Senior Pilot Program Coordinator
James Seim…..known by all who enjoyed his company as “Jim”, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Jim started his career with General Motors in 1959 at the Norwood Assembly Plant. He was handpicked in 1965 for transfer to Chevrolet Assembly Research, because of his advanced degree in Industrial Management from Capital University. In this role Jim was appointed as a Senior Process Engineer and part of the team responsible for the development and testing of the new “F” car that would later be called the “Camaro” in 1967. In this role Jim served as the Pilot Prototype assembly coordinator for process refinements between the GM Norwood facility and the GM Los Angeles facility. A virtual treasure trove of information was gleaned from Jim during a research encounter by author Phil Borris. They became very close and it was during the research for “Echoes of Norwood” that Jim revealed his original factory documents from his time on the Pilot Line. Among those documents was the only copy of the F-Car Pilot Book known to exist. The importance of this find can’t be over-stated……because up until that moment, F-Car Pilot Prototypes were purely conjecture. This revelation was followed by extensive research after my personal interview. All of which is contained on this site. It ultimately led to the authentication of the six cars currently known to exist today. Among notable research from Jim was the first hand account that the cars were built in consecutive Vin # order, Sales cars were forced inputs on the IBM 360 computer, and storage space for the Fisher Body coaches resulted in a random selection of bodies after only a week of Pilot Prototype production. By 1968 Jim received his next assignment to the 1968 Corvette development team in the role of pilot program coordinator. Following the successful launch of the 1968 Corvette, Jim transferred to the Chevrolet St Louis Assembly facility where he assisted local management in the start-up of the second shift assembly operations. By 1969, Jim had decided it was time to return home to the Cincinnati area… coming home again to Norwood. Jim’s first major assignment there was the management of the third shift (night) assembly operations as Production Manager in 1970. At Norwood, Jim continued to advance in position and responsibility and by 1973 accepted assignment to GM New Zealand to assist in production improvements for the final assembly of “knock down kits” shipped from GM through export. In 1974, Jim resumed his role as a production manager until his retirement from GM with the closure of the GM Norwood Facility. Jim married Caroline on November 25, 1986 and fully retired in 1996. Jim had two children, Becky and Doug. Unfortunately, Jim passed in 2015 after a lengthy bout with COPD. He was loved by many and his contributions to this research will be passed down for future generations to enjoy. He was interviewed in person on July 14, 2014 with a collection of friends from the development and production days of the F-Car. An extensive photographic history of this reunion is included. Jim was put to rest at Spring Grove Cemetery on December 19, 2015 at the age of 81 years young.
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By: Logan Lawson
Registrar Of WWW.PilotCarRegistry.com
Copyright 2014 Logan Lawson. All Rights Reserved.