When Autos Were Mass Produced in Doraville

Commuters taking Motors Industrial Way in Doraville have for months seen progress on a large, dusty construc-tion site for Nalley Automotive car dealership and service. It’s ironic, because decades ago this I-285 access road was once widely travelled by auto workers. Along old Motors Industrial Boulevard this hulking 165-acre site was home to General Motors Doraville Assembly, a plant that mass produced cars for nearly six decades while bringing stability to the general area.

 

In 1947 after WW II, GM was ready to convert from wartime to corporate civilian vehicle production with the newly created B-O-P (for Buick- Oldsmobile-Pontiac) Division. Doraville Assembly became a vital regional unit when GM dominated postwar global vehicle sales. From this factory came tens of thousands of popular B-O-P models, including the Skylark, Cutlass and Catalina, as well as Chevrolet Impalas. Workers relocated to Doraville and the community prospered.

 

Doraville Assembly closed in 2008, when GM finally lost leadership in the car industry. Various groups had plans for a mixed-use development, but the project always fell through until Nalley Automotive began construction on the site. One remnant from the old days is a four track Railroad Yard, where trains in Doraville moved auto carrier cars.

 

Dr. Paul Hudson, longtime resident of the Brookhaven area and historian at GSU Perimeter College, writes stories for the Buzz.