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Old 25th June 2015, 06:59   #1
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Default Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Personally, its saddening when I see houses being demolished. With their demolition, its not just the building that is being taken down, but also the memories of people who lived there, perhaps for decades. And like we know, memories can never be quantified.

Therein lies a particular sadness when looking at bygone car factories: they tell a tale of iconic cars that once rolled off their production lines to an astonished world and of the thousands of employees and their families that depended on them for livelihood when they were in operation.

Some of these car factories were so enormous that they were an institution upon themselves - and their demise signaled the decline of society around them; while some others were smaller but produced some of the most outrageous cars the world has ever seen. Lets explore some of these iconic car factories that do not exist anymore.


1. Packard Factory - Detroit, USA

The Packard factory in Detroit, once the world's Motown, is the compelling story of an institution that collapsed, after having been amongst the largest employers in Detroit during its heyday.

Established in 1903, the Packard factory was the showpiece of the luxury car maker Packard. During its peak, it employed 40,000 people across a sprawling 35 acres campus.

Heydays

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Then-Now

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The Packard company went bankrupt and the factory was closed in 1958. Today, it is acknowledged to be the largest abandoned factory in the world.

Today

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2. DeLorean Factory - Dunmurry, Northern Ireland

While nowhere close to the scale of the Packard factory, the DeLorean factory was a famous one-horse stable. The only car DeLorean ever made, the DMC-12, shot to international fame for featuring as the time machine car in the Back To The Future movies. Featuring gull-wing doors and a stainless-steel body finish, 9000 DMC-12s were produced at the Dunmurry factory between 1979-1982, before the company went bankrupt.

Heydays

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The test track
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Today

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The remains of the test track
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3. Buick City - Flint, USA

There is something about the scale of US car manufacturers that takes some getting used to! If you thought the Packard Factory described above was enormous with its 35 acre spread, say hello to the even more enormous GM factory - called Buick City, because it literally was that: a car factory and its ecosystem spread across 235 acres, in Flint, Michigan.

Tracing its roots back to 1904, GM built up this enormous complex over time as a response to Toyota City in Japan, before shutting it down completely in 2010. During its peak, Buick City employed 28000 employees with the first American car to appear in and win a JD Power ranking - the 1989 Buick LeSabre, produced here. Rather ironically, Buick City also won a Platinum Award during its last year of operation; and remains the only GM factory to have won that award.


Heydays

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Once liquidated in 2010, the complex was demolished in entirety; something of a proper funeral in my opinion, compared to the still-derelict Packard Factory.

Today

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The estate is now home to other industries.

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Old 28th June 2015, 07:44   #2
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Default re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

4. Bugatti Automobili, Campogalliano, Italy

With Italian car companies, its always about the car, rather than the scale of operations!

Bugatti, long before being part of the VW Group, was an independent and iconic exotic/race car manufacturer. To cut a long story short, their factory in Campogalliano, outside Modena in Italy, produced the EB110 between 1992-95: a rare supercar with a quad-turbo 3.5L V12 engine pumping out 550 bhp and a manual gearbox. The EB110 was a wall poster across the globe, including on my own bedroom wall.

And when the Campogalliano factory was sold off in parcels in a sealed-bid auction, three EB110s were assembled by new owners from parts available in the factory.

Very few photos of this factory's current state remain on the public domain. I request anyone - who has lived around Modena, to share further insights.


Heydays

The EB110 being assembled
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The cafeteria menu - on its last working day
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Today

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5. British Leyland, Longbridge, England

To refer to the great Longbridge factory as British Leyland might appear odd considering its got new owners, but you'll see the relevance shortly.

For those keenly plugged into automotive history, one fact is obvious and acknowledged with sadness: the decline of the British home-grown car industry. During the peak of British auto industry the Rovers, Minis, Austins and MGs were built out of the Longbridge factory, and to that end, this factory became synonymous with the British car industry, and British Leyland was the nationalized holding company under which all British marques were tied into at the time. When British Leyland - which operated the Longbridge plant, collapsed in 2005, it also signaled the end of the home-grown British car industry.

Heydays

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Most of the old plant is now demolished and redeveloped into other projects. The Chinese SAIC group are currently the owners of what still remains of the car shop at Longbridge.

Today

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6. TVR Factory - Blackpool, England

TVR was probably Britain's best kept secret. A truly iconic independent sports-car maker established in 1947, who also designed their own engines, before it went belly-up in the mid 2000s. Even today, seeing a TVR Cerbera, Tuscan or Sagaris on TV is an evocative experience: such was the timeless nature of their cars.

