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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

New Oldses: 1951

New Oldses: 1951

"1951 Oldsmobile final assembly." View full size. Ex General Motors archives.

 

(Pre) re"possession"

This looks like the assembly line where Christine was made, or was "born" (or "possessed").

And before anyone jumps on me for this, I know that "Christine" was a 1958 Plymouth Fury. I'm just saying, if I were working on this assembly line, and the radio turned itself on and started playing George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone," I'd really have to think twice about coming to work the next morning.

Made in America

Sixty years later, the United States is still the world's number one producer of manufactured goods, if by a lesser margin.

Bar Codes

I think the Bar Code comment may be my all-time favourite. I'm bookmarking this page for future amusement.

Signage

The sign at the top middle in the far back says "Drive cars in low gear at walk speed in this aisle." The sign that is more in the foreground says something like "Machine Repair Crib"

They don't build 'em like they used to.

My dad had a '52 Olds. Geez what a tank! As much as I like these old beasts, I for one am sure glad they don't build 'em like they used to. Modern cars last longer, run better, handle better, and are far safer than anything ever built on a mass scale before. You think any of these old beasts would run 100,000 miles before even needing a tune-up? Not a chance. By 50,000 miles you were looking at a top end overhaul if not a complete engine rebuild. An accident in one of those things at 30 miles and hour would have left you in pretty rough shape, if not done for. Today, you'd likely walk away from the same thing.

Goodbye to GM

It's really a shame.....Greed had taken This Great Company down.

[It was greed on the part of the unions, and a feckless management's capitulation, that did GM in. - Dave]

Notice how shiny the paint is?

The paint is shinier and glossier than what you see on most cars nowadays. It's GM's "Fire-Leveled" acrylic lacquer. It was oven baked, causing the paint to re-flow. You can't even use lacquer anymore, because of the volatile solvents in it.

As for all the fluorescent tubes? They may have been in the middle of a mass re-lamping. Back in the '70s, an engineer at Vought Aerospace in Grand Prairie, Texas told me that before then (back in the '60s) they hired college students on summer break, who replaced every single fluorescent tube in the plant, whether they were working or not. That way the tubes were all of uniform brightness and color temperature.

Oldsmobile

Mr. Dave, Do you by chance have more of these GM Archives pics? After all, this is porn for vintage car lovers.

[I do have a few more but this is by far the most detailed. - Dave]

I'd love one of those cars

I'd love one of those cars

Bar Codes??

Sheesh.

No Bar Codes

No, those are not bar codes.

Fake?

Why bother faking a picture like this?

Doubtful it's a fake

I doubt anyone had the inclination to photoshop such a picture and make such a omission as including fluorescent bulb boxes with barcodes. It is entirely possible the boxes have a sort of shipping or coded label on them, it's not so far fetched.

Photoshopped Picture

Not to be a nay sayer but the boxes on the right that appear to be boxes of trim have bar codes on them.

FAKE!

Notice something else missing?

No women.

Drool....I love them. I bet

Drool....I love them.

I bet the amount of metal they used to make cars on this assembly line is the equivalent of today's all car makers combined.

dentable

"You couldn't get a dent in one of those!"

Oh, yes you could! I remember something called a "bumper shop" back then, where people would take their cars to have the dents pounded out of the bumpers. They still never looked right, though.

Now that's a BUMPER...

You couldn't get a dent in one of those!

good old days

They sure don't make them like they used to.

ghost?

there's a man with hat walked near the cardboard. he look like a ghost :)

Your Father's Oldsmobile

Look at the second car back in the full-size view. I love how the guy's using a block of wood and a ball-peen hammer to adjust, or "finesse" the fender side molding. The headlight bezels haven't been installed yet either. Probably still have to aim the headlamps before the bezel goes on.

And hey...wait a minute! Where are all the robots?

holy cow!

what is that guy doing with the block of wood and a hammer???!!!

Lights

That is a large collection of new fluorescent tubes the workman in the background on the right has to install. I suppose they're cheaper by the acre.

Foreshadowing?

Anybody else notice that the Olds in the foreground has "404" written on its windshield? That's kind of prophetic, since the Olds brand is now "File not found."

 
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