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GM transporting cars vertically


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#1 indigoid

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:18

So someone shared this little set of photos on Twitter. I had no idea that folks would load cars onto trains that way, but it makes a lot of sense. No need to worry about unload order even if delivering to multiple locations, and if you had lots of folks idly sitting about you could unload a lot of cars quite rapidly. Also no need for special platforms to unload at.

http://www.retronaut...s-onto-a-train/

What did Ford/Chrysler do?


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#2 Magoo

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 16:11

The Delco sealed-top "maintenance-free" battery came from that.

However, the program was essentially pointless from an economic point of view. It was based on the theory that railcar space is valuable, when it isn't. It's dirt cheap, in the USA anyway.

#3 desmo

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 17:54

Think what those perfect NOS Chevy Vegas would be worth today as classics! Oh. Never mind.

#4 Magoo

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 21:20

Think what those perfect NOS Chevy Vegas would be worth today as classics! Oh. Never mind.


Indeed. Speaking of railroads and Chevy Vegas, my baby brother had one that was badly afflicted with tin worm--as most of them were here in the rust belt. One morning he went over a rail crossing a little too fast and it broke nearly in half right at the B pillar. The corpse was shaped like a checkmark.

A week or so before this, he stopped by my shop looking for a longer negative battery cable. The one he had wasn't long enough to reach clean metal.



#5 gruntguru

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 23:07

Damn, I thought you were going to say it was starting to stretch - that would have been even funnier.

#6 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 23:11

To send a car on its end would mean no fluids at all in the car. And my couple of visits to manufacturing plants is that they are driven from the end of the line to the holding yard [Or better straight onto a truck or train for delivery to the dealer]
And my experience with sealed batterys are that they still leak a little which would make a mess over several days of riding the rails. And rail transport is seldom expensive anywhere.

#7 Magoo

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 00:58

To send a car on its end would mean no fluids at all in the car. And my couple of visits to manufacturing plants is that they are driven from the end of the line to the holding yard [Or better straight onto a truck or train for delivery to the dealer]
And my experience with sealed batterys are that they still leak a little which would make a mess over several days of riding the rails. And rail transport is seldom expensive anywhere.


That's it exactly. It just wasn't worth all the expense and bother. One of many bold new concepts introduced with the Chevrolet Vega that didn't work out.


A year or two ago I had a chance to purchase an original 1972 Motion V8 Super Vega, a popular tuner deal of the time. A real time-capsule car. Pristine, original condition, Gabriel air shocks, Cragar wheels, Polyglas L60 rear tires, giant leaky Holley, boy racer side pipes, garish graphics, the whole bit. Beautiful paint and interior. But driving it was a trip straight back to the bad old days. What a death trap.

I probably should have bought it, price was really right, but didn't because I knew it would just sit there in the garage, it was so awful to drive. You know the old saw: it was fine in a straight line... if only it would go in a straight line.

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#8 indigoid

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:15

Yeah the battery thing had me wondering too. Obviously the load/unload logistical improvements I saw in the idea weren't worth it in the real world.

Incidentally, I really like the below body style, but like panelvans/3-door wagons it seems to be a thing of the 1970s and earlier. Toyota made Corollas like this until the early 1980s but very very few of them made it to Australia. I've seen one, ever, and it may well have been a grey import.

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Edited by indigoid, 27 May 2013 - 06:15.


#9 Magoo

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 11:16

Yeah the battery thing had me wondering too. Obviously the load/unload logistical improvements I saw in the idea weren't worth it in the real world.

Incidentally, I really like the below body style, but like panelvans/3-door wagons it seems to be a thing of the 1970s and earlier. Toyota made Corollas like this until the early 1980s but very very few of them made it to Australia. I've seen one, ever, and it may well have been a grey import.

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I think the car is really handsome, too.

I felt kind of bad knocking the Vert-a-Pac (I think it was called) as soon as I did it. It was a wonderfully creative idea, totally outside the box. But maybe it was an answer to a question nobody was asking.

#10 desmo

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 15:41

Vegas weren't ugly and the wagons particularly although it probably would've been better all around if they had been, so as to save both the owners and Chevy further grief.

#11 munks

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 23:44

You know the old saw: it was fine in a straight line... if only it would go in a straight line.


That's not where I thought you were going ...

#12 Greg Locock

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 23:55

Vegas weren't ugly and the wagons particularly although it probably would've been better all around if they had been, so as to save both the owners and Chevy further grief.

That shooting brake (2 door wagon) shape often produces a nicely balanced, if rather pretty, look- although I think the Lotus EliteII aka the breadvan was an exception!

Let's see there was P1800, Scimitar, various Jag wagon conversions, and I suppose if I want to be laughed at the Allegro Estate, which was at the least the best looking of an ugly family.

Incidentally speaking of those much maligned cars, we had one as the department hack and it was actually a pretty decent car to hammer along B roads. (Being a fealess 24 year old also helped no doubt)



#13 Kelpiecross

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 04:09

That shooting brake (2 door wagon) shape often produces a nicely balanced, if rather pretty, look- although I think the Lotus EliteII aka the breadvan was an exception!

