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Riviera factory anomalies


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Greetings Riviera fans

 

Just thought I'd start a topic on factory anomalies.

I've noticed all '66,'67 cars I've seen have the right rear quarter level anomaly. (See below)

Please chime in with opinions and factory anomalies. Might be good Riview material?

If this is a beat topic - please disregard.

Thanks

 

 

Untitled.jpg

Edited by PWB
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Nope not a beat topic in fact not sure its been discussed specifically. The fit of the rear corner brow trim on 66-67s always seemed to me like it was unfinished business for the engineering dept in charge of it. Some cars fit better than others. Anyone who has had these off and tried to re-install and look perfect knows what a challenge it is and can see why based on mounting and all the contours in play. Often a trial and error shimming and bending of the mounting is required to improve it. This trend continued in the boattail Rivs as the fit in same area was poor, even worse than 66-67. To the person who doesn't know this, it seems like the car was wrecked and a poor repair made when in fact it was factory.

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                Now this is an interesting topic! One thing I've noticed on all the 60's GM cars I've owned or worked on is that

panel fit between hoods, fenders, doors and quarters and deck lids is always better on the driver's side of the car than the passenger side.

This is true on my 69 GTO and my 65 Riviera as well. My assumption is that the styling engineers spent a lot of time laying

out the driver's side of the car when designing it, then turned over their work to the new underlings to duplicate what they

did for the passenger side, with predictable results due to the expertise of those involved. You will note that the above flaw in the

first post is located on the passenger side of the car......they always are!

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1 hour ago, Seafoam65 said:

                Now this is an interesting topic! One thing I've noticed on all the 60's GM cars I've owned or worked on is that

panel fit between hoods, fenders, doors and quarters and deck lids is always better on the driver's side of the car than the passenger side.

This is true on my 69 GTO and my 65 Riviera as well. My assumption is that the styling engineers spent a lot of time laying

out the driver's side of the car when designing it, then turned over their work to the new underlings to duplicate what they

did for the passenger side, with predictable results due to the expertise of those involved. You will note that the above flaw in the

first post is located on the passenger side of the car......they always are!

INDEED!

I've seen this on several 2nd Gen. cars - '66 thru '68 Right Front Fender does not align. Has anyone else witnessed this?

 

 

Right Front.JPG

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This has been an issue for auto restorers on various makes and models and it's something you have a hard time adjusting to make right. Do you fix these issues? Or is it restoring back to better then factory the route you should take? For me, those fit and finish issues would bother me and I would do what I could to fix them. Technically though, if you're doing a true restoration those should be left just as it came from the factory. 

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2 hours ago, PWB said:

INDEED!

I've seen this on several 2nd Gen. cars - '66 thru '68 Right Front Fender does not align. Has anyone else witnessed this?

 

 

Right Front.JPG

 

That is significant misalignment. I would suspect something was worked on either the door or the fender but looks more like the door. The factory would not have let that much go out the door. I have seen very slight misalignment on this lower door trim on original cars. Most cars that have been worked on over the years never get it re-aligned properly.

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                   The biggest problem on the passenger sides of 60's GM cars is usually the fit between

the front of the passenger door and the rear of the front fender. Over the years I have taken measurements and determined

the fender is usually at fault with incorrect curves from the factory that do not match the curves in the front of the 

passenger door. Invariably, I have found that the fit on the driver's side is usually quite nice with little to complain about. On the 69 GTO's the right front fender sticks out too much in the middle between the

right door and front fender. All of them are like that. The same flaw is found on the passenger side of the 66 and 67 GTO's. On my 65 Riviera the top 4 inches of the rear of the right front fender  sticks out too much in relation to the door. The fit on the driver's side is perfect.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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There is a corporate consciousness in quality control. I live close to Rochester, New York, home of GM's Rochester Products and DELCO divisions. One of the better stories is door lock QC. There were three grades, driver door, passenger door, and junk. The ones that worked smoothly went in the driver's door.

 

Seams in headliners should have the fold facing the rear. Some re-upholsterers don't notice that.

 

I liked the Corboba's when they first came out. All Cordoba's have a misaligned left front fender and door gap.

 

All '55-'57 Thunderbirds have a huge gap between the cowl and the right windshield frame.

