ATLVault | GM’s Doraville plant built the cars America loved

General Motors’ Doraville Assembly plant produced more than 9 million vehicles from 1947 until it closed in September 2008.
ATLVault: General Motors Doraville Assembly made America's favorite vehicles
Published: Oct. 16, 2023 at 1:41 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2023 at 1:45 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The brands are etched into history, but they include some of the most iconic autos ever to hit American highways.

Oldsmobile’s Super 88 and Cutlass Supreme; Buick’s Super 8, Skylark and Century; Pontiac’s Grand Prix; Chevy’s Impala and the timeless Nova.

They all came out of General Motors’ Doraville Assembly plant, which produced more than 9 million vehicles from 1947 until it closed in September 2008.

The concept of a General Motors assembly plant in Doraville began while the U.S. was still engaged in World War II. As it became apparent the U.S. and the Allies would defeat the Axis Powers, planning for a transition to a peacetime economy began.

GM believed the postwar period would be marked by explosive growth.

“I presented a concept of a postwar program in 1943 in a speech called, ‘The Challenge,’ which I made to the National Association of Manufacturers,” recalled then-GM chairman Alfred Sloan. “I argued in this speech that, in the postwar period, industry would meet an enormous pent-up demand for its products and we should boldly plan on this assumption. In doing so, I argued against that body of opinion among economists that prophesied economic doom after that war and, I might add, it was for me not only as a matter of argument, but also of laying money on the list.”

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The expected increase in volume for Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac led to the creation of a new BOP assembly division, one of those locations being in Doraville. This was the origin of the Doraville plant.

The largest economic expansion in history occurred over the next 20 years. Both GM and Doraville benefited from the economic boom: GM, to become the world’s largest automaker, and Doraville, which operated continuously for more than half a century.

Here is a list of the models that came off GM’s Doraville assembly line:

  • 1951 Oldsmobile 88
  • 1951 Buick Super 8 Special
  • 1953 Buick Skylark
  • 1955-57 Buick Century
  • 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 Convertible Coupe
  • 1957 Pontiac Star Chief
  • 1958-1966 Pontiac Bonneville
  • 1960 Oldsmobile Super 88
  • 1962-1966 Pontiac Grand Prix
  • 1964-1970 Chevrolet Impala
  • 1961-1973 Pontiac Catalina
  • 1972 Chevy Nova
  • 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • (1979–1984) Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
  • (1988–1995) Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
  • (1982–1987) Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
  • (1997–2005) Chevrolet Venture
  • (1997–2005) Pontiac Trans Sport/Montana
  • (1997–2004) Oldsmobile Silhouette
  • (1997–1999) Opel Sintra
  • (2005–2007) Buick Terraza
  • (2005–2007) Saturn Relay
  • Chevrolet Uplander
  • Pontiac Montana SV6

The old GM plant is now the site of Assembly Atlanta, owned by Gray TV, with a goal of creating more than a dozen sound stages, along with office and meeting space.

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