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Old 05-26-2009, 11:13 AM   #76
Keith Seymore
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by 88 Dippy View Post
...the engine is from a 68 'maro so you probly did not see that

No - but I probably have a friend that did.

He used to work on the "motor line" at the Flint V8 plant. He used to tell people "...I've built more engines than you have ever seen!"...

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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:16 AM   #77
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Holiday weekend progress:

Fixed the cruise (broken wires in the turn signal stalk); fixed the dome lamp (added the new door jamb switch on the driver's side); installed the used vent window on the driver's door and all new rubber around the window; painted the glove box door (it had three holes drilled in it) and reattached the SPID label:







Also got the spare wheel painted and mounted in the box:



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Chevrolet Flint Assembly
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - Present
Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:41 AM   #78
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

The "Little White Race Truck"

I was exchanging PM's with another member here and it made me think of a story you all might appreciate:

As I mentioned earlier, I was reassigned to the GM Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan in 1986. I was delighted to find my new office mate John was, although a bit older than me, a former drag racer that still had the bug. He was/is quite a charismatic man and drew the other racers and motorheads to himself like flies to honey.

He also was the Engineering Vehicle Fleet Coordinator. That meant that if you needed a certain type of truck for a particular test you went to see John. That also meant that if you needed a Suburban for vacation over the weekend, you also went to see John. He was a popular guy.

Well, just before I got there, he and his racing cronies had found a nondescript little white short box stepside pickup in the fleet, vehicle number CP5085. It started life as your typical 1985 small block pickup truck, but the guys had been playing around a bit with it and decided it could use a little more "punch". So - they found a garden variety 454 big block, plus all of the 1973 vintage parts (ie, crossmembers, two piece drive shaft, etc) to convert the driveline, and made themselves a little 454/TH400 powered street truck.

Naturally, after a little bit of that they decided they wanted more. They were able to locate a real LS6 454 motor and dropped that in. About that time they started taking short jaunts off property, including "test sessions" to Milan dragway. Those who had been working on the truck (on second shift, mostly) were given an opportunity to make a pass in it. I think by this time the truck was running high 12s/maybe low 13's, and also starting breaking things. A 9.5" ring gear axle from a 3/4 ton truck, with the axle shafts redrilled for a "5 on 5" bolt circle, was installed about this time, as well as a rear mounted fuel tank (from a Blazer/Suburban) and bed mounted battery.

Well, as you might guess, soon that wasn't enough. A trip to the parts counter netted an original LS7 454 motor and within a day or so that was installed. Times dropped to the low 12s and, with some tuning/cold air, etc, dropped into the high 11's. By now a roll cage was necessary and installed, as were some traction aids.

Unbeknownst to the rest of us John was taking us to the next level. He had noticed something over in the parts warehouse: something not only interesting for the present but with some historical value...

Back in late 1968 (calendar year), when the 1969 models were introduced, there was a big event out on "Black Lake" (the Vehicle Dynamics pad). The motoring press was invited in for this auspicious event and, on the pad, were some special vehicles. Namely - one ZL1 all aluminum 427 powered Corvette development mule, plus a smattering of ZL1 powered Camaros. In addition, there was one engine placed on a stand, both for display purposes and as a backup motor in case something happened to one of the engines in the car. John had found this exact engine over in the warehouse.*

John approached the "owner" of the engine (ie, the guy that had the warehouse "property tag") and attempted to make a deal. He was unsuccessful. He tried a couple times more later on and, even after using all his charms, was still unsuccessful.

He was about to despair when suddenly the breakthrough came: this guy was pulling his snowmobiles "up north" and needed a Suburban. With a gleam in his eye John made the pitch and a deal was struck: just like Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup, this guy could have a Suburban in exchange for this original ZL1 454 engine.



* This backup engine was not a 427 like the others, but was a 454. It also appeared on magazine covers and in articles back in the day.

Here is a picture of that specific engine (ie, not "one like it", or "of this type", but THIS EXACT ENGINE):

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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/

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Old 05-26-2009, 11:42 AM   #79
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

It didn't take long for that engine to be installed, running and tuned up (again, mostly on second shift). Elapsed times dropped again, first to low elevens and eventually to high 10's (best ET on the truck was a 10.71). Things were going great; we were terrorizing the Proving Ground and we were having a blast.

