Corvette 1963-1967 provides a unique picture of the car that defined America’s true sports car for decades. It does not delve into the details of engines, styling, performance or a myriad of other design features. It does not discuss the legendary conflicts between chief stylist Bill Mitchell, and chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. It is neither laden with professional pictures of the C2’s legendary design nor does it discuss sales figures.
Instead, Larry Galloway provides an exclusive, personal perspective on the manufacturing of these classic Corvettes at both the St. Louis assembly plant and A. O. Smith plant in Ionia, Michigan. Mr. Galloway served in several roles including as a liaison Quality Engineer with the A. O. Smith plant making sure that the bodies produced there met the St. Louis assembly standards. He provides a multitude of insights on the manufacturing sequence, challenges with quality and the interface with the workers who assembled these cars.
It provides information not found in the many other C2 Corvette books on the market.
Larry Galloway’s experience provides answers to many questions, including some that I had not thought to ask. Examples include:
- Why did GM decide to produce some Corvette bodies at the A. O. Smith (previously the Mitchell-Bentley Body Company) when they were already being produced in St. Louis? What issues did an outside supplier create and how were they resolved?
- Why did the doors not fit well, particularly on the Aero Coupes, and what actions were taken to improve the appearance? The answers to these questions were insightful as I considered the inconsistent door gaps in my own 1965 coupe.
- What body parts were produced by the Molded Fiberglass (MFG) Body Company in Ashtabula, Ohio? What problems did this cause? I knew that they produced the spare tire carrier, but not other significant body parts.
- What were the challenges associated with assembling and painting fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) bodies – a difficult process for a production automobile?
- What was the order of assembly and how were the various assembly lines arranged to provide the finished car? For example, what was the status of the car at the “Body Drop Station”?
- Does your 1964 or 1965 Corvette have a radiator hose clamp attached to the drive shaft? If so, why is it there and what should be done if you want to remove it?
- Was there an advantage to being known in the factories when ordering your personal Corvette? You can rest assured that there was.
Mr. Galloway provides and interesting and insightful narrative on the Corvette manufacturing process, however, there are some additions I would appreciate if he decides the update the book. For the most part, these suggestions come about due to the current emphasis (over-emphasis?) on originality. Mr. Galloway is uniquely qualified to provide these insights. Examples include:
- What were the significant differences between bodies and body components produced by the St. Louis plant and the A. O. Smith Plant?
- What was the process used to assign components and options to a specific car? For example, how was power steering precluded on the high-performance small block cars or how was the F40 special suspension restricted to fuel injected or big block cars? How often were cars made that did not meet these restrictions, e.g. F40 suspension on a 300 hp 327?
- When was the partial VIN added to the engine, transmission, frame, etc. What were the “hidden” location of these partial VIN beyond those that are commonly known?
- How often were Corporate Office Production Orders (COPO) specified? What special handling or attention did these orders receive?
- What was the impact of major labor strikes? For example, no Corvettes were produced in October 1964. Did this and related strikes at other GM plants and suppliers have an impact on production?
The good news is that Mr. Galloway is preparing a supplement that may answer some of these questions.
Larry Galloway’s book provides personal perspectives on the manufacturing of the C2 Corvettes not provided in other books. If you want a level of inside detail, going beyond the usual numbers and basic history, it is well worth the read to understand how these classic American sports cars were manufactured.
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Corvette: 1963-1967 is available from Amazon.com. Please click here, or copy and paste the link below, and help support AlphaGearhead!
We also recommend checking out Larry Galloway’s website for more interesting insight and books!