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All aboard! When new cars rode the rails

More intriguing would be stories of cars shipped over cargo boats. I remember seeing some old black and white photos of beetles like that.

My girlfriend during college had a Vega Kammback. Her father owned sprint cars. After every race, the oil was drained into gallon jugs so she would never run dry. The car burned more oil than gas. The aluminum heads and cylinders would warp from the heat causing it to leak and burn oil like a sieve. The car actually drove fairly well with its manual transmission, but…

I live not far from a GM assembly plant and they ship thousands of trucks and vans out by rail.

But NOT with the trouble-prone liner-less aluminum-block engine, and perhaps with better rust-proofing measures.

The original Vega did NOT have iron liners, which was part of the problem; see other posters’ discussions about the block warping, which of course affected the cylinder bores.

I see 1960 Dodges, which brought back memories. My grandpa bought a left-over 1960 Dodge Dart Seneca wagon in late 1960. Light blue, its only options seemed to be TorqueFlite and heater. Its Achille’s Heel seemed to be that there was no “Park” push-button; one had to set the parking brake (which was on the driveshaft, if I recall correctly). He would forget to release it, and it would burn out.

LOL! Wow this brings back memories. In 1976 auto shop class, we received a new 76 Cutlass S. that had been on a train that somehow went under a bridge that was to low! Needless to say we received it as a “convertible” LOL. had a lot of fun with it, GM was able to give them to schools as trainer vehicles I guess.

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Back in the mid-70’s a train with new Pontiacs derailed near where we lived in rural Idaho. While some of the rail cars came completely off the tracks and lay on their sides beside the rail track, with the autos loaded on them destroyed, there were a couple of rail cars that simply jumped the track and were leaning but not overturned. The brand new Grand Prix’s on those transport cars were undamaged. I remember being devastated as the heavy equipment being used to clear the wreckage pushed the leaning rail cars over for some reason, destroying all the autos that remained. Easier and cheaper to collect the insurance value I guess.

Back in the seventies when I worked at a Jeep/AMC dealership in Idaho one of my duties was to check in the new vehicles when they arrived by transport truck . At times during the inspections I noted broken out glass and bullet holes in the body most of the time on the passenger side. The truck drivers said they have had problems with people using them as target practice moving along the rails to the Salt Lake dispatch yard. Needless to say I did not sign for them and asked the drivers why they are loaded on the truck in this condition. They said they are loaded during the night and the damage is not noticed ! Wow! No quality control ! Oh well, 400 miles back to Salt Lake with the damaged vehicles. Shortly after awhile I’m sure the insurance companies had enough and I started seeing only minor damage.

Not surprised every person knows everything about everything when it comes to shipping cars. Just seeing those Vega’s handing like that was worth reading the article.

My first car was a 1974 Vega,by the time I sold it ,it was burning a quart of oil per tank of gas.It would diesel when I turned the engine off. Sometimes I would turn it off,go into a store and come out and it would still be dieseling.I would turn the key on and it would run,no starting required.What innovation! If it did stop dieseling it would run backwards first and the RPM’s would increase and then it would die.At this point a blue white cloud of smoke would come out of the grill and fender wells.