Thursday, August 04, 2011

Bean Counting

Most every day I read the web site JALOPNIK.COM. It's a Gawker owned site focused on automobile culture. A daily feature is the "Nice Price Or Crack Pipe" where they feature a car for sale and ask their readers to determine if it is a good buy or not.

Today's car is a 1975 Chevy Cosworth Vega. (CRAAAAAAACKKKK PIPE!) I wouldn't expect to find anything interesting about his car but the write ups usually have one or two good jokes buried in them. What I came across was this:

The Vega, designed at the end of the sixties, was the beneficiary of some radical thinking for the time, some of which didn't exactly pan out. The engine was a sand-cast aluminum block with cast iron head, and even the way it got to dealers was rethought as the cars travelled via special rail car stacked side by side vertically to allow more cars per car. Unfortunately, the SOHC alloy 2.3-litre suffered from an inadequate capacity cooling system, as well as under-spec'd valve guides causing the early cars to overheat and smoke like crazy. The Nose-down delivery system didn't take into account potential transmission and final drive leaks and too many cars suffered depleted drivetrain components upon reaching the dealer. Finally, the early Vega was to rust as Kat Von D is today to skin art.

I had never heard of this before. This seems like the anecdote told in a class to teach a lesson. It seems unbelievable. Generally what is written on Jalopnik is pretty accurate but could this be a an urban legend?



According to wiki these Vert-A-Pac carriers could haul 30 cars to the normal cars 18. So GM was getting a 40% savings on shipping costs. And yes I see that they made an attempt to deal with fluid leaks but with obviously minimal success.

I can just picture the engineer in the back of a conference room dancing around saying "But... But... But... But..." as the executive decision makers nod sagely at the accounting departments presentation.



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