Since 1980 the Downs family has been a leader in high-end composites manufacturing. Rooted first in the custom vehicle industry, the Downs brand became the quality standard worldwide for manufacturing custom hot rod bodies. Currently the Downs family works in modern large scale composites, tooling and manufacturing for the architectural, marine, automotive and defense industries.
We are a west Michigan-based company collaborating with customers world wide in specialty vehicle design, and advanced composite solutions. We provide innovative solutions for product development, tooling and Manufacturing.
Material knowledge is key. Our expertise and experience in advanced composites will allow us to meet your requirements in weight savings, structural integrity, or whatever they may be.
Beginning in 1980 with the start of 4 purchased molds Downs Manufacturing started with the passion my dad Jimmy Downs had for hot rods. Jim build and assembled a body from each mold and hauled them to the street rod nationals in Columbus Ohio. There he set up in the swap meet area and not only sold the bodies , but began taking orders.
In 1990 we moved out to our current facility in Lawton Mi. In 1991 we acquired a chassis company out of Ohio. We moved the entire operation to the new Lawton Facility. By doing this we could now offer a complete rolling body and chassis combination. By this time we were now offering 28 different body styles along with many chassis options.
In 1999 we were now producing 65 different body styles and leading the industry. Our company was also beginning to diversify and taking on composite tooling and production work from other companies. This required more growth and allowed me to buy out my father so he could retire from day to day and still attend the street rod trade shows which is what he liked to do best.
In addition to the buyout we decided to fill the demand for complete turn key vehicles. We purchased adjoining property and build a full service turn key shop and paint facility.
In 2008 we battled the decrease in sales in the street rod due to the economy. This changed our focus to approach different markets. We focused strictly on advanced composite applications and closed molding solutions for different industries. We were hired to produce light weight high threat ballistic seating for General Dynamics in 2008. This was followed by producing advanced composite body panels and hoods for General Dynamics and AM general on the prototype JLTV vehicles. These projects grew my passion for meeting special requirements for the defense industry.
Starting in late 2012 we were awarded our first large production military contract for composite hoods. This was followed by several more contracts leading up to two separate 5 year sole source contracts with the government. Over the last 3 years we have also been hired for large scale architectural composite applications. Downs Industries is currently working on weight reduction and ballistic applications with Tier one military vehicle manufacturers.
In order to visit our facilities, you may schedule a visit to tour here!