Let's see there was P1800, Scimitar, various Jag wagon conversions, and I suppose if I want to be laughed at the Allegro Estate, which was at the least the best looking of an ugly family.

Incidentally speaking of those much maligned cars, we had one as the department hack and it was actually a pretty decent car to hammer along B roads. (Being a fealess 24 year old also helped no doubt)


Some other well-known "breadvans" were the Maserati and Ferrari Le Mans cars of the early sixties.

#14 GreenMachine

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:35

... and the Elan

#15 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 23:57

That's it exactly. It just wasn't worth all the expense and bother. One of many bold new concepts introduced with the Chevrolet Vega that didn't work out.


A year or two ago I had a chance to purchase an original 1972 Motion V8 Super Vega, a popular tuner deal of the time. A real time-capsule car. Pristine, original condition, Gabriel air shocks, Cragar wheels, Polyglas L60 rear tires, giant leaky Holley, boy racer side pipes, garish graphics, the whole bit. Beautiful paint and interior. But driving it was a trip straight back to the bad old days. What a death trap.

I probably should have bought it, price was really right, but didn't because I knew it would just sit there in the garage, it was so awful to drive. You know the old saw: it was fine in a straight line... if only it would go in a straight line.

Posted Image

A bit of fine tuning may have made it a decent classic. A modern smaller Holley, decent radial tyres and shocks. Leave the rest as a monument to the 70s.
On the subject of those Polyglass abominations I saw a 70 428 Mustang Sunday with the equivilant Firerocks. After he had driven the recently restored car a 100 miles or so to the run he was thinking maybe they were not such a good idea,,, or the 3.7s in the back either. mind you those tyres were dreadfull even then in comparison to what was available even then. But they looked fast!!!

#16 Greg Locock

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:54

... and the Elan

? Europa?

#17 indigoid

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:16

Let's see there was P1800, Scimitar, various Jag wagon conversions, and I suppose if I want to be laughed at the Allegro Estate, which was at the least the best looking of an ugly family.


The P1800ES is one of my dream cars. Gorgeous! Want one in red.

Hadn't heard of the Scimitar or Allegro but the former looks pretty good and IMHO the Allegro is OK except for the awful C pillar. This is the KE50 Corolla. Looks rather like the Vega, no? But late 1970s, not early

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#18 GreenMachine

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:07

? Europa?


Those too, sort of.

I was thinking of the Hexham(?) shooting brake conversions of the Elans, I think they only did a couple of dozen.

#19 indigoid

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 05:09

I was thinking of the Hexham(?) shooting brake conversions of the Elans, I think they only did a couple of dozen.


Hexagon. some background and pics here

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#20 jcbc3

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:34

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Lancia Beta HPE volumex.

#21 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:01

The P1800ES is one of my dream cars. Gorgeous! Want one in red.

Hadn't heard of the Scimitar or Allegro but the former looks pretty good and IMHO the Allegro is OK except for the awful C pillar. This is the KE50 Corolla. Looks rather like the Vega, no? But late 1970s, not early

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I worked on a couple of those in the early 80s. Fully imported form japan in Japanese spec. Nice little car but the paint fell off and the seat trim and the carpets melted in the Aussie sun. As did early Celicas too.

#22 Magoo

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:12

That shooting brake (2 door wagon) shape often produces a nicely balanced, if rather pretty, look- although I think the Lotus EliteII aka the breadvan was an exception!

Let's see there was P1800, Scimitar, various Jag wagon conversions, and I suppose if I want to be laughed at the Allegro Estate, which was at the least the best looking of an ugly family.

Incidentally speaking of those much maligned cars, we had one as the department hack and it was actually a pretty decent car to hammer along B roads. (Being a fealess 24 year old also helped no doubt)



Jensen GT -- followed the Volvo P1800 model of sports car ----> shooting brake-ish coupe-sedan. The MGB GT is basically the same thing, even though it's too small to be a wagon.


#23 mariner

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 13:39

When we first arrived in the US in the mid 1970's the Vega had already aquired its lousy rep. So, a one year old Vega was an ideal buy second hand buy. It was also very economical by 1970's pre CAFE US car standards. We got the GT version which looked just likea mini Ferrari of the day and had a "four on the floor" manual.

No , it wasn't the greatest car ever and the assembly/trim quality was, at best, no better than the dismal GM standard of the time.However, in several years it never broke down.

You could drive right round the outside of most cars on freeway entry ramps thanks to a decently located rear end and low weight/height.

The joke wa that when we sold it the 1979 gas crisis had hit so ANY econ-auto was in demand and we enjoyed very low depreciation on the Lemon of a few years earlier.

It actually had some really clever cost engineeriung ideas in it. The thermostat housing was on side of head so one machining pas did it at same time as manifold face plus the front hubs were one peice units including steering arms and other bits. Built by Datsun at the time it would probably have been good and stayed in production. It did spawn the Monza which was a small car but had the magic of a Chevy SB engine

#24 GreenMachine

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:38

Hexagon. some background and pics here


Thanks Indigoid, I got the first half right :rolleyes: