Author Topic: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures  (Read 18835 times)

Mark

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2014, 09:29:53 PM »
Yes I have seen the entire document but between GMs possible copyright (if there is any in effect) I can't say if it will end up on the web somewhere in its entirety.  But heres an image of a single page of it. This is the car that was just dug out of a Garage in PA about 2 weeks ago, and now apparently belongs to the same guy that owns N100001.

And that is the question, what rolled out of Fisher Body #21, a partially built Tub from the firewall back like Fisher would provide to GM thru the "hole in the wall", or a completely trimmed out finished assembly.  From John's description it sounds like finished Tubs including paint and interior, to which GM would attach the running gear and whatever options were necessary.  Then they were sent off to their final destinations, and possibly a few remained at Norwood (and probably all of the LOS delivered ones) so they could be played with in their pilot building so the assembly processes, and the components themselves  could be fine tuned for when actual production began. 

Now, when did they get the NOR (orLOS) cowl tags attached, at the pilot plant, at Fisher Norwood before going to Chevy, or at some later point when they were sold.  I'm going to assume they got them at the assembly plant just before turn over to GM. but we don't know that all of them got tags, as only 4 of them have been found, and 2 have 05B dated tags, and 2 have 09B tags.
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KurtS

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2014, 09:57:40 PM »
John,
Can you clarify one thing?
Final assembly on the Chevrolet side was off-line? That I didn't realize. I assumed it was on the main line.

I almost didn't post, knowing that John would be the authoritative reply on this. :)
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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2014, 04:54:22 AM »
In the photos of the car no 10 the 1/4 panel sticker says Grand Rapids No 2. I am guessing that is a stamping plant.
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Mark

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2014, 02:03:18 PM »
I think that's a tag on the back of a trim panel, maybe the panel below the 1/4 window above the seat.  Looks like a cardboard/fiberboard background.  There was 2 plants in Grand Rapids, one was a metal stamping plant at 300 36th street in the suburb or Wyoming MI, (plant 1) and a second Fisher plant (#2) at 6030 Vorheis Ave In Grand Rapids.  Plant 1 was something like 2 million sq ft in size, and the No. 2 plant was about 1/4 of that size.  Both had access to rail lines running across the property.  GM plant 1 is demolished, plant 2 is still there, but has several new tenants in it, not related to GM any longer.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2014, 03:04:33 PM by Mark »
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JohnZ

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2014, 03:27:42 PM »
The booklet shows Fisher #DD01D with Fisher Pilot Plant #21 - Detroit as the starting location.

Would that be a complete body delivered to Chev with front fenders and rolling chassis, or just the firewall back as they would be delivered during actual production?



Just the body from the firewall back, same as production - Fisher Body had nothing to do with front sheet metal, chassis, engine, or Car Division options - all of that came from Chevrolet after receiving the body from Fisher.
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JohnZ

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2014, 04:02:53 PM »
John,
Can you clarify one thing?
Final assembly on the Chevrolet side was off-line? That I didn't realize. I assumed it was on the main line.

I almost didn't post, knowing that John would be the authoritative reply on this. :)

I wasn't there, but the "Echoes of Norwood" book only makes one tiny reference to assembly of the Pilot cars, and refers to "Pilots were hand-built at first out in the rear area of the plant under extreme secrecy...". It also refers to "..later Pilots used to test the assembly line configuration and line setup...", but doesn't say how many or when. This, of course, refers only to Chevrolet, as nobody at Chevrolet-Norwood had any knowledge at all of what was going on at Fisher-Norwood (or at Plant #21). Fisher Body was a separate division of GM, and Chevrolet wasn't allowed to peek, even though there was only a wall between them. If it weren't for Frank Beaulieu's Pilot Schedule booklet (which was backed up by huge dedicated binders containing the complete Chevrolet Engineering Bill of Material required to build each car), we wouldn't know ANYTHING about the Fisher Body portion of the Camaro Pilot program. Fisher Body-Norwood knew all about it, but they never talked to anyone at Chevrolet, so there's nothing in the Norwood book about it.

Remember that the Chevrolet side of the Norwood plant underwent a major conversion and expansion as soon as the last '66 production cars and trucks came off the line, as the Truck Line was then torn out (and sent to Atlanta) and that space was used to expand and rearrange the passenger car conveyor system to increase hourly production capacity to match that of the adjacent Fisher Body plant.
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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2014, 03:21:23 AM »
If there are other known pilot cars and they have VIN's, has anyone, other than the owner of N100001, requested the shipping reports from NCRS?

If some you CRG fellows are connected to the NCRS fellows, perhaps you could request the first 49 or so Camaro shipping reports by VIN pro bono. That might shed some light on the pilot car project.

Of course the guy who spent $250,000 to restore the first coupe and plans on spending $200,00 to restore the first convertible may have already beat you to the punch!

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2014, 05:31:24 PM »
The booklet shows Fisher #DD01D with Fisher Pilot Plant #21 - Detroit as the starting location.

Would that be a complete body delivered to Chev with front fenders and rolling chassis, or just the firewall back as they would be delivered during actual production?