 

All 2950's Jaguar large sedans have a kink in the boot lid just below the support strut.

 

Once one gets away from the conceptual appreciation of car models and becomes an owner they see the details.

 

First generation Riviera had a color change? Check the color of the 1/4" strip along the edge of the rear quarter window.

Bernie

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Those are not really design or engineering mistakes, in my opinion.  They look more assembly plant or stamping plant tooling errors.  In the case of the " rear corner brow trim " , it appears to me that the underlying quarter panel bottom surface is twisted and low from the picture.  I don't have a 66-67, nor have I seen this specific problem up close and personal, but those kinds of problems were very common in the plants.  I worked in several GM plants as a Manufacturing Engineer decades ago.  As a Manufacturing Engineer, I was responsible for tooling in the various departments of the plant.  Tooling generally included jigs, fixtures and tools that were used to assemble the car.  It looks to me that it was likely a Body Shop (an area of the plant where the Body-in-White was welded together) generated defect.  It looks like the error resulted when the side ring was assembled to the underbody.  

 

The side ring, which includes the quarter, roof channel, rocker, and the lock and hinge pillars from the fire wall back to the tail panel, was subassembled on a sideframe production line in the body shop.  There were locating pins and locating pads to properly locate the sheet metal parts, with clamps that held the pieces together as they went around a merry-go-round type of conveyor system.  There were hanging spot weld machines that welded the side rings together.  When the side ring was complete it would marry to the underbody sub assembly (basically the firewall back).  There were many locating pins and clamps that held the side frame fixture with the side ring to the underbody sub assembly and those two sub assemblies were then welded together.  When that was complete the sideframe fixture would separate from the combined assembly that was riding along on the body shop truck.  (later the roof, decklid, doors, etc were welded or hung on the Body-In-White that was riding along on the body truck, and then to the Paint Shop).

 

There were many sideframe fixtures (could be upwards of 80-100 complete side frame fixtures for each side of the vehicle in each body shop) that were for each model, and each of them had to be tuned in to properly yield a proper side ring.  This tune in was done before production units were run through the body shop, in a preproduction or pilot phase of manufacture, and were not going to be sold.  There were also hundreds of body trucks, and they were in most case used for a variety of models.  As you can see there was a lot of combinations of body trucks and side frame fixtures that could yield a lot of different dimensional results.  The locating pads and pins were tuned into design intent, and had shims and machine screws that held the pads, pins and clamps in proper location.  Sometimes shims would fall out, the pins would get bent, the clamps would get damaged (or may not be closed all the way) or one of many other problems on the sideframe fixture or body truck, which would make the metal parts not locate properly, but still get welded up.  And it was undesirable to scrap a part or subassembly, so many of these mistakes would be repaired as best they could.  There are also cases where the stamped piece from the stamping plant may be damaged or come out of a damaged or worn die, with a twist as in this example to the quarter, yet still mount ok in the fixtures.  In many instances there could be a lot of in process stampings of the various metal parts that were completed and waiting for assembly - what I am trying to say there was a lot of stock to use after you found a problem to get corrected stock.  Especially before the Import competition drove higher domestic quality standards, this stock was consumed and or reworked as good as possible, and my have yielded some interesting results. 

 

Later in the production process, like where the brightwork or trim was applied, a deficiency was likely identified in an inspection station.  There were lots of inspection stations located on the production line as it progressed though the plant production departments from the body shop, paint shop, hard trim shop, soft trim shop and chassis shop/car division final assembly plant.  For example at the end of the underbody line there was an inspection station, as there was at the end of the sideframe line, door/roof line, just to name a few for the body shop.  There was also an final department inspection station at the end of each department.  These inspections stations were where all the critical items were reviewed to make sure they were correct, and each inspection station had a  repair operation to correct any identified problems.   

 

As I was saying before the pressure of the imports and their quality, there were many cases where some defects would be corrected as best they could, but not like today's quality.  So this meant there were some of these discrepancies that got into the hands of customers.  

