The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson


Overview      The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944    The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry

    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Graham-Paige   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland

General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development) Aeroproducts   Brown-Lipe-Chapin   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   Cleveland Diesel   Delco Appliance   Delco Products   Delco Radio   Delco-Remy   Detroit Diesel   Detroit Transmission   Electro-Motive   Fisher Body   Frigidaire   GM Proving Grounds   GM of Canada   Guide Lamp   Harrison Radiator   Hyatt Bearings   Inland   Moraine Products   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Pontiac   Saginaw Malleable Iron   Saginaw Steering Gear   Southern California Division   Rochester Products   United Motors Service

Truck and Implement Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company   Massey-Harris   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Automotive Tire
Manufacturers:
   B.F. Goodrich    Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  
Links

 

Fisher Body - Home     Fisher Body - Craftsmanship     Fisher Body - Aircraft     Fisher Body - Aircraft Instruments     Fisher Body - Guns     Fisher Body  - Tanks     Fisher Body - Miscellaneous     Fisher Body - Database     Cleveland Plant #1      Detroit Die and Machine Plant     Grand Blanc, MI Tank Arsenal     Grand Blanc built M4A2 Sherman Tank Photos     Grand Blanc Built M4A3 Tank Photos     Grand Blanc M10 Tank Destroyer Photos       Grand Rapids, MI Plant     Lansing, MI Plant     Memphis, TN Plant

Grand Rapids Fisher Body Stamping Plant - General Motors Corporation in World Two
Wyoming, MI
1936-2011
Rest in Peace
Gone but not Forgotten!!!

This page added 11-7-2017.

The Fisher Body Grand Rapids Plant was actually in Wyoming, MI which is south of Grand Rapids.  The building of the plant was announced on December 20, 1935 as a huge economic holiday present for the unemployed workers in the area during the dark days of the Great Depression.  2,000 employees were hired in 1936 to operate the punch presses turning out body parts would earn $40 a week.  This as good money in 1935.


The Grand Rapids Fisher Body Stamping Plant won the Army-Navy "E" for Excellence Award on July 10, 1945.

Fisher Body Grand Rapids World War Two / WWII Production:  (550) 120mm AA guns - This was the signature war product for Fisher Body Grand Rapids.  It was the sole producer of 120mm M1 Anti-Aircraft gun which entered service with the US Army in the Philippines in 1945 .  This weapon was in service with the US Army beginning in 1944 until 1960.  Army National Guard units were the last to use it, and it was replaced by the Nike missile system.

Fisher Body Grand Rapids also built components and assemblies for B-25, B-29, XP-75 aircraft, and M4, M10, M26, M8, M24 tanks.  It produced five inch Naval Gun Breech Housings, (551,772) 155mm HE Shells, Machine Tools, and 90mm AA Gun parts along with the loaders and rammers for the 120mm  M1 Anti-Aircraft gun.


The Fisher Body Grand Rapids plant looking west not long after it was built in 1936.  The opening of the plant and the resulting jobs were highly valued during the middle of the depression in the Grand Rapids area.  Buchanan Avenue SW runs north south along the east side of the plant, and 36th Street is the east west road in front of the plant in the far right of the photo.  Today US 131 is just west of the railroad tracks.


This is one of the few surviving 120mm M1 Anti-Aircraft gun of the 550 built by Fisher Body Grand Rapids during WWII.  It is on display at the USS Alabama in Mobile, AL.


In April 1944 Army Ordnance requested Fisher Body to produce 155mm artillery shells.  Grand Rapids set up one mile of conveyor lines for movement of the shells from one operation to the next.  It produced the first 155mm shell in September and began production in October, a month ahead of schedule.  Fisher Body Grand Rapids did this after having to purchase new machine tools and large heat treat furnaces to manufacture the shells.  Two 300 ton presses were needed to shape the noses on the shells.  When production stopped at the end of May 1945, the plant had produced 551,772 shells. 116,937 were produced in May 1945, the peak production month for Fisher Body Grand Rapids.  These two examples are at the Museum of American Armor on Long Island, NY.  Photo courtesy of Rudy Lev. 


Fisher Body Grand Rapids produced five inch naval gun breeches for five inch, 38 caliber guns like this one.  This five inch gun can be seen at the USS Sullivans at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo, NY.  Author's photo added 11-10-2017.

Below are weapons and equipment built by other GM divisions.  Fisher Body Grand Rapids supplied components and subassemblies for these weapons.


Fisher Body made components for the B-29 program.  Author's photo.


The plant also made parts for the B-25s produced at the North American B-25 plant in Fairfax, KS.  Grand Rapids along with many of the other Fisher Body plants contributed a part percentage of the airframe components used to build the aircraft.  Author's photo.


Grand Rapids contributed parts for this M4A2 Sherman tank built by the Fisher Body Grand Blanc, MI Tank Arsenal.   Author's photo.


It also manufactured parts for the M4A3 version of the Sherman built at Grand Blanc.  Author's photo.


This is a Grand Blanc built M10 tank destroyer.  Grand Rapids furnished parts for this important armored fighting vehicle.  Author's photo.


The M26 Pershing was another of the tanks built by Grand Blanc that Grand Rapids was involved with.   Author's photo.


The M24 built by Cadillac had Grand Rapids Fisher Body parts in it.  Author's photo.

The end of the Grand Rapids Fisher Body plant.  The author's photos below were taken on  February 18, 2017 of what was in 2001 one of the most efficient plants in the United States.  From 2001 to 2007 General Motors invested $100 million in the plant to only close it in 2008, and causing 1,480 persons to loose their jobs.  The plant was razed in 2011.   


The view looking east along 36th Street.  The only remaining structure of significance is the walkway over 36th Street from the parking lot on the north side of the road.  It is surprising that it was not torn down with the rest of the plant.


The structure that held the sign identifying this as being the Grand Rapids Stamping Plant stands next to a "For sale" sign.


Looking north west from Buchanan Avenue SW. 


Looking south west from Buchanan Avenue SW.  Everything is gone.


Well almost everything is gone.  This security gate for incoming and outgoing trucks and the scale to weigh them is still there.  The power sub-station for the plant can be seen in the far right of the photo.  

 

 

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