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Ever Visit a Car Factory?


Harold
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The days of the factory tour seem to be behind us, but years ago they were more commonplace. 

 

When I was a kid in 1965, I toured the Ford plant in Mahwah, NJ.  I also had a plant tour of the GM Lordstown, OH plant when the first-year '67 Camaros and Firebirds were being produced.  I toured the GM plant in Linden, NJ a couple of times, once in the early 1970's (I believe they were making Chevy Monte Carlos) and also in the early 1980's (Toronado, Eldorado, and Riviera).  The tours were always fun and educational.  I still recall the paint shop on the assembly line in Linden where they had a bake-sand-bake process to achieve a smooth shiny finish.

 

Have you ever toured a car factory?  If so, when and where?

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About four years ago,I toured the Toyota factory in Georgetown, Kentucky.  As an engineer who spent a career in a manufacturing company, I found it fascinating.  Pre-Covid, it was open to the public, but you had to make a reservation in advance online.  Not sure what the deal is now.   It is the storybook example of rolls of steel go in one end, and cars drive out the other.  I would recommend this tour to anyone interested in cars; I believe it is the largest Toyota plant in the world.

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I toured the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (GM/Toyota joint venture) facility in Fremont, CA back in the late 1990s.  Also toured the Chrysler/Plymouth assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario in 1991.  The NUMMI plant did most of their sheet metal stampings in-house.  It was impressive seeing steel coils much bigger than a person being turned into fenders, floor pans, etc.  There were presses as tall as a two-story house turning the blanks into finished panels, every time the presses cycled, you could feel it through the concrete plant floor.  The one thing I remember about the CP plant was the large number of vans (they were producing Voyager mini-vans at the time) in the rework area at the end of the line.  Being a mechanical engineer with a concentration in quality assurance/quality control, that sight was a bit alarming.

 

Anyone with an interest in automobiles should take a plant tour when the opportunity arises.  A greater understanding of the how and why of the design and assembly process is to be gained.

 

 

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Some time in the late 1990's there was a Plant tour tied into an AACA National Meet, think it was Murfreesboro, Tn. and I think it was a Honda plant. Seeing the bodies painted by robot really impressed me, white, black, yellow, red all from the same gun. Paint, clean the gun and shoot a different color at the speed I just typed this. 

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I grew up in San Jose CA and was fortunate enough to tour the nearby Ford Plant in 1956. A couple of things have stuck with me over all these years:

1) Unpainted metal panels were welded together on the body assembly line then rolled on jigs through to the next station where noticeable welding flash was ground down and grinder marks as well as body panel seams were leaded over. Workers with molten lead paddled it along the tops of the rear fenders, filling the seams and grind marks, then the next station smoothed the lead before priming and painting.

2) As the partially assembled but painted cars rolled down the final assembly line, an overhead conveyor fed a row of painted wheels down and around a 90 degree curve from a second floor area to the level of the moving car bodies. Amazing to me as a 12 year old kid, the set of green wheels fed right to where the workers installed them on a green car, then a red set was matched perfectly to a red car and so on. Not once did a blue wheel get in the queue for a yellow car or a black one for a grey one! Amazing! 

3) I did not see this in person, but there was a local story at the time that when the four door '56 Fairlane Town Victoria pillar-less hardtop sedan was first assembled, some measurements were not correct and the rear doors would not close. Must have gotten fixed - but it is a rare model today.

 

The plant closed in May of 1983 after building 2,660,665 vehicles there. After being vacant a number of years, the property was converted into a shopping mall, one of the 10 largest shopping malls in the USA.

 

San Jose (Milpitas, actually) Ford Plant, c.1956

Exterior view of the Ford san Jose plant

Image 1 - 1956 FORD  CONVERTIBLE ON  ASSEMBLY LINE  IN COLOR!  11 X 17  PHOTO   PICTURE

1956 Ford Fairlane Victoriabrochure-03

 

 

The "Great Mall of the Bay Area"

Exterior photo of the mall in present day

 

Aerial photo of the san jose plant in black and white

P.S.  All that open land is developed now...

Edited by f.f.jones
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I did better than tour the plant, I worked there.GM Assembly division Fremont Ca. All between 1975 to 1981. Now the Tesla plant. I worked for a couple of years on the line, then left for college, then returned several years later as part of the supervisors training program. So I got to see two different outlooks. I left after completing the program to pursue other interests. My family was a proud UAW family, My Father and Uncles, cousins all worked there. 

