The History of the Delco-Remy Divsion of General Motors
A.K.A. "The Remy Brothers" or "The Remy Electric Company"
1896-1994
Delco-Remy at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944   World War Two Products and Product Applications    The Army-Navy "E" Award   Our War Job

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R.E. Olds Transportation Museum - Lansing, MI

The Museum that is named after Ransom E Olds is more than about just the cars and trucks that bore his name for over 100 year after creating what became the Oldsmobile Division of GM and the Reo Motor Car Company.  (Reo can be written as Reo or REO.  It is pronounced as one word and rhymes with Leo.)  Contained in the museum is the early industrial history of Lansing when the city had multiple car and truck manufacturers.  To one like me that was raised within a mile of both the Olds and the Reo it lets me understand my roots in the auto industry.

Significant for the history of Lansing but also Delco Remy is that the oldest DR parts located up until this time by me are at this museum.

Note:  There are 102 photos in this section.


This is a 1938 REO Speedwagon.  Reo is all one word and not R-E-O as in the 1967 rock band.  Now you know where they got the name for their band.


 


The first engine one sees when he walks into the museum is this V-8, which has the distinction of being the last engine built by the GM division BOC, or Buick-Pontiac-Olds on April 5th, 1990.  Of course it has Delco-Remy components.


A Remy HEI is right on top.  Model 1103677.


Because this was the last V-8 produced by BOC in Lansing all of the workers signed the engine.  One of them signed the HEI for posterity.


Right next to the DR starter and solenoid is the flywheel with many signatures visible.


The motor with the Delco-Remy ID tag and the solenoid with the Delco-Remy name on the cap.


Also on the engine was this DR air solenoid.  Note the signatures on the oil fill pipe.

 


Reo built mowers, some without engines, and snow blowers.


Wheel Horse was sold to Toro and Motor Wheel was sold to Goodyear.  Wheel Horse stated in a garage in South Bend, IN.

Reo Engines:


Next engine in the museum is a 1927 REO Flying Cloud engine with some really interesting Remy parts on it.  From this view one can see the starter, ignition coil, and distributor.


This Delco-Remy starter is starts cranking when the driver presses down on the lever assembly to the right of the motor with his foot on the floor of the vehicle.


This tag on the motor is well worn but one can determine that it is Model 724-E, Serial Number 15053 and the name Delco Remy.  Also note that the location is given as both Dayton, OH and Anderson, IN.  This was during the time of transition when Remy became sole source of starters for GM and the Delco Dayton product line was moved to Anderson.  The 724-E Model Number is a Anderson Remy number.


There is a Delco-Remy Coil on the Flying Cloud Engine.


Model 636K Serial 10462 Delco-Remy Distributor.


This ID tag is so worn on the distributor but it appears this may also have both Dayton, OH and Anderson, IN on it.


The DC generator.

Mia Tioli made this excellent looking model of what the Reo Plant looked liked in 1906.  In the end most of the green space was covered with factory expansions.  The road along the bottom is Washington Ave and I used to walk this section of Washington from my house to the downtown area during the mid sixties which would be to the left or north .  I remember trucks, and especially Army 2&1/2 ton and five ton trucks, coming off the assembly line no doubt on their way to Vietnam.  In the lower right hand corner which would be the intersection of Baker Street and Washington the City of Lansing had a firehouse with a Seagrave engine.  On the site where the west side of the test track is located the Reo Clubhouse was later built.  My grandfather worked at the Reo and was involved in the sit-down strike in 1937 that lasted four weeks and was one of the few strikes of the type that was non-violent.  My grandmother helped along with other wives by providing food, blankets and other necessities to the workers inside.  After the strike my grandfather got a job at Fisher Body which was timely as Reo went bankrupt in 1939 which closed the doors for a year.  Because of his skill set the government had my grandfather transfer to the Nash-Kelvinator plant during WWII where he became supervisor of the propeller balancing department for Hamilton-Standard Propellers.  By the end of the war the plant produced 158,134 propeller assemblies and 85,656 spare blades, second in production only to the home plant of Hamilton Standard.  After the war my grandfather returned to Fisher Body.


Looking south with the Lansing railroad station for the Grand Trunk Railroad.  Now you know where Grand Funk Railroad got its name from.


Right next to the six cylinder Flying Cloud engine is the eight cylinder version know as the Royale.  The generator, starter and distributor all look identical (the distributor having 8 output wires rather than 6) to the components on the previous engine but have no DR tags. The coil is stainless steel but is marked DR.


