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GM factories (history)

Arlington Assembly

Arlington Assembly is a General Motors automobile factory in Arlington, Texas. The plant has operated for more than 50 years, and today manufactures large SUVs based on GM's GMT900 platform:

Past models: GM A platform (RWD), GM G platform, and GM B platform

The Arlington plant was opened in 1954 to assemble both automobiles and aircraft, but has focused on the former use for most of its history. The factory was the site of assembly for many large GM cars, including the 1980s Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1990s Chevrolet Impala, and late-model Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. The plant occupies 250 acres (1,000,000 square meters).

Arlington Assembly was the last GM B-body manufacturing facility (having gained the work from the closed Ypsilanti, Michigan facility when GM decided to consolidate production) prior to GM ending rear-wheel drive production and converting the plant to SUV production.

GMT900 production began on December 1, 2005, six weeks ahead of schedule.




Baltimore Assembly

built all our Canadian Copo cars and L78 chevelles




Baltimore Assembly (properly named Broening Highway General Motors Plant) was a General Motors factory in Baltimore, Maryland. The plant opened in 1935 to produce Chevrolets and closed on May 13, 2005. It was a two-level plant located near the harbor and railroad lines in Baltimore.

Broening Highway Plant history:

Oct. 16, 1934 - Baltimore's Mayor Jackson and Chevrolet representative E. A. Nimnicht broke ground for a new Chevrolet and Fisher Body assembly plant on Broening Highway in the southeast section of Baltimore. The plant was designed to produce 80,000 cars and trucks a year. This enormous undertaking was completed in record time.

March 11, 1935 - The first day of truck production, three trucks were built.

March 26, 1935 - 12 passenger cars were built. The new plant produced 24,885 passenger cars and 6,627 trucks during its first model year. About 2,500 people, many of whom had worked on the construction of the plant, were employed during the first year of operation.

The original plant site covered 45.7 acres and consisted of five buildings, six railroad sidings, driveways, walks, test roads and a parking lot for employees' cars. The principal unit was the assembly building, which covered 13.5 acres of floor space. Chevrolet occupied two-thirds of the building, and Fisher Body one-third.

Early 1942 - Car and truck production was interrupted when the plant was converted to wartime activities. The Chevrolet portion of the plant operated as a military parts depot where parts were received, processed and packaged for shipment around the world. The Fisher Body plant became part of the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors Corp. and was assigned the task of assembling fuselages for Grumman carrier-based aircraft.

August 1945 - Immediately following the end of the war, the plant was reconverted to automobile and truck production.

1949 - After 11 years of car and truck production, 1 million units had been assembled at the Baltimore plant.

Although Chevrolet cars and trucks had represented the largest portion of the Baltimore plant's production, other car lines also have been manufactured. The versatility of the plant was tested in 1964 when Buicks, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs were assembled one after another on the same passenger car line. In the ensuing years, the number of car lines produced has changed several times. GMC Truck and Coach Division shared Baltimore's truck production as early as the 1947 model year.

1968 - The Baltimore plant's two separate General Motors units, Fisher Body Division and Chevrolet Motor Division, were unified under the administration of the General Motors Assembly Division.

May 24, 1978 - Robert K. Bates, plant manager, and Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer drove the plant's 8 millionth vehicle off the assembly line.

1979 - The Baltimore General Motors Assembly Division plant site had increased to more than 160 acres with nearly 2.5 million square feet of building floor space. The plant employed nearly 7,000 employees.

March 31, 1984 - The Baltimore plant saw its last car produced. The plant began a retooling process in preparation for its current products, the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari mid-size vans.

August 1984 - The plant was now a part of the General Motors Truck and Bus Group and began production of the new vans. More recently, the plant became part of the General Motors Truck Group, continuing to build Astros and Safaris.

1984-2005 - The plant and its surrounding buildings grew to sit on 183 acres, with 3.1 million square feet of floor space in the assembly building. Baltimore Assembly built its 12 millionth vehicle in 2000 since opening in 1935. In 2004, the plant celebrated 20 years of making the Chevy Astro and GMC Safari

May 13, 2005 - GM's Broening Highway plant shuttered permanently, ending a 70-year-tradition in Baltimore.

Baltimore Assembly scored a major coup with the 1984 decision to assemble the Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari minivans there. The rival Dodge Caravan was selling briskly, but the truck-like GM vans were larger than most of the mini-vans then coming into production. The GM vans filled a unique market for a midsize van with large interior space and very good towing capacity. The vans were periodically updated with revised interiors and exterior styling during the very long production run. Both two-wheel drive (M van) and all-wheel drive (L-van) models were produced. Initial production was a short wheel base van, with an extended wheelbase model introduced mid-production. The extended van proved so popular that the short version was discontinued in the mid-1990s. The plant closed its doors after the final shift on May 13, 2005. In total, approximately 3,200,000 Astro and Safari vans were produced at the Baltimore plant. GM has since sold the site to the developer Duke Realty, who has demolished the old plant and is rebuilding the site as an industrial park called the Chesapeake Commerce Center



Doraville Assembly
Doraville Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Doraville, Georgia. The plant opened in 1947 and closed on 26 September 2008 as part of the company's cost-cutting measures. According to an article that appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on January 28, 2010[1] , New Broad Street Doraville, LLC, a development company, has executed a purchase contract with General Motors to purchase the former plant with plans to build a mixed-use, transit oriented development.

Lakewood Assembly

Lakewood Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory near Atlanta, Georgia. Opened in 1927, the plant was the first that the UAW staged a strike against in 1936.

Initially, Lakewood was referred to as 'Atlanta' and coded as '8' on vehicle VIN plates, changing to 'A' when GM reshuffled their codes for 1953. For 1972, code 'A' Atlanta was now referred to as the Lakewood plant.

Lakewood assembled Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks at various points in their history, and also began assembling Chevrolet and GMC trucks from 1929 through at least 1986. The 1990 model year Chevrolet Caprice B-Body model line was the last vehicle produced at Lakewood, the plant closing its doors on August 6. At the time of its demolition some years later, Lakewood was a 2,600,000-square-foot (242,000 m2) facility.

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 10:57:16 PM


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Framingham Assembly

Old General Motors Assembly Plant

Framingham Assembly was a General Motors factory in Framingham, Massachusetts which opened in 1947. The plant cost $12 million and was one of three new plants that year. At one point, the Framingham Assembly plant was the largest automotive manufacturing plant in the state, employing over 1,500 workers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire

The first vehicle, produced on 26 February 1948, was a Buick, with 23,388 more produced that first year. The factory was used by "BOP" (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac) and produced 697,574 cars by 1959. In August of that year, it became part of Fisher Body, producing Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile cars.

The factory was re-purposed again in May, 1968, changing from separate Fisher Body and Chevrolet Division operations to a combined operation under the new GM Assembly Division, to produce the Chevrolet Chevelle and Pontiac Le Mans. The Buick Skylark and Oldsmobile Cutlass were added in 1970, and the Pontiac GTO was added the next year. In 1981, the Chevrolet Celebrity and Pontiac 6000 were produced, with the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera added for the 1983 model year.


The Framingham location was the center of several contentious tug-of-wars between Governor Michael Dukakis and local politician Anthony M. Colonna. After the town refused to sell General Motors a 35-acre town owned piece of property GM desired for the construction of a new paint and plastics facility,[1] Dukakis used the state's power of eminent domain to take the property from the town and sell it to GM so the company could construct the $224 million facility. Colona, head of the town department public works and a powerful local politician, had desired a new, unified DPW facility to constructed on the site. After the taking, state officials and executives at GM claimed that Colonna used his political influence in the community to delay the company's expansion of the facility and drum up support against the company.[2][3]

When the facility was closed, GM stated that it was due primarily to a slowdown in the economy as well as the relatively small size of the facility. However, GM spoke person Mark Leddy stated that local officials in Framingham were also partially to blame, declaring "You look at your labor climate, your relationship with the community and the quality of product being built at the plant" when explaining why the company chose to shutter the unit.[4]

The plant was idled on October 4, 1982, with a single shift recalled on March 14, 1983. The second shift started again on December 12, 1983. The factory was closed permanently on August 1, 1989.

he facility is now the location of an ADESA automobile, truck, and boat warehouse and live auction site. The company claims that the facility is the largest indoor auction house in the world, capable of housing 10,000 autos and 4,000 people.

Framingham Assembly was located just South of downtown Framingham at Loring Drive and Western Avenue. The address of the ADESA auction site is 63 Western Ave.


Fremont Assembly
Fremont Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Fremont, California. It was the new site for production in the San Francisco area in 1962 with production moved from the older Oakland Assembly. Production continued through 1980 when the plant was closed. Partially demolished (south end and water tower), the remaining plant was refurbished as the NUMMI joint-venture with Toyota.

The 411-acre Fremont plant produced Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Oldsmobile (Olds 442) cars, as well as GMC Trucks for the Western United States

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 10:59:33 PM


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Janesville Assembly


Janesville Assembly Plant is an automobile factory owned by General Motors located in Janesville, Wisconsin. Opened in 1919, it is the oldest-operating GM plant.

