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New Driver

69 firebird

I have a 69 firebird with a N code indicating Ohio built, but was told this was a California car and that the new plant had just started up so they sent bodies and engines to California, for assembly, can this be confirmed? . I also have what appears to be a spider done in caulking under the cowling below the windshield wipers, was anyone aware of an employee that may have "signed" their work through this type of creativity? I would love to know .


Hagerty Employee

A number of factors came into play as to what plant a vehicle was produced at. Ideally, if a car was to be delivered on the West Coast Region it would make sense that it would be built at the Van Nuys Plant, however this was not the rule. Van Nuys also did not exclusively produce F-Body cars they also built a number of GM bodies on their lines based on scheduling. Furthermore, particular option supplies availability at a GM facility could dictate where a car was  to be built as well. Most often, what made sense at the time to efficiently get the order completed dictated the plant where the vehicle was produced.  To be clear bodies were never built and then shipped off to another plant for assembly and there were no strikes during that model year. Another thing to consider is theses cars are over 50 years old and many have been well traveled. Consider a car may have been purchased out East but driven by a driver to the West Coast with dreams of a new life on the Gold Coast in their Wide Track Pontiac! You can reach out to Hagerty's CARcierge and request a 20 year  VIN History on your vehicle! (email: CARcierge@HAGERTY>COM) I would also recommend you contact Pontiac Historical Services who can verify where the vehicle was sold new. 


With regards to the "artwork" on the cowl. Assembly line work can be a bit monotonous and especially so if you are a creative minded person. Ben Hamper, in his book Rivethead: Tales of an Assembly Line Worker goes into detail about this and his book is a great read about life on the assembly line at GM.  That said, assembly line artwork is fairly common and for some was a form of signature on their work. At the Mecum 2020 Kissimmee Auction I met a couple that had met while working at the Lordstown Ohio Assembly plant. The two met at work, courted and later were married and worked their whole lives at that plant and had just retired. They wanted to buy a Cosworth Vega to celebrate their life together and their time working at GM.  They were in search of a car that was built at the time they met and was assembled when they were working. Sounds like quite a task to authenticate right? Well the gentlemen explained to me as he applied the body sealant on each car he applied a signature "Curly Q" as he completed the task on the car as it went by his station. At this particular auction there were 3 Cosworth Vegas from the era when they met and he found one with his "signature" on it and showed it to me. They bid and bought the car with confidence knowing this was a car they laid hands on in assembly. 

New Driver

Thanks for the input, I do have the original GM warranty protect-o-plate car tag from the dealer ( Trapp Motors Coquitlam BC), and know the family that bought the car new, on the west coast. I did reach out to P.H.S and the info provided shows Norwood Ohio, so not sure where the assembly in Van Nuys information came from. Thanks again.