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4 minutes ago, 1930 Kram66 said:

 GMH ( General Motors Holden) plant in Sydney, Australia in 1977 as part of a technical college excursion, we followed the line building the then new Holden HX LE Monaro (I think it was sent to the US as a Pontiac GTO)

Was few years later that some Pontiacs were rebadged Holdens - see this.

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53 minutes ago, Ozstatman said:

Was few years later that some Pontiacs were rebadged Holdens - see this.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's when we got excited about the possibility that the Holden "ute" might be imported too. Instead, GM made plans to shut down Pontiac.

Holden Ute High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamyimage.jpeg.77a6a5a13841e2cd9b29a5103e848629.jpeg

Edited by f.f.jones (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, f.f.jones said:

I grew up in San Jose CA and was fortunate enough to tour the nearby Ford Plant in 1956. A couple of things have stuck with me over all these years:

1) Unpainted metal panels were welded together on the body assembly line then rolled on jigs through to the next station where noticeable welding flash was ground down and grinder marks as well as body panel seams were leaded over. Workers with molten lead paddled it along the tops of the rear fenders, filling the seams and grind marks, then the next station smoothed the lead before priming and painting.

2) As the partially assembled but painted cars rolled down the final assembly line, an overhead conveyor fed a row of painted wheels down and around a 90 degree curve from a second floor area to the level of the moving car bodies. Amazing to me as a 12 year old kid, the set of green wheels fed right to where the workers installed them on a green car, then a red set was matched perfectly to a red car and so on. Not once did a blue wheel get in the queue for a yellow car or a black one for a grey one! Amazing! 

3) I did not see this in person, but there was a local story at the time that when the four door '56 Fairlane Town Victoria pillar-less hardtop sedan was first assembled, some measurements were not correct and the rear doors would not close. Must have gotten fixed - but it is a rare model today.

 

The plant closed in May of 1983 after building 2,660,665 vehicles there. After being vacant a number of years, the property was converted into a shopping mall, one of the 10 largest shopping malls in the USA.

 

San Jose (Milpitas, actually) Ford Plant, c.1956

Exterior view of the Ford san Jose plant

Image 1 - 1956 FORD  CONVERTIBLE ON  ASSEMBLY LINE  IN COLOR!  11 X 17  PHOTO   PICTURE

1956 Ford Fairlane Victoriabrochure-03

 

 

The "Great Mall of the Bay Area"

Exterior photo of the mall in present day

 

Aerial photo of the san jose plant in black and white

P.S.  All that open land is developed now...

 

 Wow. Brings back memories!  I worked on the chassis assembly line for the 1957 assembly year.  We saw the retractable hardtop when it first came out, as well as the Edsel.

 

  Ben

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Back in '86 or '87, my dad took me to Buick City in Flint, where we watched the new front-drive LeSabres being built.  I was only nine or ten at the time, so I only remember bits and pieces, such as the body panels being welded together, but it was a fairly thorough tour.  Now, there's nothing left at Buick City, which is a shame because their reputation for quality assembly was excellent.  

 

A few years ago, we toured the Rouge truck plant; it was fun, but you're not anywhere near as close to the action as we were at the Buick plant.  

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Every year I go to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the Buick GSCA Nationals. We always go to the Corvette factory and do their tour. We saw the last few generations being built. One year we were there for the first week of convertible construction of the previous generation. Missed going last year so looking forward to seeing the new Corvettes being built this year. Maybe we will even see a few Z06's being built. Always a fun tour along with going to the Corvette Museum. We also got a chance to see customer delivery if we time it right. I highly recommend going if anyone is ever in the Bowling Green area. Just an hour away from Nashville also.

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Having been in the auto business all of my life, I have been in auto assembly plants of at least five different manufacturers on at least three continents. 

 

Vehicle assembly plants are a marvel of a synchronized dance to put all of the parts at the right place at the right time to be put on the vehicle.  The amazement is that at the end of the assembly line the key is turned and the vehicle starts and drives off.  This is a product that usually has over 10,000-20,000 parts put together in less than an hour. 

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When I was hired by GM in 1977 the first plant they took us to was the Clark Street Cadillac plant. It was amazing to me and I could have spent all day there. The first thing that pops in my mind were the guys near the end of the line adjusting panel fit with big white rubber hammers. It was a very old plant at that time. The AC plants were also fascinating.

 

Dave

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18 minutes ago, Dave39MD said:

 The AC plants were also fascinating.