The factory was originally built to produce Samson tractors. These failed to find buyers, so GM switched it to producing Chevrolet automobiles in 1923. It has produced automobiles and pickup trucks over the years, but most recently built full-size SUVs.[1]

Production at the factory was halted during the Great Depression for a short time and there was a famous sit-down strike in 1937. The Janesville Assembly also produced artillery during World War II.[1]

When the United States entered World War II, production of vehicles other than those for the military halted, and auto plants turned to making war machines and material.

GMs Oldsmobile Division took over both of Janesvilles GM operations and started cranking out artillery shells: 16 million shells in three years. Women started working next to older and draft-exempt men. Their motto was: Keep Em Firing.

Three months after the war ended, it was back to business as usual: The UAW struck GM plants nationwide over working conditions and a raise to replace lost war overtime.

The same year, 1946, Gilman Engineering moved into a new building. Last week, Gilman, now a division of a German corporation, announced it would essentially leave Janesville.

In 1949, 2,650 GM employees made 150,000 cars and trucks here, a record. They earned $8.65 million..

In 1953, both Chevy and Fisher Body added second shifts in Janesville. Fisher Body provided the bodies that Chevy workers put on 144,000 cars and 33,850 trucks. Total employment was 3,700.

Employment and plant size in Janesville expanded through the 50s and 60s, although a recession in 1960-61 forced temporary layoffs here. National and local strikes stopped work temporarily, but they resulted in better wages and working conditions.

GMs 100 millionth vehicle

In April 1967, GM makes its 100 millionth vehicletotal for the corporationin Janesville. The blue two-door Chevrolet Caprice is enshrined at Flint, Mich., birthplace of GM and the first city Janesville competed with for jobs.

Janesville has made 6 million of the 100 million vehicles.

In 1969, Chevrolet and Fisher joined to form General Motors Assembly Division, sparking a strike to get the higher wages of the two divisions. Local 95 remains as Janesvilles sole UAW local.

Some 5,800 local GM employees made 198,300 cars and 71,704 pickup trucks in 1971.

The Janesville Assembly was until recently one of three plants producing the GMT900 trucks, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, and began building the next-generation short-wheelbase GMT900 trucks in January 2006. It began producing long wheelbase GMT900 trucks in March of that year and an overtime shift was added to meet demand.[citation needed]

From 1994 until 2009, the plant also produced medium-duty trucks for Isuzu under its partnership with GM.[2]

The plant covers 4,800,000 ft³ (446,000 m³).[3] It employed around 7,000 workers at its peak in 1970, but was down to about 1,200 at its closing in 2009

Fuel prices, the related slow sales of SUVs, and the economy affected the Janesville plant. In April 2008, GM announced that the plant would cut back full-time production to a single shift. Combined with an ongoing employee buy-out program, layoffs totaled around 750 jobs in July 2008.[5]

During GM's 2008 annual shareholder meeting on June 3, 2008, CEO Rick Wagoner announced that the Janesville assembly plant would close by 2010, along with three other GM factories, and could close sooner if the market dictated.[6] The cutbacks announced, along with other changes, were expected to save the North American division $1 billion per year starting in 2010.[7]

GM extended its annual summer shutdown an additional two weeks and planned another ten weeks of shutdown for the remainder of 2008 because of excess inventories of SUVs made at the plant.[8]

In June 2008, a study by Steven Deller, a University of Wisconsin-Extension professor, indicated that the plant's closure could result in a ripple effect for the county. Based on a number of estimates and 2007 employment data, his worst case scenario was the loss of 9,000 jobs and nearly half a billion dollars of labor income in Rock County.[9]

In October 2008, GM announced Janesville Assembly would be largely idled December 23, 2008 when production of SUVs would end.[10] A skeleton crew continued to work at Janesville Assembly through June, 2009, completing the Janesville/Isuzu light truck contract.

On January 13, 2010 GM put Janesville Assembly on stand-by to produce new vehicles due to recent increase in demand for GM vehicles.

Lansing Car Assembly

File:Olds Motor Works 4a18686r.jpg

Lansing Car Assembly - Verlinden Plant by NewCityOne.

Lansing Car Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Lansing, Michigan. It contained two elements, a 1901 automobile plant in downtown Lansing, and the 1920 Durant Motors factory on Lansing's Far Westside.

The Lansing plant was the longest-operating automobile factory in the United States when it closed on May 6, 2005, and one of General Motors last assembly plants where vehicle bodies were made at one plant, and then trucked to another plant to be finished.[1] General Motors began demolition of the plant in the spring of 2006, and demolition was completed in 2007. A new plant at nearby Delta Township took its place when it began production in 2006.


Lansing Car Assembly (LCA) began in 1901 when Ransom E. Olds moved his Olds Motor Works to the city. He set up his plant on the site of the fairgrounds next to the Grand River. This plant in downtown Lansing would later be known as Lansing Car Assembly - Chassis Plant.

The plant along Verlinden Avenue, on Lansing's border with Lansing Township, opened in 1920 as a factory for Durant Motor Works. After the demise of Durant, it remained closed until GM purchased it in 1935. It restarted production for GM's Fisher Body division, later becoming the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac factory. Its final name was Lansing Car Assembly - Body Plant.

The last cars that Lansing Car Assembly produced were the Chevrolet Malibu/Chevrolet Classic, Oldsmobile Alero, and Pontiac Grand Am, which was the final vehicle built there. The plant built the very last Oldsmobile.

LCA was regularly ranked among the most productive automobile assembly plants in North America. In 2002, it was ranked the number one most productive assembly plant in North America by The Harbour Report, the auto industry's leading measurement of plant efficiency.[

The main plant was located in downtown Lansing, Michigan located along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard/Logan Street at the Grand River. It sat on the original site of the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The plant also included the unique Lansing GM Building 150 which sat in between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard bridges.

It featured two separate assembly lines. Partially completed vehicles were transported by truck from the Body Plant to either the North Line "M" or the South Line "C" for completion. Upon completion, cars were driven off the assembly line and over northbound Martin Luther King, Jr. using a skybridge. After final inspection, the cars were placed in staging yards to either be shipped by truck or by rail.

The first factory on site opened in 1902 as part of Olds Motor Works, and became part of General Motors when they bought that company out in 1908. The complex was closed in 2005, finally being demolished in 2007. Harbour Consulting rated it as the sixth most efficient auto plant in North America in 2006.[2]

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 11:17:25 PM


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Norwood Assembly

Located in Norwood, Ohio, the Norwood Assembly Plant built General Motors cars between the years of 1923 and 1987. When it first opened the plant employed 600 workers and was capable of producing 200 cars per day. At its peak in the early 1970s it employed nearly 9,000.

The first car rolled off the assembly line on August 13, 1923. Among the cars built at Norwood were the Chevrolet Bel Air, Biscayne, Impala, Nova, Caprice, Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, and the Buick Apollo. The plant grew to cover an area of approximately 50 acres (200,000 m2) and had 3,000,000 square feet (279,000 m2) of space under roof.

The facility had a number of labor disputes, including a 174-day long strike in 1972, at the time the longest strike in GM history. As a result of the strike, 1,100 partially completed cars were scrapped or otherwise disposed of because it was not economically feasible to update them to the more stringent 1973 vehicle standards. After the strike GM opted to move Nova production away from Norwood to protect the model from future labor problems.

While newer GM plants had a one-story design, the Norwood plant had a less efficient three-story design. Additionally, the plant could not expand outward as it was surrounded by an interstate highway to the north, railroad lines to the east and west, a business district on a State Route to the west and a residential neighborhood to the south.

Citing its obsolescence, expense, and high worker absentee rate, GM announced on November 6, 1986, that the Norwood Assembly Plant would be closed along with ten other GM facilities. The plant produced its last vehicle on August 26, 1987, a Chevrolet Camaro. That date came to be known in Norwood as Black Wednesday. At the time of its closing the plant employed approximately 4,200 workers. Most of the plant was demolished in 1989. The main factory building sat vacant for nearly 10 years. The City of Norwood, having relied on the carmaker for nearly 35 percent of its taxbase, faced economic catastrophe and possible bankruptcy. The City wished to re-develop the site due to its unique and attractive location - at the juncture of an Interstate Highway 562, U.S. Route 22 (Montgomery Road, Ohio State Round 3 and Ohio State Route 561 (Smith Road). Easily accessible from all directions, Norwood saw an opportunity to revitalize itself. Norwood approached GM about demolishing the plant. Initially the carmaker refused.

As its finances grew critical, Norwood threatened General Motors with a lawsuit. Apparently, Norwood had not been collecting taxes on earnings paid to workers on sick-leave or injury-leave since the factory opened in 1923. Only regular payroll taxes were collected. Norwood calculated uncollected taxes as being in the millions of dollars. The carmaker and City settled their dispute, with the site being demolished at the carmaker's expense. The property was turned over to the City for development in exchange for the City dropping its demand for back-taxes. The development of the GM Assembly site helped jump-start Norwood's economy. A series of "flex" businesses were constructed. Where once had stood a single blue-collar car factory, the property was transformed into a mixed-use combination of business - office, light industrial and retail, providing mix-use income to the City.

