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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Remember the Chevy Vega?

The old timers will.....

Did you know? ........................

This is how they were shipped.

Until the early 1960s, automobiles moved by rail were carried in boxcars. These were 50 feet long with double-wide doors. Inside was room for four full-sized sedans on a two-tier rack - two raised up off the floor on a steel rack and two others tucked in underneath them. This protected the cars during transport but wasn’t very efficient, as the weight of four vehicles was far less than the maximum weight a boxcar that size could carry. When 85-foot and 89-foot flatcars came into service, it was possible to pack a total of fifteen automobiles in one car on tri-level auto racks. But it still didn’t approach the maximum allowable weight for each flatcar.


When Chevrolet started designing Vega during the late 1960s, one of the main objectives was to keep the cost of the car down around $2,000 in circa-1970 dollars. At the time, the freight charge for moving a loaded railroad car from the Lordstown, OH assembly plant to the Pacific coast - the longest distance cars produced at Lordstown would need to travel - was around $4,800. Since the Vega was a subcompact, it was possible to squeeze three more cars on a railroad car for a total of eighteen, instead of the usual fifteen. But that still worked out to around $300 per car – a substantial surcharge for a $2000 car. If only Chevrolet could get more Vegas on a railroad car, the cost per unit of hauling them would go down.

The engineers at GM and Southern Pacific Railroad came up with a clever solution. Instead of loading the cars horizontally, the Vegas were to be placed vertically on a specially designed auto-rack called the Vert-A-Pac. Within the same volume of an 89-foot flatcar, the Vert-A-Pac system could hold as many as 30 automobiles instead of 18.

Chevrolet's goal was to deliver Vegas topped with fluids and ready to drive to the dealership. In order to be able to travel nose-down without leaking fluids all over the railroad, Vega engineers had to design a special engine oil baffle to prevent oil from entering the No. 1 cylinder. Batteries had filler caps located high up on the rear edge of the case to prevent acid spilling, the carburetor float bowl had a special tube that drained gasoline into the vapor canister during shipment, and the windshield washer bottle stood at a 45 degree angle. Plastic spacers were wedged in beside the powertrain to prevent damage to engine and transmission mounts. The wedges were removed when cars were unloaded.

The Vega was hugely popular when it was introduced in 1970, however it quickly earned a reputation for unreliability, rust and terrible engine durability. When the Vega was discontinued in 1977, the Vert-A-Pac cars had to be retired as they were too specialized to be used with anything else. The Vert-A-Pac racks were scrapped, and the underlying flatcars went on to other uses.

The Pontiac Astres also would have used these cars to ship.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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I remember that as a kid. My grandmother lived right next to a coal company and train tracks. I can remember watching the box cars going by loaded with coal and with the cars. Seem like yesterday.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 09:43 AM
 
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I owned 2 Vegas back in the day...as well as a Pinto.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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My parents also had a pinto wagon and my dad had a vega gt.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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I owned 2 Vegas back in the day...as well as a Pinto.
To complete the trifecta of crud cars, you would also have to have owned a Gremlin. Saw a Pinto on the road just yesterday and the first thought that came to my mind was whether the gas tank would explode. LOL.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by GTO JUDGE View Post
The old timers will.....

Did you know? ........................

This is how they were shipped.
Who you calling old????!!!! Lol Never owned one, but saw them on the road.....

Cool pix, Judge....... Did not know that........



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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 68greengoat View Post
Who you calling old????!!!! Lol Never owned one, but saw them on the road.....

Cool pix, Judge....... Did not know that........
Anyone circa 1970 driving or near driving is OLD Before that is ancient.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 12:45 PM
 
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Got my license in 1960. Ancient? I prefer 'vastly experienced'. Owned a '71 Vega for two years. Never a single problem.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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we are all young....... ....... but my bones at times tell me otherwise

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 01:48 PM
 
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To complete the trifecta of crud cars, you would also have to have owned a Gremlin. Saw a Pinto on the road just yesterday and the first thought that came to my mind was whether the gas tank would explode. LOL.
Never owned a Gremlin but I did own a 1958 Rambler American.....

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