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The last St. Louis Corvette - and - something else to come...


Well-known user
The last St. Louis, Missouri Corvette was built on July 31, 1981. Want to read about it? From the Jan/Feb 1982 issue of Corvette Fever magazine...



I toured the old St. Louis plant in 1978, and was astonished at how dark and dingy it was. The amount of labour-intensive hand-lay-up of body panels was hard to believe. Oh, and that hand-written sign at the top of page one has a minor error on it. The 1953 production (300 cars) was NOT built in St. Louis. They were pretty much hand-built in a truck plant in Flint, Michigan. Production then moved to St. Louis for the 1954 model year.

As you all know, Bowling Green, Kentucky picked up the torch from St. Louis, and Corvettes continue to be built there today. That much more detailed story can be next, if anyone wants to see it. ;)

This photo, from the St. Louis plant, was during engine drop on to the chassis.
Corvette engine drop in 1966.jpg

And here they are bringing in brand new 1966 Corvette bodies from Michigan, covered in snow. Yes, from 1964 to 1967, Corvette bodies were actually built at two locations – half at the St. Louis factory and half under contract with GM-supplier A.O. Smith in Ionia, Michigan. Later, all C3 bodies were built in St. Louis...until Bowling Green became part of the story.
Corvette bodies on rail cars in 1966.jpg
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CCCUK Member
I'm envious of your trip to St Louis assembly! I'd heard it was a pretty grim place though, with most of the people working there keen to get away as soon as they could! No wonder really that the huge take-up of job offers at Bowling Green took GM (and the residents of BG) by surprise!


Well-known user
As can be expected, the new Bowling Green Assembly plant went through a tremendous amount of construction and mechanical preparation before the first Corvette could be built there. Part of the process included the shuttling of 19 'body in white' cars down the line as a means of testing line operation, clearances and for training purposes. Some of these cars can be seen in the following article from the June/July 1981 issue of Corvette News magazine.








There are at least two more articles related to the assembly plant move from St. Louis to Bowling Green. Anyone interested?


CCCUK Member

I ached a couple of interesting videos recently, covering the reception received by the people who moved down from St Louis to Bowling Green. Let' just say it wasn't very welcoming! Thankfully they stuck it out and BG has moved on, for the better.


Well-known user
There are at least two more articles related to the assembly plant move from St. Louis to Bowling Green. Anyone interested?
Thank you kentvette. It's difficult to know if anyone is interested in this stuff. We seem to get lots of eyeballs, but few responses. Thank you very much for yours!

From the August/September 1981 issue of Corvette News magazine, the first Bowling Green Corvette!






Let's hear from you readers.


Well-known user
And, from the January/February 1982 issue of Corvette Fever magazine...





Did anyone notice the faux pas by GM President Jim McDonald on page one of this article?
"...and we have an all new Corvette coming out in 1983".
For those of you who have a 1983 Corvette in your garage, be sure to ask an appropriately massive price for this rare creature. ;)

The car is attractive too, no?
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CCCUK Member
I wonder how many of those "1st Bowling Green Corvette" key fobs are still around?

We re-watched the film about making the C6 ZR1 a few weeks ago. It interesting really how much has changed, and yet how little! We've managed to visit the Corvette plant a few times now and I still find it fascinating. (June got to do the "First start" on a C5 back in September '97, we still have the certificate on the "den" wall)

I noticed that Jin MacDonald also mentioned the 20 year lease they had signed.... If only they'd known.


Well-known user
This rather bizarre video of the so-called Bowling Green "pilot car" answers a few questions, but generates a whole lot more. For example, you will see a Michigan Inspection Sticker on the windscreen, from 1979. When you consider the post-1979 front bumper cover style, and the claim that it was the first car through the Bowling Green plant in 1981, something doesn't add up. Maybe they updated older pilot cars when the body didn't change significantly. See for yourself. Excuse the narrator's constant repeating of information...



CCCUK Member
So, I think the chap said it was the Pilot Car?:D:D

I guess it does look like the one in the photos, down to the "wrong" L82 motive on the side of the wing (fender)? The fender shape fits the newer from bumper too.

What fascinates me is why it's now buried under all that junk, if the owner was so keen to keep track and buy it all? And, what is going to, or did happen to it after the video?


New user
So when will it be that the actual numbers of each two tone car ever comes out of history ??
Would love to know how my C3 TT Red cars were made.....