As of spring 2007 the only remnants of former GM buildings were two parking garages. Those were absorbed into a new office complex along Smith Road (State Rte. 561), with additions of an adult gym/workout center, day-care center, restaurants, banking center and several medium and small businesses. One small street, formerly leading into the GM plant from Montgomery Road (U.S. Route 22), was closed and developed into a mixed use complex named after a major tenant Matrixx Marketing and later Convergys Corporation complex. It has been home to those businesses as well as a bank, satellite television provider and medical consulting/MRI/diagnostic laboratory.

As of Fall, 2007, the third and last piece of usable land from the GM plant at the corner of Montgomery Road (U.S. Route 22) and Smith Road (State Rte 3) was developed with plans for a medical arts building.

The successful development of those former GM Assembly properties spurred interest by other developers to choose Norwood for commercial development. One mile away, two open-air shopping malls were built at the former LeBlond Machine Tool Company, located where Interstate 71 and Ohio State Rte 561 (Edwards Road) converge. Those properties were named Rookwood Pavilion and Rookwood Commons and have been very successful as well.

The plant constituted 35% of the City of Norwood's tax base, approximately $2 million annually. As a result many city services were reduced and eliminated, and property tax rates raised. The plant employed 430 Norwood residents at the time of its closing, with the remaining employees mostly living in and around the Cincinnati area. The City of Norwood quickly moved to rehabilitate the site, and by 1991 the Central Parke office project housed in excess of 1,000 workers using nearly 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) of office space.

In 2007 there is approximately 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of office and retail space in the area once occupied by the factory.

Norwood was a very old plant that was typical of the old standard model for Fisher Body/Chevrolet assembly facilities; the Fisher Body plant and the Chevrolet assembly plant were on the same piece of property, but were operated by two separate GM Divisions. Fisher Body built the body shell from the firewall back, and shipped it through a hole in their common wall to the Chevrolet plant, fully painted and trimmed, including the interior, minus the instrument panel, dash and floor-mounted components, and front carpets. Chevrolet then assembled all the rest of the trim, chassis, and final assembly components, including all the front end sheet metal, and shipped the finished cars to the dealers. Fisher Body had a huge Paint Shop for the body, and Chevrolet had their own separate Paint Shop for all the front end sheet metal. Norwood ran two shifts, and produced 57 cars per hour, or 912 per day, and produced only the Camaro until mid-April, 1969, when the Firebird (previously built at Lordstown) was added to their mix.




Oshawa Car Assembly

Oshawa Car Assembly is a major manufacturing facility in the city of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada building various automobiles for General Motors Canada. The factory is one of the largest auto plants in the world and has won a number of awards. The plant is part of the larger GM Autoplex, which includes Oshawa Truck Assembly.


The facility has produced vehicles since the 1950s.

In the mid-1980s, GM began a large transformation of the facility, naming the site "Autoplex." The changeover came in three steps, the first being conversion of the truck plant to GMT400 production in 1986. The next step was retooling Line 2 for the new W-body Regal, which began production in mid-1987. The final instalment was a long changeover of Line 1 for the Chevrolet Lumina[3], which went into production on January 8, 1989[4] as a 1990 model.

In January 1988, Oshawa became the first North American GM plant to solve the issues with cutting the second shift by alternating day- and night-shift workers at two-week intervals. This system was later adopted at other plants around the continent.


The following dates refers to the years that the particular model was produced at Oshawa facility.

Oshawa Truck Assembly

Oshawa Truck Assembly was a General Motors Canada truck factory in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada that opened in 1965 and closed in 2009. The plant is part of the larger GM Autoplex, which includes Oshawa Car Assembly and a now-closed battery plant. The Autoplex is located next to major highways and rail lines, giving it easy access to parts and markets across North America.

The Oshawa Truck plant was manufacturing the 2008 Silverado, Sierra, Sierra Denali Edition, and Sierra Texas Edition. It has also produced Chevrolet/GMC C/K as well.

GM announced on June 3, 2008 that this plant would close permanently May 14, 2009, with no future plans for new products. The closure was due to high gasoline prices in much of the world, as well as a deep recession caused by the financial crisis. These dramatically decreased demand for fuel-inefficient light trucks and truck-based vehicles, especially in the crucial market of the United States. GM itself had been in a precarious financial situation for several years, which dramatically worsened as a result of the 2008 economic problems, eventually forcing it to seek government aid and potentially filing for bankruptcy.

Just three weeks prior to the announcement of the closure, General Motors and the Canadian Auto Workers union had reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining contract on May 15, 2008, a full four months before the existing contract was due to expire. As part of the agreement, GM pledged to maintain production at the Oshawa truck plant and made other production commitments. On June 3, 2008, less than three weeks after ratification of the new contract, GM announced that, due to soaring gasoline prices and plummeting truck sales, it would close four additional truck and SUV plants, including the Oshawa truck plant.[1] In response, the CAW organized a blockade of the GM of Canada headquarters in Oshawa. The blockade was ended by an Ontario Superior Court order after 12 days. Further discussions between GM and the CAW resulted in an agreement to compensate workers at the truck plant and additional product commitments for the Oshawa car assembly plant.[2] As of May 15, 2009, the GM-CAW contract is currently being re-negotiated in order to receive loans from the Canadian and Ontario governments.

The last truck off the line, a GMC Sierra, was raffled off to an employee and the proceeds went to the Hospital for Sick Children. It marked the end of 44 years of production

-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 10:36:53 PM


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Pontiac Assembly

Abandoned lot where GM's Pontiac West factory once stood. The plant, with 1,800 workers, closed in 1994.

Pontiac Assembly was a General Motors assembly plant located in Pontiac, Michigan. It served as the main facility for Pontiac Motor Division since it was built in 1927. The plant ceased production of full-size Pontiacs after the 1980 model year, and was permanently closed on August 6, 1982. Another production line was opened in 1983 to build the Fiero. The old production line was reopened January 14, 1985 to build the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and Buick Regal, as the Lansing and Flint plants which built them had been converted to new front-wheel-drive car lines. Chevrolet Monte Carlo production was added for 1987, and Pontiac Grand Prix production returned in October 1987.[1] Production ended on December 11, 1987. Fiero production ended on August 16, 1988, and the plant was closed.[

Sainte-Thérèse Assembly

Sainte Therese Assembly was a General Motors Canada automobile factory, which opened in 1966. It was located in the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec. It later was the site for production of the F-body Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The plant closed in 2002 and was demolished.

In the mid-1980s, the plant was facing closure due to high absenteeism and low quality of the G-body cars built there. However, a new labor pact and improved quality, plus the availability of government-backed interest-free loans, prompted GM to expand and modernize the facility. Production of the Cutlass Supreme and Grand Prix stopped in February 1987 and the plant was retooled to build the Chevrolet Celebrity, using equipment transferred from Oshaw

Since 2002, the site (located at 2500 boulevard De la Grande-Allée) was purchased in 2004 and has been re-developed as a commercial and residential site known as Faubourg Boisbrand and the Centre for Ice Excellence

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 10:17:53 PM


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Tarrytown  Assembly


Tarrytown Assembly
was an automobile factory in North Tarrytown, New York now known as Sleepy Hollow. Originally opened by the Stanley Steam Car Company in 1896, the plant was acquired by Maxwell-Briscoe in 1903 from the Ingersoll-Rand Drill Company. In 1913 Maxwell-Briscoe became just Maxwell. Separate portions of the complex were acquired by Chevrolet in 1914 and 1915. At this time Chevrolet was an independent company and not yet part of General Motors. In 1918 Chevrolet was integrated into General Motors. Its last vehicles produced were GM's first generation minivans, referred to by some as "dustbusters" due to their shape. These were the Chevrolet Lumina APV, Pontiac TranSport, and Oldsmobile Silhouette. It was closed in 1996 when production of minivans was moved to Doraville Assembly in Georgia.

closed in 1996,demolished in 1999

Van Nuys Assembly

Final Line Drive-Off - Completed and Driving (LOS plant) GM Photo

Chassis being raised into the body GM Photo

Final Assembly Line GM Photo


Van Nuys Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Van Nuys, California. Opened as a Chevrolet plant in 1947, Van Nuys produced the Chevrolet Corvair, Chevrolet Nova, Chevrolet Camaro, and Pontiac Firebird. The plant was closed in 1992 when Camaro/Firebird production was moved to Saint Therese Assembly in Quebec.

The site was razed in 1998. A retail and industrial complex, known as The Plant, resulted on the 68-acre site, as well as Station 81 of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The retail portion totals 365,000 square feet and is home to 35 retail stores and restaurants. A 16-screen movie theatre honors the site history with an automotive theme décor. GM continues to operate a car-testing facility on 27-acres next to The Plant.

