American Simplex Motor Car Company-Mishawaka

Location: 400 S. Byrkit St., Mishawaka

The American Simplex Motor Car Company erected the earliest buildings on the site from 1907 to 1910 to manufacture high-powered two-cycle automobiles.  The name of the car became “Amplex” in 1910 because “Simplex” was being used by another automobile manufacturer.


When an attempt at quadrupling its quota in 1912 failed the car company was sold to M.W. Mix, who, in turn, sold it to Adolph Kamm, who produced hand-built cars of Amplex design.  King Gillette Company bought the complex of buildings during W.W. I to produce munitions for the U.S. government; and in 1926 the American Foundry Equipment Company (read more), formerly the American Sand Mixing Machine Company, purchased the plant.  At this time the foundry was constructed.


One of the Amplex cars participated in the first Indianapolis 500-mile race. The number 44 Amplex car was driven by Arthur Greiner with mechanic Sam Dickson. Sometime during the mid-point of the race, Greiner’s Amplex lost a tire. The bare wooden wheel rim hit the bricks (which made up the surface of the track), which caused the car to swerve wildly eventually plowing through tall meadow grass on the infield of the track. The car began somersaulting eventually coming to rest vertically on the radiator. The 27-year-old Greiner was flipped from the cockpit still holding the steering wheel in his hands. Sam Dickson was still in the mechanic’s seat of the race car, which began rocking back and forth eventually falling forward crushing the life out of the seasoned mechanic.

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