One of the West Midlands' best-known factories, the former Peugeot plant at Ryton, is being demolished.
More than five million cars were produced at the site
Trenport, the new owner of the site near Coventry, hopes to create up to 3,000 jobs in warehousing and manufacturing.
The plant shut in January with the loss of 2,300 jobs when production of the 206 model moved to Slovakia.
"It's a sad day to see 68 years of history being demolished," said Dave Edwards, a long-serving former worker.
"It's also a happy day because it will rise from the ashes like the phoenix and it will employ people again."
Mr Edwards, whose father, two sisters and wife also worked at the site, was employed at the plant for more than 30 years.
He said: "I remember it being built. I was a young boy at the local school.
"After school we used to walk up the A45 to watch it being built and get chased off by the local security people."
More than five million cars were produced at the Warwickshire factory.