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Lynch Road, Detroit: Plymouth-DeSoto Factory

Lynch Road Plymouth Plant

Bill Watson wrote that Lynch Road was opened for DeSoto production in 1928 or very early 1929; in 1933, DeSoto moved to Jefferson Avenue, and the plant was largely devoted to Plymouth, though in 1935 (and possibly other years) both Plymouth and DeSoto were manufactured at Lynch Road. Take a tour of the plant as it was around 1951.

Lynch Road plant, 1958

Today, the Lynch Road plant houses one location of a national coatings company. Its fate is better than that of Detroit Axle, which is a parking lot today.

Lynch Road Plymouth Factory

The first Dodges made at the plant after that time were the Coronet and Monaco in 1964, followed by the Charger in 1965. Photos are from the Plymouth Bulletin (except the color photo below, from Chrysler.)

Lynch Road plant in 1966

The Lynch Road was notable for its wartime accomplishments. It made military trucks, but of more long-lasting fame was the construction of diffusers used to refine uranium for atomic bombs, starting with the very first.

Lynch Road Plymouth plant, 1933

Chrysler engineers actually made it possible to produce an atomic bomb without extreme cost; scientists believed that only pure nickel could resist highly caustic uranium hexafluoride gas, but Chrysler engineers suggested that simply electroplating steel drums with nickel would work just as well.

Over the scientific experts’ objections an experiment was carried out, and it turned out that nickel-plated steel did work — without this, building the first bomb would have required every available source of nickel for two years. The diffusers themselves were built and electroplated in clean rooms at Lynch Road.

1939 Plymouth factory

In a more pedestrian but very useful footnote to history, a manager discovered early in World War II that the Lynch Road plant had been story 155 mm recoil mechanisms for big guns used in World War I. Since the war had ended, workers had regularly tested the machinery and made sure it was weather protected. The big guns were shipped to England for their coastal defense. Reportedly this discovery played a role in K.T. Keller’s idea to create a permanent tank arsenal near Detroit,  which would produce tanks during wars and civilian transport during peacetime.

\plymouth factory

Plymouth 1929-1964
DeSoto 1929-1933
Fargo Truck 1929-1930
Plymouth 1979-1980
Belvedere 1964-1970
Belvedere 1972-1978
Monaco/Coronet 1964-1978
Charger 1965-1966
St. Regis 1978-1980
Chrysler 1978-1980

Plymouth Lynch Road factory, 1935

1939 plant photo

Lynch Road drawing


dodge main

There is a large field west (closer to viewer) of the plant, a set of railway tracks, another large plot of vacant land, and then Mt. Elliott Road. That large plot of land between the tracks and Mt. Elliott is where Chrysler would build Plymouth’s huge Lynch Road plant.

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