While the first three hundred 1953 Corvettes were built in Flint, Michigan, the St Louis Corvette Assembly Plant became the permanent home of the Corvette for 27 years before moving to it’s current residence in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Over the years, the St. Louis Corvette Assembly plant became one of the oldest and most out of date assembly plants in GM’s arsenal and the factory and assembly procedures remained largely unchanged across three generations of Corvette. However, for the many hundreds of United Auto Workers that worked there over those years, the Corvette Assembly Plant became home to them.
One of those workers, Mike Dixon of Granite City, Missouri, released a book last month telling his story about Corvette assembly and UAW life at the St. Louis Factory. Dixon worked at the assembly plant from October of 1969, until 1981, when GM gave him the option of either moving to the Corvette’s new home or accepting a buyout. He chose to stay in Missouri and accepted GM’s offer.
At that time, production of the 1981 Corvette was split between the two factories as some colors being built remained in St. Louis and some colors were moved to Bowling Green. On August 1, 1981, the St Louis Corvette Assembly Line came to a final halt, and the last Corvette to be built there, rolled out of the factory.
“The years when the plant was in St. Louis — that was a great time for the automotive workers, for the UAW. St. Louis really lost a sweetheart when the plant left. It was more than a place to work,” Dixon said. “It was a way of life.”
Dixon decided to share his life and work inside the assembly plant with the world and as a result, his book, “The Factory of Dreams” was published.
“There are really two stories told in the book. One is about the car, but the other is a peek into the life of an auto worker in the 1950s and ‘60s, when the industry was at its peak for its workers. It shares an engineering triumph, by St. Louis and automotive engineers. It’s about the startup of the plant. But it’s also about the history of the cars and the men who built them.”
Dixon, now enjoying his retirement, is the proud owner of a beautiful 1972 Corvette as well as five other Corvettes in his collection. “I did a VIN search, determining when and where it was built. From that, I know it is one that I dropped the body on. And it only took me 40 years to own it.”
“The Factory of Dreams” written by Mike Dixon is currently available at Amazon.com.
Source: Advantage News
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