Then, things started to change. I came in to work one day and, laying on my desk, was a clipping from an enthusiast magazine. The title was "Is it True?" and the article said something about these engineers at the Milford Proving Ground, and that they had put a 454 in a pickup and were "...laying waste to unsuspecting Corvettes and Trans Ams..." or some such thing. I thought it was pretty cool and mentioned it to John. He didn't seem to think it was so cool for some reason.



Some time after that I came in and found another piece of paper on my desk (this was back when we still had "mail" - ie, not email). We had a standard form letter, called a "Vehicle Disposition Worksheet", that we got about once per week. It told where vehicles were going, where they were shipped to, or what they were doing. I scanned this particular letter until my finger stopped cold on one line: "Vehicle CP5085 - Final Disposition - Scrap". All the blood ran from my face; John was sitting there and with a parched mouth I asked "...John, why does this vehicle number look familiar?".

He looked around and said "...step into my 'office'". (Naturally, we were already "in his office" - which was MY office, too. What he meant was "come with me to my truck". As fleet coordinator, he could order whatever vehicles he felt were necessary. One vehicle that was ALWAYS necessary was a white/red Crew Cab dually, diesel, with Alcoa aluminum wheels. He always had at least one of these vehicles in the fleet, and since it was the "Queen of the Fleet", we always called it "the Queen". A secondary meaning was that it was as large as the Queen Mary. At any rate, "step into my office" = "come with me to the Queen so that we can discuss this privately").

We sat in the truck in the parking lot and the story began to unfold: Our boss, Jim, was a pretty easy going guy. He had kept a blind eye to all this fun and frivolity, but every man has his breaking point. When the little blurb in the magazine came out, well, that was the last straw. He had called John into his office a couple Fridays before and said (...and I quote...): "John, that truck has notoriety far beyond what you think or imagine. I want it gone and I want it gone NOW!".

John could see that Jim was in no mood for negotiation. However, by the next Monday (after this meeting), when things had cooled down a bit, he had a proposal. The truck was currently broken (broke a rocker arm stud) and not running. Could he repair the engine, so that the motor could be stored as an intact, functioning unit, and THEN scrap the truck? Jim thought that would be ok, so the plan was carried out. The truck was repaired, stripped of all the goodies, and the remaining hulk (ie, cab, box and frame) scrapped.

CP5085 was no more...

...Or was it?........
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/

Last edited by Keith Seymore; 07-28-2009 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:43 AM   #80
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Some of you may already be familiar with the GM "PEP" program (ie, "Product Evaluation Program"), whereby vehicles can be ordered and driven as a company vehicle and then purchased at a discount. John was also a PEP driver and when it came time for his next vehicle we were all amused to see the cutest little red 1987 Chevy V6 shortbox stepside pickup arrive with his name on it.

John drove the truck for the required 3000 miles and purchased it. Almost immediately after it got home the V6 was removed (and sold), a 454/TH400 driveline installed and much of the technology from CP5085 added. Out of the box John's little red truck was running low 11's and shortly thereafter dipped into the high 10's. Many observers at the track thought it was simply the original white truck with a new red paint job.

You might be wondering if the engine in this new truck was aluminum or cast iron. It's cast iron (...we checked.... with a magnet). I've asked John where the aluminum engine is, my interest being in preserving a piece of history, and he will only tell me "it's safe". To this day I do not know where it is but only that "it is safe".

I really have to stop and comment for a minute on how much I learned during this time, even though by then I had been racing almost 10 years. John really helped me learn the value of collecting data and analysis, tricks and tuning of a big Chevy and if it weren't for him and the guys my race program would not be where it is today.

CP5085 lives on, not only in my heart but in the abilities of those who were involved with it and are continuing to take what we learned and apply it to our own race programs.
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:44 AM   #81
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Let's play a game. How many mistakes can you find in this little article?



Let's begin -

1) "Rumor has it" - well, as you can see, it was no rumor. It was for real!

2) "...some engineers at GMC Truck and Coach..." - no, by then we were GM Truck and Bus. Truck and Coach implies the bus factory in Pontiac; we were obviously located in Milford.

3) "...found a fresh ZL1 in a crate in a dusty storage room somewhere in the bowels of Detroit..." - not correct, unless you consider Milford to be "the bowels of Detroit". And - the warehouse is not dusty. It's pretty clean.

