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    Thread: Some Mk1 history tidbits I wasn't aware of...

    1. Member
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      03-10-2010 02:49 PM #36
      Thanks Capt!!!
      '76 Rallye Yellow Golf w/ 58k original (sold, but staying in Oregon)

    2. Member deer_eggs's Avatar
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      03-10-2010 04:24 PM #37
      I know its been said already, but this thread is full of great information that you never get to hear about. I'm looking forward to learning more about the inner workings of the westy plant! Thanks to all who have contributed so far.
      Click here to bother me on facebook...

      Check out mk1dubz.com,a better Mk1 site.
      KDI customs custom upholstrey shop in Joppa, MD. Check out the new website! He can seriously do anything.

    3. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      03-12-2010 08:08 PM #38
      Short Story; A Bad Day at Westmoreland
      I was working as the supervisor in the paint shop final buy off area. I was at the shipping point between paint and the assembly conveyor. This area was about 15 feet above the floor. I spotted the plant manager and his group of managers comming through the shop. I knew that something was up. Mr. Cummins climbed into may area and called to the Body Shop Manager to ge up there. He told me to hold the line and not to release an more bodies to assembly. He started to point out problems that had been passed thru that were bad. His face was taunt and the Body Shop Manager was showing signs of fear. In an Instant He turned toi me a told me to release the safety locks that lock the body to the conveyor. Then he told the people in the station to lift the body off the conveyor. We all looked in amazement on the order. He looked me in the eye and said "Over the side". We wiggled the body free of the conveyour and the railing an allowed it to fall to the floor. It landed on its roof in a loud crash rocking and pivoted in a circle. I was taken back. Mr Cummins told me to release the empty carrier and bring up another car. When the other car arrived in position he went over the car an told us to repeat the throwing off another body. He then left taking all of the managers with him. About three hours later here he comes alone. Ididn't know what to think. He pulled myself and the crew off the line and told us why the he went through this exercise and that we were not going to send junk under his watch. An experience in quality that I will never forget.
      Capt.

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      03-12-2010 08:24 PM #39
      Quote, originally posted by cooljet »
      Short Story; A Bad Day at Westmoreland
      I was working as the supervisor in the paint shop final buy off area. I was at the shipping point between paint and the assembly conveyor. This area was about 15 feet above the floor. I spotted the plant manager and his group of managers comming through the shop. I knew that something was up. Mr. Cummins climbed into may area and called to the Body Shop Manager to ge up there. He told me to hold the line and not to release an more bodies to assembly. He started to point out problems that had been passed thru that were bad. His face was taunt and the Body Shop Manager was showing signs of fear. In an Instant He turned toi me a told me to release the safety locks that lock the body to the conveyor. Then he told the people in the station to lift the body off the conveyor. We all looked in amazement on the order. He looked me in the eye and said "Over the side". We wiggled the body free of the conveyour and the railing an allowed it to fall to the floor. It landed on its roof in a loud crash rocking and pivoted in a circle. I was taken back. Mr Cummins told me to release the empty carrier and bring up another car. When the other car arrived in position he went over the car an told us to repeat the throwing off another body. He then left taking all of the managers with him. About three hours later here he comes alone. Ididn't know what to think. He pulled myself and the crew off the line and told us why the he went through this exercise and that we were not going to send junk under his watch. An experience in quality that I will never forget.
      Capt.

      Throwing down the gauntlet, BOOM!
      Awesome.


      PS--Completely unrelated (save for German pride) but I was at Chevron last night filling up my Audi. 12 other cars with left hand gas fillers all waiting for open pumps. I was the only one with a right hand filler and had them all to myself. Gotta love ze Germans.

      '76 Rallye Yellow Golf w/ 58k original (sold, but staying in Oregon)

    5. Member MissHood's Avatar
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      03-13-2010 01:55 AM #40
      Super Cool, This is the best post i've seen in awhile.
      keep typing capt
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You can't expect them to walk to and from school carrying their babies..

    6. 03-13-2010 02:22 AM #41
      Quote, originally posted by BeatBox_kid »
      Super Cool, This is the best post i've seen in awhile.

      keep typing capt.


