As a member
of the Corvette
Forum I learned that the assembly plant offered tours to view
the production of your car. I contacted Kevin at the plant and
he kept me informed of the progress. I learned that the TPA (Target
Production Week) was October 10, 2005. That means it would be
built sometime that week. I arranged my schedule so we could be
at the plant in the middle of the week. Then I got word that it
would start on the line on Friday the 7th and finish on the 10th.
Okay, change the schedule to be there early on the 10th. Then
I got this message from Kevin.
car will start on line Thursday 10/06/05 , and should come off
on Friday 10/07/05, So your will need to be here on Friday, 10/07/05.
Thank You Kevin
So now I have
to change my schedule so I can be there on Friday instead of Monday.
No problem. I talked to Kevin on Monday the 3rd and his last words
were, Ill see you on Friday.
October 3, 2005
That night on the Corvette Forum I learned that Kevin had been
taken off the tours and put back on the line. Talk about a let
down. I called Kevin but got his voice mail. The message said
he wasnt doing it anymore, end of story. I didnt think
it would be worth driving 300 miles and taking the public tour
in hopes of seeing our car. How disappointing. I decided to make
some calls and heard some good news. Since we were on Kevins
list for the visit they would honor the tour. Someone else would do the tour but they probably
wouldnt be able to give us the same type of tour. It was
on again, though maybe a watered down version.
October 6, 2005
Arriving at Bowling Green about 2:30 pm, we went directly
to the Museum. I wanted to meet Gary Cockriel who has been handling
the Museum Delivery. I didnt plan to go to the plant for
fear of jeopardizing the tour on Friday. I didnt even know
when our tour was scheduled so he suggested we go talk to security
to find out when our tour was scheduled.
for the plant, only a mile away. As we were about to turn into
the parking lot I got a phone call about my tour. It was scheduled
for 10 am on Friday. Was there any way to see the car today?,
I asked. The answer was "yes". WOW!!
be our guide. He showed us the required film about safety in the
plant and gave us our protective eyewear and metal covers for
belt buckles, rings and watches. This is to protect the car from
scratches. Am I going to be able to get that close to it?
Kyle has never done this type of tour. He gives public tours which
takes a group of people through the plant in about an hour, making
brief stops to view the production process. Cameras arent
allowed in the plant except on special occasions and by special
people. Kevin would have had a camera but Kyle didnt have
one. No pictures to help remember this special occasion.
How do you
find a specific car out of about 180 in different stages of production?
We guessed at what stage it would be as it was to be #144 of the
day. We approached the line as some bare bodies were coming from
an elevated area. There was a convertible with a red threshhold.
Could we be that lucky? Sure enough the VIN matched, it was our
It had been
on the line several hours. The body was attached to the frame
but it had no fenders - just a shell. It had the wiring harness,
dash and steering column (no wheel) and the Navigation system
was there. Not much else. We started walking the line!
keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line"
had purchased a silver Sharpie pen to get signatures on the fuel
rail (engine) covers but I forget to take it with me. I wasnt
sure who I wanted to sign them anyway. But I thought it would
be great to have some workers' signatures on other parts of the
car. Someone came up with a red Sharpie and they began signing
away. The engine compartment was soon full of names.
the car continued down the line, many of the signatures were
covered up as parts were installed, but a few of them still
showed. Here one of the workers signs the bottom of the right
fender. Later, a lady was ready to sign the outside of that
same fender. I quickly found another spot for her to sign.
Corvette plant only has one shift. An eight hour shift would normally
end at 2:42 pm, and its already after 3:00 pm. But they
are working a 10 hour shift so we were able to watch them install
the convertible top, carpet, tonneau hatch, trunk lid, rear fascia
(bumper), the seats and doors. It was approaching the windshield
installation at 4:42 pm when the line shut down for the day.
we return at 8:30am on Friday. Great! We left the plant and went
to Raffertys for prime rib as recommended by one the assembly
line workers. We were able to get a seat near the large screen
TV and were able to see the Cards win a playoff game with the
Padres. Everything is going well!
October 7, 2005
We went to the Museum at 7:30 am. I had noted on the Corvette
Forum that Clark Archer, (railgun) was taking delivery of his
Silver Coupe. I met him and his friend Mike (C5Vett), took a couple
of pictures and then we headed for the plant. Stuart was our new
guide. Still no camera but the person with the camera would bring
it to us when she finished. True to her word, we had a camera
within the hour. Hooray!!!
take long for us to find the car again. We confirmed it by all
the signatures in the engine bay. Here is a picture on the second
day. We had already watched them install the doors, headlights,
transmission and engine.