Quote Of The Day: Willow Run RIP Edition
December 24th, 2010 11:24 AM Share
GM’s famed Willow Run plant closed for good at the close of business yesterday, reports Automotive News [sub], and will revert to a Motors Liquidation trust unless it finds a buyer in the next week. To memorialize the closing of one of Michigan’s most iconic assembly plants, and a symbol of the “Arsenal of Democracy” we present the following passage from Michael Elliott’s book “The Day Before Yesterday” [via Time]:Did unions, management, civic leaders and just about everyone else in Michigan mismanage the postwar years? Of course. But the real point about Detroit is not that it fell so far, but that it once rose so high. Its economic success during World War II and the immediate aftermath was a freak of geopolitics. With most of the rest of the world (including some regions that were as technologically advanced as Michigan) consumed by war, only the U.S. and Canada were able to develop the high-tech industries of scale that were needed to fight the Axis powers. So successful were those North American industries in developing a mass middle-class standard of living that three generations of Americans were seduced into assuming that the prosperity of Detroit’s golden age was normal and how America should be. It was nothing of the sort. It was an accident of world war, and the sooner we recognize its transitory, contingent nature, the shorter will be our mourning for its passing.
Published December 24th, 2010 11:24 AM
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Damn! It must have been a real bitch to efficiently assemble cars with so many heavy bombers littering the plant floor... p.s. Merry Christmas from me to all that celebrate it, and happy holidays to all the rest. May each of you, and your loved ones, find maximal relaxation and joy as you enter the new year.
It's sad for me to hear of this, as I am just a few miles from there for the weekend. In fact, I drove past the factory this morning on the way to visit friends. I remember as a very small child going with my parents to take a tour of the factory. They were building X-body Novas there, and my dad lifted me up and put me inside of a white coupe. I couldn't have been no more than three years old, but I remember it well. And, my very first car, a 1985 Buick Skylark, which was also my parents first new car, was made at Willow Run, and sold across town at the old Serbay Buick of Ypsilanti. It's sad to see Ypsilanti turning into a miniature Detroit... Alas, poor Ypsi, I knew you well...
The B body wasn't assembled at Willow Run until the 1991 models, and then not in the bomber plant. The assembly plant was a much smaller building next door.I started my career at Hydra-matic, in 1965, as a coop student. There were more people working in theplant than the entire population of the city I came from in New York. Despite the fact that I left GM in 1967, it still saddens me immensely to see this plant close.Bob