    7. 03-13-2010 08:09 PM #42
      I spoke with the Captain this evening (get it, Captain Morgan) and we discussed those 250 MKD cars and how to determine if it's genuine.

      Morgan claims the only clues would be the body color (white paint with maroon stripe), and the VIN would be German but the manufacturer sticker in the door jam would have a Westmoreland build location. So, start checking those VIN's and manufacturer stickers kids, I really wanna see some pics of one of these cars surviving today...

      Here's a couple questions for Morgan that I keep forgetting to ask - what interior colors did these MKD cars have? What trim levels? Was it an even mix of 2dr and 4dr cars?

      You were around during the VW Caddy days too, and I know I've heard the stories, but would you be kind enough to share some of them here also? It's a real focus point of current VW marketing to talk about a "true American-inspired VW" but few understand the VW Caddy was the first.

      One more request - tell the story of those Dasher coupe shells


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      03-13-2010 10:01 PM #43
      Ever wonder how the plant was built internally along with the production of vehicles. Here is a little history lesson. When I walked in to the plant in 77 the main floor was just dirt. We were scheduled to have the plant up and running for the next year launch. We had our offices in construction trailers outside of the plant. In the middle of the plant was a large layout of the production floor. This layout contained a grid pattern, with each section of the grid assigned a number and date. Completion of the floor with all of it pits was outllined with dates and sequence of operation. I want to tell you that I would be working on installing a welding fixture in a completed section and right next to me as a cement truck pouring concrete. It was like a ballet of organized caos as the worked was completed. The level of detail that the Germans maintained at a distance was fantastic. In the progression of process the final repair was finished first and then it was split up between assembly and the body shop. One of the neat things that the Germans did was build the tooling ofsite and have it proved out then sent to Westmoreland. Being in the body shop it was amazing to install a fixture which 3 to 6 months ago had been in Germany on the floor at Wolfsburg. Another neat part of this process was the German Misters (Management) that were sent to live in the stated until the plant wad up and running. VW brought them to Greensburg and bought them furnished houses to live in. My mister was Carl Hein Schmidt. We became friends and he was a real mentor to me. He was working in the Wolfsburg plant before the war and then pressed in to military service. At the end of the war he went back to Wolfsburg to start up the plant, one brick at a time. He told me that his first job was to clean up the devistation of the intense boming. I had told him of my keen interest in the VW story and he took time to recount many stories of how the plant was restored by the British and that he had served as a worker, supervisor and then a manager. This guy was sharp as a tack. And he didn't take prisiomers when it came to quality. He was the one that taught me many metal working and welding tricks in production setting.
      Sorry for the rambling but it is such great story. As I put the way back in gear I will recount other little tid bits for your enjoyment.


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      03-14-2010 12:48 AM #44
      either way, this article is great. thanks for sharing!

    10. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      03-16-2010 08:24 PM #45
      Buzbomb has asked some questions so I will try to answer then as best as I can. As for the interior colors I vaguely remember tan, black and maroon.
      As for trim levels were the base and mid trim models. The major reason was the Germans referred to the base model as the report card of the company. To understand this the base model contained more exposed metal and paint. When the base models hit final buy off they usually had more defects. In the early days of production we were able to produce near perfect vehicles and we in the body and paint shop were proud. The standard for a acceptable build was a 2.0 rating based on a 0 to 4.0 system. There days when basic models attained a 1.8 rating.
      As far as the mix it was even mix between 2 and 4 door.
      I was there for the first build of the US caddy. When the caddy was ready to launch I was working in the rear floor area. This was the area that received a complete makeover in order to build the truck floor. We built the first sub assembly and was asked to follow it to the weld line for assembly. I watched as the rear floor was put in place in the fixtures and watched as the caddy come together. THe main body weld fixture was massive tool that had 10 complete weld fixtures the indexed on a specific time. I wish I had a camera to document. The next major piece was the body side and before my the eyes the caddy was born on US soil. The body was finished it was removed form the weld fixture and sent to the respot line for final welding. When the truck was finished I felt that I had witnessed history.
      Having been in body shop for all of the initial builds was an honor.
      Capt.