 

Dave

 

That is where I started my career with GM.  Started making fuel tank sending units, a job setter for spark plugs, final assembly and then making cruise control sending units before I moved over to Buick sales, service, and marketing. 

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When I was in high school, (1985?) the auto shop class got to take a trip from NH to Framingham Mass to the GM plant and see a pretty good amount of the production line. We about 20 kids with one guy giving the tour, the one thing that I will always remember was a guy on the line installing door panels on Pontiac station wagons, most of us watching him like it was a side show or something and then he downed a big bottle of Old Milwaukee, stuffed the bottle inside the rear door and installed the panel, we were all cheering the guy on and the tour guide had no idea what was going on. As 17 year old kids we thought he had the best job in the world.

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Like Larry Schramm, I've been in many Assembly and manufacturing operations in many countries/continents.

I've been in many US, Canadian and Mexican assembly plants as a supplier and have visited Mercedes-Sindelfingen in the early '80s, Beijing Jeep in 1995 and the BMW MINI assembly plant in Oxford.

 

Closer to home, I recommend the Ford Rouge Plant Tour (Through the Henry Ford). It is very well done, even if, as stated above, you don't really get very close to the action.

 

We are going to the UK in April and have a tour reservation at the Morgan Assembly plant. I'm looking forward to that!

 

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Yes, I visited a car factory , but production had ceased four decades earlier. Spent quite some time at least twice or three times in the Franklin Automobile Factory in Syracuse, NY in the early 1970s. It was silent and not in use at the time , awaiting its demise ( wrecking balls didn't work they eventually had to use explosives.) . I even ( with a few other friends) salvaged some white porcelain faced bricks as souvenirs ( with permission) . One of those bricks is on display in a display case in the Harrah collection in Reno - we brought a trunk full back to the Franklin Club annual meet in my friends 1932 Franklin Airman sedan and sold them for $1 each to raise some funds for the club. Paul Larios who was the head of the Harrah collection at the time was there with Bill, and got me aside and with a big smile said to me " I can't believe that Bill just bought a brick or two you guys got and it is up to me to safely get it back to the collection on our company jet."  When I put them up for sale I made a sign that said " own a piece of the rock".

Yes, I was thinking odd even than, nothing has changed , now they call it "thinking out of the box" , my question is "what box is that "? 

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In 1966 while stationed in Germany with the USAF,  I drove my First Sargent to the :Porsche Factory in Stutgartt Germany in my 57 Porsche Speedster.   We went to pick up his new 1912 and take a factory tour.   I took a bunch of Kodachrome slides of the  whole production line..to Pick up his new 912,   We ended the tour on the roof where part of the limited production of the new Porsche Carreras were stored.   (Fiberglass bodied race cars)     I didn't know where stored there. but is was a suprise preview)) 

After the tour, several of the factor guys tried to buy my Speedster.

In the late 1980's I toured the Emergency One Fire Truck Plant in Ocala FL.

In 2002, after the  Sentimental Tour in Lexiington, KY, we toured the Toyota Plant tour n Georgetown KY  (Where all the Camarys were made).  Then across KY

to Bowling Green for the Corvette Factory Tour   Then north to Louisville for the NSRA Nationals and a tour of the Ford Explorer plant tour.

My observations:   The Toyota plant was the cleanest and had the happiest workers who led the tours.   They had in house child care, A/C. Teams, cross training and hosting  tourists was a reward to the workers.  Non-Union Starting wage was $22,00 @ hour.   The Corvette plant was definetly a factory and the

tours were led by disgruntled retired union workers who bragged about how the could sabotage the line and get it shut down.   Starting wage was $22.00 @ hour.

The Ford Explorer Plant was like working in a coal mine,  Dark, noisy and employees smoking, despite 1000's of No Smoking signs.   Even the guys driving the  Explorers off the line were smoking in the new cars.   The management guy who led the tour said the management and the Union agreed to ignore the signs.  Starting wage was $22.00 @ hour.

I asked management in the Ford & GM factories if they had seen the Georgetown, KY Toyota Plant, run like a Japanese plant?  Their reply was. why?

Four years later I bought a 2006 Saturn Vue and got a Factory Tour of their plant at Spring Hill TN.  I twas clean fast an efficient with a team concept an A/C and all benefits of the Toyota Plant.   Non Union starting wage by then was $28.00 @ hour.   Several years later, under pressure from the UAW, that Saturn was dropped from GM and that nice plant was converted to GM Trucks.

