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...
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.
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.
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.
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
Quote, originally posted by Thecleaner » like my new favorite show that I just gotta watch.......
Please Capt, tell us more.
Feel free to let loose, we promise to be polite and respectful!
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
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.
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. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
Activity is not on my list of activities.
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!
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 | Type 1| PVW 02/09
Quote, originally posted by OLD-GTI » By all means ramble on, these storeies are great!
[IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] Thank you, I'm enjoying this thread quite a bit.
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.
this really needs to be it's own thread. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
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...
The building of the first 30 Westmoreland Rabbits. During the early days of Westmoreland we began to prepare to start production of the rabbit. The assembly area was busy learning on the 250 MKD cars from Germany. The body shop was gearing up. Each of the sub assembly areas were getting the tooling in place along with quality certifying the tooling. I was a supervisor in the body shop during those wonderful days. All of the areas had been building sub assemblies and going thru quality for certification. We worked for days getting each areas in spec. Finally the day came and the word came down that the first body would be assembled by US tooling.
The day began as the assemblies came together. The main floor, then the rear floor, the front end, the side body panels, the roof panel, the tail panel. The interesting aspect of the assembly process is how the parts got the the carousel for assembly. At that time the automated delivery systems were not functioning so in order complete we witnessed waves of humans lifting the sub assemblies in the air and carrying them to the assembly point. It looked like a group of Egyptian slaves carrying the king to his throne. It was the story of the ants making things happen. The first 30 cars were built in this fashion.
Once the bodies were assembled they were lifted of the carousel and placed on trunnion carts an pushed to the respot line. In this line the final mig welding was completed alone with the final spot welds Once completed the bodies went to metal finish where the body was gone over for dings, dents and fitment.
So much for may ramblings hope that you all enjoy.
Modified by cooljet at 2:55 PM 4-18-2010
The Captain was back in Indiana last weekend, and we had an opportunity to sift through some more goodies.
Morgan dug up his Supervisor Training manual:
I love pages like this:
I'll get more of this scanned and posted soon.
Here's his Westmoreland Master Tech patch and cool Rabbit belt buckle:
More detail on the belt buckle:
Here's another neat patch - PPG and VW:
This one didn't come out so great, it's a VW-engraved watch:
Another rarity - this is the cleanest VW Rabbit ear hood ornament I've ever come across:
Here's two lapel pins Morgan had. These are very popular with the Germans to signify "been there, done that, don't even ask". The one on the bottom right is Morgan's one year of service pin
Here's the Captain himself modeling his VW flag, which he claims flew at Westmoreland:
I really like this one - it's a "standalone" Rabbit badge - check out the places on the back for the adhesive, very different from a typical plastic Rabbit / GTI badge:
...and yea, I saved the best for last. Morgan sent home a bunch of stuff for me to scan and post, as well as pulling out all these neat pieces seen above. While he's doing that, he pulls out this old Polaroid shot and says "I wasn't supposed to have taken this because it was a prototype, but I did anyway". This was taken in Wolfsberg in 1976 on a plant tour Morgan was on:
It's the prototype of the VW Caddy, built in Germany with a 4-door shell and drop-down sides from a Transporter. I think I'm going to start a separate thread for this pic, I've never seen any pics or documentation on this critter so I'm hoping someone's got some they'd like to share...
Once again, I'll let the Captain / Cooljet put more detail to the pics Good to see you again this weekend, glad to get some work done on your projects for once!