South Bend, IN has been crazy about wheels of all sizes for a long time. The Studebaker Corporation called the city home in 1852, when blacksmiths Clement and Henry Studebaker, Jr. began making metal parts for freight wagons, then started manufacturing surreys and Conestogas. In 1902, Studebaker began building cars. John Teel and Frederick Badet started South Bend Toys in 1897 and produced scale models of those Studebaker wagons, among other great children’s novelties. While all that was happening, the Bendix Corporation made itself known in early 1900s in South Bend, becoming one of the largest automotive part suppliers to the Big Three.
Fast forward to today. South Bend’s automotive passion lives on in scale, thanks in part to Tom Lowe and Round 2, makers of American Muscle diecast and Auto World slot cars. We got an invite from Tom and the team to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how South Bend does diecast—and jumped at the chance. Round 2 designers Tony Karamitsos and Mike Groothuis were our guides, and they treated us to a day of model euphoria—with a touch of “top secret” thrown in for good measure.
From prototypes to production samples, the sights and sounds were almost overwhelming, but that didn’t keep us from taking these cool (and exclusive!) shots. Want to see more? Check out DCXmag.com for additional coverage from our visit at Round 2. Thanks to Tom, Dan, Meg, Tony, and Mike, for a great day with little cars.