Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Happy 40th Little Spyder!! May 22, 2018

40 Years ago today, this AM.. A pile of processed orders was being set into action as the morning shift (Monday, May 22nd, 1978) at the plant got up to running speed on production day 180 of 242 total for 1978. In this pile of A- shift order's was the order for a Monza. The 98,837th Monza to be exact. This particular build order was calling for an 'R07' body style.
At an earlier time, in preparation for today's build's, freshly welded up bodies that had passed a series of critical inspections, were set into a staging area or "Body Bank". Due to some cars, being held back at the inspection area's for repair's or even a re-run, the number's of these chassis would be jumbled all over the place.
Eventually, in the Body Bank area's they probably had a few of each body type, (M07, R07, M27, R27, + a few other's) with the firewall punched out for A/C or not. ready on demand to keep a steady flow of available unit's from there on.
In this case, for this Monza, #98,837. Chassis #368872, an R07 with the Non A/C firewall, was the next one ready to go. Once the order was married to the unit, the car would get a trim tag punched up and riveted to the frame, to be able to go through the final painting stages without any paperwork attached to it. At this point or sometime around this point the car got hooked and locked into the conveyor system in line at #7346, the final build sequence.
This order called for code #75 red. The car, along with some part's that would catch up with it later, was color sprayed, sanded, and baked in an oven for a short time.
Some extra steps were involved in this build requiring some black accent's as called for in the production process of car's getting the Z02 Spyder Decal package.
With the paint just dry enough to handle the car likely got a few buildsheet's taped to it, and was sent to get some initial bare necessities, like 'Mastic' Sealer's, Glass, Interior Wiring and Insulation.
Then it was time for it's interior to get installed.
Just a while earlier, teletype printer's had been spitting out roll's of buildsheet data at different department's around the plant. In the Interior area, A set of seat's that had been Stitched up in the specified 62J Tan Cloth was selected and installed into the car but not before the carpet installer quickly stashed the extra buildsheets of the floor of the car.
The rest of the interior was completed as ordered, and the car was most likely then 'Handed off' to Chevrolet final assembly from Fisher Body (although it was all just considered GMAD by then). All this while remaining locked in final sequence with builds 7435 and 7437 surrounding it. They could have and would have been a completely different make and/or bodystyle.
Final assembly...probably in just a few more hours of time, as I write this... maybe into the B shift of that day.. would bring the car into it's final form, all it's final trim (including the decals), the major mechanical's, and running gear, fluid's, final paperwork, test's and inspection's, would all be carried out from here, throughout the day, and into the late afternoon. As the evening rolled in,
a fresh red monza spyder, as brand new as it would ever be,
was ready to roll out into the shipping lot's waiting to get loaded onto it's car carrier and head to it's destination dealership in Western, NY.
If all went as planned, some lot worker got to hop in and hot rod up and down a few back row's before getting it parked.
If any final inspections weren't passed, and that was all to likely...the car would have hot rodded over to the repair yard to get corrected and then sent of it's way.
This write up leaves out quite a bit including the all the processes involved with the initial stamping and welding of the chassis.
All this info was gathered from what the CRG (Camaro research group) compiled about Firebird production that occured just before the Vega at Lordtown. And from conversations I've had with plant workers. Also Phillip Boris, Norwood plant historian, and other's who I thank.
So if you see this Spyder wish it a happy 40.

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