Sunday, September 27, 2009

Early Steetcar on the Buick Run.

One of the first streetcars that ran the rails in Flint. This one was on the line going to The Buick complex.

Friday, September 25, 2009

B.O.P. & G.M.A.D.

This is a nice color photo I found that matches the one shown below.

These two pages from a 1938 press release shed some light on pre WW II assembly operations for Buick.

This is the Fremont, California plant which opened in 1962 as a G.M.A.D. (General Motors Assembly Division) plant. This particular facility would become the General Motors and Toyota joint venture plant after the original facility ceased production in 1982. It would reopen in 1984 as the Nummi (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) factory, and is now scheduled to close in March 2010. Shown on the assembly line here is a 1964 Buick Skylark just receiving it's body being followed by a Pontiac. The car in front of the Buick is an Oldsmobile F-85.  A good story from 1983.

This rather rare dust jacket (not as rare as the hardback) for the 50th anniversary book of Buick shows the locations of the B.O.P.plants in 1953.

Contrary to some written histories, here is a B.O.P. assembly plant in 1939. Most histories I have read claim 1946 - 1959 as the span in which these plants were constructed. Terry Dunham, the co author of: "The Buick: A Complete History" has corrected me pertaining to the first California B.O.P. plant"Buick's first production on the West Coast came out of a plant located in South Gate, California down around Los Angeles".According to Wikipedia the South Gate plant opened in 1936 and was the second B.O.P. after the Linden, New Jersey plant. General Motors did establish the B.O.P. Sales Company in 1932. In this photo we can clearly see first, the rear quarter of a 1939 Pontiac coupe, the car receiving it's body with the unmistakable grille is a 39 Buick, and the car after the Buick is an Oldsmobile. The Linden N.J. plant was home to GM automobile assembly operations from 1937 to 2005, they assembled nearly 9 million vehicles in its 68 year history, including Buick's, Cadillac's, Oldsmobile's, Pontiac's, the Chevrolet Blazer and the GMC Jimmy. During World War II, they produced Grumman Wildcat fighter planes. Automobile production resumed in 1946.   L.A. Buick plant 1936.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Buick Assembly 1922

Just a different source of the photo below. Link for 1922 Buick's. 1922 transmission advertisement.

A 1922 look inside the Buick assembly plant #01 where the body’s are just being “cut in” with paint around the door jams and seats. Pretty much the same as today, except the seat part. The car body’s at this time would have gotten their seats in either 16-b or factory #07 on the second floor and then passed through the west bridge in the courtyard (heading south) between assembly and factory #01. Then they made the return trip to factory #06 assembly’s second floor through the east bridge of the courtyard, only this time heading north. The body’s were then lowered to the first floor to mate with their prospective chassis. As far as the seat stuffing department at any given time is anybody’s guess. Things were always moved around. In my time you never knew from year to year where any departments new location would be. The engine dress line was one that was always on the move. So if you have better information than I do, please leave a comment.

I've had this photo for years and never realized it was Buick in Flint. It is dated the same date as the photo below. I know I have a better copy, and will post it when I locate it. I also have another one of this same view, only the workers have changed positions. I also located the photo at the bottom of this post in the book "Our Day's Together At Buick City". I guess you really can't see the forest for the tree's. I have way too much stuff in my archives.

This addition known as 06-b built in 1915 is where I now believe this photo was taken. This is a north view between factory #06 connected on the right and #07 connected on the left. These were numbered (north to south) as 06-b, 06-c and 06-d. Factory #09 is connected at the north-end. When the photo below was taken the roofed over area at the left between #07 and #10 did not exist. This is the only addition with three floors, which is obvious this building had. The second floor was the seat stuffing department. You can see the stairs in the right background of the enhanced photo below. If this assumption is correct, that would mean in the photo below the photographer was facing south, as evidenced by the light entering through the windows in the background.

Enhanced for more background detail.

Here is the "New for 1922" 4 cylinder engine very similar to the 6 shown below.

This photo dated November 17, 1922 shows workers have just installed the tires. Note the different tread patterns used on the front and rear. You can also see the fixture being used to align the running boards. The only other pillars I ever saw at Buick that were round were in engineering #84 the old Part's and Service building built between 1938-1939 and factory #05 enamel plant which were of a little bit different style.

. see the following link to view the 1922 body being assembled in the old W.F.Stewart plant
W.F. Stewart Inside + Postcard

1954 Buick Fisher Body #1

Here we are on south Saginaw street in Flint, Michigan at Fisher Body plant #1. These 1954 Buick's are just getting their final polish on the assembly line.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Division Street 1947

In this view facing directly north up Division Street we have factory #01 on the left. Then in the middle is the just completed assembly plant, bldg. #16/#40, where I first entered a General Motors factory in 1972. At the right is the old transmission plant #40. Factory #01 was constructed between 1905-1906. The original contract for construction on this building was signed on September 4, 1905. The builders were Field, Hinchman & Smith out of Detroit, Michigan. This was actually the 2nd Buick factory built in Flint, but after erecting this factory in the Oak Park Industrial Complex on Hamilton Avenue, factory #1 on east Kearsley street became factory #2. This factory covered all aspects of car assembly (truck assembly continued at Jackson) after Buick assembly moved back to Flint from Jackson, Michigan. Building #16/#40 erected between 1946-1947 replaced factory#06 constructed in 1907 which took over assembly operations previously done in factory #01. When first built this factory became part of the Unified Assembly plant #62 which came into being in 1925. Factory #40 built between 1919-1920 took over transmission assembly that had previously been done in factory #01. you can find more information at the following post's

Factory #01 closed body recieving 1924.

