Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Nine (More) Reasons Why Ohio May Be the Most Important State in U.S. Auto History

Posted November 22, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: car culture Ohio

Earlier this month, to celebrate National Ohio Day, Paul Sakalas at Summit's OnAllCylinders blog did something that this Buckeye State native should have done a long time ago: run down the top 10 reasons why Ohio — and not Michigan — might be the important state in the history of the American automobile.

It's a good list, one that we should expect from Summit Racing (named after the Ohio county in which it's based) and one that includes a few prominent assembly plants (Lordstown, Norwood, Marysville, and Brook Park via the 351 Cleveland), a number of well-known aftermarket companies besides Summit (just what do you think Flaming River was named after?), Art Arfons, and Crosley. While these all contributed in their own ways to automotive history, however, the majority of the list was just things that come to mind when gearheads think of Ohio or trivia. I'd argue that only two items from Summit's list — Charles Kettering, who was born in Ohio and who established the Dayton Electronics Company (a.k.a. Delco), and the Akron-based rubber industry — significantly impacted the automotive industry in this country.

And that's a shame, because I know for a fact that Ohio had far more to contribute to U.S. automotive history than those two. After all, as Richard Wager wrote in "Golden Wheels," a book that enumerates the many automobiles and automotive personalities from Northeast Ohio, including the Firelands, Cleveland really was the first Motor City, well before Detroit took that title. Even after the Model T (along with conservative Cleveland bankers who were risk-averse when it came to the auto industry, as Wager analyzed) helped shift the center of U.S. auto manufacturing northwest, Cleveland remained the second most prolific city in the industry and "still held the distinction of turning out a concentration of high quality, luxurious, expensive cars, which for a decade or so rivaled if not surpassed the output of the Motor City in monetary value."

All that said, here are my suggestions to improve that list. By no means is this a complete list, either so let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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