The T-bird visits its birthplace: Back to Lorain - TCCoA Forums

 
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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The T-bird visits its birthplace: Back to Lorain

Called up the manager of the former Lorain plant after work today and got his permission to drive around the grounds to take some pictures.

I'll start with a panoramic photo of the front of the plant taken from in front of the main entrance. Click the thumbnail for a larger resolution... not for the faint at heart; the plant's over 1/2 mile long!



The rest of these are scaled to 800 wide. Click for 1024 wide... or if you've got your heart set on full res, PM me.



I don't know for certain, of course, but it looked like this door may have been the "end of the line" where freshly assembled vehicles would emerge from.









Here we have the loading ramps where cars to be shipped via rail were loaded onto boxcars. Chances are your car drove up one of these ramps and departed on these rails...





At the back of the plant we have lots of loading docks where countless parts and sub-assemblies would have been unloaded.




The main entrance.




One of the pump houses.



All that's left of 1,500,000 square feet of the plant's center section, which was demolished because it had fallen into such a state of disrepair it was deemed beyond renovation.






After nearly ten years of neglect, this is what the parking lots mostly look like now. Hard to believe this lot was once full of cars waiting to be sent around the country - or world.



Here would have been a pair of completed vehicles for the then current production model year on display for the passers-by on Baumhart Road to admire. Now just an advertisement.





Meaningless signs reminiscent of a bygone era...


-Brandon
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Last edited by theterminator93; 05-01-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 08:06 PM
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Big thanks for posting this.

(did you rescue the signs in the last Pic?)

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 08:40 PM
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^ lol
Cool pics! Your a lucky guy to go do all that

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 08:43 PM
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Wow. Yea, Big thanks for posting these pictures.

I was thinking the same thing. I bet there's some souvenirs to be had around there somewhere.

How is it you happen to know the manager of the old plant well enough to just call him up and ask permission to poke around?

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 08:45 PM
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I would have been sooooooo tempted to drive onto one of those ramps

Great pics of a great plant!

-Matt
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for the great pictures Brandon, its great to see our cars Birthplace
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 09:29 PM
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Thanks for the great pictures Brandon, its great to see our cars Birthplace
As well these are keepers , Saved Thank you Brandon.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 09:33 PM
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Awesome photos. Your Thunderbird looks fantastic. Can't think of a better representative.
Great idea. Thanks for posting.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 10:12 PM
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Very cool!

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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(did you rescue the signs in the last Pic?)
Nah, I left them where they were.

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Originally Posted by Trunk Monkey View Post
I was thinking the same thing. I bet there's some souvenirs to be had around there somewhere.
Very possibly there's something inside one of the buildings that got overlooked when the place was emptied and sold. There are a few warehousing companies that have taken residence in the buildings now; there were lots and lots of semi trailers arranged throughout the grounds. Unfortunately I don't think there'd be any way to get permission to go inside and snoop around - when I was there I was expressly forbidden from entering any of the structures (be it for concerns of privacy, theft, or saftey).

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How is it you happen to know the manager of the old plant well enough to just call him up and ask permission to poke around?
I don't know if the guy I talked to used to manage the old plant or not, but I don't know him personally. When I went up there this past Saturday hoping to get photos, I stopped at the gate and talked to the guard on duty that day and asked for permission to take pictures. He wasn't authorized to answer me so he gave me the contact information for "the plant manager" while at the same time let me take a picture of the photo of the last T-bird on the line. At the time I believed "plant manager" simply to mean the guy in charge of the place who was appointed by the new owners of the complex. I don't know if he worked in any management capacity for Ford at the plant or even if he used to work on the lines at all. But it is possible; the security guard did say that a lot of the old line workers went on to work for the warehousing company that moved into the old plant.

I am however good friends with one of the former line workers who used to do work in the body shop and later exhaust work at the plant. After his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps he began working for Ford at the plant and took a company buyout before the plant shut down. I also am good friends with a current employee of the Avon Lake plant as well. I don't know exactly what his position is, but he works the night shift and monitors the welding robots.

