I arrived at the plant at about 8:30 in the morning on July 19th (Sorry I missed you Joe, Sonny said you had just left). When I got there, Sonny came down and took me to my Z. It was at the area where the rear window and doors were being worked on. We watched for a little while before the line slowed down a bit. Sonny then took me back up front and told the tour guides that I needed to be in the next tour because my car was on the line and we needed to be back in time for body marriage.
So I went out on the generalized tour and got a better feel for the plant since this was my first time there. When I got back from the tour, I called Sonny again and he came down to get me. We went back out to my car again only to find out it was up in the air waiting to proceed to body marriage. So I watched the assembly workers install some gas tanks on another ZO6 before going with Sonny to see some other areas of the plant. At this point, it was time for the plants lunch break. So we went and took a look at the frame assembly area and at some of the area where they do a majority of the welding. After this, Sonny had to do some other stuff, and had me wait in an office in the back. Low and behold it was the office where A bunch of the tour guides were (very attractive and extremely friendly ones I might add). Sonny came back after a while and told me that if I wanted, I could ask one of the tour guides to take me out while he took care of some other things. So I asked one of them and she said that would be just fine.
So I went back out with her to see the body marriage of my Z and had some of the line workers and her sign the bottom of my car. They even let me put some of the parts on too!!!! I was so excited. After that, we went around the plant some more to look at some other stuff, and the tour guide says, do you want to go see the paint booths. I said hell yes!! So I went in back and she gave me this white body suit and one of the "lunch lady" hairnets to put on. We then went in back threw this blower hallway, most likely there to blow any dust off us, and then to the paint booths. These robots that paint the panels, they reminded me of something from Terminator II. They painted the side panels, hood, trunk lid, and roof in about 2 to 3 minutes. Of course that is only one of two coats, but those robots were really moving. The damn things even open and closed the door panels by itself. After watching that paint booth, we went through the curing chamber, and boy was it hot in there. I was sweating like crazy. After walking through there, on the other side of the curing chamber, was the area where they prime and buff all the panels before they get painted. She then took me back and I got out of my white suit, which I kept for a souvenir, and then went to see where the rear panel gets painted. For those that don't know, the rear bumper panel is made out of a different material, therefore requiring a different paint process. Here I saw more of the "T2" robots at work. Next, it was out to the back lot where the hold all the corvettes. I was in heaven!!! There must have been 1000 to 2000 Vettes out there. I saw ZO6's lined up in neat rows sorted by color. I even got to test drive a coupe around the perimeter of the plant. After all this, I met up with Sonny to discuss when to show up the next morning. My car was about 40 minutes to first startup at the end of the day Thursday.
On Friday morning, I arrived at the plant around 6:25. The security guard told me that Sonny warned her that he was waiting for a guy to come in to see his car. So Sonny came down and we went out to my car. It was approaching first startup. The line workers asked if I wanted to help put some more parts on, so I helped with the front end assembly right before the put the front bumper on. After that, I also got to help put the wheels on. Next, it was to the fluid fill point. I stood by and watched as my Z got juiced up, and then the line worker said hop in and fire her up. You should have seen my face; I looked like a little kid in a toy store for the very first time. So I turned the key and she fired right up. The car shook a little bit as all 8 cylinders rumbled to life. Then I got my certificate stating that I gave birth to my ZO6 and Sonny said he had some things to do, so I went with and he told me that we wouldn't miss it rolling of the line.
So I went with Sonny thinking what a wonderful trip it had been and how it could have gone any better. I had met the most caring and helpful people in the world other than my family and friends and had the chance to experience all this awesome stuff. So where was Sonny off to with me? Well, we ended up in Wil Cooksey’s office, the Plant Manager. I almost fainted. So as we talked with Wil for about 15 minutes, his wonderful secretary had contacted Woody to get the camera. I saw Woody come in the office with the digital camera, and my eyes lit up even more. So I had my picture taken with Sonny and Wil Cooksey. I will post them when I get them. Sonny then took me back to the end of the line to see my Silver Baby. The line worker told me to come check the codes to see if everything was OK. At the same time Woody was taking my picture as I sat in the cockpit. Then, as I nearly passed out again, they told me to drive it off the line over the suspension setting bumps behind another Vette. Since there was quite a few Vettes waiting for the dyno run and leak test, I was unable to sit in on those. But I was not complaining, for those were two of the best days I have ever experienced.
As Joe has already stated in his post, it was truly amazing how much the assembly line workers and everyone else at the plant care about what they build. And how everyone one so heart warming there too!!! I came back from the trip and was a little depressed to leave such an atmosphere of people. I did not meet one person who came across with a bad attitude or anything of the sort. And Finally, I want to personally thank Sonny and Lara for making my trip and experience that will last a lifetime. And Sonny, if you are reading this, thanks for the advice and enjoy your retirement.