 

As a Manufacturing Engineer there were many times where an visual error like this would be detected late in the production process and I would be responsible to chase it back, in concert with a Quality Control/Reliability Engineer, though the production process to see why it was happening and what was needed to cure the problem.  As you can imagine there could be hundreds of in process vehicles (or "Jobs" as they were termed in the plant) with the same problem.  I would go back through the production process to see where the root cause was.  In some cases it was a damaged clamp, locating pin or pad, and others it was because an operator was not trained properly and not closing the clamp properly or not loading the part correctly , in others it was a stamping plant die problem.  A corrective action would be made to eliminate the error, tests would be made to see that the problem was indeed eliminated, and determination would be made what would be done with the potentially thousands of vehicles/jobs already built with the defect.  Many were reworked as best they could, although in some cases they were shipped to customers.

 

In today's world the amount of safety stock or in process parts awaiting assembly is kept to a minimum.  There is also much more collaboration between the assembly plants, stamping plants, and other suppliers to catch any problems quicker.  The auto manufactures also stop the line to run back the problems to resolution so no additional defects are created.  Additionally, there is a better feedback between inspection and production in all facets of the production processes to eliminate errors, not to mention better tolerances that are able to be maintained due to computer controlled design and production equipment.  In the old days, a scale with millimeter marks was how things were measured, today lasers that are accurate to 1/10,000th of a millimeter are used.  This and other reasons have contributed to a much better quality to today's vehicles, to include fit, finish, performance, etc.

 

As a Manufacturing Engineer I can recall a similar number of defects for the passenger and drivers side of the car.  In my opinion the defects of this type would be similar in number for both sides of the car.  There may have been more finessing/fitting/repair that was done on some drivers sides at dealerships, because there is always a driver getting into the car and looking at that side, and maybe complaining to the dealer about it.  In a plant there wasn't any bias or special treatment of the drivers side of the car, so it may be just coincidence that anecdotally the problems appear on the passenger side in higher frequency.

 

I only was talking about the  " rear corner brow trim " defect, but the fender problem is likely a result of a tooling problem as well.  I wasn't there in either case, so I am not speaking of these specific defects, but I have seen similar defects during my plant experience.

 

I know this was kind of long winded, and my dissertation may be hard to follow, I do apologize for that.  I tried to be as concise and descriptive as possible to share a bit of my experience and my opinion about this and similar defects.

 

Thanks for reading and as always Rock On

 

gord

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1 hour ago, JZRIV said:

 

That is significant misalignment. I would suspect something was worked on either the door or the fender but looks more like the door. The factory would not have let that much go out the door. I have seen very slight misalignment on this lower door trim on original cars. Most cars that have been worked on over the years never get it re-aligned properly.

I know. I've eyeballed every fender fastener. No evidence of reverse torque imprints or washer imprint / re-alignment. The very lowers still have the undercoat spray

covering them. So I'm afraid to do anything. Recommendation? :huh:

 

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This is not so much an anomoly as it is a question about choices that Buick made when deciding how to stamp the fender or cast then paint the part of the grill assembly that encompasses the headlights.  On the upper outer corner there is an ear - lots of times broken off  - that seems to me should have been part of the fender or at least painted to match the fender.  Here's a picture that shows what I'm talking about.  Anyone have an explanation?  One explanation is that I'm just not seeing things in the right perspective.

 

1963 1964 Riviera grill-crop.jpg

Edited by RivNut
effing auto correct (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, PWB said:

INDEED!

I've seen this on several 2nd Gen. cars - '66 thru '68 Right Front Fender does not align. Has anyone else witnessed this?

 

 

Actually, it's the driver's side for me.  I believe the passengers front fender got replaced on my car at one time in the past.  The driver's side, however, looks to be all original.

DSC02628.JPG

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4 hours ago, RivNut said:

This is not so much an anomoly as it is a question about choices that Buick made when deciding how to stamp the fender or cast then paint the part of the grill assembly that encompasses the headlights.

Ed, this is not an anomaly, but more an engineering mistake, in my opinion.  When the body was in clay it probably had a feature that closed the hole that would be there if that grill "ear" wasn't there.  After the design was approved, it then went to an engineering function to bring it from clay to production, make it build-able.   At that point it was decided somehow that it would be part of the grill.  I am sure as it got into the field and it got broken off there was discussion whether the decision was a good one.  Sometimes if that car model was built for a while, these kinds of things could be revisited and in some cases there were mid-year changes that would correct it.  

