Made In Detroit


Mr. Ehrenberg, I just helped a friend of mine take apart a 1964 Barracuda, 225, with 11,724 original miles. Unfortunately, even though the interior is quite good, the body has a fair amount of rust, hence the disassembly. We are trying to document everything so it can be restored to original.
Here’s our first question: Both U-joints, the oddball front one and the normal rear, say “Detroit” in several places. Besides the obvious, does this have any special meaning?
—Josh Berger, Lawrence, KS

It just means that they are almost certainly original. Chrysler used to have their own propeller shaft and universal joint factory in Detroit (it was actually in Dearborn), this division was called “Detroit Universal Division.” The products they produced were of exemplary quality. This division was killed off sometime around the 1979-’81 corporate financial crisis, after that, similar products were purchased from vendors.

Detroit: What’s in a name? A once-proud city in the Midwest, known as the “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II, that had its name appropriated for Chrysler’s propshaft and U-joint division, as in “Chrysler Corporation, Detroit Universal Division, Detroit, USA”. Their stuff was bulletproof – something I attribute to Chrysler’s (at the time) world-leading understanding and application of metallurgy and metalworking. Sad to say this division has been ancient history for ’bout 30 years. Sucks.
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