Construction on the Tonawanda facility started in 1937 and production began on March 22, 1938. It is known throughout automotive collector and enthusiast circles as the birthplace of some of the most historic high-performance engines for vintage Chevrolet muscle cars and Corvettes. It is also the birthplace of the Small Block engine, which went into production in 1955. Tonawanda this year will build its 71-millionth engine. The start of Gen 5 production has contributed to the workforce more than doubling in size from its low in 2009.