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St.Louis Corvette Plant Personnel

 
Old 02-24-2019, 03:43 PM
  #41  
Bluestripe67
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I'm aware the chassis was painted black. My understanding is the chassis was painted before any components were bolted on, especially the engine and driveline. So out of curiosity, why would an exhaust pipe be painted at this point of production? Is this secret NCRS info? I know it's a, who cares question. Dennis
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:52 PM
  #42  
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Not many pics from those days unless you see staged pics from GM. No cameras allowed.
I have many stories but hard to just start telling them. It was just work but I enjoyed it.
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:26 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by RalphMont View Post
Not many pics from those days unless you see staged pics from GM. No cameras allowed.
I have many stories but hard to just start telling them. It was just work but I enjoyed it.
Ralph, whatever you could tell, you would have several ears listening/reading. We are Corvette junkies. Dennis
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:43 PM
  #44  
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I'm all ears! Some real how it was done as opposed to how we think it was.
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:47 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Bluestripe67 View Post
I'm aware the chassis was painted black. My understanding is the chassis was painted before any components were bolted on, especially the engine and driveline. So out of curiosity, why would an exhaust pipe be painted at this point of production? Is this secret NCRS info? I know it's a, who cares question. Dennis
I have toured the St Louis Corvette assembly plant twice (last time was 81 during the NCRS Natls). We COULD NOT take pictures, and of course, it never occurred to me to take detailed notes, so here is what I remember (anyone else, chime in). And the tours were semi-rushed through the plant. We could not lag behind!
The bare chassis were on their own separate line, going side by side----------------UPSIDE DOWN. Everything (EXCEPT engine/tranny), INCLUDING the exhaust system, was attached to the chassis while it was upside down (I'm sure that's why the stenciled numbers are upside down when the car is right side up). When the completely assembled chassis came to the end of its assembly line, it was picked up by a machine, flipped over and placed on a moving line, and then all of the chassis proceeded down the line in single file. Somewhere (I just can't remember) everything that was on the chassis (including the ex system---------------------but NOT engine/tranny) got the chassis black paint applied. That's why (as I remember) the exhaust was painted black and NO black was on the engine/tranny. That tour in 81 was 38yrs ago---------------how the heck can you expect me to remember details from then???

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Old 02-24-2019, 11:46 PM
  #46  
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I've mentioned this before------------and I just CANNOT find it, I have a picture of an assembly plant worker with my 56.
During the 1981 NCRS Natls, in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn, one evening, some people were looking at the cars, and this guy came up to me and said that he probably worked on my 56. During the 56 production, he was installing the LEFT door panels. I got him to sit in the left door opening and I took a picture of him. CANNOT find that picture anywhere!!!

Well, after going through a bunch of old pictures, I found a few 1981 NCRS Natls pictures.
This is the worker that installed left door panels in 1956.



Me and Noland Adams at the 81 NCRS Natls. DAMN, I wish I still had that wast line!!!!!!!!!!



Looking out my window at the Holiday Inn.



The 56 in front of the St. Louis plant in 1981.
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:00 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by phil2302 View Post
Hi John maybe you know who the Jim is on this parts tag that has resided in my 66 spare tub for over 50 years.

Very cool
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:35 AM
  #48  
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Default Stories from the St Louis Corvette plant

Many old buddies are long passed away but there are quite a few still kicking out there. I talk with quite a few of the old guys still. Yes they are up in age. I hired in at 18 and I was a kid compared to the guys working there. I am still working GM plants with 51 years in now. Most of the guys I worked with had worked there since the 50's & early 60's. St Louis was a very large plant. They made many different products there besides the Vette, there was 10,000 people working there. Corvette was not even made in the main plant but in a small building behind the main plant. Long been torn down. At one time they made the wooden car wheels used in the 1st Chevrolet cars made there before the Vette. I spent close to 20 years working on Corvette from 1968 until 1987 when I left for Detroit central office with Cadillac and remember quite a bit. At Corvette I worked 58 scheduled hours a week ( 10 hrs plus 8 on Sat) plus additional OT as required. Line ran around 5 cars per hour. When you spend that much time at work for years things are ingrained into your brain. Like riding a bike, you never forget. Stories, yes many, some will go to the grave. Can you imagine daily people things that went on in a plant. It was not luxury to say the least. Summer in Mo, not uncommon to be 100 deg in the plant with high humidity. My 1st job day one was driving the cars off the line and testing. Beyond popular belief as a new hire no one else wanted to do that job. Starting a new engine for the 1st time, lots of noise, lots of smoke from burning oil. Exhaust in a small plant from a first start 427, 3 deuces usually not adjusted right, heat, many with no exhaust hooked up driving up to 70+ mph on test equip. Oh yes no interior in the vehicles yet. Sitting on a small box. Got the picture. Besides driving I also performed the vehicle alignment and the water test. Didn't take long for me to become a Quality supervisor in the plant. Supervised the total quality inspectors from bird cage, body shop all the way thru the plant to shipping on trucks and trains. Back to the old guys, yes knew all the names of the guys listed by another person here but there were obviously many more. In fact I spend quite a lot of time talking to Corvette enthusiasts at the National Corvette Museum. Type my full name into google looking for 1969 ZL1 video or the 1983 Corvette museum you tube video. You can see me talk. So I could go on for hours with stories from special builds, celebrity cars, astronaut cars, race team cars, COPO cars, FBI inquires, goes on and on etc. Just too much to type here.
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Old 02-25-2019, 03:40 AM
  #49  
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Jack Gerbic is alive and doing well for his age. Just talked to him about a month ago. He lives in Nashville TN. area.
I worked for Jack for many years. I actually work with his son John in the Spring Hill Tn plant. He is retiring.
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:23 AM
  #50  
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Ralph it may be too much to type but please tell us anything you got time for.
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:53 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by RalphMont View Post
Yes, Jack is still alive and living in Tennessee, talked to him recently
Do you know how to get ahold of him
I have two cars that Jack owned personally and have a owner that knew Jack and would like to get back in touch - If you have any information please PM me !
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Old 02-25-2019, 09:48 AM
  #52  
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DZAUTO, thanks for the details on the chassis. Dennis
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:15 AM
  #53  
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Got these C3 era photos of St. Louis from the guide that took me on the Buyer's Tour at Bowling Green 11 years ago....he worked there during that period.




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Old 02-25-2019, 11:35 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by RalphMont View Post
I hired in at 18 and I was a kid compared to the guys working there. I am still working GM plants with 51 years in now. Most of the guys I worked with had worked there since the 50's & early 60's. St Louis was a very large plant. They made many different products there besides the Vette, there was 10,000 people working there. Corvette was not even made in the main plant but in a small building behind the main plant...............
What an interesting look into the past!

Consider a weekly (or monthly) post to the forum of a specific memory/story-------"Ralph's Friday Factory Memory".
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:01 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by 426 Hemi View Post
What an interesting look into the past!

Consider a weekly (or monthly) post to the forum of a specific memory/story-------"Ralph's Friday Factory Memory".
Great idea for some great reading, if Ralph doesn't mind. Dennis
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:04 PM
  #56  
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Great idea - maybe even ask the mods/admins to make it a sticky!
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:02 PM
  #57  
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This sure is a great read for me. My first visit to the plant in MO was 1977. I remember all of them being built at that time were white. I had a white 1975 coup at that time so I was really enjoying all.
Our trip there was with the Cedar Rapids Corvette Club.
After that tour we were also treated to a tour on the other side where they were building Chevy and GMC trucks. What a difference in how they put them together.
Since then I have been very lucky to visit the plant in Bowling Green Kentucky 3 times.
Anyhow ...hope to read more on the history of the St. Louis Corvette Plant.
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:10 AM
  #58  
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Ralph is a staple at our events and always has cool stories to share! Make plans to attend the Michelin NCM Bash April 25-27 with him and many other Corvette historians.
https://www.corvettemuseum.org/event/michelin-ncm-bash/

Here's a video we made with Ralph

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Old 02-26-2019, 11:34 AM
  #59  
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That was an interesting narrative showing and telling some real background details. Dennis
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:33 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Bluestripe67 View Post
I know this thread can expand subject wise, so I have questions. In post #28, the guy sitting line side, is he attaching the body to the chassis? Also, why would the bare chassis in that pic show an exhaust pipe having been painted black? Dennis
Great observation about the exhaust painted black and it would be nice to have an explanation.
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