Nope. Fisher Body was only involved with the body shell from the firewall back - they had absolutely NOTHING to do with any Car Division front sheet metal, chassis, powertrain, or instrument panel parts. Every part you see in the Assembly Manual with a part number on it is a part designed, developed, released and manufactured or purchased by Chevrolet and installed by Chevrolet employees in the Chevrolet side of the assembly plant after receiving the painted and trimmed firewall-back body shell from the Fisher Body side of the plant. Although both Chevrolet and Fisher Body were divisions of GM, Fisher Body was a different world, and Fisher worked very hard to keep it that way.
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Mark

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2014, 05:56:14 PM »
Would it be likely that the "tubs" arrived at the Norwood (or LOS) plants with Fisher body tags (cowl tags) already on the firewall (ie made up at Fisher plant 21) or would any tag that presently exist on these car have to be attached at Norwood (or LOS) when they arrived?  

Since they were not scheduled by GM for assembly at Norwood (or LOS) and they were being essentially hand built in plant 21 in detroit, would they even have needed tags made up prior to assembly, and  if they did require a tag, would the pilot line at plant 21 attach a tag from Norwood (or LOS) to these tubs.  The 4 cars we know about all have cowl tags on them (with at least 2 different date codes on them - 05B, and 09B), how and when did these get placed on the cars?
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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2014, 08:26:20 PM »
I've always believed the 'body tags' are installed onto the bodies by Fisher and are on the car bodys when delivered to the assembly plants...  that goes back to the 50's at least...  If that isn't true, I'd sure like to know the details.. :)
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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2014, 08:35:07 PM »
Gary,
But this is different. These bodies are normally made at NOR, but instead were made at Plant 21.
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Mark

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2014, 12:20:12 AM »
In this case, plant 21 built the part of the car that Fisher Norwood would make during production and then trucked, or shipped them by rail to Norwood, where they ended up in the Pilot assembly area.  They never entered the actual Norwood assembly plant (near as I can tell) as they were still churning out 66 model year cars (and trucks?).  So why would they have NOR tags on them.  the 67/68 versions don't have all that certification mumbo jumbo that the 69's do so it probably wasn't a DOT requirement.
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vtfb68

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2014, 12:25:25 AM »
Mark,
 I would think that the 05B cars were the hand built "true" pilot cars, and the 09B cars were used to test run the assembly line, pre-production.
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Mark

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2014, 03:38:01 AM »
They are all hand built made between 5/21 and 6/17/66, if the production data is accurate Fisher delivered them in batches of 2 to as many as 5 on any one day to Norwood, where they would be finished off and then sent to their final destination.  Some remained at the plant, documentation says 12 were to be delivered to "manufacturing".  Maybe all 12 of those remained at Norwood for testing, maybe some of them went to some other manufacturing location, whatever locations that would be part of the manufacturing organization that wasn't either Norwood or LOS.  The last tubs were delivered on 6/16 from Plant no. 21, and the latest date that they were required at their final destination (proving ground, sales, tech centers, etc.) was noted as 8/1/66. giving the assembly plants about 4 or 5 weeks to work the bugs out and get them ready to go.

17 of them were sent to the proving grounds, only 1 (DD64) was noted as being sent to Chevrolet Norwood, 1 (DD63) was sent to Chevrolet Los Angeles, 3 DD29, DD54, and DD58, went to Janesville (figure that one out) all delivered to Janesville on 8/8.  A bunch (11) went to the Flint manufacturing, 2 went to Oshawa Canada, another couple went to Atlanta, and the rest seem to be distributed amongst the various tech centers and engineering groups.  So if any remained at Norwood for pre production testing after the intiail buildout was complete  it would seem like it was only DD64.
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JohnZ

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Re: 67 Camaro Pilot Line Assembly Process and Procedures
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2014, 05:27:22 PM »
I have no idea whether the bodies were cowl-tagged at Plant 21 or later at Fisher-Norwood, or both (re-tagged later); the fact that nobody seems to know anything about the Camaro Pilot process at Plant 21 or Fisher-Norwood shows the virtually nonexistent communication between Chevrolet and Fisher Body at the working level. Our nuclear submarine program should have had security that good.  ;D

Here's a personal example of the working-level relationship between the two Divisions. When I was a Production Foreman at Chevrolet-Willow Run in 1964, my Towveyor line had at least one full line stop a day for baked sealer in a weld nut preventing installation of an engine mount bolt. After complaining about it many times to our Chevrolet Inspection Department with no results, I took it upon myself to go "through the wall" to the Fisher Paint Shop to find the source of the problem. I found my way to the Sealer Deck, and to the operator who was occasionally wiping off his sealer brush on my weld nut; I described to him the line-stop problem that caused, and asked if he could wipe off his brush elsewhere. He understood, and said he could do that, no problem. I thanked him, and headed back toward the Chevrolet side, pleased that I had solved this apparently unsolvable problem with ten minutes' work.

About the time I found the door back to the stairs to Chevrolet, I was accosted by the Fisher Body Paint Shop Superintendent, who was obviously madder than hell - he demanded to know what I was doing up there, and I told him I had just solved a line-stop problem. He said, "Don't you know you're not allowed on this side of the plant? You don't belong here, and you don't talk to any of my people - all you Chevrolet a**holes need to know is the body comes up here raw and goes back down shiny, and what happens inbetween is none of your damn business - now get the hell out of my Paint Shop, and don't come back."

As I walked back to my line, I wondered how ANY problems got solved between Chevrolet and Fisher Body. About an hour later, the Chevrolet Production Manager (essentially the Chevrolet assistant Plant Manager) showed up and tore me a new one over being caught on the Fisher side of the plant, and said he'd fire me if it happened again. That philosophy is why nobody at Chevrolet-Norwood knows anything about the Fisher Body-Norwood portion of the Camaro Pilot program.  :-[
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