Heydays

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This factory was also made famous in a Top Gear episode where the trio visit the TVR factory - only to be left speechless at the abandoned car shells, and the state of disrepair in the abandoned shop.

Today

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Fortunately, there is talk that TVR might resurface in 2017 under new management and collaboration with Gordon Murray and Cosworth. Lets hope that truly materializes.

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Old 29th June 2015, 01:18   #3
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Default re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

7. Alfa Romeo factory - Arese, Italy

Its an Alfa plant - that should be a sufficient explanation itself! But a few words more.

Established in 1963, the Arese plant became Alfa Romeo's main production facility, through the Fiat acquisition, all the way until 2005, when it was finally shut by Fiat. During theses 4 decades of operations, the Arese factory produced a majority of Alfa's production range, including the Giulia GT, GTV and Spider.

Heydays

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Today

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Remains of the test track
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Today, the Arese plant is home to the Alfa Romeo museum, after years of closure.
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8. Fiat Factory - Lingotto, Italy

The Fiat factory in Lingotto, outside Turin, was constructed in 1923 and straight away became famous as the largest automotive factory in Europe at the time. Add the usual Italian flair to design, and it was also an architectural masterpiece and Turin's pride- a 5-story integrated factory, with the icing on the cake - quite literally, an insane banked test track on the roof!

Raw materials would move up the evolution scale as they moved into each floor above, coming out as complete cars to be tested on the roof-top track. Notable Fiats that came from this factory were the Fiat Topolino, Spider and 124 - the ancestor to the millions of replicas produced under different names for decades.

The factory was declared obsolete and closed in 1982. Today, what was the factory is now a shopping mall.

Heydays

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Icing on the cake- the rooftop track
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Today

Converted to hotels and malls
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9. Ford Factory - Twin Cities (St. Paul, Minnesota), USA

We are back to historic American car factories, and this time, its Ford's turn. Staking claim as Ford's oldest factory continuously in operation, the Twin Cities factory was opened 1925, before being shuttered in 2011- thats close to 9 decades of operation. During this time, the factory manufactured a plethora of Fords, including the iconic Model T, a truck based on the Model T - the TT before ending with the Ford Ranger pickup.

Heydays

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Today

The factory has been completely demolished and the land earmarked for redevelopment.
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10. Daewoo Factory - Surajpur, India

Closer to home, last but certainly not the least, was the Daewoo factory in Surajpur, UP. I always admired Daewoo for being the first real threat to Maruti and the first real choice for the Indian consumer since Maruti.

The Matiz was a class act - and personally favored over the super-ugly Hyundai Santro of the time, and the Cielo actually offering a feel of an international car compared to the Maruti 1000/Esteem of the time. Sadly, Daewoo's India operations were not part of GM's takeover of Daewoo, and Daewoo shut shop in India.

We have an excellent pictorial (Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures) detailing Daewoo's Surajpur factory existence and upheavals - a recommended read.

This concludes this compilation of iconic car factories abandoned, derelict, demolished or otherwise that do not exist today.


CREDITS

All images copyright their respective owners
http://jalopnik.com/the-ten-most-unb...ies-1458743708
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...cturing_plants
Wikipedia
http://www.packardplantproject.com/history/index.html
http://www.delorean.stones.vg/DMC-Belfast-Factory.htm
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...9226766&type=1
http://jalopnik.com/i-cant-find-any-...ant-1458151711
http://tvr-cerbera.net/factory.htm

Last edited by theMAG : 29th June 2015 at 09:14.
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Old 29th June 2015, 09:07   #4
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Default re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Moving thread from Assembly Line to International Automotive Scene !

Last edited by theMAG : 29th June 2015 at 09:08.
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Old 29th June 2015, 11:00   #5
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Default re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

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Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Therein lies a particular sadness when looking at bygone car factories: they tell a tale of iconic cars that once rolled off their production lines to an astonished world and of the thousands of employees and their families that depended on them for livelihood when they were in operation.
Interesting thread theMAG. Appreciate the information and the photographs.

When one looks into why such factories closed, following lessons are evident:
  1. Failure to read the changing customer expectations or denial of changing market situation
  2. Disputes or politics among the owners / top managers
  3. Bold business plan with hidden risk and abscence of plan B
  4. Owner's / Management's failure to maintain balance in what investors, vendors, employees and customers get from the company.

Interestingly, most of these companies are European / American. I think, there shall be very few Japanese companies who have shut down like this.

