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Lynch Road, Detroit: Plymouth-DeSoto Factory

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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.

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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In a somewhat more pedestrian footnote to history, early in World War II, a Lynch Road manager discovered a cache of 155mm recoil mechanisms for big guns used in World War I. Since that war had ended, workers had kept the machinery protected from the weather, and regularly tested it; when the manager discovered it, the equipment was shipped to England for coastal defense.

Reportedly, this played a role in K.T. Keller's idea to create a permanent tank arsenal near Detroit, which would make civilian transport when tanks were not needed.

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Take a tour of the plant as it was around 1951.

Plymouth 1929-1964
Fargo Truck1929-1930
Plymouth 1979-1980
Belvedere 1964-1970
Monaco/Coronet 1964-1978
Charger 1965-1966
St. Regis1978-1980
Chrysler 1978-1980

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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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