Sign in to follow this  
RivNut

Decoding Fisher Body plates

Recommended Posts

It's been mentioned previously that the only thing that appears on a Fisher Body data plate are the options that were put on the car at Fisher Body before delivery to the final assembly plant.  If you're having a problem wrapping your head around this kind of statement, perhaps this picture will clarify some things for you.  Here's a picture of a 1963 Riviera arriving at final assembly from Fisher body.  Note that it does not have a chassis/engine and there's no front clip.  But it does have all the glass and the interior installed - the things that you see on a data plate.  

 

assemble.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ed,

 

great photo, don't see too many like this. 

 

So so that means things like air conditioning, power antenna, cruise control would all have to be co-ordinated in the build as some point, as some parts were fitted within the body (switches, cables, wiring) and the rest as part of the chassis, engine, front sheet metal.

 

Nice to know a bit more about  how it all worked, how they made sure the 425 or posi traction option was fitted to the right car etc.

 

thanks Ed, more of this stuff would be great!

 

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you also have to remember is that the body, as you see it on the cradle, has gone through some primary areas where holes are drilled, tabs are welded on, and some other stamping made, etc.  It might be that the a/c has yet to be fitted, but the holes in the firewall for a/c have to have been previously drilled, stamped,  or punched.  Gord Wolfgang did a nice job of explaining some of this to me, he worked this area for GM. You have to imagine that the engine is coming from one facility, the chassis from another, and the body from the FIsher Plant (at least for the Riviera in this era.  I know that in '66 and probably other years, the body came from the Euclid, OH plant and was transported to Flint for final assembly. The data plate for the '66 Riviera has an EU number rather than an FB number - EUclid / Fisher Body.) The different lines met at final assembly where all the parts were married together.  There was also paperwork that accompanied each car.  The paper work was what brought the a/c, posi, engine choice (401 vs 425 for certain years), and all together.  In '63, there was a D stamped on the plate for a radio (perhaps for a hole in the firewall for the antenna lead.)  But there was no 1, 2, 3, or 4 to go with the D detailing which of the four radio options was to be installed.   So it seems that not all of the options on the data plate were installed at Fisher Body, but provisions to the body for those options were made at Fisher Body, so they were stamped into the data plate.  Sound confusing, perhaps Gord can add to this.

 

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed, you are right.  The Body Plate got applied to the firewall typically near where the firewall was welded to the underbody.  There also would have been paper build sheets/manifests that were taped to the firewall, and likely some permanent marker with a body sequence number (or part of it) on the firewall.  This would give the body shop operators information to weld on brackets or drill holes,etc. for options.  In plants where many different models were built, it would help assure the proper side ring met the right underbody .  The Body Plate had the options noted for the same use, it also had paint and trim info too.  This was done so you could easily walk up to the Body-In-White, while it was sitting on the body truck to identify the car and its options.  

 

Kind of imagine at the beginning of each of the feeder lines (underbody, side frame, door in the body shop, cushion/seat, IP, glass sub assembly in trim, among other feeder lines) there would be a stack of build sheets or manifests that represented the jobs (individual vehicles) that would be built in the order they were scheduled.  The first operator would either put the sheet on the physical sub-assembly as it started its journey down the line and everyone down the line would refer to it to do their operation properly.  In the cushion room/seat build they would be put in the springs to make sure that seat sub-assembly would meet the right body and that is why we find them in many of our cars.

 

Later the underbody would marry the side frames where they would be welded together, then the roof would be welded on.  Then the truck would travel to where they would lead and finish the roof seams, and finally the deck and doors would be hung before going to the the degreaser and then to paint and trim.

 

The body plate was used to a certain extent through Paint and Trim, in conjunction with build sheets or manifests.  It was the prime identifier for the body until the body got a VIN.  

 

I am planning an article or series of articles for the Riview that will try to explain the whole process from soup to nuts.  I have an outline for the article(s) and hopefully we can go to print later this year.

 

As an addition, because GM was organized in sales and manufacturing/assembly by Car Divisions and Fisher Body was the body builder, for the most part, from its inception to the late 60's with the advent of GMAD (and to a certain extent BOP after WWII), Fisher Body was responsible for the body build from the Body Shop, Paint and Hard and Soft Trim.  The body was then "sold" to the car division for completion.  This was sheet metal, frame, engine, trans, rear end, final assembly, etc.  In the GMAD years the corollary was the Chassis Shop in the assembly plant.  It really didn't matter how far the body was built from the final assembly.  In the earlier years of the Riviera the FB plant and the Buick plant were all in Flint, then later Euclid built the bodies and shipped them to Flint for Final Assembly and later the whole build was sent to Linden NJ, Hamtramick and finally Lake Orion.

