glad this is a sticky!
Ok ...I just found this thread and ....wow! So many interesting things here...and some first hand info I've only read about in old magazines. I have
some of the Westmoreland employee goodies already posted...they pop up every now and then on various VW sites. Gonna start over from page 1.
With less power and more mass, the Rabbit GTI was naturally slower than the Golf GTI; in November 1982, Car and Driver clocked it from 0-60 mph (0-97 kph) in 9.7 seconds, with a top speed of 104 mph (167 kph), which compared to 8.1 seconds and 112 mph (180 kph) for the European version. Still, that was quicker than a contemporary Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 305 (5.0 L), and, at $7,990, both cheaper and thriftier.
Via TheSamba, I recently learned that Rabbit Caddys were US-made, due to the "chicken tax," Truman-era Embargo that still remains in place to this day.
Can't wait to get me an mk1 of some sort, hopefully soon ...
maroon stripe is visible on the right front fenderOriginally Posted by buzbomb4
Last edited by 4000stq; 05-16-2010 at 05:12 AM.
loud `n low, rollin' coal
this is the best thread ever written!!! so much good info, straight up westy 101!! cooljet, you are a living legend.:bow::bow::bow:
so, my 79 rabbit's build date is 2/79. it was a diesel when i got it and is round eyed. did it passed thru the westy plant, or was it shipped from wolfburg? it has a wolfsburg steering wheel and shifter knob, does that help? i know it can't be on of the kit cars because of the build date and no maroon stripe, so i am not getting my hopes up.. it also has an old school type "ragtop", the folding vinyl sunroof, labeled "weathershields LTD". im sure its not stock, but a dealer install maybe? i can show pics if anyone is interested in helping me identify my neat little MK1.
Another bit of Westmoreland history. Today's lesson is paint application of the newly assembled shells. Yes boys an girls the shells were painted but with a twist. When I was training in Wolfsburg on my painting certification I spent alot of time in the spray booths actually spraying the bettles and rabbits online with my meister in tow. VW wanted all of the initial supervisors to go through and pass a production painting course. I was able to complete the course and pass but when the exam was posted my exam had a note: Individual must apply more paint in order to achieve the necessary orange peel, that was part of VW spec at the time. During the course my meister was always telling me to apply more and I didn"t understand why until after the exam. A little background, before starting I had a small buisiness restoring older cars and had a good reputation for very smooth paint jobs. I had learned from my mentors hoe to apply paint so it laid down smooth with high DOI (distinction of Image) and alot of depth. Now I go to Germany and when my paint jobs looked heavy it was good. I was not happy with my results so I went to the Director of Paint and requested an audience. I explained what happened and my results and and asked his toughts. His response was that he had monitored my training and even though the work was excellent it was not repeatable day afer day. So by his analysis the coating could be a little orange peely and be perfectly acceptable and repeatable. Also he told me that there had been paint studies with the general population in Germany and the results demonstrated that the preception of and orange peeled surface was seen in a positive light, more than enough coating to protect the metal from rusting.
The next item to pass along was the type of paint used at Westmoreland. Westmoreland was a total PPG plant. PPG supplied all the primer and topcoats plus the repair materials. The paints were used in the system were called thermalsets. This type of paint was chemically designed for industrial settings. The interesting aspects of this paint is once a surface is coated and left out in the air, it will never dry. The resins in the paint have chemical blockers that do not allow the coating to cure. In order to cure the coating the paint must see a heat source of 400 degrees +. When the coating goes through the oven, Westmoreland was 450 degrees F for 35 monutes, the heat evaporates the blockers from the chemical composition and allows the resin to crosslink causing a cure.
As far as topcoats go the metallics and the pastels where straight shades, no base coat -clear coat system. The topcoats were designed to contain all the necessary ingredients necessary to atain color, shine and longevety. What you laid down was what you got or it went to repair.
I have question cooljet, why was it that none of the sedans ever had any paint at the top of the rear hatch opening above where the hinges bolt to the body? neither of my westys have paint there. when i brought my `80 home that area was bare metal (hadent gotten any surface rust yet). this also seems to be common on the german built cars. I assume the hatch was in place during paint making it near impossible to get paint under that edge, but one would think with the concern for rust protection that this issue would have been noticed and addressed. thanks for sharing your experiences.
loud `n low, rollin' coal
Stumbled across this thread and couldn't stop reading it. Being a VW nut and living in PA (although the other side of the state), I find the history lesson of the Westmoreland plant very interesting. Subscribed to keep informed and learn more.