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      03-16-2010 08:44 PM #46
      Quote, originally posted by cooljet »
      Buzbomb has asked some questions so I will try to answer then as best as I can. As for the interior colors I vaguely remember tan, black and maroon.
      As for trim levels were the base and mid trim models. The major reason was the Germans referred to the base model as the report card of the company. To understand this the base model contained more exposed metal and paint. When the base models hit final buy off they usually had more defects. In the early days of production we were able to produce near perfect vehicles and we in the body and paint shop were proud. The standard for a acceptable build was a 2.0 rating based on a 0 to 4.0 system. There days when basic models attained a 1.8 rating.
      As far as the mix it was even mix between 2 and 4 door.
      I was there for the first build of the US caddy. When the caddy was ready to launch I was working in the rear floor area. This was the area that received a complete makeover in order to build the truck floor. We built the first sub assembly and was asked to follow it to the weld line for assembly. I watched as the rear floor was put in place in the fixtures and watched as the caddy come together. THe main body weld fixture was massive tool that had 10 complete weld fixtures the indexed on a specific time. I wish I had a camera to document. The next major piece was the body side and before my the eyes the caddy was born on US soil. The body was finished it was removed form the weld fixture and sent to the respot line for final welding. When the truck was finished I felt that I had witnessed history.
      Having been in body shop for all of the initial builds was an honor.
      Capt.

      That is awsome...

      Quote Originally Posted by WackyWabbitRacer View Post
      You're new here but don't be a DORK.....
      Cheers, WWR.
      Quote Originally Posted by rte7x9 View Post
      Don't swap if you can't weld or fabricate. It's not a trivial task just to bolt everything up. There's a lot of nut-scratching involved. Take your time and do it right.

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      03-16-2010 08:57 PM #47
      Gotta love the Capt.! I wish I could forget that "whisper blue" interior though!

    13. 03-16-2010 09:29 PM #48
      Quote, originally posted by slats »
      Gotta love the Capt.! I wish I could forget that "whisper blue" interior though!

      X2. In my mind, that color will forever be "Quaalude Blue".

      The Captain does know his Caddys - here's a pic of his "longhare" project:

      I'll let Morgan explain...


    14. Member Thecleaner's Avatar
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      03-17-2010 12:19 AM #49
      like my new favorite show that I just gotta watch.......

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      03-17-2010 07:00 PM #50
      Buzzbomb asked me to relay a story of my time in Wolfsburg:
      With in two weeks of hire I was sent to Wolfsburg to begin my certifications for the body shop. Also I was to be involved in the tooling that was being built to go to Westmoreland. We had a couple of different offices in the plant, but the neatest on of them all was a small brick building in the back of the plant that was for Westmoreland and prototype vehicles. I have a picture of one of the first Prototype caddys built and when I find it I will get It posted. Once I was there that was where I spent most of my open time. Alot of the major tooling was sent their for us to work with and train on, but around the exterior were European bodies that I had never seen. These where Bodies in White (just shells) sitting on pallets waiting for things to happen. The 2 bodies that I fell in love with was the RO 80 and the Dasher 2 Dr fastback. Now being a gear head I immediately started to evaluate how I could acquire a Dasher shell and stuff a huge American V8 into it. As I developed a friendship with the German engineers I began to ask pointed questions of how I could buy one of these bodies and get it back to PA for a little hot rod work. I actually was able to find and ally in the engineering dept that made some inroads for me to purchase said body but when it came down to the final hour the VW management thought that I might be setting a bad example with their products. It was fun explaining to the German engineers the dynamics of a large V8 in a light body. The dream never came to reality but it was real fun building it in my head on German soil .

      Capt


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      03-20-2010 09:56 AM #51
      After reading about the US GTI's being heavier, slower and so on.

      I wonder how an AC/PS/sunroof US GTI would do against a regular base equipped euro 75hp model...

      VW-less at the moment...

    17. Member dubdaze68's Avatar
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      03-21-2010 12:42 AM #52
      A good friend of mine's father worked at the plant....He just found a few Westmoreland items when he was cleaning out his grandfather's house, and a picture of himself in his dad's VW New Stanton jacket.