Factory #01 Roof Trusses

Body Recieving in factory #01

Buick Factory #1 Machine Floor

Buick Factories 1908

Factory #1 Buick 1920

Division street During 100 Years.

Division Street 1934

Getting The Picture

Buick factory #1 & #6

Buick Factory #01 interior

Factory #01

Buick Factory #1 Hamilton st. Flint Michigan (view south west)

A Film: Working Inside Buick City 1995

Factory #40 Building #16 1947 & 1997

Factory #40/bldg 16 1978

Factory #40/bldg 16

Engine cradle installation factory #40

Factory #40 1923

Factory #40 Description + Display

Factory #40 Tunnel

Factory #40 1920's

Factory #40 machining 1950's

Factory #40 1997

Factory #40 views

Factory #40 1984

Factory #40's End plus so much more JUST EXPLORE! Complete 1947 Buick Magazine.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

1975 Catalytic Converter

When General Motors first started installing these on the new 1975 Buick's we were not prepared for the smell in the factory. They claimed in this advertisement that it was a breath of fresh air. "Actually they smelled horrible". I was working on the chassis line in factory #04 at the time, adjacent to the final line. My partner and I thought that the foul smell was coming from another employee working next to us. Management left it up to the union rep to talk with this person, and he had a personal hygiene talk with him. After the poor guy went home to shower we still had the smell. It was finally tracked down to the (fresh air) converter. We felt pretty bad about this and apologized to our fellow worker but I'm not sure he ever accepted our stupid blunder

Buick Testing.

A 1968 Electra gets a drop test.

A 1967 Buick Special being put to the test.

Buick Body By Fisher

A load of Buick body's leaving Fisher Body #1 on south Saginaw street for it's roughly 4 mile trip to the assembly plant on Hamilton Avenue. There was a steady stream of these trucks through downtown Flint until the I-475 freeway was built.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Factory #12 Sheet Metal Stamping

It may be hard to believe, but I remember most of these machines. When you are around them day after day "you don't forget". These photos date to 1947 and they were still stamping out parts for Buick City when it closed. I figure they are still working in some other facility "probably Mexico or China".

All these photo's were taken from the overhead crane. The operator in this photo is facing east.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Body Receiving 1947.

This view facing north from the main office in 1947 shows body receiving at factory #01. Building #16 has just been built and would become the new factory #40. The old transmission plant #40 is on the right. The area where the construction sheds for building #16 are located would be the future site of the Chemical and paint "Tank Farm" which would be built in the early 1980's. Looks like a mix of every model Buick made for 1948 except a convertible and Wagon. I see a Super Sedanette entering factory #01, a 4 door Sedan going up ramp and a couple of Special Series cars on the top and lower level of the Fisher Body delivery truck. The ones on the truck are both Sedanette models. Buick had three series that year: Special (2 models), Super (4 models) and Roadmaster also with (4 models).  News story on Buick lineup.
Follow the first link for the 1960 photo of the new body receiving that replaced this one.Follow the third link for a 1924 view of body receiving. also follow the second link for another view of the 1947 body receiving dock

Body Receiving 1960

Body Receiving in factory #01

Factory #01 closed body receiving 1924. Complete 1947 Buick Magazine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Buick Factories.

This shows the designation of the buildings that would become Buick City. North would be at the left in this 1984 view.

Buick City Trim

This is one of the places I worked in 1987 during a cutback when we lost second shift. I was installing the drivers side door panel. This is zone 32. You are on the second floor of old factory #04 at the north-end east wall, just north of bridge #40. The woman in the photo is identified as Linda Barnhart

Buick Assembly 1947

Here is a good view of the roof structure between the two factory's #10 visible on the left and #19/#07 out of sight on the right. When you enlarge this photo you can see the front end sub assembly's crossing the mezzanine from the third floor of old factory #10 heading for the south end of old factory #07/#19 where they will be mated to the appropriate body.

This is the body drop inside the old factory #19/#07 factory built in 1908. Notice the wooden pillar. This area was near the east wall.

This is the south end of factory #62. This was the roofed over area between factory's #19 which was actually old #07, although most old timers just called this collection of original wood and brick factory's #06. Factory #10 is visible on the right. This created the new Unified Assembly Plant in Flint. This roofed over expansion was done in 1925 to meet the rising demand of Buick's.
 For more on this location at Buick follow this link or simply type in #62 in the search box at the top left corner of this blog.

Factory #62 Emmanuel Godin

Thursday, September 3, 2009

1963 Riviera

The 11 millionth Buick built would be this "NEW" for 1963 Riviera.

  The photo 'link' below showing the Buick factories, includes what would be the Riviera assembly plant in Flint. It is the tall building on the right. This appears to be the body receiving area in Buick's factory #04 mezzanine.                                                                       
 To read more about this factory follow this link:

Factory #40 Description + Display    Riviera prototypes   Riviera blog

Random Buick Photos.

Buick car haulers and their starting point.