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Today at the Corvette Plant 7-19-01

OK, more facts from my visit to the Bowling Green Corvette Plant.............

My 2nd day at the Plant, I arrived this morning at 5:45am When I got to the security station, they asked if I was Joe, I said yup, they said Sonny called for you and he will be right down. 5 min later Sonny comes and gets me. Takes me right to my car again, --time to put the wheels on. Sonny says, stay here, got to go call Woody for some photos. Cool.

Again, spoke with many line workers and all and I mean ALL of them I spoke with were genuinely very appreciative of us buying these Corvettes. I can tell when someone is BS'ing and they were not. TO BAD THE DEALERS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT US. They need a bit of remedial training in the customer service / do what they promise / when they don't know the answers don't lie to us, area. I wish just 10% of the plants care and appreciation would filter down to the dealers. Anyway, when Sonny got to talking to other plant personnel, even the lift truck operator came over to talk with me and showed his appreciation.

OK, went over to the fluid fill area, another nice lady comes up to me and says "wanna put the first 6.2 gal of gas in the car, I said no, not really, yea right, I walk over, she gives me this robotic nozzle and gives me 10 seconds of instruction. Job Done, 6.2 gal filled. I asked why 6.2 and not 6.1 or 6.3. She said it had to do with the JD Powers something or another.

OK, next stop First start area. Who is this coming with the camera?, its Woody. OK I hop in my car and do a pose. Next I try to start it. Damn, tried it twice, it doesn't start. Shit, I forgot its a manual, down goes the clutch and it fires right up. I honk the horn, and test the other stuff as instructed. Hop out of the car for another photo with the start operator and I asked Sonny to join in the photo.

Cool, can it get better............YUP Sonny says, follow me. We walk over to the Drive train assembly area to a big pile of Build Sheets, Sonny rips off about 100 of them and we go over to a break table, he pulls mine, and Since he had a whole pile I ask for a few others that I could remember that mentioned their sequence number to me. I could not remember all but I did get 2 lucky ones, 1100 and 1038. 1038 is an export to Antwerpen, Belgium. Man, you should see all the RPO codes on this Build Sheet (Coupe) . It has 40 when most Z06's have 21 or

Could it get better........YUP, lets go said Sonny, he finds a few others to BS with while I see my car approaching the set down point. Sonny said lets go. End of the line operator motions for me to come over, he said, is this your car, I said yup, expecting to BS a bit, Not this time, he said GET IN. He had me do all the final testing on the car, then he said, pull it over there. I said WHAT??? Pull it over there, make sure you go over the speed bumps. COOL. OK, now that I was the 1st ever to start my car, put gas in it, and drive it off the line, Could it get better........YUP

Sonny BS's some more with the Plant folks. Another line worker and I BS. Then I see my car pull out of the alignment pit (Damn, I should have brought my tools and lowered the car before they did the alignment) . A nice lady pulls up to me (in my car) and said GET IN. We are off to the dyno test. Cool. She hooks up the computer and she shifts through all the gears and we maintain 73mph. Test is done and I get a PASS.

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE DYNO TESTING LADY...She stated that the Clutch on these new 2002 are much better and the interior noise is much less with the 2002 Z06's than with the 2001 Z06's. I questioned that statement and she said it again, she said its a quieter tone. I mentioned that the PUPS were removed. Maybe the removal of the PUPS got rid of some droning at certain RPM's. Guess I won't need to order one of those FRC partitions now.

Could it get better Yes, Unfortunately, my day came to an end at approx 8:00am. But the best part and what made me feel good was shaking Sonny's hand and Saying, thank you. I did tell him how much us guys on the list appreciate what he takes the time to do for us. He treated me like we were buddies for years. I guess there are still some really nice people that care. I'm sure the plant folks will really miss him. Saw, but did not meet Keith, Sonny's replacement. I got a good hunch Keith likes Harley's.

Notes about Sonny that I learned. Been at the plant (BG & St Louis) since November of 1965, that's almost 36 years. He was a 1st. Sgt in the National Gaurd. (Retired). He works on cars (brake jobs, etc) for friends etc. And most of all Just a damn nice guy.

Joe Harrington

87 Buick GNX 1st Non Corvette Ever to be displayed on the front turn style at the National Corvette Museum

Check out more photos at the National Corvette Museum
96 C4, and a bunch of 86-87 GN's and 2002 Z06 on order since 16 March 2001 /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

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1,103 Posts
Joe...Did ya tip ole' Sonny a "C" spot?:D

That was 'over and beyond' what he did!! He took my wife and I around the plant for 6-1/2 hours while our GS #393 was being built!! Just a SUPER nice man!! Congrats on your fine day and expierence!!

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5 Posts
WOW! What a story Joe. I am insanely jealous /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif But, very happy for you, especially since you seem to have gotten a copy of my build sheet. I'm sequence #1100!

It is very exciting to hear how enthuastic the plant workers are about building our cars and how they are appreciative of our support. I am getting my car during a Museum delivery on August 9th and hope to talk to a few line workers myself.

Thanks for the story Joe!

Mike McClure
'71 Coupe (for sale)
'02 Torch Red Z06 (Aug. 9th delivery)

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619 Posts

Nice story, and good luck with the Z. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Sorry to hear that Sonny is leaving /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif, seems like a really nice person. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

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19,099 Posts

I know everyone has already said it, but WOW, what a great write-up! Thanks for sharing with us! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Zippy /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

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391 Posts
All I can say is that if you ever decide to get rid of that car, I wouldn't want to be there to see the tears. Talk about having a car documented from Day 1 including the first tank of gas and the first drive.
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