Well, I made it back home safe and sound. Here is my 2013 Corvette Coupe, Cyber Grey, NPP, 1LT, Manual, Cross Drilled Rotors, Black OEM wheels.
I want to thank Lori and Mr. Ron Barton from the Corvette Museum for making the experience something I will remember for a lifetime. Mr. Ron Barton is the absolute best, and I feel so lucky that he was our tour guide and delivery team member. Mr. Barton has worked at both the St. Louis plant and the Bowling Green plant and was involved with the build of the C3, C4, and C5 generations. At 70 years young, he is just a walking encyclopedia of Corvette knowledge! I cannot thank him enough.
We arrived at the museum around 7:30AM on Thursday 6/28 and was greeted immediately by Mr. Barton. After a brief introduction, we gave the car a once over before watching the "safety video" prior to the plant tour.
Here's how lucky I am.. Thursday 6/28 was the last day the plant was in operation before the shutdown for the entire month of July! And since our plant tour was early in the morning, I was able to see the entire plant still in operation. Literally as we walked and toured each building segment from the beginning stages, the workers were doing their final install on the day and began shutting down their station. Of course everyone was in the best mood and spirits were high!
The factory tour is something you MUST see at least once in your lifetime! It has given me a completely new perspective on how incredible the car building process is. If you didn't know, the corvettes are assembled by hand! part by part, piece by piece. Their were no automated robots building our cars, everything was assembled by hand by hard working Americans.
Here are a few interesting facts that I can remember:
1. The BG plant is GM's smallest assembly plant.
2. They picked Bowling Green Kentucky because GM got a better deal on the land.
3. Representative and vendors of parts must respond to ANY problem in person at the BG plant within 15 minutes of notice!! If they do not arrive within 15 minutes, each minute thereafter will cost that company $1500 in fines!
4. Outside the BG, the air smelled horrible, like dead fish. I was told that its the paint runoff into a outside collection area.
5. The BG plant is currently putting out ~80 Vettes a day. Compared to the Chevy Cruze which is ~50 per hour!
6. The LS3 engines are built in Canada.
7. If a defect is found on any body panel, the entire panel is "replaced" NOT repainted/repaired.
8. Any employee of the BG plant no matter what their job title is can park right in the front of the factory if they drive a Vette. lol All other cars go in the back lot.
Here's something equally as amazing, the back 1/3 of the factory was "blocked" off with a wall created by large pieces of plywood boards and the upper conveyor belts were blocked off with black tarp.
I asked Mr. Barton, "whys that all blocked off?" He replied, "Behind it is where they are building and prepping for the "special project" lol. We all knew it was the C7
I was literally 50 feet away from the C7 project. We also met 2-3 GM employees with the "special project" badges going in and out of the secured area. The only thing they would say is "I know nothing" lol
One gentleman did come by for a chat and said a few days ago they built a C7 frame on the normal C6 line and nobody noticed
and it was so light you could lift it with one arm!
We made it near the end of the tour and Mr. Barton said he had a special treat for me at 10:30am. When the time arrived, we made it near the final quality check stations and I had the honor of firing up a 2013 Z06 for the first time with Zero miles on the odometer. I was given a "Birth Certificate" to take home!
I think the most amazing part of the plant tour is watching the quality control and mechanical checks take place. After the car is fired up for the first time, they drive the Vette over large bumps to settle in the suspension. I cringed when the engineers flew over the bumps at such a fast speed, it sounded like the tires would blow out and the wheels would be damaged. After they shake the hell out of the suspension to settle it down, they drove it into a computerized terminal for an alignment.
After the alignment is complete, the car is driven into a booth with a dyno like device. The driver plugs in the Vette and follows screen prompts and the system runs the car at 80 mph and performs over 800 electronic diagnostic tests. If the car passes, they test the horn and drive it into another booth with a gagillion high pressure water jets to test for leaks. I was told it simulates a category 1 hurricane. Unlike most "economical" cars, EVERY Vette goes through these tests and quality controls. If everything passes, the car is taken on a shake and rattle test track to check for rattles inside the cabin and if noise free, parked in the back holding lot.
After the plant tour, we headed back to the Museum and finished paperwork and delivery of the car. Everything was smooth and we headed out by 2:30PM for our drive back to Houston, TX. I did not put on a nose mask, nor did I tape the front up with painters tape (which I brought lol). We made it home and after 900 miles and a good wash, it sits currently rock chip free!
Thank the Lord.
Here are some photo's taken the day of delivery:
Self portrait time lol.
Here she is!
Safety video room.
My name outside of the BG plant!
This is the holding area of freshly built Vettes, this is where they are loaded onto transport trucks.
This is how a Vette looks like after a 70mph head on collision. Notice the cabin is intact!
My Vette in front of the BG plant.
We had dinner at the Montana Grill, another Vette owner was there too!
Thanks for looking!