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I would have been sooooooo tempted to drive onto one of those ramps
Those concrete ramps at the front? Yeah, I thought about it too, but they looked a lot steeper in real life than they do in that picture. Plus with that big sign in the way... It would have been awesome to have a photo of my car up there though. "The last MN12 showcased at Lorain Assembly"

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback!

-Brandon
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 07:35 AM
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Great pictures, makes me a little sad.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for the pictures. It's cool to see the birth place but sad to see it in it's current state.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 03:12 PM
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nice pics Brandon! cool you were able to go around the place.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 05:53 PM
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Nice, I'm jealous now. I am curious if we were able to get a group picture of most of the members rides together, and sent it to the big wigs at Ford. Could we inspire Ford to bring the bird and cougars back. Hmmmmmmm makes you wonder.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 05:55 PM
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Nice, I'm jealous now. I am curious if we were able to get a group picture of most of the members rides together, and sent it to the big wigs at Ford. Could we inspire Ford to bring the bird and cougars back. Hmmmmmmm makes you wonder.
That would be a lot of fun.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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I showed these pics to the carpenter who recently added onto the fiancee's house; he lives about 2 miles from the plant. His dad used to work at the plant as well and retired shortly before they killed the MN12. He also knows about half a dozen of the guys in the picture of the last car coming off the line. Apparently the door I thought was the end of the line where new cars emerged to the world is in fact such. Also apparently the center section had been in a state of disrepair for a lot longer than recently (before it was demolished). When his dad worked at the plant some 20 years ago, the workers were told not to walk on the roof on that area because they were afraid it might fall out under them. It also leaked a lot when it rained, apparently...

-Brandon
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 06:30 PM
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I'm surprised looks to me to a lot smaller than the Hapeville plant (home of the original Taurus/Sable)

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2013, 07:42 AM
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Thanks Brandon, very cool. I would have loved to join you and get some pics of my car there, too, but yours looks great there. Again, thanks for sharing!
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-09-2013, 04:50 AM
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I've only just seen these from earlier in the year. Great pictures Brandon! Must've been really weird driving around there with it all deserted. Its amazing to think that my car came out of there in 1994, and is now sat in my garage over here in the UK.

At the end of July we had the closing of our local Ford factory in Southampton. They've made Transit vans there since 1972 and were a big employer in the area. It marked the end of Ford making cars in the UK. I think they only make engines and components over here now. A sad day indeed.

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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 08:04 PM
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Thank you for showing us a little history of the birthplace of these beautiful cars. I really like those pictures especially the ones showing your car. Again thanks.

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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-29-2013, 09:30 PM
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I just found these pics, awesome. I grew up in Lorain and it's been a while side I've been out near the plant, I knew a lot of people and family that worked there and built our cars. Thanks for the pics.
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 12:25 PM
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Cool photos. I don't stop by tccoa very often but saw you are from Avon Lake. I grew up in Amherst, live in Strongsville now. I remember Lorain Assembly back in its hayday. They had a state-of-the-art paint shop. After they closed the plant and years later, Honda had a surplus of Civics and they used the old Lorain Assembly grounds to store the Civics until they could be sold. What a kick in the nuts.

From what I understand, Lorain is doing better... recently the steel plants rehired a bunch of people. This city is about as blue collar as it gets.

Great looking Bird... it's rare to see MN12s on the road anymore, let alone one in great shape.

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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Flew over the plant last Sunday and had the brother in law snap a photo on my behalf...


-Brandon
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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 04:41 AM
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The car carriers are still there. I wonder if Ford owns them or are they storing them there?

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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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I think they're all general freight cars. A bunch of distributors have moved into the old plant since they shut the plant down nearly 10 years ago. Possibly though, 6 or 7 years ago (after Ford sold the plant but before the new owners found new lessees) Honda was storing a ton of unsold vehicles there.

-Brandon
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96 Ivory Mark VIII 235k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 01:36 PM
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We should have some type of meet up there with the ohio guys before a event like SuperFord Sunday or Ford Chevy Showdown day at Summit Raceway Park. Then have a MN12 Motorcade out there and waste some tires.
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