State of the art in 1934
Henry knew he needed a facility that could be supplied around the clock so he developed the Rouge Assembly Plant in 1917
It could have a constant delivery of supplies from the Rouge River
Wartime GPW at the River Rouge with the Benson Ford in foreground.
This is the pilot house from the Benson Ford now a cottage
The plant tour is self guided with videos and information displays, friendly staff to answer any questions.
You can stay all day, just remember when the last bus heads back to the Henry Ford Museum
A bus ride is included from the Henry Ford Museum and makes it easy, no getting directions and parking again (a mile from the visitor center, like Corvette) the bus had a video playing timed exactly to the arrival at the plant with messages from Henry Ford III and others
Historical display of cars built in River Rouge meets you as you enter
It is a city within a city!
One theatre is on the life of Henry ford
The other theatre is a surround sound movie of images of the assembly line set to music of the Detroit Philharmonic Orchestra!
The tour is more like an experience with many different venues.
This was the quality control area and I lingered here for a awhile and noticed much pride and attention to detail, the vehicles to the right were getting tweaked before passing final inspection.
I am actually considering a new Ford truck based on my experience, see how this works?
Before River Rouge there was Highland Park.
Before Highland Park there was Piquett
My last day of a week long Michigan CARHUNT brought me to the 1st Ford plant!
The second and third floor were never changed from the days they assembled new Fords here!
This plant had the first sprinkler systems ever
Even the pillars were designed to slow any fire spread, beveled edges and water based paint
Different stages of assembly
The worker moved to vehicle, pre-assembly line
You can feel Henry Ford's presence in this old building!
Ready for the snow trail?
Order a farm tractor conversion from Sears catalogue
Although still being finished they are recreating Henry Ford's secret room where he developed new technology
Notice the first fire escape?
That is the Mother in Law seat!
Many innovations in the plant, these are spring loaded fire doors.
Willow Run was purpose built by Henry Ford to build B-24 Liberators
Henry's assembly line concept turned out a B-24 each hour!
Actually in Ypsilanti Michigan, the car museum there pays tribute to Willow Run built cars
Oddly enough after the war Ford decided not to keep and convert the plant.
Kaiser Frazer Until 1953 built cars there
GM bought the plant and All 10 years of Corvairs built here
The first vehicles built were 53-58 Chevy trucks
Some 62-79 Novas besides the other assembly plants
Many GM transmissions in the powertrain plant
1991 Caprice began in Willow Run as well as in Texas
X-body Skylarks and Oldsmobile Omegas
Gm ended production and the plant is gone, but they saved part of it as the Yankee Air museum, it suffered a terrible fire in 2004. Persistent efforts reopened the museum with some original Henry Ford structures.
Have to wonder could Henry have envisioned 100 years after his quadracycle
The Ford Motor Company would be selling cars like this?