I'm not against Unions, but they better see the writing on the wall along with their employers.  Lots af Americans don't by American cars any more.

Edited by Paul Dobbin (see edit history)
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I was a 19yr old kid working at Williams Bros Sunoco in Westland MI when a customer, Jim Larry, who happened to be a Cadillac engineer told me how to get an application for the Cadillac Clark St. assembly plant in Detroit which I believe was the very first GM Cadillac plant.  I started on the second floor in Dept. 1003 Body Wiring in late fall of 1970, first, attaching HVAC evap. cases to the firewall and routing vacuum lines, then moved to the brake pedal and booster installation area alternating between 2hrs on your side installing brake pedals, then 2hrs outside the car decking power brake boosters pre-charged with brake fluid and chasing hood bumper threads on top of the cowl sheet metal.  I wore jersey gloves while decking the boosters because they were wet with brake fluid.  One night I managed to get the left-hand pinky finger of a glove caught on the tap of the right-angle air motor and severely injured my left hand which won me a 2-week light duty assignment assembling A/C panel ducts up on the third floor, a job usually done by a guy known as "Vodka Bob" because he was so drunk when he got to the plant his buddies carried him by his arm pits up and down the steps of the plant entrance to prevent him from falling which he did many times.  Bob was off on medical leave.   By the time Bob returned to work general foreman Bob Boudreau told our department foreman Bill Shankle to start Krugler on the serial number tag installation job.  That job was the very first job down the ramp from the third-floor body launch and was sought after due to its ease and importance.  It required you to read a plant broadcast sheet of serial number/model number combinations and make sure the serial number tag agreed with the sheet, then look at the body coming down the line and make sure the model number on the tag agreed with the body style.  We built 5 versions on our side of the street, model 8247-2dr Calais, 8249-2dr Coupe DeVille, 8347-4dr Calais sedan, 8349-4dr sedan DeVille and 7500-Fleetwood 75 limousine.   Eldorados and convertibles were built at another location.  The serial number tags were given to the worker who pre-charged power brake boosters with fluid.  The other part of his job was to read a copy of the broadcast sheet and stamp model numbers on the serial number tags in a Schmidt tag machine to agree with serial number/model number designations on the broadcast sheet.  On my afternoon shift the worker who did that job was pretty accurate.  I would get one or two tags a week that didn't match and had so much time on my job which from start to finish required me to verify the serial number/model number combination on the broadcast sheet, look at the body coming down the line to make sure it matched, install the 2 pop rivets that held the tag to the cowl top sheet metal and install 2 Tinnerman U-nuts to the dash panel for the steering column support.  On the few occasions I had a mismatch I had enough time to walk to the Schmidt tag machine and re-stamp the model number and still get it installed before the body went by.   Getting this right was crucial, there was no verification of the match after it was installed until the completed car was delivered to Quality Control at the end of the line.  If the model number was incorrect by that time, the steering column and instrument panel had to be removed so the rivets on the tag could be drilled out, then the tag had to be re-stamped and reinstalled, then the car had to be put back together.  That was an 8hr repair.  I never had an incorrect tag get out of my installation area.

 

For a 19yr old pretty much unexposed an unaware white kid from the suburbs my experience in that assembly plant was the most interesting and at times challenging experience of a lifetime.  The Clark Street plant was not in a good neighborhood and the workforce was very diverse, something I never experienced before.  I was fascinated with the culture and people in that plant as much as I was with the assembly process.  When the line stopped for lunch I often went downstairs to the food truck and bought a sandwich and took it back in the plant to eat.  I rode in the back seat completed cars from the end of the line through a dizzying maze of tunnels to the delivery dock.   On my breaks I loved to walk down to the body drop where a crane lifted completed bodies, moved them over a body drop hole in the second floor of the plant and dropped the body onto the chassis rolling by below.  A crew of assemblers were in a pit beneath the first floor and the first order of business was installation of the body bolts.  On the first floor I watched complete chassis come together from a bare frame.  At lunch quite a few gathered around picnic tables on the first floor to eat and play cards.  One hot summer night there was a grease fire that erupted in a pit below the floor which only caused the guys to pick up the picnic table and move it back from the pit about 10 feet, but the went back to their card game. Plant maintenance and plant fire department people got the fire under control quickly, but 7 pieces of Detroit Fire Department equipment pulled up in front of the old wood-floored plant just in case. 

