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Thread: THE HISTORY OF ACDELCO

  1. #1
    Administrator 567chevys's Avatar
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    THE HISTORY OF ACDELCO

    T Today I went to the auto Parts store to get some plugs , AC Plugs when the old man behind the counter brought up front I though this was like it was in Hi school here is a Picture of the box

    Then I look up the Information of the company


    France dominated the spark plug market in the early 1900s, supplying gasoline engine manufacturers with only a limited line of plug configurations. They were also known to be quite costly and had substandard quality.

    Albert Champion was born in France in 1878. In 1889, a renowned bicycle and motorcycle racer, Champion came to America to compete in a series of races. He had brought several bicycles and motorcycles, but found parts very hard to find in the United States. As a result, Champion made his own.

    To help pay bills and cover expenses, Champion began making spark plugs and sold them to friends. Champion’s love of motors slowly turned towards automobiles and he later returned to France to open a shop that manufactured spark plugs and magnetos.

    In 1900, Champion returned to America after being hired by Charles Metz to race bicycles and motorcycles for the Waltham Manufacturing Company.

    In 1904, Champion moved to Flint, Michigan where he founded Champion Ignition Company for the manufacturing of spark plugs. With the help of investors, Champion was able to turn his racing hobby into a successful business. Unfortunately, problems with the investors soon lead to a break up. Champion
    soon found himself without a company. The investors continued to manufacture the spark plugs under the Champion name, but Champion himself was out of a job.

    In 1908 with the backing of the Buick Motor Co., Champion began a new company called the AC Spark Plug Company. Albert Champion was appointed president.

    In 1916 Alfred P. Sloan formed United Motors Corp. and eventually acquired Buick and AC Spark Plug.
    In 1921, Champion founded the Flint Faience & Tile Company. The tile company was one of the best
    Arts & Crafts tile companies in the United States, known for their glossy, painted tiles. They fired
    decorative tiles in the same kilns as spark plugs, in a building adjacent to the Harriet Street factory. This was done so they could avoid shutting down the kilns when they were finished with spark plug production, because repeated cycles of cooling and reheating would damage the kilns.

    On October 27, 1927, Albert Champion died of a heart attack.

    General Motors purchased the remaining stock held by Champion’s estate and took over the AC company. On December 1st of that year, AC became a full division of General Motors.

    When AC expanded its operations in 1933, General Motors closed the tile operation because of increased demands on the kilns for spark plugs.

    AC Spark Plugs have ridden with some of the most famous names in aviation history: Charles Lindbergh – who was the first person to fly the Atlantic ocean becoming the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next and Amelia Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
    In the 1960s, the space race was on and AC Spark Plugs and Delco Electronics were proud parts of it, infact both company helped NASA develop the inertial guidance systems for the entire Apollo program that took astronauts to the moon. AC igniter spark plugs were used to fire the second and third stage rocket
    engines that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins to the moon.

    Not stopping there, once man landed on the moon, they needed a way to explore it, so AC Spark Plug and Delco helped create key components of the lunar rover vehicle used by Apollo 15 astronauts.

    In 1971, United Motors Service was renamed United Delco Division.

    A few years later United Delco and the AC Spark Plug Division combined to form the company we know today as ACDelco.

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  2. #2
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    Interesting read. have always used AC or ACDelco plugs in my GM products. Nice to know how things evolved thru the years to what we know works. Thanks for posting that.

  3. #3
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    I had no idea that AC and Champion spark plugs came from the same guy. A good read.

  4. #4
    Registered Member enigma57's Avatar
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    Impressive accomplishments. Didn't know about the moon rover and later projects. Mom and Dad ran their automotive machine shop from the 1930s through the end of WWII. Mom told me a little of the beginnings of the AC spark plug history when I was a kid. But this writeup really fleshes it out.

    Thanks for posting Sid,

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    Registered Member Al_Dente's Avatar
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    If that genuinely is a box of plugs that sat on a shelf since highskrewl, that item would be worth way more as a collector's item, much like an old buffalo nickel

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    Registered Member BamaNomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 567chevys View Post
    T Today I went to the auto Parts store to get some plugs , AC Plugs when the old man behind the counter brought up front I though this was like it was in Hi school here is a Picture of the box

    Then I look up the Information of the company


    France dominated the spark plug market in the early 1900s, supplying gasoline engine manufacturers with only a limited line of plug configurations. They were also known to be quite costly and had substandard quality.

    Albert Champion was born in France in 1878. In 1889, a renowned bicycle and motorcycle racer, Champion came to America to compete in a series of races. He had brought several bicycles and motorcycles, but found parts very hard to find in the United States. As a result, Champion made his own.

    To help pay bills and cover expenses, Champion began making spark plugs and sold them to friends. Champion’s love of motors slowly turned towards automobiles and he later returned to France to open a shop that manufactured spark plugs and magnetos.

    In 1900, Champion returned to America after being hired by Charles Metz to race bicycles and motorcycles for the Waltham Manufacturing Company.

    In 1904, Champion moved to Flint, Michigan where he founded Champion Ignition Company for the manufacturing of spark plugs. With the help of investors, Champion was able to turn his racing hobby into a successful business. Unfortunately, problems with the investors soon lead to a break up. Champion
    soon found himself without a company. The investors continued to manufacture the spark plugs under the Champion name, but Champion himself was out of a job.

    In 1908 with the backing of the Buick Motor Co., Champion began a new company called the AC Spark Plug Company. Albert Champion was appointed president.

    In 1916 Alfred P. Sloan formed United Motors Corp. and eventually acquired Buick and AC Spark Plug.
    In 1921, Champion founded the Flint Faience & Tile Company. The tile company was one of the best
    Arts & Crafts tile companies in the United States, known for their glossy, painted tiles. They fired
    decorative tiles in the same kilns as spark plugs, in a building adjacent to the Harriet Street factory. This was done so they could avoid shutting down the kilns when they were finished with spark plug production, because repeated cycles of cooling and reheating would damage the kilns.

    On October 27, 1927, Albert Champion died of a heart attack.

    General Motors purchased the remaining stock held by Champion’s estate and took over the AC company. On December 1st of that year, AC became a full division of General Motors.

    When AC expanded its operations in 1933, General Motors closed the tile operation because of increased demands on the kilns for spark plugs.

    AC Spark Plugs have ridden with some of the most famous names in aviation history: Charles Lindbergh – who was the first person to fly the Atlantic ocean becoming the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next and Amelia Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
    In the 1960s, the space race was on and AC Spark Plugs and Delco Electronics were proud parts of it, infact both company helped NASA develop the inertial guidance systems for the entire Apollo program that took astronauts to the moon. AC igniter spark plugs were used to fire the second and third stage rocket
    engines that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins to the moon.

    Not stopping there, once man landed on the moon, they needed a way to explore it, so AC Spark Plug and Delco helped create key components of the lunar rover vehicle used by Apollo 15 astronauts.

    In 1971, United Motors Service was renamed United Delco Division.

    A few years later United Delco and the AC Spark Plug Division combined to form the company we know today as ACDelco.

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    Great post and super information Sid! If I ever knew all that... I'd forgotten..

    PS. In the muscle car heyday, I always preferred Champion, but I do run AC's in my fifties/sixties chevys...

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    Thanks Sid I learn a lot reading this, I had no clue that AC and Champion had the same roots. Personally I run AC in my injected junk and Autolite in race cars and hotrods. Always considered Champion a lawn mower and Mopar plug.

  8. #8
    Registered Member WagonCrazy's Avatar
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    Great writeup. I learned quite a bit from that. Thank you Sid.
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