Willow Run

General Motors' enormous Willow Run plant built B24 Liberators that helped win World War II, but after 68 years, the historic facility has hit the end of its run. Willow Run built its last automatic transmission on December 15th. The site was originally set up by Henry Ford on a piece of his farmland, but has been owned by General Motors since the company purchased it from Kaiser-Frazer.

Importantly, Willow Run's owner is currently Motors Liquidation Corporation; "Old GM." While other historic auto industry sites have been razed, Willow Run was named a Michigan historic site in 1980, and ownership will default to a trust if a new owner is not found by the end of 2010. Such large facilities are never easy to sell, but with southeast Michigan's economic troubles even deeper than the challenges facing the national economy, finding a new owner looks to be a particularly challenging task.

[Source: AutoWeek | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]