Thiokol - DMC - LMC Company History

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Here's a fun question you can use to confuse your friends at your next party.

Ask them, "Did you ever wonder why the logo on a DeLorean car is so similar to the logo on an LMC groomer?"

deloreanlogo.jpg


lmclogo.jpg


Well that logo similarity is no coincidence since John DeLorean once owned LMC!

But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves so lets start at the beginning...

Thiokol History
The birth of LMC has two very unlikely fathers: Thiokol and John DeLorean.


You probably know the Thiokol name from the space program. They currently manufacture rocket boosters, including the boosters on NASA's space shuttle fleet.

But prior to the 1970's, Thiokol was a leading manufacturer in the ski industry. They designed and built chair lifts, and manufactured a line of snow grooming equipment. Even today, you'll will see Thiokol snow cats advertised for sale at many used equipment dealers.

During the 1970's, NASA was in the R & D phase of its reusable space vehicle program. Thiokol submitted bids and and was awarded a contract in 1974 for research, design and testing of solid rocket boosters.

When NASA accepted the Thiokol rocket design for the space shuttle rocket boosters in 1974, Thiokol decided to leave the ski industry and focus on NASA. There were two men employed at Thiokol that had worked in the ski lift industry. Jan Leonard had worked at Thiokol and Mark Ballantyne worked at Hall Ski Lifts. Jan and Mark Ballantyne left Thiokol to form their own company called CTEC to continue work in the ski industry.

In 1978, CTEC purchased Thiokol's lift designs and inventory. The first lift manufactured under the new CTEC company name, was a triple chair built for Seven Springs, PA.


In the meantime, Thiokol was looking for a buyer interested in purchasing their snow cat business.

DeLorean History
In 1978, John DeLorean purchased Thiokol's snow cat manufacturing business, and renamed it Logan Manufacturing Company, for its location of Logan, Utah. Logan Manufacturing became a division of DeLorean Manufacturing Company (DMC) and was usually referred to LMC.


John DeLorean was an ex-General Motors executive with an idea for a radical new sports car with gull wing doors. The car was featured in the movie "Back To The Future" and is also a popular ride a Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Back in 1979, John was backed by the British government to build a new manufacturing plant in Ireland for building the new DeLorean car with the idea of creating good jobs.

Things went fine until John DeLorean was charged with misappropriation of public funds and production on the car ended, with between 7,000 and 8,000 being built.



LMC History
Meanwhile LMC continued chugging along producing snow cats and groomers.

In 1988, John DeLorean was caught in a drug raid and accused of selling cocaine. He sold LMC to help pay for his legal expenses and was eventually acquitted of the charges.


In 1988, several employees of LMC stepped up to purchase the company. But business slowly declined throughout the 1990's due to increasing competition from Bombardier and PistenBully. LMC operations sadly ended in 2000 with a final bankruptcy filing.

Photos below are from the SafetyOne website's Historic Snowcat Page, used with permission.
 

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Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Re: Thiokol/LMC Company History

Here are a few more photos. You can really begin to see the evolution of the design. Thiokol constantly changed their designs and adapted to many different types to terrain with their track design.

Again these photos come from SafetyOne's website and their Historical Snowcat Page.
 

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Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Re: Thiokol/LMC Company History

And 3 more, these bring us roughly up to the end of Thiokol and the beginning of LMC in their manufacturing timeline. To see more snowcats for sale, visit Safety One.
 

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nutsster

New member
I believe this is in error! I was told by Peterson's Equipment in Logan (former employees of Delorian) that Delorian owned the company until 1996. It is thought that he sold it to the employee's in 1982, but he didn't. He handed control to the employee's while he was fighting the legal battles. In 1996 he sold it to a NYC invester who ran it into the ground. The machines had the DMC label on them from 1981 to 1982. They made a quick decision to change the name to LMC to avoid the name association with John Delorian. I asked these questions because I own a 1981 DMC 1200. This ownership history was clouded to distance them from Delorian. I understand he had quite a passion for Snow Cats, and was a great designer/engineer.
:eek:
 

