Currie Enterprises Shop Tour – Get Your Rear in Gear
Frank Currie (1929-2016) founded Currie Enterprises way back in 1959. Currie isn’t as well-known as a Mickey Thompson or a Dean Moon, but they all had him on speed dial. Currie took a niche component and created a wildly successful business. Every hot rod needs a rear end, and Currie became first choice for those valuing bullet-proof reliability, regardless of how many ponies were stampeding through the driveshaft.
What was less known about Currie, though, were his deep roots in the beginning of Southern California hot rod history. He was there at Muroc and El Mirage and Bonneville, rubbing shoulders with Alex Xydias, Vic Edelbrock, and Wally Parks. He’s as authentic as a salt-crusted Moon disk.
So today, when you think of rear ends what comes to mind? Cmon’ now we think of those too, but were talking about automotive rear ends. It would be fair to say that most typical automotive aficionados don’t put tremendous thought into their rear ends. When compared to the visual aesthetics such as engines and horsepower numbers, paint, chrome and interior, rear ends are often left in the dark, literally. Most people won’t crawl on their belly to examine the 3rd member, and will never see the ring and pinion, splined axles, and posi-differential.
Knowing that Currie Enterprises is where rear end magic has happened for nearly 60 years, we took a trip over there to check out their factory and witness for ourselves the manufacturing process. Many in the Hot Rod world are familiar with Currie as the makers of various Ford and Chevrolet differentials and axles; however their biggest output these days is for the off road world. Whether they are Trophy Trucks, Rock Crawlers, Jeep weekend warriors, Baja 1000 racers, sand rails, and even street sweepers, Currie rear ends are under far more vehicles than just Ford and Chevy muscle cars.
There were several interesting facts that were learned while visiting the Currie facility in Corona, California. Currie hired what you would call an efficiency expert. An expert measured every toolbox, every shelf, anything that took floor space; he shadowed every employee, counted every footstep and took note of every movement. Based on that information Currie was able to streamline their production, employees were more efficient and as a result their products flowed out the door faster without loss of quality.
Every rear end that leaves the facility has the combined effort of more than forty employees! From the milling process, to fitment and welding, assembly, final assembly and shipping, forty-plus employees work in tandem to produce near bullet proof rear ends. To further streamline the production process Currie manufactures its own third-member housings, axle tubes, seals, fasteners, bearings, hubs and other various driveline components.
Standard off-the-shelf crate rear ends for tri-five Chevrolets, Chevelle’s and Ford Mustangs are the bread and butter orders that flow in and out every day, but for the off roader that wants it all, a rock-crushing differential with girthy four inch diameter, 5/16th axle tubes with 2 ¼ 36-spline axles can be ordered should the need somehow arise.
Staying relevant in an ever-changing and evolving automotive world especially when it comes to Jeeps and Jeep culture is a fluid situation for any manufacturer. Brand new off-the-production-line Jeeps with zero miles and off road vehicles are brought into the shop, disassembled, re-engineered and outfitted with the latest bullet proof road warrior packages that can be engineered.
From Hot rodders to desert rats and mud boggers, Currie puts your rear in gear, and they are 100% made in America sourcing American steel and parts. You can bet your backside on that!
Currie Enterprises Photo Extra!