      My father worked for Iron City Uniform and Towel...They did the coveralls and shop rags for Westmoreland. I so wish I could have got a pair or two when they pulled out in 89. His company even had to open up a "depot" in Delmont off of then brand-new toll 66 as a staging point for the factory and other businesses.

      Alas, another chapter comes to a close in that star-crossed building....First Chrysler (never opened), VW (77-89), and now Sony (Mid 90's-2010). Sits empty once again. Sony didn't use a whole lot of that building, it's vast lot, once filled with Rabbits, sat empty most of the time. The old "Volkswagen Drive" became "Technology Drive".

      As for you, Captain: I'm sure dealing with some of those employees was a pain in the ass. Over entitled out of work steelworkers who were used to slacking off, the cream of the crop of Westmoreland and Fayette-nam Counties, and other assorted blaggards. I have to think one of the reasons that place closed was that the employees stole that place BLIND....Many houses you go to out that way have a VW wheel as their hose reel, you find random boxes of brand new owners manuals and such at yard sales....Heck, last month, a friend of ours found these in a Craigslist ad in Greensburg. Gee, I wonder where they came from?



      All brand new, never installed parts, direct from a now-deceased employee. My dad had a VW radio that was boosted from the plant installed in his '86 Isuzu P'up, he found it at work strategically hidden under a couple of coveralls, he was guessing the driver was coming back to get it and forgot about it.

      #DRH2014
      DCIVW
      Crooked Euros.

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      03-21-2010 01:04 AM #53
      Oh, and the afforementioned friend in his Rabbit jacket...

      At the mall, but not just ANY mall, Monroeville Mall, where they filmed "Dawn of the Dead"!
      Front of plant, Dec. '83:

      This is on the PA Turnpike near the plant at around the same time.

      I'm going to link that kid to this thread so he can chime in if he so chooses....

      These are from another local club member.







      MKD cars sitting in the still unfinished plant:

      I have a pic from an archive I have to scan in, it's another angle of all the MKD cars sitting at the factory in different states of build under plastic sheeting. I also have a weathervane or two sitting around.

      #DRH2014
      DCIVW
      Crooked Euros.

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      03-23-2010 08:41 PM #54
      Your comment on the Westmoreland workforce is quite interesting. I was around when the plant was starting up. An interesting note: As part of the deal that VW made with the state of PA, VW had to hire the first couple of rounds of employees except skilled trades from the unemployed workforce, which at the time was large. I was part of the management team that was responsible for interviewing people. We usually spent one week periods doing nothing but interviewing 9 hours per day. Your statement was pretty much on the mark. I can remember going through 10+people to get one decent candidate.
      On another note the Germans tried to keep the unions out of the plant. I can remember dismissing folks for distributing union literature. I was interesting that the skilled raids folks were the one that were instrumental in getting the union into the plant.

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      03-23-2010 08:47 PM #55
      Yeah, I remember seeing a Pittsburgh Press/Post-Gazette article in the archives somewhere about VW trying to keep the unions out.

      One of my favorite stories involving the plant was from an old time tech around here talking about some of the EARLY westmoreland cars....

      Woman came in a couple of times complaining of a thunking noise, they finally brought the regional service rep in, and he very exhaustedly told them to pull the front fender....And there was a Rolling Rock bottle tied to some string....Apparently there were a few cars like that he had encountered already.

      And you have to understand the steelworkers...When the mills starting shutting down in the mid 70's, those guys were making 25 bucks an hour with 12 weeks paid vacation a year and EXCELLENT benefits with almost no skill. That crash almost KILLED this region...Because they were blue collar guys with more money than they knew what to do with, they pissed most of it away. They lived in small, tight-knit neighborhoods in old houses....But they had boats, cars, took long vacations all over, and sent all their kids to Catholic school....And had LOTS of kids. Most of those towns are pretty much gone now.


      Modified by dubdaze68 at 8:50 PM 3-23-2010

      #DRH2014
      DCIVW
      Crooked Euros.

    21. 03-23-2010 09:06 PM #56
      Quote, originally posted by Thecleaner »
      like my new favorite show that I just gotta watch.......