Van Nuys had been a traditional separate Fisher Body/Chevrolet assembly operation for many years, similar to Norwood, but was one of the first Fisher/Chevrolet plants to be consolidated under GMAD (GM Assembly Division) management in 1967-68, replacing the formerly separate Fisher Body and Chevrolet managements with a single GM Division in charge of the entire operation. By 1969, the former Fisher Body Paint Shop had been expanded so it also accommodated the Chevrolet front end sheet metal, and the former Chevrolet Paint Shop was abandoned. Trim Shop operations were also consolidated, with some formerly separate Fisher Body and Chevrolet Trim operations combined on the existing trim lines. Van Nuys also ran two shifts, and produced 35 cars per hour, or 560 per day, but only half of those were Camaros in 1969 - the other half of their schedule was full-size Chevrolet Impala and Caprice models. 

-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 10:37:38 PM

-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 11:31:27 PM


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Willow Run Powertrain

Willow Run was a General Motors automobile factory near Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States. It is located at 2625 Tyler Rd.

Willow Run Assembly Plant got its start in 1941 as it was determined that we would probably end up at war. Aircraft production was pretty much a hand built proposition and when it was determined that we would need many of them, many companies were asked to see if it could be converted to an assembly line project. Ford Motor Company was one of the companies that stepped up to the task. The factory opened in 1942 and mass production started in 1943. The factory itself was designed by Albert Kahn, 8,685 B-24's were built there (which was more than Axis bomber production combined). The last bomber built there was going to be named Henry Ford but he demanded that the workers take the name, so it was signed by workers who built it).

After World War II, production shifted from bombers to cars being made by Kaiser Motor Company. That lasted until 1953 when it was bought by General Motors to build transmissions.

Willow Run Assembly

There is an assembly plant nearby which produced Corvairs and other cars

Production of automobiles began in 1959 with the Chevrolet Corvair and ended in 1992 with the B-bodies. Willow Run also built the Chevrolet Nova (1962-1979) and X-bodies (1980-1985).

In 1980 the plant was converted to production of the GM X-series front wheel drive cars.  Finally the last cars were produced;  second generation Chevrolet Caprice sedans and station wagons along with the Buick and Oldsmobile station wagons.

General Motors Corp. reported that it lost a record $4.5 billion in 1991, and it identified 12 of the 21 plants that would close as it downsized its operations during the next few years.  GM's loss, the worst annual loss for an American corporation in history, brought the year's total loss for the Big Three -- GM, Chrysler Corp. and Ford Motor Co. -- to $7.7 billion.  GM's loss was larger than expected and reflected the impact that a weak economy and cautious consumers were having on the company's sales.  There also was a surprise in the list of plant closings, which would ultimately eliminate about 16,000 jobs.  Workers at GM's Willow Run assembly plant in Ypsilanti were stunned that GM had decided to close their facility rather than a competing plant in Arlington, Texas


-- Edited by 68sd on Thursday 22nd of July 2010 12:34:08 PM


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73SC wrote:

Scarborough Van Plant

Scar Van Plant.jpg

cool picture ray

The Scarborough Van Assembly Plant was a General Motors Canada plant in Scarborough, Ontario which opened in 1952. It once stood on the now Eglinton Town Center Retail Complex between Victoria Park and Warden Ave. The plant employed 2,700 workers before closing in 1993 and has since been re-developed into a retail outlet mall.

The plant began as an automotive components manufacturing plant in 1963 before being converted into a van assembly plant. The plant produced GM vans as well as GM and Chevrolet cube van cabs and chassis. In 1986 the one-millionth van was produced at the Scarborough Van Plant.

Around Thanksgiving of 1989, General Motors announced that they would be closing the van plant in Scarborough, and awarding the van contract to Flint Truck Assembly. The last van rolled off the Scarborough line on May 6, 1993. Production was then transferred to Flint Truck Assembly and the process of dismantling the plant began. After three years at Flint the van division moved to Wentzville Assembly in Missouri in July, 1996.

The Scarborough plant employed 2,800 people. Most of the employees were transferred to Oshawa Truck Assembly or Oshawa Car Assembly shortly after the closure of the Scarborough Plant.

 Copywrited image of site as it is today, all rights reserved by Beverley A Roberstson.
GM Van Plant site.jpg

-- Edited by 73SC on Thursday 22nd of July 2010 10:08:13 AM


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Wilmington Assembly


Wilmington Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Wilmington, Delaware.[1] The 3,200,000-square-foot (297,000 m2) factory opened in 1947, closing its assembly line in 2009. Its final product was the GM Kappa platform sports cars. Production of the Saturn L-Series halted on June 17, 2004. In the 1950s and 1960s. GM's Boxwood Road plant was designated as a B-O-P facility, manufacturing Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs.

As part of the 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring of General Motors, [2] Wilmington Assembly ceased automotive production on Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Its final product was a Pontiac Solstice convertible.[3]

Fisker Automotive has chosen GM's former assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., to launch its Project NINA, a plan to build family-friendly plug-in hybrid sedans that cost less than $40,000 with a federal tax credit, according to the automaker. Vice President and former Delaware senator Joe Biden joined Fisker executives for the announcement at the plant.

Fisker says it will begin production on its vehicles by late 2012; Project NINA will eventually create or support 2,000 factory jobs as well as 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs. By 2014, it expects production to enter full swing, turning out 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. It expects to export more than half of these vehicles, which would be the largest export percentage of any domestic automaker.

The automaker will spend $175 million to retool the GM plant with the funding coming from the $528.7 million Department of Energy loan awarded to Fisker in September. Fisker currently only offers its electric sports car, the Karma.

The closure of the Wilmington plant, for the time being, marks the end of large-scale automotive production in the Northeastern United States

Lordstown Assembly


The Lordstown Complex (formerly known as Lordstown Assembly and Lordstown Metal Center) is part of a General Motors automobile factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The plant opened in 1966 and currently produces the compact Delta platform cars. It was announced in early April 2006, that as part of GM scaling back production nationwide, that the third shift at the Lordstown plant would cease operations in the coming months. An employee buyout and early retirements eliminated the need for layoffs.

Years Product Numbers Produced
1966-1970 Chevrolet Caprice, Impala, Bel Air 453,086
1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird 220,230
1971-1977 Chevrolet Vega 1,966,157
(note:includes additional '73-'74 GM of Canada production)
1971-1994 Chevrolet Van 1,948,468
1971-1994 GMC Vandura 423,547
1975-1977 Pontiac Astre 132,046
1977-1980 Chevrolet Monza/Pontiac Sunbird 893,734
1978-1979 Buick Skyhawk/Oldsmobile Starfire 101,907
1982-1994 Chevrolet Cavalier/Pontiac J-2000/Sunbird 3,744,631
1995-1997 Chevrolet Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire 843,741

-- Edited by 68sd on Monday 19th of July 2010 12:10:43 AM

-- Edited by 68sd on Monday 19th of July 2010 06:16:01 PM

-- Edited by 68sd on Thursday 12th of August 2010 10:09:04 PM


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McKinnon Industries - GM Canada St Catharines


The history of this company goes back to 1878--eleven years after the Act of Confederation--when one L. E. McKinnon, a native of Brampton, Ontario, but with a tra­ditional Scotch background, came to St. Catharines and entered into partnership with H.H. Mitchell to manufacture hardware for saddlery, hames, wagons and similar, lines. McKinnon put into the business $2,000 in cash and what had gone into scraping that substantial sum together, so that the business prospered. It outgrew its original St. Paul Street location and a new factory was erected on Ontario Street, near the city limits, in 1901. Another division for drop forgings was opened in 1905 for the manufacture of chains--among other items, and the company continued to prosper even through the minor depression year 1913. It produced and sold at standard rates and placed in stock the goods of which it was unable to dispose, with the result that when war was declared in 1914 McKinnons was in a position to fill the urgent demands for saddlery hardware from the British, Canadian and French governments. In 1915 the company erected a large three-storey building for the manufacture of shells and fusesinvolving precision engineering processes which, no doubt, influenced its decision to enter the automotive field in the post-war period. It is of interest to record in passing that McKinnon's pioneered the production of differential and transmission gears in Canada.

Mr. L.E. McKinnon died in 1923, and a new company named the McKinnon Industries was formed in 1925, under the direction of B. W. Burtsell. During the period of read­justment a useful adjunct was acquired: the Canadian interests of J.H. Williams Co.­-wrenches, hammers and small tools. More­over, the automotive lines were expanded to the point where General Motors Corporation, Detroit, purchased all the McKinnon interests--on March 29, 1929.

The new president and general manager of the company was H. J. Carmichael, who started working for McKinnon's as a pattern­maker in 1912.

As a General Motors subsidiary, the McKinnon operation continued to expand rapidly. A new building was erected for the manufacture of DELCO products: automotive starting motors and generators, ignition coils, shock absorbers, steering gears, voltage regulators, spark plugs and distributors, and in 1932 yet another division was opened to produce fractional h.p. motors for washing machines and refrigerators.