 

The intent was to make the production vehicle look as much as possible as the approved clay.  Stamping it into the fender or casting it into the grill would have been evaluated for the financial impact as well as if was even possible (to stamp it that is), and the call was made.  If it looked the same, the lower cost one usually would win.  If it was getting broke off after the model run, there might be some fix developed for service parts, like a buttress or a bolster in the casting, but if there was not much demand, that would be unlikely.  

 

That engineer may have learned something so the in future design efforts that type of feature was made less complicated, or maybe not.

 

Rock On

 

gord

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5 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

                   The biggest problem on the passenger sides of 60's GM cars is usually the fit between

the front of the passenger door and the rear of the front fender. Over the years I have taken measurements and determined

the fender is usually at fault with incorrect curves from the factory that do not match the curves in the front of the 

passenger door. Invariably, I have found that the fit on the driver's side is usually quite nice with little to complain about. On the 69 GTO's the right front fender sticks out too much in the middle between the

right door and front fender. All of them are like that. The same flaw is found on the passenger side of the 66 and 67 GTO's. On my 65 Riviera the top 4 inches of the rear of the right front fender  sticks out too much in relation to the door. The fit on the driver's side is perfect.

The fit on first gen cars can be terrible. Some of the lead work, especially in the inside front corners of the front fenders can be atrocious. I always found this ironic because Buick published a small booklet in `65 bragging about the fit and finish as being like "European coach work". The booklet illustrates quality inspectors with lab coats surrounding a car, LOL...

One flaw which seems to consistently appear on the first gen cars, as noted, is the fit between the right front fender and door. I always thought this might be an issue with the dies used for stamping the right front fender.

I have a 38K mile `65 which still wears its original paint. The right front fender fit is terrible, but terrible it will stay!

  Tom Mooney

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52 minutes ago, 1965rivgs said:

Why was existing stock of sub assemblies called "safety stock"?

 

Tom, it was there so the production operator wouldn't run out.  In that day, everyone sand bagged safety stock.  The production area leadership, the material department, the stamping plant, etc.  It made them feel more comfortable.  When an error or a defect occurred it caused problems though.  You could have had a lot of "Scrap" safety stock.  

 

Today, with just-in-time principles, workplace layout, and lean manufacturing, all of the safety stock is stripped out of the process.  If a butterfly sneezes in a stamping plant the assembly plant production operator 100 miles away feels the breeze - almost.

 

Rock On

 

gord

Edited by msdminc
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5 minutes ago, 1965rivgs said:

One flaw which seems to consistently appear on the first gen cars, as noted, is the fit between the right front fender and door. I always thought this might be an issue with the dies used for stamping the right front fender.

 

Tom I agree.

 

Rock On

 

gord

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21 minutes ago, msdminc said:

Ed, this is not an anomaly, but more an engineering mistake, in my opinion.  When the body was in clay it probably had a feature that closed the hole that would be there if that grill "ear" wasn't there.  After the design was approved, it then went to an engineering function to bring it from clay to production, make it build-able.   At that point it was decided somehow that it would be part of the grill.  I am sure as it got into the field and it got broken off there was discussion whether the decision was a good one.  Sometimes if that car model was built for a while, these kinds of things could be revisited and in some cases there were mid-year changes that would correct it.  

 

The intent was to make the production vehicle look as much as possible as the approved clay.  Stamping it into the fender or casting it into the grill would have been evaluated for the financial impact as well as if was even possible (to stamp it that is), and the call was made.  If it looked the same, the lower cost one usually would win.  If it was getting broke off after the model run, there might be some fix developed for service parts, like a buttress or a bolster in the casting, but if there was not much demand, that would be unlikely.  

 

That engineer may have learned something so the in future design efforts that type of feature was made less complicated, or maybe not.

 

Rock On

 

gord

I agreed with your summation in my original post.  But as I stated in it, what I can't figure out is why that "ear" wasn't painted body color as it would have been mocked up in clay. You can rest assured that when my '64 is painted, those ears will be body color - as well as the lower bumper and the bottoms of the turn signal housings. Perhaps even the lower part of the rear bumper - leaving it looking more like the single bar front bumper.  :D

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19 minutes ago, RivNut said:

 But as I stated in it, what I can't figure out is why that "ear" wasn't painted body color as it would have been mocked up in clay

 

Ed in clay, everything is clay colored.  Not trying to be flip just funny, I guess I originally read too much into your question.  You and I can agree it should have been body color, but in 1960 whatever chrome was king, and the production engineering decision maker picked probably what he liked or more likely what he thought his boss would like.  

