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1960 Squarebird Daily/Monthly Production Info

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  • #16
    Assembly plant production is very complicated. Sometimes the plant shuts down because 'stock' is missing. For instance, they run out of steering columns or rear ends (or a thousand other components). Then, all of a sudden, the train pulls in with box cars full of what ever was in short supply.

    If sales are in high demand, Saturday production schedules are forecast to make up for 'production lost' during the week. This is costly because everyone makes 'time-and-a-half' all day Saturday and double time on Sunday regardless of how many hours were worked during M-F.

    Then, there are breakdowns... If the lines cannot be operational within a line relief-period or 1/2-hr lunch, management will send the entire plant home. At times, Wixom lost electrical power in the middle of production. Same story.

    Normally, an assembly plant has ~1,000 cars 'in process' but Wixom had fewer because the Squarebird Body Shop was 50 miles away at Budd in Detroit. Budd also supplied the VIN numbers because some were stamped in sub-assembly locations that could not be accessed later in the build (like inside the cowl top).

    SB bodies originated at Ford in Wixom's Paint Dept. They arrived by truck but not always in order of the VIN. Most were but some were not. That's where the Scheduling Dept., had a challenge generating the rotation sheets. This is a forecast that all departments received so they could make sub-assemblies in the correct order as hard tops and convertibles came down the same line. They never cued two convertibles back-to-back.

    Do not go by the VIN for the build date, that is an estimate. Always count on the Rotation Sheets because those three-digit numbers were generated when the cars were in the plant, going to 'Paint', and they remained on the body and in order until the car went out the door.

    There is NO overlap from year to year. When the last car for that model year is built, all the stock is removed from the production lines and sent to Ford's parts depots. The bare lines are thoroughly cleaned, painted, re-lit, fans are taken down and cleaned, etc. Sometimes Process Engineers juggled operations around the line, depending on 'head counts' vs line speeds that are strictly authorized by World Headquarters according to sales. Only THEN, will Material Handling stock the line with new parts.

    You can see why Ford cannot mix model year cars or use different year parts on the same assembly line (like 1958 grilles on 1959 SBs). Only 'carryover parts' are retained in the plant (like suspensions, rear ends, engines, brakes, exhaust systems, etc.) - Dave
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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    • #17
      1960 Squarebird Daily/Monthly Production Info

      Thanks for all the comments and info. Ford was going by the Month designator. For example, IF management had decided to start the production on the Squarebird on 3 January, 1959, the Date Code would have 03 A. In fact, in 1958, due to the build out of the 1957 Tbird, and Wixom starting production on the 1958 Squarebird, production on the '58 started late, on Dec. 20, 1957- thru Sep. 16, '58. With only 35,758 Ht's built, and only 2,134 convertibles, which is why the '58 Convertible in particular, is considered to be pretty rare! So, going by the Month Of Manufacture By All Years list, a 1958 Tbird that came off the line on Dec. 20 to the end of December, should have a M code next to the Date # 20 M on the Data Plate AND the ROT/Build Sheet... And a '58 made in January, 1958, should have an A date code, because it was in the first year of production run, but I have not researched that..

      For the '59 Production run, it started Oct. 17, 1958, about a month later, after the end of the '58 Production run. Probably because, as Dave said, to clean the equipment, restock, re-light, etc.. '59 Production ended on Aug. 22, 1959 with 57,195Ht's, and 10,261 Convertibles. Nearly double the number of Ht's, and about five times the number of Convertibles.

      For the '60 Production run, it started on Sep. 8, 1959, about 2 weeks after the '59 Production ended. Again, probably because of what Dave said about cleaning up the plant for the next years run of cars. '60 Production ended on Sept. 9, '60, though they were planning on running through the 13th, as the Data Plates indicates. Which explains why people get confused over the Month codes. Sept. '59 was the first Month of production for the '60 Tbird, making it a Date Code of J... 12 months later, starting in Sept. '59, takes us to the month of August (the 12th month) Date Code H, with Production still going into September...The 2nd year of production... Hence the Date Code W, for the use of September for the second time... Production was at a great high of 92,843, with 78,447 Ht's, 11,860 Convertibles and 2,536 Sun Roof/Golde Tops. Which explains why the latter are considered to be fairly rare these days. BTW, during 1958-1960, at the same time they were building Squarebirds on that Wixom line, they were also building 1960 Lincolns, through 8-30-60 when they shut down the Lincoln Production run, 24,820 of them.

      As Dave said, there was no overlap of years. BTW, 1961 Bulletbird production did not start until Oct. 3, 1960, about three weeks after 1960 shutdown.. He also gave us some good reasons why production might have been shut down, as it appears it might have been in 1960. Production of one year ended and after several or more weeks, when they were all cleaned up, stocked up with parts, they started the new year of production.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by YellowRose; December 28th, 2017, 11:17 PM. Reason: Additional Information

      Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
      '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
      "It's Hip To Be Square"
      Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

      Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

      http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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      • #18
        just to add a little more confusion.......my 58 has a 352 with solid lifters, it appears it was a "transplant" from a full size Ford. The casting dates and assembly dates are all 7A numbers. confusing at first because there were no 352's made in Jan of 1957..... the 7A translates to November of 1957
        this info supplies by Alan Tast.
        "The "A" in the codes is for the month of November for both the assembly and casting dates. Ford apparently was in a transition period during the fall of 1957 on how to date-code their castings and assemblies, as the second digit used numbers from 1-9 for January-September, 0 for October, A for November and B for December. With this being the case, a mid-late November '57 assembly date would make sense for an early 352, especially for a full-size car engine with solid lifters and a Carter AFB. Some time later, Ford changed the ID of month from numbers/letters to just numbers."
        So go figure.....................

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        • #19
          Originally posted by frank58 View Post
          "...With this being the case, a mid-late November '57 assembly date would make sense for an early 352, especially for a full-size car engine with solid lifters and a Carter AFB. Some time later, Ford changed the ID of month from numbers/letters to just numbers."...
          That makes perfect sense because all Y-Block and early FE engines used solid lifters in all Ford cars. They proved to be good over millions of engines.

          Hydraulic lifters were a big deal back then. So were tubeless tires. These were changes that many folks simply didn't trust.

          Y-Block lifters look like an upside-down 'T' with a broad face and a skinny body that MUST be inserted from the bottom, before the camshaft (and crankshaft) are installed. So, the engine engineering change to a (huge) 7/8" lifter bore meant a totally different block casting that could accommodate straight, 'top-loading' lifter diameters. The change also offers potential for a lifter to come out, drop down to the bottom and ruin the engine. - Dave
          My latest project:
          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca

          From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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          • #20
            VIN stampings

            So you are saying that the VINs were stamped at Budd? That doesn't sound right. What about the bodies that Ford rejected and where Holman-Moody got 8 of them to build into the GN stock cars? None of those had VINs stamped on them as they were rejected before they went down the assembly line? It would have been almost impossible after the bodies had been dropped off to keep them straight.

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            • #21
              This business of manufacturing cars has a definite order that is always followed. Each car is purchased before it is made. Ford takes sales orders from dealerships then submits that to their Scheduling Dept. Cars are immediately identified in the Body Shop at the Bucks (an articulating fixture that positively locates and puts strategic spot welds on a 'toy-tabbed' body to hold it together for later re-spot welding).

              Simply put, if a body was constructed in the Body Shop, it got a VIN number from the Scheduling Dept. That number is NEVER re-issued or reused. All VIN numbers and all units are accounted for whether they are destroyed, scrapped, used in-company or sold.

              Ford only sells cars through dealerships. Holman was a Ford dealership and as such, would have first crack, through the Scheduling Dept., at rejected bodies that were destined for the crusher. I'm sure they got a very attractive price for each one but they all had VIN numbers and a binding agreement with Ford for the off-road use of those bodies.

              Ford randomly pulls a body off the line for Quality Control's weld checks. They completely tear down and separate all the spot welded parts and mark each weld so they can be counted and matched against a 'standard'. In the case of Squarebirds, believe me, Ford's QC department did this in Wixom and generated reports, aside from any testing Budd did in Detroit.

              Testing happens every day. When it does, the Scheduling Department MUST be notified so the forecast can be changed. Conversely, sometimes a body is pulled later in the line, then it is REentered BACK into the line. This is rare but it does happen. Again, the forecast must be changed for all the subsequent operations otherwise colors will be mismatched and options will be wrong on many cars.

              Sometimes, a customer is notified that his car build was re-scheduled. This can happen because; the paint ovens were too hot (over 250-degrees F), the car was left in an oven too long which ruined the sealant and baked the paint into a different color, they used that random body for the QC salt-corrosion test, it was torn down, etc. Ford simply assigns a different VIN number to that customer's order.

              Notice here, where every aspect is closely controlled by World Headquarters including Sales, Production Scheduling, Manpower and vehicle delivery. Assembly plants co-ordinate line speeds with manpower and each department is interdependent on the others to satisfy World Headquarter requirements. Nobody hides the weenie.

              Assembly plants usually have ~1,000 cars in-process, spread out over all the departments. I've seen times when we simply lost power and nothing can be done about it. All the conveyors stopped, the plant went dark and everyone was sent home. After ten minutes, no more compressed air and the whole place is eerily quiet and lifeless.

              The Paint Dept., doesn't have one oven, they have one for Primer/Sealer Deck, another after Basecoat/Clearcoat and the Driveaway Garage has a repair oven. Except for 'repair' each holds about 20 cars on moving conveyors. All the cars in those ovens would literally be warped toast if baked too long from a power failure and under-cured if 'under baked'. When power resumes, production cannot restart until all services are up and the ovens normalize, which takes time. We go through a scheduled shutdown procedure at the end and a startup of production every day.

              Some cars are kept in-company, never to be sold to the public. Even so, they all go through a dealership. This happens with many pool cars. In The Rouge which is 2-1/2 sq. miles, many departments have F-150 trucks that never get a license plate because they spend their life inside Ford Motor Company for various maintenance departments such as railroad maintenance, powerhouse maintenance & construction, Grounds, inter-steel operations, etc. Ford self-insures these vehicles and yes, they do get destroyed every day from heavy/industrial use.

              So, this business of manufacturing vehicles is precise and well-managed from the top to the bottom to keep tight control over cost, quality and liability. It's unusual, Ford used Budd to manufacture Thunderbird bodies for a very short time before Ford brought the Body Shop back home. - Dave

              EDIT: I am including the VIN locations in the following picture. The 1960 Squarebird has one of its VINs stamped inside the cowltop. That had to be done before spot welding. Other locations could be done at Wixom but have much easier access before the body was fully assembled.

              Last edited by simplyconnected; January 6th, 2018, 07:19 PM.
              My latest project:
              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
              --Lee Iacocca

              From: Royal Oak, Michigan

              Comment


              • #22
                1960 Squarebird Daily/Monthly Production Info

                Dave, first of all, thank you greatly for the terrific overview of how they handled the Squarebird production process and VIN # stamping locations across the 3 years of production. I had not seen that by date breakdown before. I have saved that in my personal 1959 Squarebird folders with a title on it that makes if very easy to find, when the question comes up again from someone asking where to find those locations... I will, in the future, use this one, instead of the one I have had for years that does not show when and where they stamped the VIN #, depending on which of the 3 years it was...

                Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                "It's Hip To Be Square"
                Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

                http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                • #23
                  You're welcome, Ray. The business of using Budd to build an entire body is risky for Ford. Think of it... Ford tries to keep close tabs on their parts for many reasons. I'm sure 'pirated' parts is a huge concern, that's why the auto makers don't farm out all of their manufacturing.

                  Quality is another concern. So what happens if Ford rejects body panels and sends them back to Budd? Who can be sure those genuine Ford parts don't filter into the aftermarket? In Ford's stamping plants it's a given. Scrap parts go directly to the hydraulic cube machine.

                  Also, remember that Budd serviced all of the big three with plants all over the US. 'Purchased parts' like Bendix brakes or Motorola radios are not the same as a second or third party assembling a complete Ford body. Highly unusual for Ford.

                  In 1958, Ford must have been strapped for an assembly plant. Dearborn Assembly was reassigned to produce full-size Ford cars (up until the new '64 Mustang) after the T-bird went to Budd. Wixom was new but their Body Shop only produced low-production Lincolns.

                  Normally, all of the car companies keep new models a tight-lipped secret until Launch Day is near. It surprises me how the Squarebird was handled so differently.
                  My latest project:
                  CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                  "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                  --Lee Iacocca

                  From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by YellowRose View Post
                    Dave, first of all, thank you greatly for the terrific overview of how they handled the Squarebird production process and VIN # stamping locations across the 3 years of production. I had not seen that by date breakdown before. I have saved that in my personal 1959 Squarebird folders with a title on it that makes if very easy to find, when the question comes up again from someone asking where to find those locations... I will, in the future, use this one, instead of the one I have had for years that does not show when and where they stamped the VIN #, depending on which of the 3 years it was...

                    I'll second that Ray, a great read and a keeper in the file . One thing I would like to mention and wondered if either of you have ever seen this . Quite a few years ago my brother owned a " Gold Top " and had it totally stripped down . When I was going over the body I noticed under where the passenger seat would be there was a small plate welded to the floor and, to my surprise, had the VIN stamped into it . Either of you ever seen this and may it only have applied to Gold Tops for some reason .

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Bill VE View Post
                      ...None of those had VINs stamped on them as they were rejected before they went down the assembly line? It would have been almost impossible after the bodies had been dropped off to keep them straight.
                      Here's how it works... The Scheduling Department supplies a TRAY of VIN plates to the Body Shop. They never hand the line worker a plate and say, 'here, make this one next.'

                      A few factors are involved. Convertibles are made on a separate body shop line that doesn't always run because they comprise maybe ~25% of production. Convertibles are usually every third or fourth car in Final, Trim and Chassis.

                      So, your VIN has an approximate build date. The rotation sheet is the REAL build sheet which is generated between the Paint Dept. (which is the first place Squarebirds land at Wixom) and Trim.

                      Paint has holding areas before and after the paint line. In a typical assembly plant, Paint also has earlier starting times than the Trim shop because it takes time for cars to come out of the ovens and cool. Some car bodies must be repainted. It makes sense that Trim cannot work on hot cars fresh out of the ovens so there is a lot of cars waiting but still in-process.

                      Ford tries to 'batch-paint' cars to save a ton of money. We use an ASRS (automatic stack and retrieval system) to accomplish this, to hold in-process bodies.

                      After every color change, the spray guns must be cleared with thinner. If you can paint a dozen white cars (for example) the guns only need to be cleared once in twelve cars. So, Paint looks at the forecast then they pick as many color batches as practical. Now you can understand why the VIN is assigned in the Body Shop but the rotation sheet is generated just after the car is painted. Data plates are mounted after Paint. Those numbers match the VIN already stamped in the sheet metal parts.

                      After the cars are painted and cooled, it's easy for rotation sheets to comply with, no more than one convertible in every four units so trim shop workers can keep up with the line speed.

                      It's funny to see a fleet of 20 or 30 green cars going down the line because they are all going to a rental company, or yellow taxi cabs, etc. Michigan State Police cars get their 'special' blue paint that is never in Ford's color options.
                      My latest project:
                      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                      --Lee Iacocca

                      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Floor plate vin #

                        Originally posted by OUR5T8BIRD View Post
                        I'll second that Ray, a great read and a keeper in the file . One thing I would like to mention and wondered if either of you have ever seen this . Quite a few years ago my brother owned a " Gold Top " and had it totally stripped down . When I was going over the body I noticed under where the passenger seat would be there was a small plate welded to the floor and, to my surprise, had the VIN stamped into it . Either of you ever seen this and may it only have applied to Gold Tops for some reason .
                        Correct.... When I completely stripped my 1960 T Bird (0Y71Y119158) the vin stamped sheet metal plate was held down by two sheet metal screws under the passenger seat to the floor seat ribs. Exact same character font & size as other two locations.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by 9310alloy View Post
                          Correct.... When I completely stripped my 1960 T Bird (0Y71Y119158) the vin stamped sheet metal plate was held down by two sheet metal screws under the passenger seat to the floor seat ribs. Exact same character font & size as other two locations.
                          Thanks for that confirmation Mike . Now I at least know it was not a one off . You may be right on the screws instead of it being tacked to the floor . Was quite a few years ago when I noticed it on the 'Golde Top' and memory is fading . Really enjoy reading all these posts by Dave .

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                          • #28
                            1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion

                            Wowww! The things ya learn by making a some comments on this Forum! Again, Dave, thank you so very much for further educating us as to how Ford did and does things. As for that Golde Car VIN plate under a '60 car seat, I had NEVER heard of that before. No one has ever mentioned it in their postings on the Forum before that I know of, or their conversations with me. Perhaps because not to many ever had the occasion of completely stripping their Golde Top down to that point to see it. So now we know of two instances regarding this. I wonder if "Fuz" or Alan Tast ever came across this information before? I do not remember it ever being mentioned in the Squarebirds Official Factory Specifications (OFS) in the past. It would be interesting to know. Thanks for the comments posted by both of you confirming what Martin had posted regarding his brother's Golde Top... Dave, thanks for confirming the information regarding which was the determining factor in the actual building of the car. The ROT/Build Sheet and not the Data Plate...

                            Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                            '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                            "It's Hip To Be Square"
                            Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                            Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

                            http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                            • #29
                              I've also seen the VIN number stamped on the metal plate that goes between the driver seat and the rocker panel. It's covered by the carpet so it's not always visible.

                              John
                              John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                              Thunderbird Registry #36223
                              jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

                              http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                              • #30
                                Will only add one piece of info here as the info supplied is amazing and hope it is saved for future generations as most of those that made these cars have passed away.
                                The 58 has one other place the vin number is stamped and not noted here. The one noted is on the passenger frame rail but there were many 58's that had the number also stamped on the drivers side frame rail. Was not seen as the steering gear box obscured seeing it.

                                Tanx
                                Fuz
                                58's&64's
                                Sun Prairie, Wi.

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