ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF QUALITY PRODUCTS
Originally established in 1920 as an organisation focussed on the import and distribution of American-made automotive components, Automotive Products quickly progressed to become a manufacturer of high quality braking and clutch systems for supply to the global automotive industry.
By 1931, Automotive Products had opened a purpose built factory in Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, for the production and distribution of clutch and braking systems – this site is still fully operational today as the UK clutch manufacturing facility of RAICAM (under the name Raicam Clutch Ltd.), and is still at the centre of premium, original equipment clutch design and manufacture.
By the outbreak of the Second World War, Automotive Products was the market leader in the design and development of automotive clutch assemblies and braking products. Indeed, many AP designed components were used in armoured vehicles used by the British Army (such as Churchill and Cromwell Tanks) during World War Two. AP engineered systems were also proving incredibly popular in the motorsport arena: many iconic motor racing cars utilized AP assemblies, such as the legendary Jaguar XK120 – a five time winner of the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race.
In January 1958, Automotive Products manufactured its 10 millionth clutch system since production began – by this stage, 85% of all vehicles in the United Kingdom were fitted with Automotive Products clutch systems, and the organisation was the largest clutch and brake manufacturing organisation in the world. AP attracted royal interest in 1958, when the organisation was visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who recognised the importance of Automotive Products as a key component of the British automotive industry.
The Automotive Products Group expanded rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, opening many offices and manufacturing plants across the globe – AP Italy was founded in 1971, and was the predecessor of the modern day company AP Automotive Products S.R.L. – the Italian clutch manufacturing arm of RAICAM.
In 1977, AP designed and released the first DST clutch system, which was received with critical acclaim, winning the British Design Council Award. The technology and design used in this DST clutch assembly was a milestone in clutch system design, and is used extensively in many modern clutch assemblies today – illustrating just how instrumental Automotive Products has been in the development and progress of automotive driveline technology.
Automotive Products was merged into RAICAM in 2009. Sites in Leamington Spa, United Kingdom (Raicam Clutch Ltd.), and Ancona, Italy (AP Automotive Products S.R.L.), continue to design, develop and manufacture clutch assemblies and driveline products for a wide variety of applications, ranging from commercial vehicles to exotic, high performance sports cars. RAICAM also develops and produces friction braking systems for passenger car and light commercial vehicle applications at sites in Turin and
Pescara, Italy, under the company name Raicam Industrie S.R.L. These clutch assemblies and friction braking products which are produced are supplied as original equipment for many of the most recognisable vehicles on modern roads today – a testament to the superior quality of RAICAM engineered components. RAICAM also has a thriving aftermarket arm, which shares the same level of quality as the original equipment components which are produced.
RAICAM continues to work closely with vehicle manufacturers to develop new automotive driveline technology, and will continue to be an integral part of the global automotive industry in the future. The organisation is constantly expanding, with manufacturing plants in India and Brazil due to open soon, strengthening RAICAM’s presence in an increasingly competitive, technologically advanced global automotive market.
RAICAM production line, early 20th century