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Old 01-24-2011, 02:51 PM   #21
HotRodMetal
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

I have a family member that has a small part in the metal recycling contract, as a lot of the machinery is being sent to scrap, and eventually overseas. It will take about 3years, so I am told.

It's a bitch being a line item on a balance sheet.

I know it falls on mostly deaf ears outside of this forum, but the United States ability to produce on a world scale, and for its defense, is being diminished by the accountants and politicians.

This example is case & point
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:57 PM   #22
Dynaflash_8
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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?
The one in my pickup is from korea

Its like shifting through warm butter. And not in the good way
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:18 PM   #23
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

A sad reflection of the times.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:31 PM   #24
Triggerman
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HotRodMetal View Post
I have a family member that has a small part in the metal recycling contract, as a lot of the machinery is being sent to scrap, and eventually overseas. It will take about 3years, so I am told.

It's a bitch being a line item on a balance sheet.

I know it falls on mostly deaf ears outside of this forum, but the United States ability to produce on a world scale, and for its defense, is being diminished by the accountants and politicians.

This example is case & point
No deaf ears here dude, I am seriously getting scared about our ability to protect ourselves if we keep moving manufacturing outside the US. I watched Wall Street/Money Never Sleeps last night and there was some disturbing things said about the path our country is taking.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:10 PM   #25
owen thomas
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

GM makes transmissions at Toledo, Baltimore, and Warren. Most of these plants are adding new product and adding workers. The Willow Run plant was a dinosaur.

I spent almost 40 years as a machinery supplier to all of the GM engine and transmission plants, and spent time in all of them.

Last edited by owen thomas; 01-24-2011 at 04:30 PM. Reason: Windsor transmission closed last year, production moved to the U.S.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:54 PM   #26
kiwiandy
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Thanks for sharing those pics. Love the pic of the old Cincinatti mills. Hard to imagine lines of guys toiling away on those these days. Thats assuming they were for production and not tool making. Would all be replaced with one cnc machine now at the cost of 20 jobs!

Andy.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:59 PM   #27
RileyRacing
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Alot of the guys I worked with when I was at GM last year worked out of Willow Run. They all said the plant was outdated, etc. Ironic, since the Detroit Diesel plant I worked in before that was built about 4 years before (1939 is when it was first opened, I believe) and is now a modern marvel since Daimler pumped MILLIONS into it. I guess GM doesn't believe like Daimler does, huh?
Very sad for me, my grandfather worked for Hydra-Matic for over 30 years, retired from Willow Run as a metallurgist in 1978. He still keeps in touch with his union, and is active at alumi events too. I remember going to an open house in 83/84 ish, and how 'scary' the plant was to me (I was about 8), but the high point was going across the airport to see the planes of the Yankee Air Force.

Speaking of that, I heard a long time ago at an Air Show at Willow Run, that the reason the building is built in an "L" shape is that Henry Ford had an issue with the Wayne County government for some reason, so he built the plant like that so the planes would exit in Washtenaw County, therefore avoiding paying the taxes to Wayne County!
And, there is a picture of Mr. Ford in front of a Liberator with "Liberator V8" painted on it at the Applebee's in Belleville. Anyone know the story on that?

JK
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:02 PM   #28
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Is the building still standing? If so what does it look like nowadays????
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:05 PM   #29
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

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Originally Posted by kiwiandy View Post
Thanks for sharing those pics. Love the pic of the old Cincinatti mills. Hard to imagine lines of guys toiling away on those these days. Thats assuming they were for production and not tool making. Would all be replaced with one cnc machine now at the cost of 20 jobs!

Andy.
When I worked for Hydra-Matic in the late '60s there was no manual machining of production parts. I know that in WWII it was still common to have rows of manual mills, lathes, drills, etc. My favorite part of working there was meeting my production quota early and walking around the plant to see how things were done. I just had to act like belonged in the area and not stand around.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:11 PM   #30
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Worked the line in the mid 60's, if I remember right they payed $3.75 hr.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:11 PM   #31
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

For What It's Worth.... Alot of the display transmissions, archival info, prototypes, etc were donated to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum (AKA the Hudson Museum). Jack and his volunteers are going through several truck loads of stuff that was donated to the museum from the factory and many of these items will get put on display in the future.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:19 PM   #32
Cut55
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

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Originally Posted by owen thomas View Post
GM makes transmissions at Toledo, Baltimore, and Warren. Most of these plants are adding new product and adding workers. The Willow Run plant was a dinosaur.
At least the work seems to be staying here in the U.S.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:25 PM   #33
Buck Sharp
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

That place is big as town here. Looks big enough to race inside. What are all the roads for?
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:54 PM   #34
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

The roads are the Willow Run Airport runway system located adjacent to the plant.

I was in that plant years ago. I worked a GM in Lansing and needed to look at some equipment they were storing in an out building near the plant. When you're inside that place it's quite a sight, long and skinny and steeped in history. It's sad to see these building put out of commission and often leveled but I guess it's the times we're in. The only part of the Oldsmobile plant in Lansing that is left is Building 70 (the administration building) that was built in 1970, slated to be demolished. Also Building 66 which is an Engineering building and wasn't part of the original plant. It is used by the Lansing Grand River plant. All of the early structures are long gone including the Toolroom, Buildiing 40 where I worked most of my career.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:37 PM   #35
owen thomas
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Many years ago, I worked at Oldsmobile in Building 64.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:16 PM   #36
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Fuck GM. They are nothing but USA whores now too. Does any large US corporation care about saving America for the next generations or do they only care about the bottom line in the next quarter? I have lived and died for GM since I started working in 1977 for dealers. Although I still cant bring myself to buy imported cars due to they dont help this country either. When a large corporation decides to try and help America and her children, I will be there for them, with my money and my support!!!!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:25 PM   #37
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Cool pics of the plant, but what a bummer that it closed. Poor Detroit and poor America. What a difference 60 years makes.
What's it going to be like 60 years from now?
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:30 PM   #38
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Damn depressing...........................
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:52 PM   #39
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Someone posted this here awhile ago and is worth a look at.

http://public.fotki.com/Kos/members_...d=fs_slideshow
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:53 PM   #40
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Default Re: The end of the Willow Run.

Sad for sure. Linked article says 300 workers left for 5 million square of building. I'd say the writing was on the wall. 5 million square ft. is 1000ft X 5000ft. so was about 3 football fields wide and over a mile long as it says.
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