 

Do you know if it was later painted, say at mid year or sometime after the original production date?  If it was you would know somebody asked, "who made the decision not to paint it?", and after a little scurry to find the guilty a production change order was made.  Since that is sheet metal, and a car division responsibility, it would have been a Buick engineer.  You never know he may have transferred from Flint to Pontiac.

 

That is a good question.

 

Rock On

 

gord

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Gord,

 

I would imagine that 1) it was too hard to stamp the fender with that part integrated into the fender and 2) too difficult to paint those two small pieces of the one larger piece.  Makes one wonder why they would take the time to paint the grills in the cowl vents then.

 

Ed

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Paul,

Don't even mention the ashtray design. Possibly one of the most irritating flaws on the 66-67. I guess they figured most people would leave them open since so many smoked back then.

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11 hours ago, JZRIV said:

Paul,

Don't even mention the ashtray design. Possibly one of the most irritating flaws on the 66-67. I guess they figured most people would leave them open since so many smoked back then.

You aint lyin'! 

I'm no geometry wiz but jeez. What junk.

Where were the Fisher engineers after the clay passed Mitchell's eyes?

 

And remember when people dumped those overfull trays at stop lights?  Nasty :unsure:

 

What a thread I created?

 

701543_4.jpg

Edited by PWB (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Chimera said:

Mouth breather open ash tray and passenger side misaligned lower.

 

 

Love your (Jade?) interior. Rare

Heres another, the hood spears. Seemingly rare with paint. I think is a great detail - gives depth. My car does not have it and I highly doubt it

was polished off. Car just sat in a garage as a dust collector.

AND don't we love how sellers lay out gorgeous pieces on rock filled surfaces? They REALLY care about the product. <_<

 

 

Spear.jpg

Edited by PWB
typo (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, PWB said:

Love your (Jade?) interior. Rare

Heres another, the hood spears. Seemingly rare with paint. I think is a great detail - gives depth. My car does not have it and I highly doubt it

was polished off. Car just sat in a garage as a dust collector.

AND don't we love how sellers lay out gorgeous pieces on rock filled surfaces? They REALLY care about the product. <_<

 

 

Spear.jpg

These hood spears were not painted in 66. I touched on this in one of my frame off series articles. They were chromed then had a process of media blasting or similar on the side inset  to create the dull argent silver look. I asked my plater to recreate this factory effect. He nailed it after 3 tries and you can't tell the finish from the other argent painted surfaces. He told me to never bring him another one for that process. He lost money because he quoted me a price up front but fortunately for me his pride of workmanship took precedent. In 67 the argent finish on the hood spear as well as many argent painted surfaces elsewhere were dropped. 67 hood spear was all chrome. Not hard to understand why. If I had it to do over again I'd just mask it, scuff surface and paint.  

Over-polishing on this special finish would erase it. I've seen many 66 spears with varying degrees of the original finish left

IMG_3670cropped.jpg

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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On 1/6/2017 at 9:00 AM, Seafoam65 said:

                Now this is an interesting topic! One thing I've noticed on all the 60's GM cars I've owned or worked on is that

panel fit between hoods, fenders, doors and quarters and deck lids is always better on the driver's side of the car than the passenger side.

This is true on my 69 GTO and my 65 Riviera as well. My assumption is that the styling engineers spent a lot of time laying

out the driver's side of the car when designing it, then turned over their work to the new underlings to duplicate what they

did for the passenger side, with predictable results due to the expertise of those involved. You will note that the above flaw in the

first post is located on the passenger side of the car......they always are!

 

Wow -- this topic is on fire!  Anyway, late to the party but I wonder whether the explanation for Seafoam's observation has more to do with the factory body assembly process and tolerance stack-up than engineering (though the two are related).  Perhaps the driver's side is assembled before the passenger's side and therefore consumes more of the allowed assembly tolerance.  When it comes time to assemble the passenger's side (e.g., 2nd-gen right rear quarter panel), there's not enough margin left for the assembler to meet all of the seam & gap requirements, so the obvious ones are made as good as possible, while the least conspicuous ones (e.g., the one between the trunk lid above the right tail light) pay the price.