4) "...they jerked the 454 out of a 1986 shortbed pickup..." - we've already established it was originally a small block truck and was a 1985 shortbox, not an '86.

5) "...switched over all the brackets and hardware onto the aluminum 427..." - as discussed, this specific motor was a 454 rather than a 427.

6) "..it's been screaming around the Milford Proving Grounds and laying waste to unsuspecting Corvettes and Trans Ams." - well, ok, that was true...

Just a friendly reminder to not believe everything you read... (except from me, of course!).

K
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
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Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/

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Old 05-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #82
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Very cool story!! I remember dreaming of putting a ZL1 in one of my first cars, a "69 Camaro Convertible.

Thats funny, when we "scrapped a vehicle" it meant taking a hammer to the winshield, knocking a hole big enough to get the VIN plate out, and sending it in to the main office.....it is funny how many people had there own "vehicle" to drive on property ( just our main building was 66+ acres)....without vin #'s, about once a year security would round them up and send them to the crusher. Alot of guy's started pushing it a little with "custom paint schemes, 20" Harley Davidson Wheels, etc., needless to say, those would dissapear to the crusher pretty quick. and eventually they cracked down on all of us, firing (so they said) anyone caught in an unnaproved vehicle. On our program we had a Burgandy Mazda Tribute with a Grey Ford front end..would not want to drive an "import", and over 45,000 miles on it when it was retired for a prototype Hybrid escape, (we had Manufacturer plates and drove it off property frequently) I guarantee it never had an oil change, maybe never even had any added.

The really hot, and I do mean hot commodity was the three wheeled bikes! Our utility guys would steal them from maintenance, and build line bikes for chasing repairs, coffee runs, etc. The only trick was hiding it long enough for the PO'd Maintenence guys to forget about it, or at least quit looking for it.

Last edited by Skirkpat; 05-26-2009 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:38 PM   #83
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith,
What is the issue with the floormat?
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:41 PM   #84
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Quote:
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Keith,
What is the issue with the floormat?
I'll shoot you a PM -

K
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
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Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:44 PM   #85
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

PM or email me at webmaster@ 73-87chevytrucks.com
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:18 PM   #86
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

This is very cool. Thanks for taking the time to post this.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:56 AM   #87
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Well, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but today is a big today:

It was 30 years ago today that I walked through the front doors at Chevrolet Flint Assembly and began my auspicious career with (...the "old"...) General Motors.



For 29 years and 6 months I didn't have a care in the world but these last 6 months have been quite a ride!

K
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
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Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:59 AM   #88
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

I've been pretty quiet here but that doesn't mean I'm not making progress:

I'm in "flail mode" trying to get 'lil Red ready for the paint shop. I have a date set up for July 6th to get the cab and front end painted (I'm going to do the box later) and I need to get all the dings bumped out, cab corners replaced and chrome off it prior to that. Because this is my daily driver the idea is for them to get it painted and back to me in one week while I am off work for summer vacation.

I'm hustling but I think I can still make the date. Anything that doesn't get done I'll just have to ask them to do.

K
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
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Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/

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Old 06-11-2009, 10:16 AM   #89
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Seymore View Post
Well, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but today is a big today:

It was 30 years ago today that I walked through the front doors at Chevrolet Flint Assembly and began my auspicious career with (...the "old"...) General Motors.



For 29 years and 6 months I didn't have a care in the world but these last 6 months have been quite a ride!

K
I thought you were already back to the land of the living (retired)? If not, when are you going to join us out here? Congrats on 30, that makes it a bona fide career!! I always respect someone who can finish what they start.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:17 AM   #90
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

keith, congratulations on making it man. i cant even think of words that would describe how i feel after reading this. just another reason "i"(need to get my wife to read this) will never own/buy an import. the big 3 are a huge piece of american history. i love your stories. and the best of luck to you and your family. Dennis
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:32 AM   #91
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Seymore View Post
Well, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but today is a big today:

It was 30 years ago today that I walked through the front doors at Chevrolet Flint Assembly and began my auspicious career with (...the "old"...) General Motors.



For 29 years and 6 months I didn't have a care in the world but these last 6 months have been quite a ride!

K
Congratulations! My dad would have to agree on your last sentence. 43 Years of Delco - Delphi, and now he doesn't even know if he will be able to keep his house. I tried like hell to get in GM after graduation in '88, and they were only hiring women and african americans at the time. I'm glad they didn't take me in now, I'd be scared to death of the future! Hats off to all you guys that built American history!
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:14 PM   #92
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Thanks, guys.

