GM's Willow Run Plant on the auction block today

Dec 2, 2010

It was ground zero for the "arsenal of democracy" in the 1940s. Henry Ford built the giant Willow Run factory to manufacture B-24 bombers in World War II. Later GM took over the building making everything from Chevy trucks, the Caprice, the Nova, Corvairs, and transmissions.

Today, the materials inside the plant are being auctioned off as part of the "Old GM's" bankruptcy reorganization (old GM is now known as the Motors Liquidation Company).

It's the second of three auctions. The last one will be held next March. Hilco Industrial and Maynards Industries are the companies in charge of today's auction.

So if you're in the market for some giant stocking stuffers there's an 880 ton Schuler Feintool Fineblanking Press Line for sale. Or how about an automatic screw machine for the little ones? Some CNC Broach Sharpeners for Grandpa? Go to Hilco's website and put in a bid.

Nathan Bomey at AnnArbor.com reports that Taso Sofikitis, president of Maynards Industries’ USA operations says the equipment is of significant value:

“You’re going to have other manufacturers, whether they’re from the auto industry or another industry. You’re going to have resellers. Anyone making any type of gear would be interested in this type of equipment.”

GM's Willow Run Plant will close for good on December 23rd.

An AnnArbor.com poster named Ray Aider posted this comment on the article:

"Most people reading this have no idea how much equipment and how many machines are involved here. Thousands. BIG STUFF and not so big stuff... I ran those machines for years. There are stamping presses in the center of the plant that have a larger work area than the size of the average house... It would be quite a sight to see that place completely empty. The Willow Run Plant is only a few hundred feet shy of a mile. You could stand in a main aisle and look both ways and not be able to [see] either end."

According to Assembly Magazine, Charles Lindbergh, who served as a consultant on the project, called the $47 million facility the "Grand Canyon of a mechanized world."