In 1936 H.J. Carmichael was appointed vice-president and general manager of General Motors of Canada at Oshawa, and W.A. Wecker, a graduate of Carnegie Tech., with a background of automotive experience, became vice-president and general manager of McKinnon's. The hardware business was sold, a number of obsolete buildings were wrecked and replaced with completely modern plant. The malleable foundry was remodelled and a grey iron section added, and all efforts were directed to the production of automotive products.

When war was declared in 1939 McKinnon's was in a most favourable posi­tion, and able to place its entire production facilities at the disposal of the Canadian, Government and, indeed, the company's World War II record was one of consider­able achievement.

The huge mechanical transport program (4 x 4 and 2 x 4 army trucks) required thousands of component parts such as specially designed front and rear axles., transfer cases and transmission as well as all automotive electrical components. The com­pany was a huge producer of percussion fuses, fire-control mechanism, traversing and elevating units for 3.7 anti-aircraft guns, dynamotors for two-way radio transmission, handcrank generators, gyro gun sight motors, rear releases for machine guns and even torpedo drives. The plant for manufacture of these additional products necessitated expansion which practically doubled existing floor space. The number of employees increased from 1,800 in 1919 to 4,500 in 1943.

On January 1st, 1942, W.A. Wecker was appointed president and general manager of General Motors of Canada Limited, succeeding H.J. Carmichael, who assumed control of all manufacturing for the Canadian Government, and T.J. Cook, formerly super-intendent of the Delco Division and latterly factory manager, became the president and general manager of McKinnon Industries.

In 1944, alarmed at the shortage of anti-­friction bearings in Cariada, the Canadian Government asked McKinnon to enter the field. With assistance from the New Departure and Hyatt divisions in U.S.A. the com­pany began an operation that expanded until it now produces both ball and roller bear­ings for the Canadian automotive, agricultural, and general machinery industries.

McKinnon management foresaw the tre­menclous post-war demand for cars and trucks in Canada and took steps to meet it when, in 1945, practically every division was reorganized.

In 1948, as the direct result of the world shortage of U.S. dollars the company began the manufacture of fuel pumps and EATON two-speed axles for the Canadian automotive and truck industries.

Production facilities were expanded again in 1949, and in 1950 it was established that no more buildings could be erected where, on the forty-acre manufacturing site, a million square feet of floor space was already occupied, 140 acres of land in Grantham Township on the east bank of the Welland Ship Canal were purchased, and a new Foundry, 350,000 square feet in extent, was erected.

On April 1, 1953, E.H. Walker was appointed president and general manager, succeeding T.J. Cook, who retired on that date.

In 1953, McKinnon began the manufacture of G.M. car and truck radios. Further expansion in 1954 necessitated the erection of a350,000 sq. ft. building next to the foundryto house the new V-8 Engine Division, where Chevrolet and Pontiac V-8 engines are machined and assembled, and the Oldsmobile V-8 enfine assembled.

In 1956 two new products were added to the McKinnon list of automobile parts: AC oil filters, and automotive horns.

On April 1, 1957, E.H. Walker was elected president and appointed general manager, of General Motors of Canada, Limited,Oshawa, succeeding W.A. Wecker who retired on that date. E.J. Batheau was elected president and general manager of the McKinnon In­dustries, Limited.

Plant website:

Register for 2010  Show & Shine:


Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

1993 Corvette Convertible LT 1

Built January 10, 1993 - Bowling Green Kentucky 


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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South Gate Assembly

South Gate Assembly was a General Motors automobile plant located in the Los Angeles suburb of South Gate, California. It opened in 1936[1] to build B-O-P (Buick-Olds-Pontiac) cars for sale on the west coast.[2] Managed by the Pontiac division, it was the first GM facility west of the Mississippi River.[3] It was the first GM plant to build multiple car lines[1], resulting from a Depression-spawned move to cut production costs by sharing components and manufacturing.[2] South Gate was the second of several B-O-P "branch" assembly plants (the first being the Buick-operated Linden plant), part of GM's strategy to have production facilities in as many places as possible. These "branch" plants would build cars for distribution to a specific region.[2]

It added production of the Pontiac Tempest, Oldsmobile F-85, and Buick Special alongside the fullsize cars for 1961. When the compacts became intermediates for 1964 their production ceased at South Gate, and Chevrolet fullsize production was added.

The plant was converted from full-size car production to the subcompact H-body cars for 1975. This arrangement was short-lived, and GM returned the factory to building full-size Chevrolet, Olds, and Buick B-body vehicles for 1977. The Olds and Buick were dropped and the Cadillac DeVille added for 1979. However, due to decreasing sales of the Chevrolet B-body cars, it was idled in March 1980.[4] It was then retooled once again for subcompacts, building the 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier and Cadillac Cimarron. Slow sales resulted in the closure of the plant, with production ending on March 23, 1982.[5]

The plant site was later environmentally remediated and used as the location for new schools, including South East High School (opened 2005), which were built by the Los Angeles Unified School District to relieve severe congestion in the existing schools of South Gate

St. Louis, Missouri

1954 Corvette factory scene

Production had risen from the first years 300 (built that one year in Flint, Michigan) to 3,467 annual units in 1956, but no one could have predicted that what was generally considered to be a small niche vehicle would spell doom for the original St. Louis plant. Production in 1960 topped 10,000 units, a record later shattered by the 1963 mark of 21,500. They surpassed building 30,000 units by 1969, and eventually peaked at an incredible 53,807 Corvettes in 1979!
In that year, GM officially announced that all Corvette production would be moved to a vacant air conditioning plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky to enable production to flourish. The doom of the St. Louis facility was now sealed.
Closed in 1980,now demolished

Linden, New Jersey


Linden Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Linden, New Jersey. The 2,600,000 square foot factory opened in 1937 to build Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile vehicles. During World War II, the plant was also used to produce fighter planes for the United States military, primarily the FM Wildcat, an improved version of the F4F Wildcat. In 1991 the facility was retooled for truck & SUV assembly. A white 2005 Chevrolet Blazer was the last vehicle to leave the line in April 2005. In July of 2007, General Motors and the City of Linden settled numerous tax appeals going back to 1983; Linden agreeing to pay GM $4.8 million and clearing the way for the sale and subsequent redevelopment of the 104-acre site, appraised at between $20 million and $40 million

-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 12:40:29 AM

-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 10:17:16 AM


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Buick City






Buick City was a massive automobile manufacturing complex in the northwest of Flint, Michigan. Elements of the 235 acre (951,000 m²) complex dated from 1904, but it became known as Buick City in 1984. The complex was closed on June 29, 1999 and demolished in March 2002. It was the last Buick plant in Flint, long a center of automobile production. The final cars built at Buick City were the Pontiac Bonneville and the Buick LeSabre.

The plant originated with Buick before the formation of General Motors. Other elements were built by early manufacturers and suppliers like Fisher Body. GM employment in the city peaked in 1978 at 77,000, with Buick City workers reaching a high of 28,000 in the 1980s.

The Buick City concept represented a failed attempt by General Motors to ramp up production volume in response to Japanese manufacturers. However, the experiment wasn't without its successes: The 1989 Buick LeSabre built in Buick City was ranked the top car in the J.D. Power and Associates rankings for that year; it was the first American built car to show up on the list. In 1999, the year the plant was closed, Buick City won the Platinum Award. As of 2006, it was the only General Motors plant given this award.

On July 31, 2007 it was reported that a major shipping company wants to turn the old Buick City site into a shipping mecca. The company would utilize I-75, I-69, I-475, and the railroad. The shipping center could bring 600 new jobs and spur multiple small businesses around the center.

Leeds Assembly

Click to view full size image

Leeds Assembly
was a General Motors automobile factory in Leeds, Missouri (Kansas City). It was closed in 1988. The factory produced the A-bodies and J-bodies

Flint  Assembly




Chevrolet Ave. Ca. 1913.

Comprising the Motor Div. (engine assembly and engine parts plants) and the Pressed Metal Div. (parts plants). Includes the pre-World War II Chevrolet Assembly (Plant 2) and Fisher Body #2 plants. (renamed Chevy Plant 2A).

In 1984, due to smaller sales of four-cylinder engines, the Chevrolet Flint Motor Plant (Plant 4) closed-- after millions of dollars in improvements circa 1980. Also in this year, the newly created Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada Group briefly took over Chevrolet Mfg. from Chevrolet Motor Div., but soon the newly formed Fisher Guide Div. acquired the complex. In about 1987, "Chevy in the Hole" was taken over by AC Spark Plug and became AC Spark Plug Flint West. In 1988, it became AC Rochester Flint West, and in 1994, AC Delco Systems Flint West. In early 1995, it was renamed Delphi Flint West.