Everything's paid for, so no fear there, but in some ways investment wise I feel like I'm starting over.

I'm young and in good health and I hope to be working for quite a while yet. I'm having too much fun to quit!

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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
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Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:33 PM   #93
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith:

Thanks for sharing your experiences with GM. Keep sharing your updates on the shortbed.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:28 PM   #94
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Wow is all I can say to what I've learned in these 4 pages. It makes me wonder what my truck has been though.

Keith, did/do you know anybody that worked in the Janesville, WI plant between '80 and '82? Another question, is there any way I can find out who ordered my truck, what they ordered on it, and where it was delivered to?

Thanks
Benjamin.
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:50 PM   #95
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Hey Keith,Did you ever meet Dwayne Woodard at the desert proving grounds?

He is a good friend of mine and i always envied his job down there.I believe he was a test driver, he always said "You dont want my job unless to like driving in a big circle at 45MPH for hours on end"
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:41 PM   #96
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Welcome to the board from Flint, Michigan, I drive by the truck plant every day.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:57 AM   #97
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scootin 81 C20 View Post
Wow is all I can say to what I've learned in these 4 pages. It makes me wonder what my truck has been though.

Keith, did/do you know anybody that worked in the Janesville, WI plant between '80 and '82? Another question, is there any way I can find out who ordered my truck, what they ordered on it, and where it was delivered to?

Thanks
Benjamin.

Yes - I know a bunch of folks from Janesville, some of whom I am still in touch with.

Unfortunately, I am not aware of any build records for Chevrolet/GMC (other than GM of Canada, which can provide build documentation for vehicles either built or sold in Canada. I was able to get information on my Chevelle, which was built in Oshawa and sold here in the US).

K
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Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:00 PM   #98
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomech View Post
Hey Keith,Did you ever meet Dwayne Woodard at the desert proving grounds?

He is a good friend of mine and i always envied his job down there.I believe he was a test driver, he always said "You dont want my job unless to like driving in a big circle at 45MPH for hours on end"
Yes - I know who he is (it was a pretty tight knit group out there).

I may have mentioned we used to do a "technology exchange" with the Air Force base across the road ("Williams Field"). We would allow their chief commander to come over to the Proving Ground and spend the day; similarly our PG director would go over to the Air Force base and get the grand tour.

Apparently our opinion of each other was pretty much the same. We'd think "...look at those clowns. All they do is fly around all day..." and they'd think "...look at those clowns. All they do is drive around all day...".

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Chevrolet Flint Assembly
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - Present
Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:03 PM   #99
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

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Originally Posted by Motor City GMC View Post
Welcome to the board from Flint, Michigan, I drive by the truck plant every day.

Thank you.

I can "smell" the Truck plant. I used to drive by there on the weekend and it would make me depressed.

I noticed when I was cutting out the cab corners that they had that distinct smell (...certain sealers and primers that have a particular odor).

__________________
Chevrolet Flint Assembly
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - Present
Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:11 PM   #100
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

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Originally Posted by Keith Seymore View Post
I've been pretty quiet here but that doesn't mean I'm not making progress:

I'm in "flail mode" trying to get 'lil Red ready for the paint shop. I have a date set up for July 6th to get the cab and front end painted (I'm going to do the box later) and I need to get all the dings bumped out, cab corners replaced and chrome off it prior to that. Because this is my daily driver the idea is for them to get it painted and back to me in one week while I am off work for summer vacation.

I'm hustling but I think I can still make the date. Anything that doesn't get done I'll just have to ask them to do.

K

Well, I drove "lil Red" over to the paint shop this morning.

I pretty much got everything done that I wanted to other than a couple big dents in the doors. They will have to take care of those for me.

I replaced the cab corners:







The corners had been filled with that "Great Stuff" expandable foam. It was nasty; kind of like having a dead ground hog stuffed up in there....









I used panel adhesive to attach the patch panels:

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Chevrolet Flint Assembly
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - Present
Intro from an Old Assembly Guy: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=342926
My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524
Chevelle intro: http://www.superchevy.com/features/s...hevy-chevelle/

Last edited by Keith Seymore; 11-03-2015 at 08:04 AM.
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