The Corvette Page
At this point you are probably saying, what do Corvettes have to do with 1968 Shelbys? Is this an April Fool's joke? Is it April?
No, it is not. AO Smith also built Chevrolet Corvettes from 1964 to 1967 and the Corvettes actually have a lot in common with their Ford rivals. You already know they are made of fiberglass, just like many of the 1968 Shelby components.
The drawing on the right is from the 1968 Shelby Assembly manual. The drawing on the left is from the Corvette Assembly manual. AO Smith went through a series of name changes and "Dow Smith" was just one of many names used. Each time the company name changed, the drawings were updated. The illustrator for the Corvette drawing has been identified as Dwaune Billodeaux. Lynn Griffin drew most of the Shelby drawings.
These Corvettes traveled the same path as the Shelbys would later follow. The cars traveled on dollies inside the plant and many of the procedures were done on the upper floors of the plant.
Here is final body prep and painting.
That's Chuck Hyland on the right. Chuck was also present during Shelby production. He was a quality control person and sometimes signed his intials on the cars after they were inspected.
Here semi-completed Corvettes are loaded onto the rail cars. They were sent to General Motors Saint Louis Assembly Plant for completion. Basically each body was painted, wiring harnesses were installed and the cars were made water tight. Saint Louis also made Corvettes during this time frame.
These pictures show the semi-complete Corvettes arriving inside the Saint Louis Assembly plant. The fork lift on the right, unloads the dollies and the cars are placed on the production line for final assembly. Many Corvette owners aren't even aware of their Ionia roots.
A special thanks to John Hinckley. John provided some of the information and pictures for this article.