 

Edit: Going back and reading all of Gord's post (#9), it's clear that there are a multitude of issues which individually, or in combination, can result in the sort of anomalies discussed in this thread.  To me, it's all the more amazing that they came out as well as they did with the technology at the time.

 

Where this thread is headed (I'm guessing) is the thorny question of how to address such anomalies when restoring these cars.  It's the inevitable dilemma between restore to 'as-built' or 'as-designed' (i.e., 'as intended').  FWIW, I tend to lean toward the 'as-built' side (at least today)...

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1 hour ago, JZRIV said:

These hood spears were not painted in 66. I touched on this in one of my frame off series articles. They were chromed then had a process of media blasting or similar on the side inset  to create the dull argent silver look. I asked my plater to recreate this factory effect. He nailed it after 3 tries and you can't tell the finish from the other argent painted surfaces. He told me to never bring him another one for that process. He lost money because he quoted me a price up front but fortunately for me his pride of workmanship took precedent. In 67 the argent finish on the hood spear as well as many argent painted surfaces elsewhere were dropped. 67 hood spear was all chrome. Not hard to understand why. If I had it to do over again I'd just mask it, scuff surface and paint.  

Over-polishing on this special finish would erase it. I've seen many 66 spears with varying degrees of the original finish left

 

Absolutely gorgeous. God or Devil in these details!  These make all the difference.

OK heres another one. My last '67 had the "Argent" on the turn signal bezels. My latest one does NOT.

Any more witness this?

Thanks

 

 

s-l300.jpg

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All 67 front parking bezels were painted argent as your pic shows. There is no documentation or factual evidence that indicates otherwise at least to my knowledge. Since the factory painted over bright chrome, some owners stripped the paint off to expose the chrome for more bling.

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14 hours ago, PWB said:

Here's another pesky Monday night factory install throughout the GM line -

crooked remote mirror controls! 

Arrrrrrgh! :angry:

 

 

Remote.JPG

 

... that problem likely occurred when the cable control for the remote mirror was too short to go between the front door clip holding the cable and the mirror adjustment housing - it just couldn't stretch anymore, and got stuffed in the door panel access as best it would fit, crooked or otherwise !

 

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This is a topic that will generate lots of interest.  I don't think I have ever owned a GM car without some type of fit and finish issue.  All my Riv's have had some with some more noticeable than others.  The lower vinyl body side molding on my 97 left front fender was a good half inch below the one on the door and the car was never in an accident.  The gap between the rear bumper and the body of the car on my 69 was not consistent from one end to the other.  The picture of the remote mirror base that Paul submitted was a very common problem on many GM cars.  You can straighten it out if you remove the panel but unfortunately, there will be an indentation on the vinyl from being like that for so many years that you have to leave it the way it is.

Back in the day, there weren't many line workers that would sweat the details and depending on the speed of the line, there may have been no opportunity to do so.  Unless it is something that really sticks out or adversely affects the operation of the car or a specific component, I say leave it the way it was built.  It is after all, part of the cars character and history.

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Perhaps those cars in question were built on a Friday or a Monday.  My dad, a long time mechanic in a Buick dealership in Hutchinson, had been told by a Buick district service rep that the line workers were paid on Thursday and lots of them were too hungover to report to work on Friday so there were a great number of subs working the line on Friday.  Poor quality assembly was the result.  Same situation occurred over the weekend so there were a lot of subs working the line on Monday.  Truth or urban myth?  Who really knows? But whenever Dad bought a car he'd somehow try to pinpoint exactly when it was built.  

 

I wonder if the guys who own the cars built in the 30s, 40s, and 50s notice these same anomalies.

 

 

Ed

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4 hours ago, RivNut said:

Truth or urban myth?  Who really knows? But whenever Dad bought a car he'd somehow try to pinpoint exactly when it was built.  

 

Ed

Sounds about right to me, I was told by people I knew that worked in the plants it was best if you could purchase one that was built on Wednesday! Generally speaking the most experienced people were there on most Wednesdays. Could be a myth, but that's what I recall being told.

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