We thought we knew where we were going to cruise
to in this post until we checked email. There are
times when our weird motor gene kicks in, and
this was the time.
A friend sent us an email about Burma-Shave
signs and we thought we had a destination. An
email from another friend changed that when we
opened an email with Vega in the subject line.
Since we had a Vega way back when, this post
will be about the Vert-A-Pac system that was
created just for the Vega.
The Vega, which began its run with the 1971
model year, was designed to be shipped
vertically. This was done because almost twice
as many cars would fit in one rail car on the
nose than lying flat.
Each rail car had nine doors per side which
opened from the top. When the doors were all
opened the Vegas were driven up nose first.
When all nine spots were filled, a huge fork
lift would raise the doors into place and
the cars were hanging like bats in a belfry.
This was possible because of the Vert-A-Pac
system and some basic precautions with the
The cars had to shipped ready to drive off
the doors when they got to their destination.
So GM installed a special baffle in the oil
pan to keep the oil from running out.
The batteries had their filler caps all
moved to rear edge of the case so they
wouldn’t leak, the carburetor float had a
tube that ran overflow to the vapor
canister, and the windshield washer bottle
was at a 45 degree angle.
Then plastic wedges were put in the powertrain
to prevent any damage or leakage. If this
seems like a lot of work to jam twice as
many cars into a railcar, it saved GM about
$150 per car to ship them to the west coast.
And at the time a new Vega sold for $2,000.
The Vega never really took off and by 1977
GM stopped making them and the neat Vert-A-Pac
systems were scrapped.
We’ll mention the Burma-Shave signs in another
Comments are always welcome.