Our company was started before World War II by a hard working Chrysler mechanic named Harry Hartley. He had run away from home at 15 and took up the trade of auto mechanics. He learned the basics of automobile repair from his mother. Harry worked as a mechanic in a Chrysler dealership in downtown Houston but yearned to open his own business. He started a small repair shop out of an old Cities Service gas station. Just as business was starting to take off he was drafted.
After the war, he opened his first true engine exchange. This was because the factories had all been converted to war production and no one could buy a new car. Because of this, Harry found himself very busy. Everyone had cars with worn-out engines that needed to be rebuilt.
He built his small company into a vast empire. He bought and helped design machinery that could assist in re-manufacturing over 200 engines a day! At one time he owned engine re-manufacturing plants in 4 states. Harry sold his re-manufactured engines to Sears and Montgomery Wards, and had a rebuilding contract with the Chrysler Corporation. Not bad for a man with a third grade education.
Eventually this became too much. In 1970, he closed all the plants and opened a small engine plant on the southeast side of Houston. We are still located there today.
Harry died in 1997. In early 1997, his son, Skip, took the reigns. Skip has moved the company in new directions, while never forgetting the principals his father taught him.
At Thunderbolt Products, we believe in giving back to the community that has given so much to us. We contribute to Big Brothers, the Sierra Club, The Shriners, various school and little league functions and a local mission for the homeless.
Most important of all are our highly-skilled employees! We treat our help as family.
That’s the Tbolt way and how it will always be.