• ETC
  • Mar 1, 2013
Our apologies to those who've seen this before, but for the rest of the class, how awesome are these pictures of the Vert-A-Pac shipping system General Motors came up with to ship the Chevrolet Vega back in the 1970s? Developed along with Southern Pacific Railroad, GM was able to double the amount of Vega models it could ship by packing them into the unique storage cars vertically.

At the time, rail cars could fit 15 vehicles each, but Chevrolet was able to lower shipping costs by making it possible to ship 30 Vegas per rail car, in turn allowing the price of the Vega to remain as low as possible. Each rail car had 30 doors that would fold down so that a Vega could be strapped on, and then a forklift would come along and lift the door into place. All the cars were positioned nose down, and since they were shipped with all of their required fluids, certain aspects had to be designed specifically for this type of shipping, including an oil baffle in the engine, a special battery and even a repositioned windshield washer reservoir. See for yourself in our image gallery above.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 302 Comments
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Vega was a POS but it had pretty cool styling for an econobox. I bet that If GM had spent ~$100 extra per car, they coulda solved nearly all of its shortcomings.
        throwback
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        This was standard GM in the early 70's, good looking cars let down by the worst build quality imaginable. This is one of the reasons why when the oil crisis hit the Japanese companines enjoyed such huge marketshare gains. Their cars were so much better built it was like night and day.
          King of Eldorado
          • 1 Year Ago
          @throwback
          True, with the major exception of rust resistance, where Japanese cars were no better. By 1982, my Chicago friend's 1973 Corolla ran fine but was structurally dangerous to drive.
          Tiberius1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @throwback
          @dukeisduke..really must take real motivation to be horribly overpaid to do a menial job...sadly for the most part the average UAW worker still looks at things the same way.
      Renaurd
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really like the roofline and rear end of that car......looks better than most today.
      AngeloD
      • 1 Year Ago
      If GM had gone to a iron sleeved aluminum block, or had better nitride coating tech for the cylinder walls, the vega would have ruled the world.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AngeloD
        They should have simply stuck with a cast iron block. A pushrod 4 cylinder engine is light enough already.
          Allen
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          My iron Duke 151 Astre would agree.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Okay, that also explains the why the windshield washer reservoir cap was at the back, angled toward the back of the car. I always wondered about that (hey, I owned two of them, including a '76 GT I drove for eleven years).
      CaddyV8
      • 1 Year Ago
      I actually have an HO scale model of one of these Vertapacks, now I just need to fill it with HO scale Vegas!
        imoore
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CaddyV8
        I saw some on Ebay last week, but I didn\'t bid on them. I\'m not sure if they\'re still there, but you may want to check it out.
      Steve & Daisy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Vegas were good-handling cars but were not very robust. Beset with engine failures and body rust, they just didn't last too long. Detroit got what it deserved from Japan and Germany for serving up products like the Vega but it is good to see US automakers making a recovery - positive for the economy with so many people having good jobs related to the auto industry.
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      those vegas actually look quite nice. that design has aged well. too bad the car was kinda crappy otherwise.
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      I remember seeing this back in the day. I always wondered how the fluids didn't leak out through the breathers in the engine and the carbs.
      ShrinerMonkey
      • 1 Year Ago
      What I am most impressed with is that those cars all seem to be painted in some sort of COLOR instead of shades of black and white like most modern cars.
      JAYSTARR
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should bring the Chevy Vegas back...But, without the problems it had like burning too much oil...or having the aluminum engine. These cars are great to own and drive, has a great 4 cyl engine...saved loads of gas...\"TODAY 2013\"...I still own my 1974 Chevy Vega and it still has the Original miles on it 63,101. It is in mint condition. You can go from Virgina to New York on a full tank of gas...From Florida to New York on two and a half tank of gas. Chevy replaced it with the Chevy Beretta and Corsica, I too had the Beretta not a good car. There are not alot of Vegas still around...But, I am proud to wake up every moring and drive my 74 Chevy Vega once in a while...
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Also, in the last picture, notice the Cadillacs in the enclosed shipping modules? The automakers had to go to enclosed railcars due to people vandalizing cars during shipment, like taking potshots at them from under bridges and things like that. I never did that, but I knew kids that did (with BB guns).
        imoore
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Really, Duke, that wasn\'t you? C\'mon, man you can tell us. You\'re among friends here. We promise we won\'t say a word.
      sydkick1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am generally humored by the fact that GM haters will point out the facts that 40 years ago GM made a mistake, but seem to ignore some of the more recent failures of other brands of automobile.
        JONELL/RICKER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sydkick1
        Absolutely right-- Rather go with the imports that are killing the manufacturing base of this country.. So sick about hearing the superiority of the Jap cars, let alone the next generation coming from China via GM.. Short Blocks used in Chevy's cross-over comes from China already. I'll stick with my Ford - that get 30mpg on the freeway with a six, or 23 in the city. Great cars, dependable, Ford got it's act together. MKZ with a Cleveland built six, can't beat it!
    • Load More Comments