Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Flint List

A friend just asked me to run down the list of every auto-related factory that has closed in Flint, along with approximate locations. I got a little nervous because I feel like that's a list I should be able to just rattle off, along with the roster of the '84 Tigers and every party store in town that wouldn't card you in the eighties, but I'm pretty sure I came up short:

Buick City
Chevy in the Hole
Fisher Body
A.C. Spark Plug

What am I missing here? Fisher Body had more than one plant, right? Fisher Body 1 was the site of the Sit-Down Strike, but how many other Fishers were there? Or was it all one big plant with different sections? And Delphi's Flint East Plant was just AC with a different name, right? And are there plants and factories that are closed and still standing, or has everything been torn down? Somebody help me out here. It's clear that you're expected to know this depressing list if you're from Flint.


  1. Americån Fåmily InsüranceApril 29, 2009 at 7:37 PM

    Turnstead / Fisher Body (?) up in Beecher, the GM Otterburn facility in Swartz Creek, uhhh... is the Grand Blanc plant still up and running? I think so. There was a small GM facility downtown on 4th Ave. between MLK / Detroit St and Saginaw St. Is Truck and Bus is the only plant left that still resembles it's past?

    BTW, a few parts of Buick City are still up and running...

  2. I just remembered the Dupont plant or factory across Hamilton from Buick. Was that where they made the paint for the cars?

    And I didn't realize that parts of Buick City were still standing, let along runnning.

    Thanks for the info.

  3. Buick City, Chevy In The Hole and Delphi/AC Delco are gone and pretty much torn down.

    Fisher Body had two different plants that no longer exist: Fisher Body 1 (south Saginaw Street) and Fisher Body 2 (North Coldwater). FB1 has been remade into an industrial park (back when there was still dreams and ideas, obviously) and it appears that Coldwater has been torn down.

  4. A rather good summary of GM plants is at,_Michigan_Auto_Industry.

    There were a few non-GM but auto-related plants as well. The Dupont paint plant has been mentioned. Standard Cotton, in the Thread Creek valley, was a key seating and sound-insulation materials supplier at one time.

    There of course were other car companies in earlier years. It's hard to sort out where their relatively smaller factories were located, since there was so much demolition to make way for new industrial construction in the boom years.

    Last but not least, there was at least one significant Flint GM non-automotive factory. Flint Faience Tile is quite famous in certain art/craft circles.

  5. The Ternstedt plant on Coldwater rd. was originally built during the Korean war. It was to be used for making parts of the J-65 jet engine,but the war ended and it became a small parts plant. They made the emblems and mirrors and such for G.M. And your right Gordon about Buick City. Buick City only existed from 1985 to 1999. Demolition south of leith st going on from 2000 to 2002. Only the factories south of Leith were known as "Buick City". Everything north of Leith was known as G.M. Powertrain's, "Flint north site". We were modeled after "Toyota City" in Japan. Fisher on south Saginaw was indeed Fisher #1. The north and south units, building A, B, C and E body's (firewall to decklid) for Buick at different times, with The Buick plant doing final assembly. Fisher #2 and 2A were on Chevrolet ave. (Chevy In The Hole). 2A built the body,with #2 doing the assembly. The Chevy in the hole site did this work until 1947. After that Fisher #2 was moved to the new Van Slyke rd assembly plant which combined body building with assembly (the same as later Buick City). this plant was in production from 1947 until June 24th 1970,ending with the new Monte Carlo. The plant in Grand Blanc was used for tank assembly,(General Sherman & General Pershing models) beginning late in WWII and ending after the Korean conflict,which is still unresolved. It became a division of Cadillac after tank production ended.The Otterburn parts warehouse was replaced by the new facility built near Hill rd and I-675 in Flint. I,m not sure what "if anything" is there at this time. Demolition and construction has always gone on in Flint. The prime example is Buick. Some locations had up too three different factories built, then torn down and replaced over their nearly 100 year period. Hope this helps a little.

    1. Great info Gerry & Gordon. My dad worked at fisher body ternstedt for 42 years. And I worked in engineering at AC spark plug before moving south to work in NASCAR in 2000. Great reading all these posts on here, but very sad when I go back to Flint and drive around and see all the vacant land where all the factories used to be. Unbelievable....John Weaver

  6. The SPO factory in Swartz Creek is still open, although only a shell of what it once was. SPO headquarters was once there, until they built the SPO HQ in Grand Blanc.

    The Grand Blanc Fisher Body no longer has production operations, but it a weld tool build facility. They are in the process of dismantling the 1955 addition to the building that housed the stamping presses.

    The powertrain portions of Buick City are standing and were operating building the 3800 V-6 through the fall. I think they are technically still open, but witht he demise of the 3800 motor, I am not sure what they build.

    Flint Metal Fab is still going, but is on the "maybe closing" list. Truck and Bus probably ok, but even it, with 2000 employees, is a shell of the 4300 employees that worked there just 4 years ago.

  7. I'm surprised that everyone missed the V-8 engine plant.....they did build another engine plant near there.

  8. Gerry Godin, who has the greatest Buick website ever created, wrote me to slightly amend his earlier comment. I can't adjust comments, so I'll add the amendment here:

    I left a comment today which may show the G.M. parts facility at Hill and I-675. It was wrong .I always mix up the Saginaw business loop ( I-675 ) with Flints business loop ( I-475 ).

