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Chevrolet Muncie Indiana Transmission Plant Images

We return to the Chevrolet Muncie, Indiana Transmission Plant today with a second set of photos that begin here with a view of the inside of a repair and maintenance garage in the lead image. A fleet of a half-a-dozen 1965 full-sized Chevrolets (visible in other photos) were kept at the factory at the time the photos were taken apparently for on-going testing of three and four-speed manual transmissions and were maintained in this shop.

The balance of the photos below contain views of car and truck transmissions and parking lots at the newly-updated General Motors plant that was in operation between 1935 and the spring of 2006. An earlier parking lot image can be seen here.

Share with us what you find of interest in the expandable photographs courtesy of Ball State University.

  • Cutaway Muncie truck and car four-speed transmissions and the parts for each one covered under the new vehicle warrantee. The aluminum-cased transmission on the right is one of the M20, M21, and M22 units popular in the muscle car era.

  • A portion of the office building parking lot (above) and (below) near the factory buildings. 

27 responses to “Chevrolet Muncie Indiana Transmission Plant Images

  1. In Item 2 of 4, among the non-Chevys, down front a ’63 Dodge Dart 170 2-door sedan, 2nd row up a 57 Fairlane 500 Club Victoria, 4th row a tan ’55 Ford Customline Tudor on the left and a white ’65 Olds 98 and a VW on the right. In the 5th row in silver grey likely a ’62 Falcon Futura, in light grey, possibly a late ‘50s Vauxhall Victor with its round fender tops, and a white ’55 Ford.
    In the last row a white over black ’62 F-85 convertible, probably a Cutlass with the trim above the bumper. To the right is a Falcon sedan…I’ll go with a ’62 with larger taillight lens vs a ’63.
    And not a car to be seen in the background.

    • And everyone parked squarely in the middle of their spaces, unlike the vehicles in image 4 of 4! Welcome to the mall!

  2. In the first parking lot photo..The guy with the 57 Ford is a brave man!
    But off to the side there is a neat C2 Corvette coupe.
    Anyone know what that dark car is in the left side of the back row?

    Likewise, in the next photo, what’s the wagon alongside the entry building? A 50s Nash or Rambler?

    The final photo has some diversity, with 4 MOPARS in the lower right corner including a wagon. Nearby looks to be a Mercury.
    Also, a early 60s black Cadillac convertible in the distant right.

    • Dark car on the left side of the back row in the first parking lot photo looks like a 1951 or ’52 Chevrolet, probably a Styleline sedan. Can’t see enough detail to be more specific.

  3. In Item 3 of 4, in the closest row, off to the right probably a two-tone green ’58 Pontiac sedan…though the windshield reflection almost made it appear to not wrap around. Next to it a red and black ’55 Pontiac sedan, probably a Star Chief with the elongated trunk.

    Parked at the curb on the left might be a ’53 or ’54 Pontiac with its taillight closer to the bumper and wider license guard vs a ’55 or ’56. Nearby could be a ’56 Ford Country Sedan in black, red and white…it almost appears to have the sedan’s bumper with exhaust ports. The owner must be a brave soul parking a Ford on Chevrolet grounds, though possibly runs the plant’s entrance office and has “authority” to do as he pleases…including being the last word on who gets in the plant…(just my imagination). Opposite that, closet to the curb, a likely ’61 or ’62 Buick Special 4-door in maroon.

  4. In Item 4 of!…what an array! In the lower right a pink and white ’57 DeSoto Fireflite or Firedome next to a ’60 Olds convertible and behind a ’59 Plymouth sedan and a likely ’58 Plymouth Custom Suburban. Moving to the left, a black and white ’56 Mercury HT behind a pink and white ’57 Turnpike Cruiser 2-door. To the left of the ’56 “Big M” a ’62 Rambler Classic, possibly a well-trimmed 400, and a ’55 Pontiac 2-door HT. The Chevy wagon a few cars to the left appears a ’54 next to a ’57 Buick B-body sedan.
    In that same area I see a light ’61 Ford Club sedan and this side of it, looks like a ’62 Galaxie 4-door sedan in black…but here are a couple ’62 Impalas in the upper right.
    At the left edge of that row, a ’54 C-body Buick Riviera Coupe…and above it a pair of likely ’59 Buicks: a white HT and a white-topped red convertible
    In the lower left corner, a ’55 Cadillac Coupe. Two to the right, in white over dark green, maybe a Lark Wagon with its sloped rear.
    To the right of the light standard right of center is a ’57 Pontiac Star Chief convertible in silver near a black ’59 Catalina convertible. To the left of that light a pair of black ’58 Fords Fairlane 500s that appear to be blocking in a few cars, A bit more to the left, a possible ’49 or later Chevy or Pontiac Sedan Delivery in white…and two cars to the left, some hardtop with a continental kit. It seems too wide for a Rambler and too narrow for a Nash…but maybe I’m seeing some side trim so I’ll guess a ’53 or ’54 Bel Air.
    That’s way more than enough…I could do this all day…

  5. I like the opening picture. Shows why Chevrolet was number 1 in sales. A Mist Blue Impala 2 door hardtop, and an Ermine White Super Sport hardtop. Just subtle trim changes between the Impala and the SS , and you have two different cars.

      • Chevrolet delivered over one million Impalas in 1965, not even counting Biscaynes and Bel Airs. It’s a feat which hasn’t been duplicated since.

