View Full Version : Building '63 Tbirds & Lincolns Video

01-09-2013, 10:37 PM
I thought you fellows might get a kick out of watching this newly released video.It's on T-BIRDS and LINCOLN'S. If you look carefully, on the clip when they are adding power steering fluid , that particular car is an M-optioned car with the six pack (Got to love it ) Ian Greer


01-10-2013, 04:02 AM
Boy, does THAT bring back memories...
Scene 1.. Lincoln Division Building in Dearborn
Scene 2.. Wixom Assembly Plant
3.. 32 transmissions per rack from Livonia (MI) Transmission Plt.
4.. Hoisting Thunderbird Rear Floor Pan subassemblies onto the Underbody line. These cars don't have frames. Lincolns do.
5-12.. The Body Shop showing various spot and mig welding. The side aperture is hoisted onto the underbody and 'toy-tabbed' in place until the whole thing goes into the "Bucking Fixture" where the whole thing is clamped and spot welded in strategic locations. All welds after 'the bucks' are re-spot welds.
13.. Suddenly they jumped ahead and skipped the Paint Dept., but this T-bird is exiting the paint oven, and on it's way to Trim, Final, and Chassis. Notice it's still a bare body on skids with nothing inside.
14-17.. The teletype operator is from the Scheduling Dept. He is broadcasting to all the subassembly operations, the order in which cars are coming.
18-21.. T-bird is turned and begins in Trim with wire harnesses and the VIN stamp machine. Windshields and Backlites are installed by hand. Notice the guy pulling the windshield rope out of the weatherstrip from the inside as he applies pressure on the outside.
22-2 or so.. A Lincoln goes down the left line while a T-bird goes down the RH line because they get unique trim (heaters, interior and badging).
23-5.. The Engine bay; where they marry engines, transmissions, manifolds and H-pipes in the correct order. Final Dress is where they put the alternators, P/S pumps and A/C compressors on the engines. They drop the whole thing into a body at once. One per minute.
26.. This doesn't look like much but it's the very first time this Lincoln body is lifted off two skids while the body hangs from a monrail. The skids are jack hammered and sand blasted clean (because they were painted with the car) and cycled back to the Body Shop. Bent skids are repaired or cut up for scrap.
27-8.. Suspension Sled in the Chassis Dept. The body is on a moving monorail while two guys compress and bolt the front springs in one car per minute. This job requires skillful teamwork and is the most dangerous. When a 'regular worker' is off that day, the line stops frequently and all hell breaks loose.
29-31.. Continuation of Chassis. Bumpers, axle assemblies
32-4.. Engine stuffing. Two guys on top and one you can't see in the pit (for the trans tailshaft and motor mount bolts).
35-7 Five correct tires and wheels come from the Tire Room, in order. Workers manually mount, and a 'five-quill' machine tightens five lug nuts at once.
38.. The body is lowered onto its wheels for the first time on a Flattop conveyor. This film misses a lot here. Radiator is dropped and tightened, all the brake, coolant and transmission lines are connected, all the liquids are filled, A/C is charged, seats are installed and gas is added.

Then they show the car being started for the very first time. That white tailpipe smoke is very familiar to every new engine start.

Drive-away Garage. The car drops into the 'Scuffers'. The driver opens the door and reaches for a steering wheel clamp to center it while one worker under the car adjusts tie rods for toe-in. Also, two guys aim the headlights, hitting a target on each headlight. They show a guy topping off the P/S because air comes out when the wheels steer. They missed the car wash (for leak tests) and the repair bays.

Just before the car goes out the back door, a Ford Security Guard checks the build sheet against the features of each car, he makes sure the hubcaps are in the trunk, and he weighs the vehicle. Then he signs off, and hands the car over to the transport company (who also signs off on the same paperwork).

At this point, the transport company owns the cars and they are responsible to load them on trains and trucks. Not Ford employees. They are responsible to deliver the cars to the dealerships undamaged and with all their parts and on time. You can imagine, where do you park 500 cars per shift? You quickly remove them in an organized fashion. Trains and trucks are constantly moving cars all day long. If the afternoon shift works, that's 1,000 cars per day. The whole operation is mind boggling with trucks supplying the plant and cars going out. - Dave

01-10-2013, 04:46 PM
And....... Those are 1962 T-Birds, NOT '63s. ;)

-Jon in TX.

01-10-2013, 06:40 PM
Yes, the location of the chrome hash mark pieces on the rear sides of the car and not on the door, tells you that. They must have been behind in 1962 Tbird production as they were building 1963 Lincolns. Unless those were not 1963 Lincolns, but 1962's. It is also possible that whoever uploaded that video clip mislabeled the year as 1963 instead of 1962.

01-10-2013, 06:55 PM
Good eye, Jon.
Yes it's mislabeled. This same guy posted 1970's LTD cars from The Rouge. Sorry, Dearborn Assembly only produced unibody cars (Mustang, Cougar, Maverick, Comet) during the '70s, so it had to be video shot at another assembly plant. LTDs were made in St. Louis, LA, and Oakville, Ontario assembly plants. - Dave

Dakota Boy
01-10-2013, 08:24 PM
Youtube is both a treasure trove and a wasteland at the same time. I like it :D

01-11-2013, 12:00 AM
I decided to move this to the Thunderbird Production History Forum. Here are a few more Tbird Production videos I came up with.

I just found out this regarding the Wixom Plant - 1961, 1962, and 1963 video clips...

"Wixom Thunderbird Linc..." The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement."

Wixom Plant - 1961

Wixom Plant - 1962

wixom Plant - 1963

This one is still active...

Ford Rouge Plant

01-11-2013, 12:26 AM
Hey, I don't know where he got all this footage but it is fabulous. I am grateful to see and recall manufacturing from back then. But for the inexperienced, much of the detail is not understood until it's explained.

The poster probably likes Ford as a company but isn't much on the products or facilities. But hey, nobody knows it all and this took place forty years ago. - Dave

Edit: Ray, the last link you offer is by far the best, but it has little to do with T-birds. The Dearborn Tool and Die Plant (a non-production plant) has built most of the dies for Ford and many thousands of dies for Chrysler and other auto makers. It looks unchanged from when I worked there. This is only one of many plants in The Rouge.

I don't like to contradict the narrator but Henry spent most of his 'tinker time' in the Foundry end of things, not in die making. He and Edsel's personal work shops, in separate buildings, stood between the Power House and the Coke Ovens. A 5-minute jaunt from Dearborn Iron Foundry, where our FE blocks and Flathead blocks were cast. The Rouge had two foundries back then. Dearborn Specialty Foundry cast crankshafts, camshafts, and most of the smaller components like rear end carriers, etc. Many times I was overwhelmed by the feeling of being in the same place so many men and women spent their entire life. It is a sobering sense of those who hired and retired from The Rouge, way before I got there.