Trenton’s 7 Millionth and 15 Millionth Chrysler Engines

These photos were provided by a plant worker; the photographer is unknown, but we will happily provide credit when possible.

The Trenton North Engine Plant started production in 1952, was expanded in 1969, and was slated to be closed in 2011; instead, it was emptied, dedicated briefly to parts production, and finally given a brand new production line. In 60 years, the plant, now 2.1 million square feet, has made over 38 million engines.

Engine #7,000,000 (1968)

The plant’s seven millionth engine, a four-barrel 440 V-8, was built on May 21, 1968.

7 million engines

It appears as though the engine was run through the assembly line again after being built, for a photo opportunity. In addition, in some photos it has standard painted valve covers, while in others it has chromed valve covers, which were not a production item. The engine itself appears to be a low-performance 440.

assembly line

7,000,000

building engines

ceremony

On left: HR manager Mr. Hanlon on far right; the man with the moustache was identified as manufacturing manager Richard J. Fennessy ; the woman worked at the finishing end of the assembly line; long-time Trenton Engine veteran Dave Van Buren, who identified the individuals for us, wrote that this photo was taken in the cylinder head section.

Richard Fennessy, born on October 19, 1928, graduated from LeMoyne College with a BS in industrial relations, and did some graduate work in industrial engineering; he served in World War II with the First Cavalry. Mr. Fennessy was appointed plant manager in 1972; he had joined Chrysler in 1954 as an engineer at the New Process Gear Division in New York, and rose through the ranks until, in 1965, he was named production superintendent for the entire plant. In 1966, he was promoted to general plant superintendent of the Detroit Universal Division, moving to Detroit, and in 1967 he was appointed manufacturing manager of that plant. In 1968, Fennessy became manufacturing manager of the Trenton Engine Plant. (If you can help us identify any of these people, please let us know.)

inspecting

sign

valves

Taken where the intakes and valve covers were attached, just before engines were sent to the paint booth.

Engine #15,000,000 (1978)

This engine almost the polar opposite of the huge 440 that was #7 million; it was a slant six, produced it seems with a bit less ceremony, on July 7, 1978.

congratulations

group shot

sign

slant six

see more Trenton Engine South photos — many of them • the Trenton North story • Trenton South

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