant 11 was always vacant when DR owned
it. The for sale sign is for the former Plant 18 parking lot.
Author's photo added 6-8-2016.
The east end of the former Plant 3 is going
to be the home of the Purdue Polytechnic Center in Anderson.
Author's photo added 6-8-2016.
The sign on the left says: "Future
Site of Plant 3." Author's photo added 6-8-2016.
The next three photos were taken in
September 2016. This photo was taken from the former Plant 10 parking
lot looking east. The white building on left is in the location of
the former Delco-Remy Plant 7. In the background is the " New"
Plant 3. Author's photo added 10-9-2016.
This photo of the new plant going in at the
location of the former Plant 7 was taken from the northeast corner of
the former Plant Ten. Author's photo added 10-9-2016.
The "New" Plant 3 photographed from the same
location as above. Author's photo added 10-9-2016.
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