 

When a model 75 limo came down the line a bald-headed Yiddish gentleman who was a craftsman from the Ternstedt plant would show up with a tool tray with metal inserts and installation tool that received the cast pins of individual chrome plated letters for the decklids of model 75 Fleetwood limos.  He would step up on a platform at the rear of the line truck, open the decklid, used his special tool to pop the letter inserts into pre-drilled holes in the decklid, then carefully tap the letters F L E E T W O O D onto the decklid with a soft leather mallet, all the while being serenaded by some of his co-workers, especially a particular utility repairman, Ray Boatright, who hollered "Ass-head, hey ass-head.  Whatcha doing ass-head?"  The old craftsman would just turn and smile at Ray, it was all in fun.  Another repairman named Will, who put a huge of chewing tobacco in his mouth at the start of the shift, take it out at lunchtime to eat, then replace it with another was observed one night in a heated discussion with the line foreman.  I remember at some point in the discussion Will decided to spit.  Tobacco was still coming out of his mouth when the stream reached the polished black shoes on Bill Shankle's feet.

 

Drugs in the plant were a problem at the time.  It was the era of the Vietnam war, Watts riots, and Woodstock.  Marijuana was smoked openly in the plant.  Even though I recognize today that was all part of the inner-city assembly plant culture, as a young teenager that was a bridge too far for me.  I had a run-in with a young assembler who tried hard to convince me by working up the line and sitting in a car while I installed my serial number tags that Marijuana was good for me, he blew smoke from his joint in my face a few times.  I decided I couldn't live with that and reported it to supervision who wanted to fire the offending employee and asked if I would help pursue the issue in court.  I wanted no part of that and I quit.

 

Things always happen for a reason.  I worked odd service station and outboard repair jobs for a few months.   In early December of 1972 I was hired by Ford Research and Engineering as a pay grade 5 development technician in a newly opened 8-million-dollar HVAC lab in Dearborn, MI.   I spent 30 years with Ford and Visteon after that and it turned out to be a very rewarding career.

 

If you are curious about the assembly plant experience there is a lengthy You-Tube movie shot by a visitor there in 1987, a few years after I left and just before the plant was closed for good.  Here is a link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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Well, I might as well chime in... While in college in Rochester, NY in the late 60s early 70s, I worked at the Rochester Carburetor plant. Worked in the 'clean room' inspecting and testing carburetors. On the first day, I cleared about 150 carbs and sent them on their way. They came in on one line and left on another. I spent all day dropping carburetors on a tester, hit two buttons simultaneously (so my hands did not get caught in the machine) and wrote down the number on the panel at the end of the test. If a failing number came up, tested it again to see if the same failure occurred. If it did, the carburetor went down a third line. If a different number came up it passed! After two weeks of the most boring job in my life, a UAW strike was called and I was laid off. I vowed NEVER to punch another clock in my life.... never did...

 

Frank

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Yes, I have toured the Harley-Davidson factory in York, PA; and the Mack truck factory in Macungie, PA

 

The Mack factory was modern and spotless. Well managed and gave an excellent tour.

 

On the other end of the spectrum; the Harley factory, was anything but clean.  Then this was really crazy.  One guy who had a job stamping fuel tanks; should be really thankful he has a UAW job. The tour guide was really good, and when we got to the fuel stamping press; we noticed the operator, apparently taking an unapproved break.  Our group assembled in front of the press, the the tour guide; just pleasantly asked the operator to show the group how the press worked.  The operator said a few choice words to the tour guide, this is the ugly part.  The operator pulled out the race card, and abruptly told the tour guide to mind his own business.  

 

We as a group thought it was disgusting.

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I worked as a plumber out of Local 98 in Detroit. The turnover from one model year to the next gave me a chance to work at a couple of the auto plants in the greater Detroit area. When the Lincoln plant was up and running in Milford, Michigan I worked there for three months modifying lube oil lines. When I first started there in '96 they gave us a tour of the plant while the cars were still coming off the line. I was surprised how much the final inspections were done by the naked eye.

 

In 2000 I got another chance to work on a shutdown of the Chrysler Jefferson plant in Detroit where they made the Jeep Cherokee. I was there for three months and saw a great deal of that plant also. Worked mainly on the paint lines at this plant. 

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Paul, I’m not going to quote, but that’s one of the most fascinating stories about factory life I’ve ever seen.

