Sunday, December 24, 2006


BS Brash
Some time in the 50's, during the time I lived in Kansas City Missouri, I had a neighbor that worked in the GM assembly plant called Leeds, I think. Anyway he was a sociable if not mouthy neighbor and most of the neighbors liked him enough to encourage him in his conversations. This particular time, he was talking about GM Quality Control and the fact that on the previous day he had a 50 something Chevy come thru the line that was 290+ pounds over weight. Who knew that they actually weighed the new cars?

Any way as the story goes, the car a 4 door was also unusual in that the interior ceiling was about 4" lower in the middle than it should be. This led the curious neighbor to remove the interior ceiling, which led to the discovery that the top was in a large part, lead. It seems that the cars roof had been slightly caved in an assembley line accident, during assembly and the car had been pulled off the assembly line and sent to the body shop for the repair of the roof. This is where the problem occurred, in the body shop. Some redneck decided not to change the roof, but to fill the roof dent with lead. Lead was used a lot around that time for body repairs. (It has since been relegated to restoration shops & replaced with body putty) The roof was duly leaded and painted at which time it was sent back to the line for completion of assembly. There must have been a lot of chuckling in the body shop that day! The body shop's little trick was only revealed when my neighbor caught it by accident.
Another story for the books, a friend of mine, a farmer purchased a new 50’s GM Light Dump truck for use on his farm. From the start it didn't run right, it's engine loped and frequently stalled. My friend, being a pretty good mechanic, compliments of a stint in the US Army Motor pool, decided after the dealer finally threw up his hands over it, he would just rebuild the engine himself. Upon tearing down the engine prior to the rebuild, he discovered that all 6 cylinders were different sizes. After a little snooping around, he found that this was not unusual practice for an end of the line, end of the model season vehicle, when the boys in the assembly line ran out of the proper parts, they would tailor make some of the components to fit that last one or two vehicles off the assembly line. My friend got a brand new engine and a big laugh out of the deal.
Now what does all of this mean? To me, it is indicative of the attitude of the American car makers, "git 'er done for the company'. Try that with the new cars and all of their computers? I think not! But even with their quality problems, give me a good old car over a new car any day!

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