Snowcat Operations

New member
SUPER Site Supporter
BOB,
The last picture in post #1. Do you have any information in regards to that particular picture? Year? Location? ect ect. That happens to be a Swamp Spryte. Since I bought one I have been trying to track down as much information as possible
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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Mike -- The first six photos are from SafetyOne. The final 3 are from a dealer who had them for sale. No idea on year the swamp spryte photo was taken.

nutsster -- I got the information I posted from a dealer, I can't vouch for its accuracy and would gladly edit in additions. Its obviously just an overview without much detail, but if you have some additional details, I'm sure everyone here would welcome the additional information.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Here is a 1966 advertisement from Porter for their Thermoid belts it features a Thiokol Trackmaster but is actually an advertisement for belting material used by Thiokol. The advertisement is from the H.K Porter Company.

This advertisement was recently offered for sale on Ebay.
 

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Melensdad

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Staff member
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Here is some more Thiokol information that may be of interest. You can view the article here: http://www.snowjournal.com/article268.html

SnowJournal runs a nice forum, but it is mostly for skiers, ski hill operators, etc. I check it out from time to time for snowcat information and just found this old article they have posted. If you are looking for snow conditions of the ski hills, etc then you should really check out their site.



SnowJournal.com


This article is on the web at:
http://www.snowjournal.com/article268.html

Thiokol, pimps of the ski industry

Wednesday, September 18, 2002 02:14 AM GMT

By Chris Bradford

Recently, while researching DeLorean cars to satisfy a curiosity, I uncovered a piece of very interesting information. The fact: DeLorean also manufactured snow cats.

The idea of a DeLorean snow cat triggered a new curiosity. So, I set off in my usual frenzied search for information, and what I uncovered, is an astounding story beginning with Thiokol, and ending somewhere between NASA, Dopplmayr, and Chapter 11.

Originally, this was supposed to be an article about the DeLorean snow cat. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, DeLorean wasn't really the center of the story.

Lets start with Thiokol in the present day. Thiokol currently manufactures rocket boosters, including the boosters on NASA's space shuttle fleet.

Prior to the 1970's, Thiokol was a leader in the manufacture of mechanical systems. They designed and built chair lifts, and manufactured a line of snow grooming equipment. Even today, you'll spot the occasional Thiokol lift or Thiokol snow cat.

During the 1970's, NASA was in the research and development phase of its reusable space vehicle program. Thiokol came up to the plate in 1974, and was awarded a contracts for solid rocket booster research, design and testing.

Two men employed at Thiokol in 1974, were Jan Leonard and Mark Ballantyne. Both men got their start in the lift industry by working for the two leading lift manufacturers. One at Thiokol, and the other at Hall Ski Lifts.

Lift manufacturing at Thiokol continued until 1976, when NASA accepted their design for the space shuttle rocket boosters, changing the company's fate. Deciding in the interest of focusing on rockets, Thiokol decided to exit the ski industry. Jan Leonard and Mark Ballantyne left the company to form their own company, CTEC.

The newly formed CTEC took 2 years to evolve, and in 1978, they purchased Thiokol's lift designs and inventory. The first lift manufactured under the CTEC name, was a triple chair built for Seven Springs, PA.

Thiokol began looking for a buyer interested in purchasing their snow cat/groomer business.

Shifting focus for a moment to DeLorean...

Practically everyone is familiar with the DeLorean car. Yes, its the model used in the movie "Back to The Future".

The DeLorean car, a radical new sports car with gull wing doors, was manufactured in Scottland between 1981 and 1983 by the DeLorean Manufacturing Company (DMC), founded by General Motors veteran John DeLorean. The manufacturing facility and DMC project was financed by the British government starting in 1979, in the interest of creating jobs in Ireland.

Unfortunately, only 8,583 of these cars were ever produced, and DMC came to an abrupt end amid accusations of scandal. John DeLorean was charged with misappropriation of public funds, and the DeLorean car, was finished.

How does this relate to Thiokol?

John DeLorean, sometime between 1978 and 1979, picked up a personal project for his own enjoyment. He purchased Thiokol's snow cat manufacturing business, and renamed it Logan Manufacturing Company, after its location of Logan, Utah. Logan was made a division of DMC and became known as LMC.

LMC seemingly thrived under the direction of John DeLorean, but it became rumored that funds from the British government intended for DMC were secretly funneled to LMC. None of this was ever proven.

