corvair 1

corvair 2


In 1956 Chevrolet began producing large special order trucks in the building which formerly housed KF engineering and the spare parts facility for the B-24 Bomber Plant. Later this plant would be enlarged several times, First, for the manufacture of the Corvair from 1959 to 1969 and then for the Nova, Ventura, Omega, and Skylark series of GM cars. In 1980 the plant was converted to production of the GM X-series front wheel drive cars.
Also manufactured at the plant known as Willow Run Assembly were the Chevy II, Nova, Omega, Ventura, 1974 GTO, GM “X” cars, front-wheel drive Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile Delta 88 and the 1991-1993 Chevrolet Caprice sedans and station wagons and Buick and Oldsmobile full size station wagons. Willow Run Assembly built over 7,000,000 vehicles through July 1993.

Finally the last cars produced there were the second generation Chevrolet Caprice sedans and station wagon along with the Buick and Oldsmobile station wagons. The plant was closed in 1993.

1,397,698 Corvairs, one of the most innovative automobiles ever produced called Ypsilanti home.

Designed as a rear engine air-cooled vehicle, the Corvair was kept under a veil of cover. As Corvair pilot production models began to trickle down the assembly line, the fences surrounding the factory were covered with canvas and all gates were manned by plant security 24 hours per day to keep out prying eyes. Chevrolet wanted no pre-introduction photos or publicity that they did not control. As cars began to be shipped to dealerships, each car was covered down to its wheels and the covers were securely fastened so no one got a snick preview before national announcement day at dealerships. Dealers were required to keep the cars covered and hid by Chevrolet as the Division still owned the cars.

Finally, the 1960 new car announcement day arrived on October 2, 1959 and the public got to see and drive this unique automobile. Good gas mileage, room for five passengers, great traction in bad weather and unusual styling.