Also circa 1995, "Chevy in the Hole" began to slowly disappear. Among the first plants to go were the truck garage, Plant 5 (former engine parts), and administration building. This process continued until 2004, when Plant 4 (which had reopened some years after it initially closed in 1984) shut down and was demolished. Plant 4's last products were generators and fuel filters.

The only remaining buildings are Building 35 and Plant 38. 35 (originally housing new car delivery, later heat treat) was donated to Kettering University (originally General Motors Institute) in 1996. After addition of another floor and a completely new facade, it now houses its Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry Center. Building 35 built the first Corvette prototype, circa 1953. Plant 38, the Die and Engineering Center, opened in 1967, is still operated by GM and known as Flint Tool and Die, with a small sign proclaiming the name on Stevenson St. According to GMs website, at Flint Tool & Die there are 228 hourly and 25 salaried workers at present


-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 12:13:55 AM

-- Edited by 68sd on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 12:33:37 AM



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From the outset, the Hydra-Matic transmissions were built in a plant at Livonia, Michigan, under the Detroit Transmission Division. This Plant caught fire, August 14 1953, and as a consequence this interrupted production. Chevrolet Powerglides were fitted to US Pontiacs [already being fitted to Canadian Pontiacs], and Olds and Cadillacs were fitted with Buick Dynaflows. However, GM quickly leased an unused part of the huge plant owned by Kaiser at Willow Run, Michigan. This had been building Kaisers, Frazers and Henry Js. Within a very short time, Hydra-Matic transmissions were in full production again. Kaiser then concentrated their production at their Toledo, Ohio, Plant, and as a consequence, GM acquired the whole building and expanded production to the whole building. It should be added that Canadian production was hardly affected, possibly because of the predominance of manual transmission cars and trucks, especially for export.

This is not the Willow Run auto assembly Plant, which was built right outside the transmission plant, a mere roadway separating the two buildings.

On October 1 1963, Detroit Transmission Division changed its name to the Hydra-Matic Division.

-- Edited by Oracle on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 08:07:07 AM

Automotive Historian, Author and Journalist
Southampton, England


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In 1888, Mr L.E. McKinnon assumed control of the McKinnon and Mitchell Hardware saddlery and wagon hardware business in St. Paul Street, St. Catherines, Ontario, formed 1878, and in 1900 moved the business to Ontario Street, which later became the site of the famous Axle Plant. The business was expanded and became McKinnon Dash and Metal Work Limited, and in 1901 a malleable iron foundry was added, followed by a drop forge shop in 1905. W.W.1 saw saddlery and hardware supplied to the Canadian, British and French forces. In 1916, shell and fuse making began in a three-storey building erected on the site. In 1917, the company was reorganised under the name McKinnon Industries Limited, and the next year exploited the motoring skills learned in wartime to expand into automotive products, with the production of radiators and pioneering the production of differential and transmission gears in Canada. Because of the foundry and forge, it is assumed that all the gears and casings were produced on site.

In 1923, McKinnon died, his estate was sold, and the company was acquired by Messrs. Gideon Grant and Neil Sinclair, who appointed Mr B.W. Butsell as President. Manufacture of rear axles expanded considerably, and there was clearly a major expansion programme to cater for increased orders. In 1929, the radiator business was sold to make room for the gears division, and it is believed that the acquiring company continued to supply General Motors of Canada with original equipment radiators, albeit under contract rather than in-house the company. Who was it sold to? It was possibly the McCord Radiator Company Limited in Walker Road, Walkerville. However, the gear business was mainly to supply General Motors of Canada, and so it became logical for the company to acquire The McKinnon Industries Limited, for global economic reasons mentioned below, and the company became a subsidiary of General Motors of Canada on 29 March 1929, with Mr H.J. Carmichael as President and General Manager. The company were to remain a separate subsidiary until 1969!

Transmissions and axles were sourced from McKinnon Industries Limited and radiators from General Motors of Canadas suppliers who acquired the McKinnons business in 1929. However despite the recession the company expanded considerably in due course. Canadian Automotive Trade October 1931 stated:

Announcement by General Motors that their McKinnon Industries unit at St. Catharines is about to embark on the manufacture of five new lines of automobile parts was received with favourable comment throughout Canada. The particular parts to be made, only one of which has been manufactured in Canada, previously, are steering wheels, shock absorbers, ignition coils, A. C. spark plugs and axle shafts. The McKinnon factory states that with motor trade at anything like normal in the coming year, this will mean employment for 200 to 250 additional men. Parts are to be made for Canadian cars other than General Motors cars, as well as some for the General Motors lines. Most of the latter, manufactured at Oshawa, Ontario, have long been above the percentage of Canadian-made content required by Federal fiscal regulations. The General Motors of Canada ideal has been to turn out cars in Oshawa as completely made-in-Canada as is possible. These five units will comprise steering gears, formerly made in Saginaw; shock absorbers, formerly made at Dayton, Ohio; A. C. spark plugs, at Flint, Mich; Delco Remy ignition coils, at Anderson, Indiana, and another new line, axle shafts. Tooling and pattern work night and day to prepare for the normal production of these units is already under way.

However, the 1931 Chevrolet Master Parts List shows that Delco-Remy, Lovejoy Shock- absorbers and Klaxon were supplied by the Factory Direct Branch, of United Motors Service Company Limited, a Canadian subsidiary of United Motors Service Inc., both of which companies were based at 5 St. Albans Street, Toronto.

A new DELCO plant was built and opened by McKinnon Industries Limited in St. Catherines in 1930. This was intended to provide more Canadian-made automotive components. Delco-Remy, Lovejoy Shock- absorbers and Klaxon components were supplied by yet another Canadian G.M. company, United Motors Service Company Limited, a Canadian subsidiary of United Motors Service Inc., both of which companies were based at 5, St. Albans Street, Toronto: United Motors was the Durant-formed holding company for the various parts suppliers such as AC Spark Plug, Delco-Remy. Transmissions and other components were supplied by McKinnons, and axles from the Walker Road, Walkerville Plant.

To summarise the history of McKinnons from 1925:

1925: The company name changed to The McKinnon Industries Limited, with B.W. Burtsell as president. Rear axle manufacture proceeded apace.
1929: the Radiator business was sold to make room for the gear division, and then on March 29th 1929 the company was purchased by the companys main client, G.M. of Canada. H.J. Carmichael became President and General Manager.
1930 The Delco Building was erected on the east side of Ontario Street, and an expansion program began with the manufacture of starter motors, generators, shcok absorbers, steering gear and wheel cylinders.
1932: Expansion included manufacture of fractional horsepower motors for washing machines, refrigerators and car and truck transmissions.
1936: W.A. Wecker became Vice-President and General Manager succeeding Carmichael who was appointed Vice-President and G.M. of G.M. of C.
The Gray Iron foundry was installed to make engine cylinder heads, cylinder blocks and brake drums. It was this point that motors were produced wholly in Canada. For example the Chevrolet Block was casting # 1782594.
1939: The Government called on McKinnons to produce 4 x 4 army trucks, percussion fuses, dynamotors for 2-way radios, fire control mechanisms, gyro gunsight motors, torpedo drives, elevating units for 3.7 inch AA guns. Floorspace was doubled.
1943: T.J. Cook succeeded Wecker as President and G.M., as the latter was appointed President and G.M. of G.M. of C.
1944: anti-friction ball and roller bearing manufacture started.
1945: the Bearing Division was expanded to cater for parts for agricultural and general machinery industries.
1948 Fuel pump manufacture for Canadian car manufacturers began.

In 1939, the Government called-upon McKinnon Industries to produce military 4 x 4 Canadian Military Pattern Trucks, which would have used Walkerville-produced Chevrolet motors, but the castings were produced by McKinnons! There were also new military contracts with the main Plant and also the Delco factory to supply percussion fuses, dynamotors for 2-way radios, fire control mechanisms, gyro gun sight motors torpedo drives, and elevating units for 3.7 anti-aircraft guns. Floorspace was doubled. In 1943, Mr T.J. Cook became McKinnon President and General Manager as Mr W.A. Wrecker became President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada in Oshawa.

In 1944, anti-friction roller and ball bearing manufacture was started, and in 1945 the Bearing Division was expanded to make parts for agriculture and general machinery industries.

In 1950, 141 acres of land were acquired by McKinnons to build a new foundry, opening 1952 as the largest and most modern malleable iron foundry in the British Commonwealth, [closing only in 1995]. This coincided with Plant extensions at Oshawa, and Zone-warehouse expansion across Canada. In 1952, Oshawa gained a new central automotive parts and accessories warehouse. A new Frigidaire Plant was opened in Scarborough, Ontario [Frigidaire, Toronto], which was eventually to become an automotive plant!.

In 1962/3, McKinnon Industries Limited acquired the Windsor Plant, and six-cylinder inline motor production for 1963 Model Year was transferred to St. Catherines with local transmission production transferred the other way from St. Catherines to Windsor for the first time

There were major changes towards the re-organisations in 1969: McKinnons lost production of axle and brake assemblies, and in 1966 Buick and Oldsmobile motor assembly. In 1967, the six-cylinder motor production was dropped for the last time, ending continuous assembly since 1929 Model Year!

