Muscle Cars

The Old Muscle Car Assembly line

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By Mark Weisseg

Car production lines today look like clinical affairs. All the automation and high-tech tooling makes the work look relatively easy.
In the real world back in the day the job was hard.

The factories were hot, cramped, and you were always in a hurry. Its why back in the day the fit and finish at times was not so good? The workers had to keep the line going. Job one was to keep the lines going. If the door did not fit one hundred percent you let it go. We can prove that today. When we restore cars today we cringe when we see a paint job not done to perfection or a door or panel that is not perfect. I know there are restorers out there today that can recreate these shortcomings but nearly everyone wants it perfect. How, not why? How is that we have the time. If the trunk lid is not perfect we may spend an entire night lining that baby up to fit. Back then, no time. Put the darn trunk lid on as the next car is coming and coming quick.
The team effort was the most important. Generally it’s all good with a team effort as long as everyone gets along. One bad apple though and….

The building were hot in the summer and cold in the winter for those factories in the snow belts. They also were very noisy places and at times unsafe. Things above your head, you are in a pit, people, forklifts, tool carts and much more to keep on the look out.
Today the assembly lines are much safer. Hearing and eye protection, no real heavy lifting, climate controlled work sites and safety is job one, not output.
I have been to a Kenworth plant and the Cummins engine plant in recent years and both are light years ahead of what this picture shows. I assure you safety is Job one but the overall environment is so much better as well. We learn from our past mistakes and as much we all appreciated the hard work that went into building our future classics. We want the product better. I can assure you that if you went in to your local dealership today to buy a new 2016 vehicle you would not accept what we did at one time. Same with any higher end purchase.

You could argue that it’s just progression from the simple production lines of yesterday to the high-tech automation we have today. However, it just gives an idea of the environment, classic cars of the time were made in.
So, next time you see a classic in an untouched, original state, don’t be surprised to see a fender misaligned here or there.

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