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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FORD ASSEMBLY PLANTS IN THE EARLY MICHIGAN DAYS

 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
24 Hour a days supply by rail,sea or interstate, Canada or from the USA as the perfect location

 Wartime GPW at the River Rouge with the Benson Ford in foreground.
 This is the pilot house from the Benson Ford now a cottage 
 Very cool!

 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. 
1896
Have to wonder could Henry have envisioned 100 years after his quadracycle 
1996
The Ford Motor Company would be selling cars like this?




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