The artificial intelligence at YouTube is getting to know me pretty well, because it keeps feeding me cool videos like this gem. It is a vintage film shot by Ford in 1962 at the Wixom, MI assembly plant where the Lincoln Continental (arguably the last great American luxury car) and its platform-mate Ford Thunderbird were assembled. Over the course of six and a half minutes, it roughly follows the assembly process of these fine cars, starting with stampings coming into the plant all the way to finished vehicles being loaded onto rail cars at the end.
There is no sound and the editing is rough: It appears to be more a collection of B-roll footage than a finished film. That is just fine with me, as the lack of voiceover or music allows me to focus on the star attraction: Lots of vintage Lincolns.
The film opens with an exterior shot of the Wixom plant, and the two vehicles that were made there at the time. Why they chose to film this in the dead of Michigan winter is beyond me. Not exactly showcasing Michigan at its best.
One of the first thing that strikes you is how similar the T-Bird and Conti look in their body in white, before all the gingerbread gets added. Above we can see them rolling down the assembly line, literally side by side. Yet despite the obvious similarities between the two, a coupe Continental would not be offered until 1966, and a four-door Thunderbird would not appear until 1967 (with suicide doors, natch).
Also worth pointing out: A very early appearance of a computerized build system. We’ve already discussed about how computers made the wide variety of 1965 Ford Mustangs possible, but this system appears to predate the Mustang one by a few years, and has to be one of the earliest uses of computers in the assembly process.
The film ends with Continentals and T-Birds being hauled off by the train car and truckload. How I would love to hijack one of those trucks!