Vert-A-Pac Cars

Long ago, someone got the idea of shipping automobiles in a sideways "V" inside a boxcar - hence Lionel's postwar Double Door boxcar.

 

Have some misgivings about shipping automobiles stacked vertically. Seems like oil and gas would seep into places where they don't belong.

Originally Posted by David Minarik:

This is a pretty unique piece of rolling stock 

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/0...egas-price-in-check/

 

Originally Posted by ReadingFan:
... Have some misgivings about shipping automobiles stacked vertically. Seems like oil and gas would seep into places where they don't belong.

 

Interesting link there ...



At the time, rail cars could fit 15 vehicles each, but Chevrolet was able to lower shipping costs by making it possible to ship 30 Vegas per rail car, in turn allowing the price of the Vega to remain as low as possible. Each rail car had 30 doors that would fold down so that a Vega could be strapped on, and then a forklift would come along and lift the door into place. All the cars were positioned nose down, and since they were shipped with all of their required fluids, certain aspects had to be designed specifically for this type of shipping, including an oil baffle in the engine, a special battery and even a repositioned windshield washer reservoir. See for yourself in our image gallery above.

 

vert-a-pac-1362000450

 

Those old Vegas are really rare these days. A friend's parents went through three engines in one Vega and after some other bad experiences with GM cars, switched to Hondas in the 1980's.

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Apparently the Vert-a-Pac cars were designed specifically to transport Vegas, and Vegas were the only cars transported nose down like this. The GM Vegas were produced 1970-1977 and I'm trying to recall what became of the Vert-a-Pac cars after that. Were some of them adapted to other purposes?

The Vega started to get larger, like many compact cars of the era, and would no longer fit into the railcar.  The Vega had been build around this method of transportation.  Everything in the car was designed so the car could be stood vertically.  The shipping equipment was on Trailer Train flat cars.  Once the rail cars were no longer useful, the railroads would have scrapped the shipping equipment so the railcar lease with Trailer Train could be terminated.  

 

As I recall there were four hooks that either went around the axle housing, or attached to something on the axle housing.  Once the cars were driven up on the door, someone had to apply the hooks.  Then the custom made forklift lifted the door.  There were a few cars that came unhooked in transit.  When the door was lowered, the car just sat there on its nose.  They would get a chain around the rear axle and give it a pull.  Down the car would come with a bang and then off it went to the scrap yard.  As far as the road names, these were pool cars.  Once the railroad that the assembly plant was located on determined the number of cars needed for the service, each railroad that handled the traffic would have to buy its share of cars, based of its proportion of the revenue.  Usually the shipping road managed the car buy and the other railroads getting the cars only input would be how their cars would be painted.  It was the same arrangement for maintenance.

 

I was trying to remember where the Vega was made, it might have been Loraine, Ohio.  

Originally Posted by Ace:
Originally Posted by David Minarik:

This is a pretty unique piece of rolling stock 

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/0...egas-price-in-check/

 

Originally Posted by ReadingFan:
... Have some misgivings about shipping automobiles stacked vertically. Seems like oil and gas would seep into places where they don't belong.

 

Interesting link there ...



At the time, rail cars could fit 15 vehicles each, but Chevrolet was able to lower shipping costs by making it possible to ship 30 Vegas per rail car, in turn allowing the price of the Vega to remain as low as possible. Each rail car had 30 doors that would fold down so that a Vega could be strapped on, and then a forklift would come along and lift the door into place. All the cars were positioned nose down, and since they were shipped with all of their required fluids, certain aspects had to be designed specifically for this type of shipping, including an oil baffle in the engine, a special battery and even a repositioned windshield washer reservoir. See for yourself in our image gallery above.

 

vert-a-pac-1362000450

 

Those old Vegas are really rare these days. A friend's parents went through three engines in one Vega and after some other bad experiences with GM cars, switched to Hondas in the 1980's.

 

Originally Posted by David Johnston:

The Vega started to get larger, like many compact cars of the era, and would no longer fit into the railcar.  The Vega had been build around this method of transportation.  Everything in the car was designed so the car could be stood vertically.  The shipping equipment was on Trailer Train flat cars.  Once the rail cars were no longer useful, the railroads would have scrapped the shipping equipment so the railcar lease with Trailer Train could be terminated.  

 

As I recall there were four hooks that either went around the axle housing, or attached to something on the axle housing.  Once the cars were driven up on the door, someone had to apply the hooks.  Then the custom made forklift lifted the door.  There were a few cars that came unhooked in transit.  When the door was lowered, the car just sat there on its nose.  They would get a chain around the rear axle and give it a pull.  Down the car would come with a bang and then off it went to the scrap yard.  As far as the road names, these were pool cars.  Once the railroad that the assembly plant was located on determined the number of cars needed for the service, each railroad that handled the traffic would have to buy its share of cars, based of its proportion of the revenue.  Usually the shipping road managed the car buy and the other railroads getting the cars only input would be how their cars would be painted.  It was the same arrangement for maintenance.

 

I was trying to remember where the Vega was made, it might have been Loraine, Ohio.  

Lordstown Ohio, the home of the Vega!  Now the home of the Chevy Cruze.

 

The Vega was designed for Vert-a-pac transit, even the radiator overflow (usually dry in real life along with the oilpan/sump ) and windshield washer bottle were designed for vertical shipment.

 

I still have my DIY Vega manual.  Love that picture of the 72/3's, the last car on the right next to the unloader is a Mojave Gold one, just like my first car, a Mojave Gold 72 GT vagrant. 

 

BTW, a 327/300 swap from a 69 Impala cured the Vega engine problem for me.... and garaging cured the rust problem. 

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."



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