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Old 01-24-2011, 07:20 AM   #1
Jive-Bomber
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Default The end of the Willow Run.



It happened a few days before Christmas, and didn't make much of a blip on the news radar, but GM closed the doors on the Willow Run Transmission plant for good. Most people don'...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

What a shame. I had not heard of the closing.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Worked there for 7yr there were 3000 people working there at that time. worked on the 425 trans line in the 70s.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

No comment!
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Bummer.. But at least it's still standing, and hopefully when America starts acting like we used to it'll see some action again..
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

For a short time in the late '60s I worked at that plant making TH 400 parts. Years later, and after several major additions to the original building had been done, I got to see part of the place again when my business did several jobs for them. While working there in 1969 I met a guy who had been a janitor in the building from the start. First when bombers were made there during WWII. When Kaiser took over the building he went to work for them. When I met him in 1969 he was working toward retirement with GM/Hydra-Matic.

The article doesn't mention that the original Livonia Hydra-Matic plant burned in 1953, leaving GM with no supply of Hydra-Matic transmissions. The operation was rebuilt at the then vacant Willow Run plant. I'm not sure how long the operation was down. Although it was a big fire not all the equipment was destroyed which no doubt helped a lot. As a result of the cut-off in Hydra-Matic supply, there was a time when inferior Dyna-Flow transmissions were installed in Cadillacs. Several other manufacturers used Hydra-Matic transmissions in their cars too. Not sure what they did about transmissions during that time. The older mechanics at the Cadillac dealer where I once worked said that many of the Dyna-Flow Cadillac owners eventually had their cars converted to Hydra-Matic by the dealer. If I remember correctly, Cadillac put together a conversion kit.

Also not mentioned in the article is the adjacent auto assembly plant. It was closed a number of years ago. Over time several cars were built there, including the Corvair and the Nova.

Unfortunately these are just two of many once thriving industrial operations that are now vacant in the Detroit area.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Thanks for posting the photos. My Grandfather worked there during the war, the Army wouldn't take him because of his poor health. It was really neat to picture him there. Does anyone know if the Willow Run Museum is gonna stay open. That's a great place to visit.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

"If you own any GM car from the mid 50s to the 70s with an automatic, you can thank your lucky shifts for this plant"

and also for the freedom of our country!

All of the pictures are great, but I really love the one of all the Cincinnati horizontal mills.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

So where will they make transmissions now? Canada, China or Mexico?
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Another hit this area didnt need..

Michigans Population and Buisnesses are dropping like flies

I know there werent many working there, but its more job losses we dont need..I think in the end it was providing at least 1300 jobs..
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

It's always a shame to see these giants closed down. Not only for the significant job loss, but also because it starts this building's downward spiral into neglect and eventually, demolition... A sad post script for way too much of American manufacturing.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Sad to hear that. Willow Run is American history, and that should be preserved much better.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

A sad story indeed.

I just hope, and i mean HOPE, one day this cycle stops.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut55 View Post
So where will they make transmissions now? Canada, China or Mexico?
I would guess Mexico.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuces View Post
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to say nothing
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Interesting article about Willow Run.The B-24 a friend of our family crewed on was probably built there.

I saw an article where GM was to invest $540 in Mexico to build fuel-efficient engines there.They've spent $5 BILLION since 2006.
One doubts whether it's only engines they build there?
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RPW View Post
Sad to hear that. Willow Run is American history, and that should be preserved much better.
I did read in a news story that said it will be "preserved"..to what degree im not sure..
But it is Historical and has significance, so one can hope
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

What made this country great is being dismantled one blue collar at a time.
It's really a tragedy.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

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Originally Posted by Triggerman View Post
I would guess Mexico.

Production of the 6 speed rwd trans was merged with the powertrain plant in Toledo OH.
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