      Please Capt, tell us more.
      -
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      Feel free to let loose, we promise to be polite and respectful!


    22. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      03-24-2010 08:40 PM #57
      Another interesting story from Westmoreland. I was working in the paint shop in the early days of production. One day we developed craters (fish eyes) on the hoods in the prime area. this problem persisted for well over the a week. This problem would not go away. When we finally tracked down the problem, we found out that it was an operator who would not bathe during the work week. Instead he would load up his body with deodorant (Arid Extra Dry). The operator did not tape the sleeves of his suit and therefore as he sanded the hood he was pumping silicone from the deodorant onto the hood that he was preping. When we we found this individual he was turned over to the union to have the individual cleaned up. Amazing what some folks do.

      Lesson learned: When you are doing body or paint don't ware deodorent

      Capt


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      03-24-2010 09:16 PM #58
      What I love is how little the people that worked there drove the product. Employee lots full of huge assed 70's American metal....Do that with a foreign car at any of the big 3, you're not even allowed to park in the lot.
      #DRH2014
      DCIVW
      Crooked Euros.

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      03-24-2010 10:26 PM #59
      So, for the caddy when was production commenced? I owned a truck titled as an 80(VIN tag matched) that had a build sticker for 10/78. I'll see if the guy who has what is left of that shell can post a picture. It had +/-36K on the gauge and the title and appeared to have sat in a field for many years. There was nothing left of the structure and the weatherproofing I complain about when removing fenders was non-existant.
      Activity is not on my list of activities.

    25. Member -camber's Avatar
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      03-26-2010 01:15 AM #60
      lots of great info in here

      thanks for sharing

      bang reggae music

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      03-26-2010 01:20 PM #61
      Interesting as we in Corporate Parts were getting calls constantly for parts to keep the line from shutting down.It got so bad Materials in Michigan even rerouted some of our shipments.Because we were two separate Companies that was illegal and the threat of involving the FTC stopped it.We always wondered where so many parts were going as they had a sophistcated Purchasing/Release System!

    27. 03-26-2010 01:30 PM #62
      Quote, originally posted by cooljet »

      Sorry for the rambling but it is such great story. As I put the way back in gear I will recount other little tid bits for your enjoyment.

      By all means ramble on, these storeies are great!

      TDI | GTI | FLHXI | PVW 02/09

    28. 03-26-2010 01:53 PM #63
      Quote, originally posted by OLD-GTI »
      By all means ramble on, these stories are great!


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      03-30-2010 01:26 PM #64
      Quote, originally posted by OLD-GTI »

      By all means ramble on, these storeies are great!

      Thank you, I'm enjoying this thread quite a bit.

      Click here to bother me on facebook...

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    30. Member lagomorph's Avatar
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      03-30-2010 07:09 PM #65
      absolutely awesome to have the first-hand account of the history for all of us to read. Thx for the contributions!
      Your internet stance club sucks.

    31. 03-31-2010 09:02 PM #66
      Quote, originally posted by mk216v »
      Thanks Capt!


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      04-01-2010 01:07 AM #67
      Great stuff!

      This is the real dope shizz thread ;D


    33. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      04-04-2010 09:08 AM #68
      Story to come. I have found and article on probably the rarest rabbit of them all. Its title was the Black Jack. It was built as a show car for the VP of Manufacturing for this use and the show circuit. It was painted and assembled in Westmoreland. It was a two tone scheme (black and gold). It was built on the second shift and I remember 2 other bodies being built. I gave Buzbomb the material along with some other finds so that he can post for all to enjoy.
      Another teaser for all Caddy fanatics, is a picture of one of the first rabbit pickup taken at Wolfsburg styling building in 1975. A big difference from what we ended up with. Again buzbomb has the pictures to post.
      Thanks for listening.

      Capt

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      04-04-2010 10:05 AM #69
      this really needs to be it's own thread.

      buzzbomb and the captiain need to copy the stories into another thread for all to see... i almost closed this thread after seeing the useless info at the start... then i found the stories...

      keep talking, captain...

      i wish i would have known about you, as i grew up in muncie, not too far south of ft. wayne...


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      04-04-2010 12:41 PM #70

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