 

Rock On

 

gord

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gord,

As I was reading your post I was thinking wow what a great article for the Riview. The process you outlined is little known by the large majority of Riviera owners specific to the relative generation of model years. Only recently during my restoration did I start to learn some of the process and it helped explain a lot. I look forward to your articles. I know an article like this is time consuming but will be great to have it documented. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, RivNut said:

What you also have to remember is that the body, as you see it on the cradle, has gone through some primary areas where holes are drilled, tabs are welded on, and some other stamping made, etc.  It might be that the a/c has yet to be fitted, but the holes in the firewall for a/c have to have been previously drilled, stamped,  or punched.  Gord Wolfgang did a nice job of explaining some of this to me, he worked this area for GM. You have to imagine that the engine is coming from one facility, the chassis from another, and the body from the FIsher Plant (at least for the Riviera in this era.  I know that in '66 and probably other years, the body came from the Euclid, OH plant and was transported to Flint for final assembly. The data plate for the '66 Riviera has an EU number rather than an FB number - EUclid / Fisher Body.) The different lines met at final assembly where all the parts were married together.  There was also paperwork that accompanied each car.  The paper work was what brought the a/c, posi, engine choice (401 vs 425 for certain years), and all together.  In '63, there was a D stamped on the plate for a radio (perhaps for a hole in the firewall for the antenna lead.)  But there was no 1, 2, 3, or 4 to go with the D detailing which of the four radio options was to be installed.   So it seems that not all of the options on the data plate were installed at Fisher Body, but provisions to the body for those options were made at Fisher Body, so they were stamped into the data plate.  Sound confusing, perhaps Gord can add to this.

 

Ed

I suspect the radio designation appeared on the Fisher Body plate to provide for the installation of the rear seat speaker. The rear seat area of the interior was already assembled when the body was turned over from Fisher to Buick final assembly. The rear seat speaker would need to have been installed at Fisher in `63 if a radio, any radio, was installed. When the rear seat speaker became an option in `64 because the front speaker became standard, the Fisher Body designation continued in `64 and beyond as "rear seat speaker".

  Tom

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, msdminc said:

 

I am planning an article or series of articles for the Riview that will try to explain the whole process from soup to nuts.  I have an outline for the article(s) and hopefully we can go to print later this year.

 

 

 

Rock On

 

gord

 

Great idea, I`m sure it will be great.

As a precursor to Gordon`s article there is a superb article on the GM assembly process here:

 

http://camaros.org/assemblyprocess.shtml

 

Although it is a little later chronologically and describes a uni-body process and  therefore is a little different than our full frame cars, the author/authors have really included some fascinating info and are extremely thorough. Questions like where and when was the VIN assigned and affixed to the body?  Keeping in mind Fisher Body did the doors and Buick final assembly did the dash, how was the glovebox tumbler coordinated with the door locks? Some very interesting detail and a fascinating read.

The Corvette and Camaro crowd are way ahead of us guys....poke around their site, there is a ton of great research in it, enjoy!

  Tom Mooney

 

 

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, many thanks for the reference to the Chevy info, very detailed and had me absorbed for a few hours. Be keen to read something similar on the Riviera. Closest I got was a tour of the Hamtramick assembly plant in 1990 where they had Cadillac and Buick Rivieras on the same assembly line. 

 

And if you want to go back one step, there is a film called " Up from Clay" that shows the process from design drawings to the full size clay models that were used in the 50s and 60s. Has been many years since I last saw it, but used it in my auto classes until it became too dated. Don't have any further details but was based around GM design principles. Worth a look.

 

just mtbw

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jim

 

As you watch this video and keep in mind the codes on your data plate, you can see how the two are synchronized.

 

Well worth the time it takes to view it.  My only question is "why weren't the guys spraying the lacquer paint wearing any kind of respiration protection?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks to you both, that is the first time I have seen the full version in good sound and colour as the one I used was a cut and copy on an old U-Matic tape player, very grainy bad version but the contents were good.

 

in answer to Eds question, " they would not look so hot wearing a respirator , as the girls at cut n sew would attest" Come on, we all thought the safety stuff looked awful, so you didn't wear it, especially when you were young and out to impress! Just wasn't cool!"

 

Besides, after a fag or too, and a Coke, the smell and taste of the nitrocellulose lacquer was gone.

 

Cheers

Rodney

 

BTW do you have any other links to similar ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this