  6. It is great fun to look at these photos. However they show what a problem with the “system” the employee discount creates. Of course you drive a product made by GM when you worked for them since you can buy it below “market”. But I contend that choice of car is created by the ability of the GM employees to purchase autos below what everyone else had to pay. Living in Michigan and working or not working for one of the Big 3 created a climate where there were 2 buyers. The first bought on the the A plan or X plan with deep discounts from their employer. Others like me found that foreign autos provided better value in certain cases when the playing field was open to all without the extra discount. Detroit area dealers first question when I would visit their store was usually “are you employed by one of the OEM’s?” If not, I was virtually ignored as a customer since they did not know or care to try and compete when the sale was going to depend on a level playing field with the general no discounted market.

    Used cars in Michigan are a great deal if carefully shopped. No sour grapes, just a fact. I currently own 3 Chevrolets. Today they employee pricing is often available to anyone. I took advantage of that in several cases. I also like to support US companies. The mix of North American autos and Foreign brands changes dramatically when you get away from where the big 3 have a presence.

    • Anyone know if the “foreign” makes offer employees at their U.S. assembly plants similar deals?

      If so, could you score a good deal on a used car there?

    • FXLEW, If you are talking about employee car purchases now, I agree with most of your points. However, at the time this photo was taken, GM’s program selling cars at a discount to employees was only open to upper management salaried employees. As a former salaried employee (read peon), we lower-class salaried workers only got the right to buy at a discount when the union acquired it for hourly employees. That would have started in the 1970’s or 80’s when I worked there.

  7. In the first photo, I enjoyed seeing all of the shop equipment like the twin post hoists, the Sun test equipment, the high boy transmission stand & all the lubricant barrels up against the wall. That’s how service stalls were equipped back when I was pulling wrenches.

  8. That blue Impala in the first picture is perfect! Since it’s at the Muncie plant, I wonder if it’s a three-speed or a four-speed. I think my perfect Impala would be a simple 327 four-speed, 250 or 300 horsepower.

    • We bought a used 65 Impala that color in the early to mid seventies when I was a kid. It was a 4dr hardtop, AT with, I think, a 283. What a nice, smooth car. Power windows, power brakes , power steering, AC. But the fun part was the power seat. ‘Till it stopped working. One of my first repair triumphs as a kid happened one Saturday afternoon. I had permission to go around the interior and tighten trim screws, etc. I was exploring under the front seat and discovered the power cable was no longer hooked up. I re-attached it, and viola!–we had a working power seat again!

      • For me, the metallic blue’ 65 Chevrolet Impala was unforgettable for two reasons: It was arguably one of the freshest and most contemporarily styled cars of the ’60s era, but also was identical to the car I was lucky enough to have my first experience driving in, at age 15. My father allowed me to drive it home as a loaner from a Lincoln Mercury(!) dealership in Oakland CA. Everything about the car was cool: How agily and powerfully it drove around the Oakland hills, the gathered instrument clusters, the way the doors snapped shut, the cool blue paint job, the new-ish car smell, the slick wheel covers with implied spinners, and especially the six rearlight globes. And it handled light years better than my father’s ’57 Lincoln land yacht.

        The whole ’65 Impala design is perfect, and almost says: “Get in here, and drive me!” That ’65 Impala ride 54 years ago seems like it was yesterday….

  9. In the first parking image all the cars are facing toward the camera, except for the six in the back row. Those look like they were bad and now they’re “standing in the corner”

    I could understand that Falcon, but the others?

    • Billy,

      As a former factory employee I can tell you everyone backs in because it’s quicker to get out of the lot at quitting time. Woe be unto an individual who holds up traffic while backing out of a parking spot.

  10. Nice to see cars being used to commute to work in the photos. Pick up trucks were still used as trucks and were on the job sites.

  11. Third Picture: Now that’s more like it. :^) With 1 lonely Ford in a row of 7 Chevy’s there definitely no doubt that this picture was from Muncie’s Chevrolet plant and not the Borg Warner plant with many different brands of cars we had been confused about a couple of weeks ago.

  12. I tried my hand at rebuilding a Muncie 4-speed for the first time this past winter. It went well but took me hours and there are definitely some tricks to the assembly. You have to hold the main shaft and tail housing assembly up and juuust about slide the 3-4 hub off the end then angle it just so to get it to slip into the end of the input shaft. But it’s heavy. And don’t let that 3-4 hub fall off or you’re starting part of it over. And don’t pinch your fingers or cut them on sharp edges. Lots of credit to the men who assembled them every day.

  13. The employees of American Motors in Kenosha, Wi. parked their AMC or Nash cars in special parking lots marked “AMC built cars only”. These lots were closest to the factory entrances. If you dare drive a non-AMC car, your parking lot was furthest away from the entrances. Doesn’t sound like too big a deal until you realize that 4 to 5 months of the year were brutally cold in S.E. Wisconsin (-15 below to + 10 above) and your walk to the factory entrance could be 1/4 to 1/3 mile . This was considered the walk of shame . Pressure from fellow UAW Union members was also very high to drive AMC products. It didn’t take a new employee long to sell off their existing non-AMC cars or park their beloved Chevelles or Mustangs at home and buy a Rambler at substantial employee discounts as a go to work car. Of course, buying a AMC car just to get better or preferred parking and to get your fellow workers off your back was very real. The company was small, but they had only 3 plants- Kenosha and Milwaukee Wisconsin and El Segundo, California (in the early 1950’s). However, the UAW local 72 in Kenosha was one of the largest in membership in the country (6000+ members). With that many workers, there was a lot of pressure to drive what you built. Eventually some disgruntled employees and the ACLU went to court and had the preferred parking lots system removed. This may have set a precedent for other auto company’s restrictive parking policies. Of course it didn’t stop the vandalism done to non AMC products.

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