Yo ask a very pointed question. I know the area that you are talking about and it was a tough area to reach. Tha area was blind to the spray guns and we had to rely on the wrap of the electrostatic guns to cover it. In the process the shells were grounded and the paint was charge positively so it would be attracted to the surface. Electrostatic application had a tendency to wrap around corners and seek hard to get to areas. But like any other process it has its limitations. The other reason that it was out of the line of sight when you opened the hatch and during the inspection process that area wouldn"t have been caught. I do remember in the beginning that the painted shells were randomly torn down so that all surfaces could be checked and I remember that on and the backside of the hood support being issues.
Hope that sheds some light on the subject.
If your 79 was white and had a Maroon 3/8 strip above the side character line then it would have been assembled in westmoreland with German shells. Any thin other than the above discription would be assembled in Germany, rode the boat over and sold to a dealership.
Her is alittle insite to the daily funcions of the employees of the paint shop in the early days. Let talk about Lenny a repair painter on second shift. It just so happened that on this day our friend Lenny had and inspiriation. Here as an intelligent individual who was hungry and had brought his own lunch to work but it was cold. What to do. It dawned on him that he was working around and oven and he could save time if he just put his lunch in a repaired shell and send it through the oven. Now this would save him time and effort so he could enjoy his meal in peace. He made the decission to go for it. So about 7:30 PM after painting the last repair before lunch he slipped his lunch into a 4D shell and sent it on his way. Twenty minutes later her comes lunch an nicely cooked and ready or so he thought. Our boy Lenny snapped up the meal and headed for the break area. As Lenny began to eat he thought to himself how smart he was. Lenny was really enjoying himself when about 15 minutes Lenny began to feel queezy. What was going on. Lenny began to turn colors and start to heave his wonderful lunch every where. Lenny got sicker and sicker until ther was no lunch left. I have never seen some one go through so many colors in ashort period of time.
To explain what happened to poor Lenny was to understand the Lenny sent foof through a oven loaded with solvents that got trapped in the food wrappings and mixed with the food making it pretty toxic.
Lesson learned no food around paint or solvent.
I was Lennys supervisor and witnessed the aftermath of the episode and the earlier remarks were made by Lenny during a safety investigation.
As you entered the paint shop you immediately noticed a large elevated building in a large vacant area facing the operation. In the front of the office there were large windows on 3 walls facing the operation.
I gave the appearance of the control tower of a large battle ship. To get there you had to climb a long flite of stairs to enter from the side. Once inside and you were allowed in to Superintendents office were you could gaze out over the system. You couldn't help feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment as being part of something so grand and on the other hand realizing that you were humbled being a small but important cog in the vast process. As you looked out you saw humans, systems and processes working in harmony to meet the daily goals. Awesome m .emoryfor me
I must say this thread has turned into something amazing. I've always enjoyed sitting around and listening to some of the older folk reminence of the things they did. but to learn about a car that was my grandparents and how it came to be is just wonderful.
I work for a place called LCR Electronics building different filters for electronics. today I had to build a few cabinets for the filters themselves that were way to big for the calipers I had. the only set long enough(40") were actually veneers and not the dial or electronic calipers we are used to today. as soon as I saw them I thought of this particular veneer. I think its amazing how something so simple could be so accurate, .001 accuracy from nothing but lines is crazy. I wonder when the first set were first introduced. yours seem to be just to the hundreth?
it was pretty cool to learn how to use them as well.
Last edited by RedWabbitVR; 05-27-2010 at 08:48 PM.
This is a Really cool thread. Being from the Greater Pittsburgh Area(Northern Panhandle of WV) who's have know so much cool stuff could have come from the area. BTW the Big MAC was also invented in north Hundington if you didn't know. And also the Tucker 48 Tin Goose now Resides there as well. I never was really into the westy until i read this thread. now kinda makes me wanna look for one locally. Some of the Memorabial is super cool to see. I've been past the old plant on several trips to the area. Glad i've got to see a great peice of US VW history in person.
i'm staying tuned to this thread.
PS i hate you all for know probally starting a terrible addiction to Westmoreland plant memoriablial, and parts!
Ironically, look what's going by in the opposite lane...Is that a Rabbit?
Might this be one of the knock downs?
Last edited by dubdaze68; 05-30-2010 at 01:31 AM.