What are the most iconic brands in the automotive performance aftermarket?
The word “iconic” may mean different things to different people, but we chose to roll with the dictionary-based definition of the word.
Iconic — adj. \ī-ˈkä-nik\ — widely recognized and well-established; acknowledged for distinctive excellence
Can something be iconic without being widely recognized?
Can something be iconic without being well-established?
Can something be iconic without a rich history of excellence?
Those questions were rhetorical.
As such, the brands you chose as most iconic aren’t likely to raise many eyebrows. They are a collection of the most-excellent, time-tested and historically significant names in the business, and are largely responsible for producing the top aftermarket parts of all time.
Starting the countdown to #1 is the brand you voted to the #10 spot on the list.
#10 — ACDelco
The General Motors-owned ACDelco will celebrate its 101st birthday this year.
We’re of the opinion a brand probably deserves an honorary degree in Iconic-ness simply by virtue of becoming a centenarian alone.
Add to that ACDelco’s rich history of product development, and it’s no surprise the company was voted into the top 10.
The company traces its roots to United Motors Corp. in 1916. That company acquired several smaller businesses, including the companies which would serve as the namesake for the present-day ACDelco—Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co. (DELCO) and AC Spark Plug.
AC spark plugs powered the transatlantic flights of both Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.
DELCO batteries powered U.S. Navy planes during World War II.
In the 1960s, AC Spark Plug and Delco Electronics team members partnered with NASA to build the inertial guidance system for the Apollo missions, and built several components of the lunar rover vehicle used by Apollo 15 astronauts to explore the moon’s surface in the 1970s.
ACDelco’s growth in the automotive aftermarket took a major leap forward in the 1980s when the company focused its attention on building ACDelco parts that fit GM vehicles to exact OE specifications.
Add in nearly three additional decades of global growth and product innovation, and it’s not hard to see how ACDelco went from a collection of diverse parts companies a century ago into the iconic powerhouse it is today.
Popular ACDelco Parts
Here’s a sampling of some of ACDelco’s most-popular and trusted parts: