Ford & Thunderbird History
Dave ~ simplyconnected, and I have been emailing back and forth since before he joined us. I am going to start a new thread here and call it the title I have above. Dave hails from Michigan and worked in the Ford environment for many years. Hopefully, he will be able to tell us a lot more about Ford, the Ford plants, and our Thunderbirds. So Dave, if you would, anything you have to tell us about, you can put it here in this thread. Here is what Dave told me that he has not told you yet.
Although Wixom made our flagships, I worked at Henry's 'crown jewel'. The Rouge Area used to have seventeen plants, only one of which was Dearborn Assembly Plant. The Rouge was a city in itself with a fire department, hospital, and basic raw materials plants like the Powerhouse (big enough to light Boston), Blast Furnace, Coke Ovens, Basic Oxygen Furnace, Mold Foundry, Open Hearth Plant, Strip Mill, Electric Furnace, Dbn Iron Foundry & Dbn Specialty Foundry, ... I could go on forever.
Notice all those bolts that have "F" on the head? Yep, we cold-headed our own bolts, made our own frames, engines, stampings and subassemblies, dies, fuel tanks, radiators, and a host of other manufacturing, ALL in the Rouge. Henry built a HUGE workshop specifically for Edsel to 'learn by hands-on', right next to the Powerhouse.
Being a Ford/UAW apprenticed Industrial Electrician, I worked in all the Rouge plants during my career of over 35-yrs. The Rouge has no telephone poles. A catacombs of tunnels services each plant with, steam, coke gas, city gas, compressed air, mill water, city water, oh, and electricity. Henry even had a tunnel that went to his Highland Park Plant from the Rouge. These tunnels are fully encased in cement, with plenty of room for two men walking abreast. It is its own city.
And then this...
I appreciate your enthusiasm for our rich history at Ford Motor. After our cars leave the assembly line, we rarely see or hear from them again. I have seen many celebrities at the Rouge, people who are also fascinated by the hard work and co-ordination required to make a car per minute go out that back door. Ford tries to keep visitors 'inside the yellow lines' as a 'safety' precaution. When Heavyweight Champion, Mohammed Ali came, he walked deep into the assembly areas so all the workers could see him. The workers addressed Ali as, "The King".
Among the people I've seen:
President, Bill Clinton. (I'm in the audience, as Ford videoed his visit. He shook everyone's hand, too.)
Vice President, George Bush Sr.
All the Governors. They had a convention here in Detroit.
Countless Hollywood stars and families, like when we did the Bullitt Mustang, McQueen's family was here to address all the workers on Steve's behalf.
Ray, please know you always have my permission to share everything I write to you. No special permission-requests are necessary for sharing my info with your forum and your personal friends.