Friday, November 11, 2011

"Tach It Up, Tach It Up, Buddy Gonna Shut You Down"--Beach Boys

The Centennial Corvette
And that's the song that went through my head as we toured the Bowling Green Corvette factory today after leaving Mammoth Cave this morning. I always thought the lyrics were "Jack it up, jack it up"! which makes no sense, but oh, well...It was an AWESOME tour this afternoon! Very interesting! Seven dollars a person, and you get to walk on the floor of the factory, all around seeing all the work stations, seeing the Corvettes made from practically start to finish. There was a National Geographic video called "Ultimate Factories" shown to us first, that really explained thoroughly the steps in the production of the Corvette models, in particular the Z-06. Once you get on the floor to start the tour, it's so noisy, the guide keeps the talking to the minimum.

BUT-- YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PHOTOS! So sorry, no photos of the factory today.(Are you sure you didn't sneak your camera phone in and take a photo on the sly? asks E.) Nope! There were umpteen signs on the fences all around the factory and parking lot, stating, "NO CELL PHONES", "NO CAMERAS"--"LEAVE YOUR CAMERA AND CELL PHONE IN YOUR VEHICLE."  (But, Sparky did leave her cell phone in her jacket pocket turned off and Sparky did look for an attempt to sneak a photo in, but decided to do the right thing and didn't. (Whew! sighs a relieved E. That would have been embarrassing for her to get caught!) And there are no brochures with facts and figures to awe you about the hard workers or workers hardly workin' (there was a lot of standing around and chitchatting) at some of the shift stations we saw. The workers were very friendly, smiling and waving as we went by.  I asked the tour guide, "How much do these guys make an hour?" And he, having once worked in the factory, he politely declined to answer my question with, "I don't really know the answer to that," all the while evading my gaze....Sure, buddy, sure....

ATTENTION all you gearheads!We learned lots of cool things about the Corvette---It takes about 36 hours to make a Corvette at the Bowling Green factory.The space frame for the Z-06 weighs only 236 pounds, and takes 18 minutes to assemble! Robotics make short work of that!  You can custom order your brake pad color to match your car color, if you pick silver, red or black--puh-lease! That is just TOO much! The Z-06 goes from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds!  The average Corvette gets 25 m.p.g. on the highway. Really? That's what the guide said!  Did you know the Corvette engine is HANDBUILT? That the car can stop from 65 m.p.h. in 111 feet?  That the transmission is in the BACK of the car? How much do these babies cost? How about $75,000.00 for the Z-06? And if you want the most expensive one, the Z-01, it will set you back about $110,000.00 before you start adding all the fun extras. The only thing they give you a key for is for the huge trunk. Want to know the difference between a Z-01 and a Z-06? The Z-01 has a 20 spoke wheel, the Z-06 has a 10 spoke wheel. Here are a few more facts:

Bowling Green Assembly Plant Facts:
• The plant is over one million square feet under roof, or the equivalent of 22 football fields.
• The Bowling Green plant assembles more than 35,000 Chevrolet Corvettes and 4,000 Cadillac XLRs per year.
• Production churns out 80 Corvettes a day. At peak production, over 150 cars were produced daily in the past.
• There are 387 suppliers from which the plant receives 1,376 parts. Seventy-seven percent of the car is made in the USA and Canada.
• From start to finish, each Corvette spends approximately 36 hours winding seven miles of conveyor systems in the plant.
• In the paint department, body panels spend ten hours winding two miles on a conveyor system.
• Body panels receive three coats of paint: primer, color and clear coat. Corvette and XLR body panels are composite fiberglass, except for the front and rear bumpers, which are urethane. 

There are TWO nine gallon gas tanks, one on each side to balance the car screamin' into a turn. There's no oil pan, there's an oil sump system.....the tires are two different sizes on the front and the back--18" in the front, 19" in the back....After the tour, we came back outside and that's where I whipped my phone out to take a photo of something future generations will think nothing of, but we thought was very interesting and novel electrical charge "garage" for charging the electric Chevy Volt. There were at least six "stalls" for Volts to plug into.

I can't imagine driving a muscle car that expensive just around town for shopping and cruisin'. Then again, I COULD imagine crusin' in a fiery red Corvette with black spoke rim trim and RED calibers. I'd be driving around just to be seen!  'Course we drive a MOTORHOME that's far more expensive and it gets a lot of looks...(You mean I drive the motorhome! clarifies E.) He sure does! We'll tell you about "Marathon Man" and our cool campground tomorrow!   :-)


  1. Sounds like you enjoyed the tour as much as we did.

  2. I find it interesting that, if you wish to tour the Tiffin factory, they don't mind if you take as many pictures as you'd like. Yet at Winnebago, or in your case, this Corvette factory, they don't allow photos. There are others I'm sure, but those are the only examples I know of.
    Hm, I always wonder, what is it that they're trying to hide?