In spite of having the examples like these, many companies continue to commit the similar mistakes. This reminds me the famous quote by Georg Hegel:
What we learn from the history is that we have learnt nothing from the history.
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Old 29th June 2015, 12:07   #6
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Default re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Such a sad state of affairs for some of the most iconic cars of the world.
Remember some great threads on Bhp from some of our D Bhpians Anjan Da about the HM plant in WB and Mr. Behram D about the Fiat plant in Vidya Vihar, Mumbai.

Sad to see the Ford and the Packard factories in such derelict states. Atleast the Fiat factories are still operational, albeit as a mall/hotel and not a ghost town as most of the other references.

A well written review and rating it a thoroughly deserved 5*s
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Old 30th June 2015, 08:23   #7
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Default Re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Awesome thread! Closer home, here's another iconic factory that's been abandoned - report (Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures).

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Old 30th June 2015, 10:18   #8
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Probably OT:

A song from of a superstar Kamalhassan movie shot at the closed Standard Motors factory near Chennai. The company went kaput after launching the Standard 2000 model. Watch from 1:52.
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Old 30th June 2015, 10:27   #9
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Default Re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Wonderful thread, Maggie. Sad turn of events that forced these giants to shut shop.

Any reason why these factories still lay abandoned? That is quite a bit of real estate and maybe they are holding on to it due to legal/financial reasons.

At least those test tracks could be rented out.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 30th June 2015, 10:42   #10
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For the car company that went dead quite some time ago, a working website comes as a surprise. Let us see if they do revive in 2017.
http://tvr.co.uk/

A poster of the TVR Tuscan and a Lancia Stratos is what adorned the walls at my work spot. Sadly; I had to take it down as I got booted out of a shared cabin.
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Old 30th June 2015, 11:08   #11
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Default Re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
Probably OT:

A song from of a superstar Kamalhassan movie shot at the closed Standard Motors factory near Chennai. The company went kaput after launching the Standard 2000 model. Watch from 1:52.
This land is redeveloped into an office complex very recently.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 30th June 2015 at 11:23. Reason: Removed Youtube URL from the quoted post.
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Old 30th June 2015, 11:24   #12
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Default Re: Abandoned: Iconic Car Factories

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
Probably OT:

A song from of a superstar Kamalhassan movie shot at the closed Standard Motors factory near Chennai. The company went kaput after launching the Standard 2000 model.
Quote:
Originally Posted by varunanb View Post
This land is redeveloped into an office complex very recently.
It's the Sriram IT gateway tech park right?
I Imagine heralds being made there when I drive by - have they retained any of the old buildings?

Last edited by manson : 30th June 2015 at 13:06. Reason: Fixed quote.
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Old 30th June 2015, 11:37   #13
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It's the Sriram IT gateway tech park right?
I Imagine heralds being made there when I drive by - have they retained any of the old buildings?
Yes. You are correct.

I havent been inside the office park. But looking from outside, i think it is redeveloped completely.

Somebody who has gone in can confirm.

Last edited by manson : 30th June 2015 at 13:09. Reason: Fixed quote.
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Old 30th June 2015, 11:46   #14
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5. British Leyland, Longbridge, England

To refer to the great Longbridge factory as British Leyland might appear odd considering its got new owners, but you'll see the relevance shortly.

For those keenly plugged into automotive history, one fact is obvious and acknowledged with sadness: the decline of the British home-grown car industry. During the peak of British auto industry the Rovers, Minis, Austins and MGs were built out of the Longbridge factory, and to that end, this factory became synonymous with the British car industry, and British Leyland was the nationalized holding company under which all British marques were tied into at the time. When British Leyland - which operated the Longbridge plant, collapsed in 2005, it also signaled the end of the home-grown British car industry.
British Auto has been nothing short of a landslide fall in last 3 decades or so.
If anyone has not watched BBC's "Das Auto" video, please watch.


They explain really well how German Auto industry developed and British one declined at the same time. Apparently after WW2, it was British Engineers who helped German industry to get back.
Also British Leyland was last desparate act by British government to bring all car manufacturers under one umbrella to compete against the Germans and Japanese.
Really a must watch.
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Old 30th June 2015, 11:49   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
For the car company that went dead quite some time ago, a working website comes as a surprise. Let us see if they do revive in 2017.
http://tvr.co.uk/
TVR + Gordon Murray + Cosworth = God's own supercar !!!
Normally aspirated V8, RWD, Manual transmission, enough said.

http://www.autoblog.com/2015/06/04/t...orth-official/

http://www.gordonmurraydesign.com/ne...g-new-car.html
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