Muscle Cars

The Old Assembly Line: The Good and Bad

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By Mark Weisseg

Our classic cars and trucks all had a beginning and hopefully the end is no where in sight. This picture demonstrates how our classics were produced in the good old days. We all understand the assembly line process whether it is a toaster, an iPad or a car and since we all love our cars, let’s just focus on that side of the business.

Today’s assembly line are all computers and robotics. Things move at a very face pace and mistakes are difficult to come by. Back in the day, we generally had men working on the line building our cars. Remember the old saying about not buying a car built on a Friday because the men were in a rush to go home? Or, maybe not buy a car on Monday as the men were still in weekend mode?
That left a little time to buy a car if you cancelled out two days of the week. I doubt the above statements were completely true but, it made for a good tale. In fact, when you look at our classics closely you can see they were really man made in every sense.

Take any car model from the late 60’s and into the 70’s and fit and the finish could be questionable. That’s any car made anywhere in that period, not just in the US. Sometimes, doors or truck lids did not always fit exactly. A panel needed easing into place. A bolt didn’t quite fit.
I just saw an original untouched ’67 Corvette and studied the paint carefully on the hood. If you look close one can see bleed through on the paint and I could see where lines got a bit fuzzy. That is what we got and we understood it. My ’69 classic has some things that are just considered normal by those standards back in the day they were built. Fixing some of the minor issues would ruin the authenticity of an original. Imperfections to some, character giving to others.

My gut tells me that if I plunked down one hundred thousand on a new ‘Vette I would not stand for some of the imperfections we live with from back in the day. Heck, Chrysler could not even put the build sheet in the same place on every car. A simple piece of valuable paper today and if you find one consider yourself lucky. I guess I find it funny in a way that we accept vehicles from back then to have such issues but for some reason today would not stand for the same thing. But that’s progression.

Anyway, I like the term ‘man made’ as it reminds me of a time when people built items with there own hands. On an assembly line, that can mean imperfections from time to time, but when ‘man-made’ does it right, the results can be more unique and creative than any automated robot. So consider your muscle car, a man-made item. These days, you pay a dividend for that luxury.

Isn’t it cool that the person that builds your Corvette engine signs it? Or, if you are lucky enough to have a Carroll Shelby signed dashboard? Our industry in unique and I hope we never stray to far from our roots.

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