The ignition coil with a stainless can.


Delco-Remy can just barely be made out on the top upside down.


The Distributor looks just like the one on previous six cylinder Flying Cloud engine except for being for a straight eight.  There was no tag on it.


Starter with no ID Tag.


DC Generator with no ID Tag.


Starting instructions for a 1909 REO.


This unidentified REO engine has DR generator, distributor and starter on the driver's side of the engine.  There was no coil mounted on the engine.


Delco-Remy DC generator 1102664 serial number 7B 5.


The Delco-Remy distributor appears to be 1110808 with serial number 7L4.


The vacuum advance is plumbed with a copper line.


Delco-Remy starter Model 727 Z, Serial Number 13283.


Before there was Delco-Remy there was Fisher Body for two of us that came to Anderson, IN from Lansing, MI.  The Durant Plant in the photo above was purchased by GM in 1935 for the use of Fisher Body.  During WWII my father worked here until drafted into the Army and my mother came to work in the plant during the war not as a Rosie the Riveter but as a production control secretary. Upon his return to Fisher Body from service after WWII my father met my mother at the plant and they got married.  After high school while going to college both myself and my sister had summer jobs in the plant.  The plant is facing Verlinden Avenue which runs north and south.  The street running east and west is Michigan Ave.  The high school that we went to was built in the early 40s on the south side of Michigan at Verlinden.  My sister and I literally walked across the street after graduating to start our years with GM.


The Fisher Body Plant in later years but not yet the final product.  The horseshoe shaped building on the right or north end had already been filled in when I was there.  On the south end that would become an addition known as Building 3X.  After I came to DR more additions were made.  Note that what was an empty subdivision with only a couple of houses in the previous photo is now filled in with houses and mature trees.


This is the final version of Lansing Fisher Body before it was razed in 2008.  One is looking south with Verlinden Ave running down the left hand side of the photo. Fisher Body is the plant to the left or east of the Fisher Body Power House in the center and the railroad tracks that run north and south on the right or west side of the photo..  Fisher Body supplied bodies to the Olds main assembly plant that later became Lansing Auto Assembly as things changed with GM in Lansing and Olds going away.  Fisher Body became Lansing Body Assembly after Roger Smith decided it did not need to exist as a separate entity in 1984.  The plant to the right of the photo is an Olds plant and the aircraft that took the photo is over another Olds plant that was built like DR Plant 11 was to make jet engine parts for the Korean war.  While DR supplied Allison Davison I believe the Olds Jet Plant as it was called supplied parts to Buick which was making the Sapphire jet engine under license from Curtiss-Wright Corporation.  To get to the main Olds complex from this location one would go south to the Grand River and then left or east about a half a mile to the original location of Olds in Lansing.  One of the things I was able to do before the plant closed was to get both of my children tours of this plant and the Olds before they closed.  Hopefully they understand their roots.


Fisher Body Lansing supplied the auto bodies which was the passenger compartment from the firewall back to The Olds.  The bodies would be loaded on tractor trailers and trucked about a mile and half away to the Olds or Lansing Final Assembly as it was called later. In the photo above one is looking north from Michigan Avenue at the west end of the complex.  Note the railroad cars on the track in the background which was the west boundary of the property.  The Lansing operation was the last GM operation where the body assembly was remote from the final assembly.  In the fifties Lansing Fisher Body made convertibles bodies for Chevrolet which were then trucked to Flint.  The Toronado bodies were made at the Fisher Body Plant in Flint on the same line as Buick Riveras and trucked to Lansing for final assembly. 


During WWII Lansing Fisher Body contributed to the war effort by making parts for the Boeing B-29.  I remember my mother telling me that little people were hired to get inside the cramped confines of the control surfaces being made a the plant (ailerons, rudders, and elevators) to assist in the assembly of the structures.  Parts out of the Lansing Fisher Body Plant would have gone to aircraft assembly plants in Renton, WA, Wichita, KS, Marietta, GA, and Omaha, NB.  The B-29 project was actually more expensive than the Manhattan Project to produce the Atomic Bomb, which was $2.5 billion in WWII dollars versus the $3 billion for the B-29. 
 


A REO Gold Comet V8 with DR starter, distributor, coil and generator.


Reo moved from a foot switch to a solenoid on the starter for this engine.  This is a DR starter and solenoid but there is no way to get a photo of the end of the markings.


The DR distributor, Model 1110632, Serial Number 2C 8, and coil which has the capacitor mounted to it.


Delco-Remy 12 Volt DC Generator 1106821, Serial Number 42843.


There was also a straight six version of the Gold Comet.  This sample has a Delcotron and Remy distributor.  The starter was not identifiable and the starter solenoid was from another manufacturer.


 


The DR Distributor is model 1111896, Serial 0F16.

On to Olds and the Olds Viking Engines:


Oldsmobile introduced the Viking automobile in 1929.  Not a good time for a new product as it also coincided with the start of the Great Depression and only lasted two years.


Delco-Remy Coil.


The Remy Distributor is Model 6581, Serial 3195.


Here is another example of the ID tag showing both Dayton, OH and Anderson, IN on the tag.  In 1928 DR took over the DELCO electrical product line in Dayton.


The infamous Olds V-8 Diesel with DR starter and Delcotron.

 


 


The Olds engine display area.  The yellow engine to the left is actually a wooden model shop display.


The original Rocket V-8.  The world was just entering the jet and rocket age after WWII so the term "rocket" would denote the speed of heat.  This appears to be the first one built on July 13, 1948.
 


Before you can "blast off' in your Rocket V-18 you need to start it.  And of course the best way is with a Delco-Remy starter.


DR DC generator 1102704 Serial number 0D 4.


If one is going to ignite that Olds rocket, a DR distributor is in order.


 


The Rocket V-8 used a Delco-Remy coil.


This Olds Straight Six looked to have DR parts but only the ignition coil could be identified for sure.  Note that the 40's and 50s's engines are painted green, later to become gold.


This 2.5 liter experimental 1983 Olds Diesel has a DR Alternator.


This is a model 1105423.


This unidentified pre 1975 Rocket V-8 has a Delco-Remy Delcotron, Ignition Coil and what appears to be a DR distributor.  The Olds engine is now painted gold rather than green.


The Olds Quad Four with DR Integrated Direct Ignition (IDI) system, knock sensor, and CS-130 alternator.


For the first time a DR knock senor, 1997562 shows up on an engine.


Another Rocket V-8.  Note that this is painted green.


This engine has a Delco-Remy DC Generator, Distributor


The model number on the generator appears to be 1103008 with a serial number of 3A 8.


Model 1110824, Serial 3A 8 on the distributor.


Everything has a beginning and an end.  This end came way too soon and should never have happened.


This is the Olds Main complex in Lansing.  The power plant belongs to the city of Lansing and not GM as many persons have thougth over the years.  In the park across the Grand River from the power plant I used to play ball, fish and swim at the municipal pool.  The green area at the bottom of the photo is where the Reo used to be until it was torn down in 1979.  Much of the Olds complex was also torn down and replaced with the GM Grand River Plant that now builds the Cadillac CTS.  In the upper right is the Fisher Body - Olds Complex along Saginaw Street.


Back to the future.  The electric car has been tried many times in the past with a new emphasis coming in the early 21st century.  The drive motors, battery pack and batteries were developed for the EV1 under the Impact program at Delco-Remy.  It will be interesting to see how successful the next generation of pure electric (not hybrid) vehicles are in the current product introductions.

Air Force Museum   America's Packard Museum    Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum   Buick Museum   Chrysler Museum   Gilmore Car Museum   Kansas Aviation Museum   Kokomo Auto Museum   Michigan Firehouse Museum   Museum of Flight   National Automobile and Truck Museum    National Packard Museum   Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Allison Branch  RE Olds Transportation Museum   Ropkey Armor Museum   Studebaker Museum   USS Alabama Aviation Museum   War in the Pacific Museum   Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
 

 

 

Delco-Remy at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944   World War Two Products and Product Applications   The Army-Navy "E" Award   Our War Job
Home  History   The Plants   Plant Photos   Moments in Time  The Products   Product Brochures   Service Manuals   Training Booklets   Video  Employment Numbers   Museums   Sources  Allied Divisions   Revisions   Reunions   Remy Electric Country Club   Vintage Literature about The Remy Electric Company   Links

This Website has no affiliation with General Motors, Delphi Holdings, Remy International, or Borg-Warner.  The content is to only present a historical perspective of the plants and products of the former Delco-Remy Division previous to 1994.  All content
presented on this website is for general information only.   Website designed and maintained by David D Jackson.  
Contact:  David D Jackson