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Our first thought on stepping onto the plant floor: "Modern Marvels, here we come."

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General Motors recently announced that it was forced to halt production at its Shreveport, Louisiana assembly facility. Now GM is hitting the brakes on production at its Tonawanda plant in Buffalo, New York as well. The reason for the stoppage? The massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan has caused significant delays from parts suppliers.

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The Big Block. Rat Motor. Call it what you will, we can now officially add a final epitaph to the long-running engine's gravestone: R.I.P. The final L18 big block rolled down the assembly line at General Motors' Tonawanda plant in New York last week, and that engine was signed by all the workers at the plant and is on its way to the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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A new dual overhead cam V-8 engine for General Motors luxury car applications that was scheduled for production in 2009 has been canceled. This is the first known change in future product plans to follow the recent passage of new fuel economy rules. GM had announced plans a year ago to invest $300 million in their Tonawanda, New York engine plant to build the new V-8 to replace the current NorthStar V-8 used in various Cadillac models. Production of the NorthStar is scheduled to end in 2010.

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