After 1963, McKinnons renamed Windsor the Windsor Transmission Plant, and then in 1969, as McKinnons ceased being a subsidiary, became General Motors of Canada, Windsor Transmission Plant, building manual and automatic gearboxes. Today they build the 4-speed electronic Automatic gearbox which is exported as well as used in North America in all manner of cars, MPVs and Trucks, the Plant having closed and been totally transformed for its new role. The offices are now fronting Kildare Road, where Border City Industries Limited were producing essential war munitions from 1940 to 1945. [WRITTEN A FEW YEARS AGO!]

GENERAL MOTORS OF CANADA [McKinnon Industries Limited]


1878: McKinnon and Mitchell Hardware was formed on St. Paul Street making saddlery and wagon hardware.

1888: L. B. McKinnon assumed control under the name McKinnon Dash and Hardware Co.

1900: The plant moved to

Ontario Street
, tne present Axle Plant site, expanded and became "McKinnon Dash and Metal Work Ltd."

1901: A malleable foundry was added to the plant.

1905: A drop forge shop was erected and manufacture of chain began.

1914: Outbreak of war - saddlery and hardware supplied to Canadian, British and French armies.

1916: Shell and fuse making began in a three-storey building erected at the Axle Plant.

1917: Reorganised under the name "McKinnon Industries Limited".

1918: Chain business sold and McKinnon entered the automobile field,  producing radiators and pioneering production of differential and transmission gears in Canada.

1923: L. E. McKinnon died leaving his estate to be sold.

1925: Messrs. Gideon Grant and Neil Sinclair purchased the company, the new name to be The McKinnon Industries Limited and Mr. B. W. Burtsell became President. Manufacture of rear axles progressed vigorously.

1929: The radiator business was sold to make room for the gear division. On March 29 the company became a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation with Mr. H. J. Carmichael as President and General Manager.

1930: Erection of the Delco building on the east side of Ontario Street and an expansion program began with the manufacture of starting motors, generators, shock absorbers, steering gears and wheel cylinders.

1932: Further expansion to manufacture fractional horsepower motors for washing machines, refrigerators and truck and car transmissions.

1936: W. A. Wecker, became Vice President and General Manager succeeding H. J. Carmichael who was appointed Vice President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada in Oshawa. A Grey Iron foundry was installed to make engine cylinder heads, blocks and brake drums.

1939: World War II - The government called upon McKinnons to produce army 4 wheel drive trucks, percussion fuses, dynamotors, for 2-way radios, fire control mechanism, gyro gun sight motors, torpedo drives, elevating units for 3.7 anti-aircraft guns. Floorspace was doubled.

1943: T. J. Cook was McKinnon President and General Manager succeeding W. A. Wecker who was appointed to President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada, Oshawa.

1944: The manufacturing of anti-friction ball and roller bearings was started.

1945: The Bearing Division was expanded to make parts for agricultural and general machinery industries.

1948: The manufacturing of fuel pumps for Canadian car manufacturers began.

1950: 141 acres of land was acquired to build a new foundry.

1952: The foundry was officially opened having the largest and most modern malleable and grey iron foundry in the British Commonwealth. [CLOSED END OF 1995]

1953: Contract to build an Engine Plant at this site was released on March 31st. Mr. T. J. Cook retired and on April 1st E. H. Walker was appointed President and General Manager. The assembly of radios for cars and trucks was started.

1954: V-8 engines for Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile Rocket engines were made and assembled in the newly completed Engine Plant.

1957: On April 1st E. J. Barbeau was named President and General Manager of The McKinnon Industries Limited succeeding E. H. Walker who was appointed President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, succeeding W. A. Wecker who retired.

1963: McKinnons acquired the Windsor Engine Plant. Inline 6 cylinder production was transferred to St. Catharine's with local transmission production transferred to Windsor. Commercial fractional horsepower motors were transferred to G.M. Diesel, London, Ontario.

1964: As a result of the General Motors deproliferation program and to subsequent approval of the Canada-U.S. Trade Agreement, the 1967 following changes occurred in the product program.

·  ·  1964: - Radio to Frigidaire, Toronto; Horn to Frigidaire, Toronto; Shock Absorber to Frigidaire, Toronto

1965: - Deletion of Rear Axle Assembly for Buick and Oldsmobile 'B' Car and 1-1/2 Ton Truck; Deletion of Front and Rear Brake Assembly for Buick and Oldsmobile 'B' Car; Front and Rear Brake Drum Assembly for 1-1/2 and 2 Ton Truck.

1966 - Propshaft to Frigidaire; Deletion of Ignition Coil, Voltage Regulator, Distributor, Master Cylinder, and Oldsmobile-Buick Engine Assembly.

1967 - Deletion of Ball and Roller Bearing, Power Steering, Manual Steering.

1965: Administration Building on Glendale Avenue was finished.

1966: Engine Plant tooled for '327' CID VS Engines.

1967: Engine Plant tooled for '307' CID VS Engines (dropped 6 cylinder)

1968: V-8 capacity increased to 2,400 Engines/Day

1969: Engine Plant tooled for '350' CID VS 2/4 Barrel (dropped '283'). McKinnon Industries changed from subsidiary status to become General Motors of Canada Limited, St. Catharine's.E. J. Barbeau was transferred to G.M. Oshawa as Director of Manufacturing Operations. Grosvenor Swift named Area Plant Manager St. Catharines.

1970: Engine tooled for 100% '350' CID VS (dropped '307, 327')

1971: V-8 Engine capacity increased to 2,600 Engines/Day.

1972: Rear Axle capacity increased from 2,400/Day to 2,800/Day with the inclusion of the 6-1/2" 'H' Car Vega Rear Axle. Grosvenor Swift retired. Ivan S. Kaye named Plant Manager, General Motors of Canada Limited, St. Catharines.

1973: Rear Axle capacity increased to 3,200/Day.

1974: 7-½ " 'H' Car and 7-½" 'X' Car Axle production added.

1975: Engine Plant began producing '350' and '305' CID VS production with full flexibility.

1978: Rear Axle capacity increased to 3,600/Day. 8-½" G-Van Rear Axles added. Approved to manufacture '267' Cu. In. V-8 at 1,400/Day. Ivan S. Kaye retired. Ron Migus named Manager - St. Catharine's Plants.

1979: Welland Avenue Plant purchased from Columbus McKinnon. Corporation approval for manufacture of THM125C Differential Carrier and Output Shaft for 1981 Model Year at 4,000/Day. Corporation approval to manufacture V6 60 2.8L Engines at 1,600/Day and V-8 4.4 & 5.0 Litre ('267' and '305' CID) Engines for 1982. Corporate approval to convert Starting Motor production from 10MT to 5MT at 5,000/Day capacity.

1980: Full production of Delcotrons and Starting Motors at the Welland Avenue Plant. Capacity increase on '267' CID Engines from 1,400 - 1,800/Day. Corporate approval to manufacture THM440T4 Final Drive Assembly and Output Shaft at 10,000/Day for 1983 Model Year. Corporate approval to manufacture 1983-½ 'B-C' Drive Axle Shaft Forgings at 4,250/Day (revised to 'C' Car only at 2,400/Day).

1981: Corporate approval to manufacture 1983-1/2 'B-C' Independent Rear Suspension at 5,000/Day (revised to 'C' Car only at 2,400/Day). Corporate approval to manufacture 1983 Commercial C-10, G-10-20 Truck Front Suspension at 2,700/Day (revised to 1,600/Day C-10 only). Corporate approval to make all Oldsmobile forgings. Corporate approval to provide R.W.D. V6 600 engine flexibility. Mr. F. Allan Smith is replaced as President & General Manager of G.M. of Canada by James Rinehart on January 5, 1981. Mr. Smith becomes an Executive Vice-President in charge of finance.1982 Donald E. Hackworth becomes President & General Manager of General Motors of Canada Limited on January 1, 1982 replacing James R. Rinehart who resigned. Delcotron and Starting Motor production was transferred from Welland Avenue to U.S.A. GM Fanuc Robotics Corporation formed.

1983: Corporate approval of C.V.T. Differential Carrier assembly. NUMMI, a joint venture with Toyota formed. General Motors 75th Anniversary

1984: Donald E. Hackworth becomes General Manager of Buick on January 10th , 1984 and John F. Smith Jr. becomes President & General Manager G.M. of Canada Limited. Mr. Smith was formerly Director of Worldwide Product Planning. North American Passenger Car Operations reorganized into CPC-BOC. October 18th General Motors acquires Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Corporate approval to change 2.8L V6 to TBI for SIT truck and MPFI for passenger cars with aluminum heads. Automotive Component Group (ACG) Divisions established strategic business units by product line.

1985: Corporate approval to make GM-10 Front & Rear Disc Brakes. Corporate approval to make 'C/H' Car leading trailing brakes.Corporate approval to make 5.7 Litre V-8 truck engines. General Motors forms Saturn Corporation in January. December 31 General Motors acquires Hughes Aircraft Company.