 

I understand hard labor, been there, but the people who put cars together under less than favorable, or at best challenging, issues, makes for a whole new level of understanding…

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Toured the Talbotville Ontario Ford plant in the late 80's. They built the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. A lot of stuff going on besides building cars. Guys fighting, guys sleeping, playing cars, smoking weed and drinking. A union dispute with Ford of Canada management ended with the plant closing and being torn down. A lot of high paying jobs gone for good and now Amazon is building a distribution center there. We all know how bad the pay is from Jeff Bezos!

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12 hours ago, Ed Luddy said:

Toured the Talbotville Ontario Ford plant in the late 80's. They built the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. A lot of stuff going on besides building cars. Guys fighting, guys sleeping, playing cars, smoking weed and drinking. A union dispute with Ford of Canada management ended with the plant closing and being torn down. A lot of high paying jobs gone for good and now Amazon is building a distribution center there. We all know how bad the pay is from Jeff Bezos!

Some Crown Victoria sedans on a 'day two' assembly line.  No fighting, sleeping, drinking, or smoking weed here!!

 

03_CV_CHP-01.jpg

03_CV_CHP-03.jpg

03_CV_CHP-02.jpg

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     Our 6th grade class took a day trip to the Ford Rouge plant in 1954 or 55. They were making 55 Fords. We saw molten steel going through rolling mills, steel parts being stamped out , paint and the bits in between,  to complete cars driving off the assembly lines. We then went to the Ford "Rotunda" building, where they gave us all Rotunda key chains.  

      These keychains were instantly valuable items. Bubble gum, marbles, and other trade items changed hands and several soon had keychains of some length when the chains were all snapped end to end with the several of the plastic Rotunda medals hanging on what was now a neck chain. The building burned some time later.

       I also saw new 62 Chevys going together in Van Nuys , California, I think it was, a few years later.    Jim43

 

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I toured the Norfolk Ford plant in 1978. They were building F-150, etc. trucks. This was a Model T plant, built in 1925. Great visit. I saw they parked new trucks in front of the main office. They were for the top brass to drive them home and bring them back the next day for quality control. I also noted the speedometer cables hanging below the dashboard. 😉

 

Then as part of the 1988 Buick National in Flint, my future wife and I toured Buick City, both the car assembly plant and the engine assembly plant. Another great tour. Our tour even got to put oil filters on engines. Really! Using the limited torque pneumatic wrench. 

 

Then I toured the Norfolk Ford plant in 1997. They were still assembling F-150s, etc. There were no new trucks out in front of the building. They said driving with the speedometer disconnected was no longer allowed. 😆

 

I have a friend who, with his father, built some of the robots that did assembly work in that plant. Very interesting stuff.

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18 hours ago, Str8-8-Dave said:

I was a 19yr old kid working at Williams Bros Sunoco in Westland MI when a customer, Jim Larry, who happened to be a Cadillac engineer told me how to get an application for the Cadillac Clark St. assembly plant in Detroit which I believe was the very first GM Cadillac plant.  I started on the second floor in Dept. 1003 Body Wiring in late fall of 1970......

I would submit that to Hemmings Classic Car magazine for their "I Was There" column.

 

Craig

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In the early 80's I toured the Chrysler plant in Fenton/St. Louis Missouri with my Boy Scout troop. At that time Chrysler was beginning production of the K cars. Because there was only some trim differences, they made Dodges and Plymouths on the same line. The tour guide was a retired assembly line worker. He stressed many times how Chrysler had a renewed commitment to quality on the assembly line. It was hilarious when one of the kids pointed out to him a car on the line that had two different tail lights! 

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Mom had never been in an auto plant before, so we went on one of the last tours of the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn before they stopped it for many years.  This would have been in the early 1980s when the Mustang was being built there.  A guy at the end of the assembly line had a cart which had all of the exterior colors on it.  The guide explained that this guy's job was to apply touchup paint.  I remember him daubing paint on the edges of trunk lids on a few cars.  I thought it was just ridiculous. 

 

My brother's class toured it when the 1969 models were being built.  The teacher asked why some Mustangs had black hoods instead of the body color.  Those were Mach 1s! 

 

A buddy and I were out one Saturday night in the late 1970s.  He had worked at the Rouge foundry for one year after high school before going to college.  He said that we should go there and check it out.  I said that we wouldn't be able to get in there.  It was in the early morning hours, and we just walked in past the guards!  I couldn't believe it.  He recognized a few guys that he had worked with several years before.  I remember how hot and bright it was in there with the molten steel.

 

    

 

   

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