  9. My Dad says he drove up Dort north of Court and was surprised to see the plant where he had his first job was completely gone. I don't recall the name of that plant though... but it's basically now a concrete park with a fence around it.

    That's got to be a weird feeling to be surprised by so much deconstruction.

  10. Factory 5, Factory 10, and maybe another factory/plant still runs in the Buick area. I think that Factory 10 makes transmission parts; one of the other facilities makes, hood hinges, maybe some parts, and not sure what else. I’d wildly guess that 600-700 people are there.
    Flint Tool & Die (Plant 38) still runs in/near Chevy in the Hole. Is it considered part of the Hole or not? About 300-350 people there.
    I thought that Plant 43(?) was still running at AC/Delphi east (making instrument panels, perhaps). Maybe as many as 400-450 people, if any.
    There are some GM SPO facilities in business just east of AC.
    A lot of my current knowledge of the Flint plants came from a few visits to Flint in the last 2 years, as well as by viewing sites such as Gerry Godin’s

  11. Indeed, Gordo. Gerry's got new stuff (well, a month old) on his site. Lots, in fact. It'll take awhile to peruse it all.

    (Gerry -- someday we'll have to talk about the red-plastic trunk ornamentation for the '53 Buick. Because of domestic-out-sourcing of some simple GM sub-assemblies, I learned the rudiments of the alphabet as a four-year old auto-worker in my father's garage.)

  12. Okay, here goes. This list is from the 'Flint, Michigan Auto Industry' Wikipedia article.

    * GM Truck Group, Flint Assembly
    builds the heavy duty pickups and the medium-duty trucks

    * GM Powertrain Flint North
    I'm not sure what's still made here, but it is still open

    * GM Powertrain Flint South
    builds the High-Feature V6 and inline 6

    * GM Flint Metal Center
    provides stamping for the truck plant (I think)

    * Delphi Flint East
    though the main plant on Dort Highway just finished getting demolished (and along with it, breaking my heart), the facility on the north side of Longway (between Averill and Center) still produces instrument clusters

    * Delphi Technical Center Flint
    In the process of demolition. There are currently piles of rubble, being sorted on the site. It was for sale a year ago.

    * GM Flint Tool & Die
    Yes, this is the only remaining factory in Chevy in the Hole. It actually recently gained workers after a plant in Pontiac closed.

    * GM Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center
    This facility will be reducing its workforce from approximately 800 workers to nearly 100 this year alone.

    * GM Service Parts Operations warehouse, Swartz Creek
    I work for an armored truck company, and this place still seems rather busy when I'm there.

    * GM Service Parts Operations processing center, Burton
    This was the closed Delphi facility on Davison Road in Burton. In a deal with the UAW, GM took it over and moved a bunch of the displaced workers from the (now demolished) AC plant. This is now an in-house packaging facility. It pissed off the other packaging companies in the area, like Landall and Security Packaging, since they lost business.

    * GM Service Parts Operations World HQ offices, Grand Blanc Twp.
    GM just announced that they weren't selling off the AC Delco brand, which saved about 150 jobs at this facility.

    * GM Service Parts Operations offices, Great Lakes Tech. Center, Flint
    I have no idea what goes on here, but there are some other businesses in the complex as well.

    As was mentioned before, both Fisher plants, Chevy in the Hole, Buick City, the AC plant on Industrial, and the Dupont facility are all demolished, aside from the aforementioned parts of Chevy in the Hole and Buick.

    There was a lot of rambling in there (since I'm watching The Office while typing this), but I think I got the information out.

  13. Flint faïence tile was not a separate facility - It was part of AC Spark plug. The tiles were produced in the same kilns as the plugs, to keep them running rather than shut them down. Production ceased when demand for the plugs increaseed to the point they could keep the kilns running on spark plug production alone.

    I live right near the GB tank plant, and thought it looked like it was being dismantled, but with walmart there, you can see it much closer than in the past, so I figured I was just seeing part of the plant that wasn't as visible before. Thanks for clearing that up.

  14. Has anyone seen this site for GM car and truck parts ? Will they still be open?

  15. Quoting from their disclaimers:

    "...please rest assured that we will be here to assist you with all of your GM parts needs."


    "This site is not owned or operated by General Motors Corporation."

    1. That website is from a GM dealership (Flow Chevrolet) from North Carolina and is not part of GM as noted

  16. Hi Everyone,

    I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and wondered if anyone here knows anything about the Fisher Auto Body Plant that was in Cleveland? I am wondering what name or number this plant was, and when it was built. The location was on Cleveland's industrial east side, on Coit Rd, side streets that come to Coit are Eddy Rd and E 131st St and E 134th St. The plant was bounded on the east side by E 140th St and the north side by RR tracks for the New York Central and Nickel Plate. This area is generally close to a neighborhood called Collinwood.

    my email is :

  17. Fisher #2 was originally in "The hole" (AKA "Happy Valley"). In 1947 it moved to the Van Slyke facility and became the "south unit" (south of column line L) to the Chevrolet Assembly Plant "north unit" (north of column line L). In about 1970 the two parts merged into the "Chevrolet Assembly Plant" which later became the "Chevrolet Truck Assembly Plant."

    By the way. Fisher #1 (South Saginaw Street) was built in the early 1930s to manufacture the Flint, Star, and Durant automobiles. GM bought it after Billy Durant and Durant Motors company went belly up during the depression.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at