Monday, December 21, 2009

1976 Explorer Skyhawk

Information for Andy on this one of a kind Buick, would surely be appreciated.
 Here is some further info from Andy: We were responsible for the turbo V-6 which was our project concept idea. The first one was a twin turbo put in an Apollo. When Ken Baker pulled out onto JP Cole and hit the gas it snapped the axle shaft at the flange. They promptly had a custom axle built for it. In house of course. The other project car of fame was the Show-and Go Skyhawk. It had flared body panels to look like a IMSA race car. This car featured a normally aspirated 231 V-6 with the help of Kenny Bell Engineering. It was show cased at several events. It also was used as a pace car at several tracks. I was fortunate to have been a part of that and drive those cars. My uncle Dale Klee was one of the photographer's for Buick Engineering and got my cousin and I in the program. I went on to do my apprenticeship at Buick while going to school in Engineering. I got my Electrical card and shortly after got my Electrical Engineering degree. I left hourly on good terms and went to Delco. I did 8 years Engineering supervision over advanced development and reliability engineering test facilities. I later went to NAO and project over-site ending with the Malibu transfer to Lansing from Oklahoma City. I was offered a early out as they were eliminating unclassified level employee's. I took it with no benefits and ran.
I have roots to Buick, my grandfather was plant superintendent of axle plant before the big war. He was promoted to head up Turnsteadt on Coldwater rd. He had a third heart attack and had to retire before it opened. My dad worked at Buick 36 in the late 50's. He took heads off the line and stacked them, by hand without assistance.

Andy says: I am trying to track down some info from the mid 70's about the Explorer Scout Post 504 that I was a part of. We developed the first Turbo V-6 as our concept project. That is my mission to find info on. We also had the Show and Go Skyhawk in the attached photo.
Any help with people to contact or documentation and photo's would be appreciated. 
For further history on this project I refer you to the sixth edition of "THE BUICK A COMPLETE HISTORY" by: Dunham and Gustin, page 315 specifically.

Thank You, Link:

Andy Popovich II
3075 Beechtree Lane
Flushing, MI 48433

Andy says: This is what started the turbo 231 V6 that eventually ended up in production;... as I recall.
This is the first year of the program, The second year was the Skyhawk;... that I sent you a few years ago. This was the first turbo V6 car at Buick which eventually found its way into an Indy pace car, then production
I hope you can post this so all can see and remember..

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Buick Factories

Here's another version of the card farther below.

Buick was such a big part of Flint in 1915 that this postcard showing the river-front near downtown, is titled as a Bird's-eye view of the factories. I zoomed in farter below so you could actually see the factories.

There is the Buick factories. You can also click on the photo above for the full enlargement.                                                                                                                                                                           
Just a bonus facing south from the same building 1910. Flint's first skyscraper,The Sill bldg.

Buick City Business Report

This is a typical daily report on where we stood concerning quality, yard float and absenteeism. This was my last day at Buick before my transfer to Bay City Powertrain

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thomas Siegel Buick

Tom sent this photo of his 75 pace car. He says he bought it in 1992 from the original owners son. Plans are in the works for having the graphics painted on in the future. "Looking forward to seeing the finished project". Relating to the previous post on Fisher Body plant #1 in Flint, this cars body (from the cowl back) would have been assembled there at the south unit. From the windshield forward these body panels were stamped at the Buick body shop, factory #12. Full size Buick body's were built at the north unit of Fisher #1. I myself was working in the old paint shop located in factory #04 at Buick in 1975. the paint shop at that time was located on the third floor and known as factory #11. follow the links:

Factory #04/11-14

Factory #04 Dept. 11-14

I seem to recall that the graphics were added (off line) but I'm not sure. Pin-stripping on standard models was done on line with a purpose built jig for alignment. In 75 we were using adhesive pin-stripping, but in later years we were using paint pens. follow the link for more information on this unique Buick:

1975 Buick Pace Car   The 1975 pace car search.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fisher Body #1


This was a very nice display and fitting that they had one of Billy Durant's Flint automobiles on display. When I was called to the old General Motors headquarters in Detroit back in 2004 as a witness in a legal action, they had a Durant auto on display in the lobby there.

This is the same as shown below, only the left side of the model. The photo above that is the part still surviving on south Saginaw Street in Flint, Michigan. I did enter this building a few times in my life. The first was in 1972 while looking for work. They called me up, but I was already working at Buick. I believe I also went here and signed up for T.R.A. or (Trade Readjustment Allowance).

A very nice model of the office complex at Fisher #1. The actual part that is still surviving is at the left. The part shown at the right is a small representation of the assembly plant.

Plaque that was removed from Fisher #1 and now saved in the Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan. I took this and the above photos in 2011.

This is a photo of my aunt Lois Bernard. This view is facing south from Atherton rd. near the old rail crossing just west of Saginaw street. She is standing in the Pure Oil depot,that was located adjacent to the Fisher Body factory #1. The Fisher factory is visible in the distance. "Not sure of the date". My mother and her sister Lois and my grandmother all worked at this facility. My grandmother retired from here. My grandfather worked at Fisher #2-a at Chevy in the hole, where the sit-down strikers seen most of the violence in Flint. The Fisher #1 property is being auctioned off December 15, 2009, and includes the original main office. The postcard below shows the original purpose for the factory being built but Billy Durant's financial woes ended this.

follow link for my family
My Family at General Motors

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tim Lee

This photo shows Tim Lee at the end of his Buick City assignment in building #41, the old heat treat facility attached at the north-end of old factory #40. This building was referred to as the annex. We held many presentations in this building after the creation of Buick City. This particular day was also a celebration for the 2 millionth Buick City car having been assembled. Richard G. Conrad became the new plant manager on February 1, 1996, after Lee took on his new international assignment with Isuzu Motors Ltd.

On December 4, 2009 former Buick City Plant Manager Tim Lee was promoted to president of international operations from his post as vice president of manufacturing and labor relations. He will oversee operations in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.