For decades, thousands and thousands of American cars rolled off assembly lines in Bergen, Middlesex and Union counties.
The Ford Motor Company was the first big American automobile manufacturer to open a facility in the state. Ford operated a plant in Edgewater from 1929 to 1931; according to Media it was considered the most advanced and efficient automobile assembly plant for its time.
The Ford Motor Company’s Edison Assembly Plant opened in 1948. The facility produced both the Mustang and the Pinto as well as the Falcon, Escort, Ranger pickup and, later, the Mazda B-series. They also made the Mercury Cougar, Bobcat and Lynx. Before the plant closed in 2004, folks traveling along Routes 1 and 27 could see rows and rows and rows of vehicles awaiting delivery to Ford dealerships across the country.
The Ford Assembly Plant in Mahwah opened in 1955 and closed in 1980. The plant produced the Edsel in 1958 as well as the Galaxie, Ford LTD, Granada, Fairmont, Mercury Monarch, Mercury Zephyr and Lincoln Versailles.
General Motors kept a manufacturing presence in Union County for some 70 years; GM operated an assembly plant in Linden from 1935 to 2005. GM’s website notes the plant turned out Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Buicks, Chevrolet’s S-10 Blazer and the GMC Jimmy as well as a variety of commercial vehicles for GMC’s Truck and Bus division.
MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey
A 2008 article in the New York Times noted that, at its peak in 1970, the automotive manufacturing industry in New Jersey employed 14,000 workers. The article noted that the Garden State plant closings were part of a general downsizing on the part of auto manufacturers, with the hardest-hit plants being those that produced vehicles that were to be discontinued or for whom demand had diminished.
Even though these American machines are no longer built in New Jersey, they’re still tooling around the state’s streets. Here’s a gallery of classic cars in New Jersey. Be sure captions are enabled to read all about these wonderful wheels.
Want more? Here’s a link to last year’s gallery.
Greg Hatala may be reached at Media Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find The Star-Ledger on Facebook.
Mobile app users, please click here to view the entire photo gallery.
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