The word visionary is the best one we have to describe men like Andrew Lee Dyke. Still, it is rather inadequate when describing an individual that birthed the concept of a mail order auto parts business when the entire automotive industry in the United States consisted of less than a dozen small factories and total annual production was counted in the hundreds.
This is but one of the many innovative ideas that Dyke introduced. The kit car business began with his need to increase the catalog business. For a short time this spawned production of a an automobile, the Dyke, that was sold through dealers as well as by catalog.
His St. Louis Automobile Supply & Parts Company, the grand father of Napa, Checker and the entire non dealer parts empire, was the first of its kind. The publishing company he launched introduced the concept of mail order educational courses.
Andrew Dyke was truly an independent thinker. It was for that reason he was recently profiled in my monthly column, Independent Thinker, penned for Cars & Parts.