We’ve all heard the buzz about the newly-designed 6.2 liter engine that’s going to be powering the 2014 Corvette, producing an estimated 450 horsepower and 450 ft./lbs. of torque and christened LT1 by the General Motors brass. What we don’t know is the story behind the engine; the plant where the LT1 is going to be built.
The Tonawanda Engine Plant has been in continuous operation since 1938 and offers three massive buildings spanning 190 acres – that’s approximately 3.1 million square feet – of floor space. The engine plant is currently making the Ecotec four-cylinder engine for the Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac ATS, along with the inline-four and five-cylinder engines for the Chevrolet Colorado, but starting in 2010, GM poured approximately $425 million into the plant in a renovation to prepare it for LT1 production. That brings GM’s total investment in Tonawanda Engine Plant to over $2.3 billion in the last decade.
In this video from the “Faces of GM” series, Tonawanda Engine Plant’s Darryl Johnson talks about some of the investments and facility changes GM needed to put into place in order to get the facility ready. The remodel went so far as to replace parts of the structure from floor to ceiling to bring the plant’s design specifications up to par for what they needed to implement the new engine assembly line. The plant’s update process has laid the groundwork for tremendous improvements in efficiency and productivity, and the two-and-a-half year preparation is finally coming to a close. They are running part verification tests at this time – that’s one of the final steps before production kicks into gear. January 13th is coming; are you ready?