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Fifty 1957 Corvettes at the St Louis Chevrolet Assembly Plant

Thirty-eight years later many have forgotten about the Chevrolet Corvette being produced at the GM Chevrolet assembly plant that was located in St Louis, MO. The first three-hundred of Chevrolet’s sports cars were built in a plant at Flint, MI in 1953, the following year production was moved to Missouri. Between 1954 and 1981 when Corvette production was moved to a renovated Chrysler plant in Bowling Green, KY, seven-hundred thousand of the two-seaters were assembled in St Louis.

Today’s featured GM Photographic image contains a view of fifty 1957 Corvettes lined up for a publicity photo in a storage lot at the St Louis plant. In the background are Chevrolet passenger cars and trucks which were also assembled at the facility.

Be sure to view the video (below) showing the assembly sequence of the 1963 Corvette “Stingray” in the St. Louis Plant.

Share with us what you find of interest in this image found via at MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership.

This video contains high-quality GM Photographic images showing the assembly of the all-new 1963 Corvette in the St. Louis Plant.

22 responses to “Fifty 1957 Corvettes at the St Louis Chevrolet Assembly Plant

  1. The ’57 Vette still looks right. Too bad they didn’t use the grill off the ’57 sedan, rather than the one from the ’52 – ’54 sedans, with twice as many “teeth.” It would take them until “61 to correct that mistake.

  2. On the right side of the photo are basic no-frills 150 four door sedans, 6 cylinder, no visible accessories with a logo on the side. Military cars, possibly? Would the logo have been applied at the factory?

    Don

    • I agree, they Certainly look like Navy staff cars.
      The could have been marked at the factory…The Navy (or whoever the customer was( could have provided them with the correct military serials to put on the doors.
      1957 is before my time…but as a kid living in military bases in the ’60s, the Air Force used tape markings. I believe the Arny painted them on.

      As a teenager in the early 70s, I got out of study hall to drive a school district car to the small town post office to collect the district mail. The car was a ’58 base model Chevy…ex-Navy .

  3. Pretty labor intensive,I must say.Like a president at GM once said:”We never made a dime on the Corvette,we just make them for the prestige it confers upon the company.

  4. Wow…fifty 57 Corvettes…the last of that clean design before the onslaught of chrome on the ’58-’60 models. They only came in six colors on the body: Onyx Black, Arctic Blue, Polo White, Venetian Red, Cascade Green and Aztec Copper, or two-toned in those six colors with Silver side coves paired with the first three colors or Beige side coves with the last three colors.

  5. Guys with hand held grinders and what apparently passed for safety glasses; spray painting in the paint booth with no breathing apparatus! Very little safety protection anywhere.

    • Also, at least in 1967 when I worked on the vette line, there was no protection from all of the minute fiberglass particles in the air, on the floor, or on tools. The stuff was absolutely terrible to get out of the skin and clothing.

      • My roommate in the Air Force (1976-77) was from St. Louis and had worked at the Chrysler assembly plant there before being laid off. He wasn’t a very big guy and he was assigned to the undercoating station; apparently you were down in a pit and sprayed the bottoms of the cars as they came by. According to him after 8 hours you would be covered with overspray which was hard to get off. Not a job I would want to do but he ended up getting out of the service early in order to go back to Chrysler. I lost track of him after that but I hope he was able to snag a better job than undercoating.

  6. Outside of the 1957 Fuelies, I have heard the only way you can tell a 1956 from a 1957 Vette is by the base of the interior mirror.

    Is this true?

    Does anyone have production numbers of Vettes made with the power pack option – dual carbs?

    My Dad had an Aztec Copper Vette in the early 60’s with the power pack. He didn’t know what he had because he removed the carbs almost immediately. When he sold it (because my mom was jealous) I cried while pretending to paint our boat trailer (I hated that job). Only car I have ever cried over when sold. Many great memories with my Dad in that car.

  7. Looks to me like the ’63 photos were from pre production trial builds. Same guys in many photos, some in ties, and lack of protective gear give me that impression.

    • Hi, Steve. I thought the same thing , as there were two guys in white shirts and ties helping where the body was installed to the chassis.

  8. The 50 Vettes aside, I’ve never seen so many ‘rolling cliches’ in the background before. Even my Mom knew what a `57 Chevy was, and we never owned a Chevy in our family until `81 when she got a silver Citation X-11 hatchback. It turned out to be the worst car quality-wise to darken our garage ever.

    • Nope, not then. But I wonder how many of those guys working there have passed due to lungs being clogged? not to mention they probably smoked too. I think a regulator type masks would have helped a lot. Even the guys painting the car didn’t wear anything.

  9. Gluing clamps, grinders and hand drills. Those ’63s were as close as possible to being hand built and still move on an assembly line. Even engineers were lending a hand at some stations. I thought at first they may be foremen, but they don’t do hourly work. That’s why they wear white shirts. I don’t know how Chevy made money on them.

    From Flint to sharing a plant in St Louis, it doesn’t look like GM planned on ever building many at first.

  10. Having been a Corvette owner (my first was an early ’54) I always look for Vettes in the pictures, this time I hit the jackpot.

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