1986: Corporate approval to make 8-1/2" 'C/K' Rear Axles for trucks at 1,500/Day. George A. Peapples becomes President & General Manager of General Motors of Canada Limited February 3, 1986 replacing John F. Smith Jr. who becomes Executive Vice President - Operations & Engineering General Motors Europe - Passenger Cars. Manufacture of ground and cast aluminum pistons set up in the Welland Avenue Plant. Ground pistons transferred from Engine Plant. Cast pistons - completely new installation. General Motors acquires Group Lotus PLC. GM/Volvo joint venture formed to market heavy-duty trucks. GM of Canada/Suzuki joint venture formed.

1987: Corporate approval to make 3.1 Litre V-6 Engines. Corporate approval to make F-7 Final Drive & Output Shaft. Corporate approval to make GM-10 Rear Brakes & Front Rotors. Robert C. Stempel replaces F. James McDonald as Corporation President.

1988: Corporate approval to make 3.4 Litre V-6 Engine. Corporate approval to convert 440 transmission to F-31 design.

1989: Built last V-6 2.8 Litre Engine. Began building V-6 3.1 Litre APV and W-Car (Buick Regal, Chevrolet Lumina) Engine. The St. Catharine's Plants are realigned into Strategic Business Units (SBU's) as part of the Automotive Components Group (ACG). The St. Catharine's Plants continue to report through the GM of Canada operating structure, but work closely with the planning and operational groups of the SBU's who have engineering and sourcing responsibility for the St. Catherine's factories' products. St. Catharine's Plants are affected as follows:

·  ·  Foundry aligned to Central Foundry Division - Engine SBU Engine Plant reports to CPC.

Axle Plant aligned to Saginaw Division - Final Drive and Forge

Hydra-matic Division - Automatic Transmission

Delco Moraine - Wheel Brake

A.C. Rochester - Spark Plug

1990: Start of Production - V-6 3.4 Litre DOHC Engine. The Axle Plant is officially renamed to Components Plant.


-- Edited by Oracle on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 08:14:20 AM

-- Edited by Oracle on Tuesday 20th of July 2010 03:44:39 PM

Automotive Historian, Author and Journalist
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General Motors purchased Lot 102 in 1937 and began construction of their Engine Plant facility by mid-June of that year. GM contracted Albert Kahn, at the time an internationally recognized industrial architect and the architect of the Ford Motor Company, to design the new factory. In fact, in 1915 Kahn designed Ford's plant at 2495 Main Street in Buffalo. He also contributed to the design of the Piece-Arrow plant on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.

Kahn was instrumental in the transition from the preferred multi-storied daylight style factory of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century to the widespread adoption of a more efficient steel frame construction. Kahn's new design plan accommodated the quickly evolving technological advances of the automobile industry. He designed factories for optimum utility and efficiency in order to increase manufacturing production. Unfortunately, Kahn's original 1937 design of the original GM Plant has been significantly modified and has been largely expanded with subsequent additions. It retains little architectural integrity, for in addition to its exterior alterations, the interior has been vastly modified to accommodate new manufacturing technologies

According to a 1939 promotional booklet distributed by the Chevrolet Motor & Axle Division of General Motors of Tonawanda, the factory was completed and operations were started within eight months of its construction. After the first year of operation, the plant employed approximately nineteen hundred workers.

Aerial view of the GM plant circa 1937.

A more recent view of the GM plant.

The GM plant as originally designed by Albert Kahn


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Hydra-Matic plant Livonia, Michigan

the Hydra-Matic fire of 1953, the worst industrial fire in American history up to that time and still ranked as the worst in dollar loss in the history of the auto industry. On August 12th of that year, a fire at the Hydra-Matic plant in Livonia, Michigan, completely hydramaticfire.jpgdestroyed the facility, cost some $80 million in damages, caused the injury or deaths of a score of workers, and resulted in the loss of automobile production from five different manufacturers variously estimated at from 100,000 to 300,000 units.
The Livonia plant, which was operated by the Detroit Transmission Division of GM, was nearly new and represented the state-of-the-art in early post-World War II plant design. It was also the only source of Hydra-Matic transmissions for General Motors car and truck lines, as well as those of several other manufacturers. Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Cadillac were the principle GM divisions that were effected, but Lincoln, Hudson, Kaiser and Nash also used Hydra-Matic at the time.
The fire started when some outside construction workers using a oxyacetylene cutting torch ignited a conveyor dip pan that contained a highly flammable liquid used as a rust inhibitor for transmission parts. Attempts to put out the fire with hand-held extinguishers were nearly successful until the extinguishers ran dry. Then, the fire spread with tremendous speed throughout the 1.5 million square foot plant. Within minutes, the fire had engulfed the entire building, including a small Ternstedt Division area (about 133,000 square feet). Ternstedt manufactured interior hardware (window cranks, etc.) and other small parts used by GM's automotive divisions.
Fire fighters from all over the Detroit area were called to the scene, but there was little anyone could do once the fire went out of control. By the time fire fighters arrived on the scene, the roof had already partially collapsed making the building too dangerous to enter (see the top photo). The fire finally burned itself out the following day (see the bottom photo) leaving a scene reminiscent of Dresden or Hiroshima.
Given the speed of the fire it roared completely out of control in fifteen or twenty minutes it is a miracle that virtually all of the 4,200 workers escaped with their lives. In fact, only fifteen sustained serious injuries. In addition, three members of the Ternstedt in-plant fire brigade were trapped and killed and a member of the Livonia Fire Department suffered a fatal heart attack. Several days later, two construction workers were electrocuted while clearing debris. So, the final total was six dead and fifteen seriously injured astonishingly light considering the nature and scope of the catastrophe.
In the wake of the disaster, Cadillac and Olds quickly converted to the Buick Dynaflow transmission, while Pontiac switched to Chevrolet's Powerglide. Lincoln was able to switch over to Ford's in-house automatic, which was similar to Powerglide, but the other manufacturers had to do without.
One of the genuine crash programs in the history of the auto industry was undertaken by GM to rebuild Hydra-Matic. A new plant, the former Kaiser-Frazer factory at Willow Run (see photo below), was quickly leased and later purchased outright, while Kaiser production was transferred to Kaiser's recently acquired Willys-Overland plant in Toledo. New equipment and new supplies for the resumption of Hydra-Matic production all had to be put in place in record time. The first Hydra-Matic unit was produced in a make-shift plant in Detroit in October a mere nine weeks to the day from the date of the fire and GM gallantly sent the first units to Hudson, Kaiser and Nash. The former Kaiser plant was in full Hydra-Matic production by mid-December and remains a key GM automatic transmission facility to this day.
The Hydra-Matic fire served as a wake-up call for the entire American industrial community and fire standards were significantly improved as a result. As the National Fire Protection Association noted:
"The general awakening of industrial management to the potentially disastrous results of fire on production was the one beneficial effect of this disastrous fire. Viewing this destruction, many industrial managements are recognizing the inter-relationship of production records and fire safety, and are facing the well-known fact that fire can reduce production records to zero and, in some cases, keep them there. It is almost fortunate that this tremendous fire occurred in the property of a company that is financially well-equipped to withstand such a loss." R&D

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 09:02:16 PM

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 09:21:10 PM


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Detroit Assembly

Detroit Assembly (also known as Detroit Cadillac or Clark Street Assembly) was a General Motors automobile factory in Detroit, Michigan. Originally opened as Cadillac Fleetwood Assembly in 1921, the factory produced Cadillacs and closed on December 23, 1987[1], whereupon production of Cadillac's D-bodies moved to Arlington Assembly in Texas. From 1984 to 1987, the plant also built the Oldsmobile 88 and Custom Cruiser, and the Chevrolet Caprice and Impala.


The site of the plant was redeveloped into the 88-acre Clark Street Technology Park in 1997 by General Motors and three other partners.

Cadillac Clark St 1970s

Cadillac Clark St 1950s

Cadillac Clark St 1950s

Cadillac Clark St  aerial 1949

Cadillac 1956

-- Edited by 68sd on Wednesday 21st of July 2010 10:01:44 PM



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A very cool read, never quite realized the large number and massive size of these facilities. Thank you 68 SD for sharing.


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do you mention the gmc plant in regina they made cars in the 1930's. i work in the old gmc plant sometimes building is still there.

jeanpaul lalonde

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I am a GM and general automotive history buff, so i thank you for all this wonderful GM plant information. Very appreciated and thanks for sharing. Cheers. George


1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon low mileage original 400 V-8

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Just saw on CP 24 that GM is investing 1 .5 BILLION into plants in the US [ Trump??] Now the question is 'will the Oshawa Plant get a new product? or will they build 'whatever they had planned" in the US?????? The union contract was signed on the promise of a new product?? "bend over Rover" we loose???


Some times I wake up GRUMPY, but today I let her sleep in    !!!!!!!! BLACKSTOCK Ont.

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