LMC continued to grow into the late 1980's, producing DeLorean's snow cats.

In 1988, John DeLorean was caught in a drug raid, suspected of cocaine trafficking. Mounting legal expenses forced him to sell the Logan Manufacturing Company. He was later acquitted of the charges.

Several employees of LMC in 1988 stepped up to purchase the company. The business slowly declined throughout the 1990's, ending in Chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime around 2000.

LMC snow cats are still a common sight on the slopes, although most are aging with the grace of a lumbering monster. Next time you see one, look at the simple LMC logo. Compare it with the DMC logo of a DeLorean car. The two logos have a similiar style ... futuristic "D" or "L", followed by the same styled futuristic "MC".

Final notes...

In the years following the acquisition of Thiokol's lifts, CTEC grew steadily and merged with Garaventa AG in 1999. Forming Garaventa CTEC, the North American division of the Garaventa Group.

In 2001, the Garaventa Group merged with Dopplmayr, another large world-wide lift manufacturer.

So, now you know the story of Thiokol in the ski industry, and how it ends somewhere between NASA, Dopplmayr, and Chapter 11.




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© Copyright 2001-2004 SnowJournal.com. All Rights Reserved.​
 

Snowcat Operations

New member
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You know I keep hearing how good Thiokols were. And I know they were and are. But why are they not still in business? Its a great product.
 

Thiokol2track

Bronze Member
SUPER Site Supporter
I think the others ,bombardier and pisten bully ,advanced quite a bit when thiokol was focusing on rocket engines,and Haugglands had the government contract. Then came the shuttle disaster or they sold the snow cat part of the company to delorean....unsure which came first. :shitHitFan:
 

mtntopper

Back On Track
SUPER Site Supporter
DeLorean with all of his troubles (drugs and money) broke the snow cat division by not putting any money back. He may of just used it as a way to laundry dirty money since he had so many other problems in varous business ventures that were not solvent and legal.

After DeLorean, the cash flow and capital to sustain and grow the company under new ownership was not available. As any business person knows it takes large amounts of capital to sustain a manufacturing organization during tough economic times.

The actual sequence of the history is Thiokol Chemical Corp, DMC and in the end LMC. I believe the LMC entity was an employee owned venture which often does not work well in private enterprise.
:myopinion:
 

Lyndon

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
My understanding of the company history is pretty much the same as Mountaintopper. The Ski Lift and Snow Cat divisions were 'Offloaded' the Ski Lift company to one of it's competetors, and the Snow Cat division to Delorean. And the Employee's did buy the company. There's a man in Logan, Utah that has written a book on the company history. His place of business is at the Airport Industrial Park and was next door to the Thiokol/DMC/LMC plant. He's a good source for info on the company as he knew most all of the employees. I've lost his number, but one could probably find him by calling the Logan Airport. He promised me a copy of the book and I'm still waiting! He saw the Serial Number ONE I.D. Plate I gave Bill Guthrie (keeps it on the wall in a little Oak Frame, right behind his desk) and called me right up asking about the machine. I would venture to say that he did give a copy of the book to Bill, but I don't know for sure.
 

topgun53

New member
If I may join your conversation, I'd like to know more about the beginning of the Thiokol company and the 1101 model. Many of the 1101's I've seen photos of are being used as hose/equipment haulers for fire departments. Mine is different. "Corner" windows, no roll cage, etc. It was used for years as a snowmobile trail groomer, but was it originally intended for use on snow given most other photos I've seen of 1101's are on dry land?

Thanks for you help.
 

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Bobcat

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo
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I believe all of the Thiokols were meant to be 'all season'.
 

weatherby

New member
Hi Topgun53 Just thought you might enjoy this pic. I obtained this photo along with many others from a former employee of Thoikol many years ago. The only thing I know about this pic. is that on the back of it, it says (1965 Brodie Mt. Ski Lodge).
 

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Thiokol2track

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Weatherby, very nice picture! Brodie Mt. is very close to me.(20 mi.) and has been bought by a neighboring ski-area,Jiminy Peak, They are calling it Snowy Owl now and are catering to tubing.Its where I learned how to ski as a kid, I remember seeing the pictures of the sprytes in the lodge. :thumb:
 
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