The following information is from a document given to us by Jerry Wittkop. We have included the opening line from the longer history and the information regarding Bantam and Newgren. Given the author (one of the principals of Monroe at the time), we believe this is be an accurate representation of how the McIntyre’s viewed the Bantam relationship.
THE MONROE STORY
This is a very short history of The Monroe Auto Equipment Company which was authored by William D. McIntyre, Jr. and published on November 24, 1994.
In 1948, Monroe acquired the American Bantam Company of Butler, Pennsylvania. American Bantam, which at one time had produced a small car, then was involved in producing trailers for Lustron Homes of Columbus, manufactures of prefabricated homes. But the trailer business was not a profitable one. Monroe’s management, used to producing 50,000 shocks a day, was unable to transfer its successful marketing methods to a company that manufactured only three or four trailers a day.
And Monroe never was paid for some of the trailers it manufactured for Lustron Homes, which used them to haul their prefabricated homes.
Monroe then reached an agreement with Willys-Overland to produce farm implements for Jeeps they were manufacturing. The implements would be made by American Bantam Company, which became a subsidiary of the Newgren Company.
Newgren and Willys-Overland would demonstrate their equipment together across the United States. They would show how a farmer could plow his field, then unhook the farm implements and drive his Jeep into town.
Some outside stockholders of American bantam Company were dissatisfied with Monroe handling of the operation, contending it was being operated in a manner where Monroe’s interests were given consideration over American Bantam’s.
After American Bantam had gone bankrupt, a $2,000,000 suit changing mismanagement was filed against Monroe by American Bantam. After six months of negotiations and threat of action against Monroe by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and agreement was reached. American Bantam would drop its suit in return for $310,000 in claims and the dropping of $150,000 in claims Monroe had filed against the company.