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

    1. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      04-19-2010 08:31 PM #106
      Well boys and Girls another story has bubbled its way to the front of may mind. This story takes place in the paint shop during the initial startup. As we ramped up and began to increase thruput. During the shift we were puzzled when the bodies stopped showing up at the color booths while the conveyor was still working. We gathered outside the color booth and we heard a loud bang coming from the oven and the conveyor came to a halt. We ran to the oven and opened one of the access doors and peered inside and couldn't see in. We turned on a dock liet at the door and swung it into the opening. Oh my GOD about 20 feet from the door there were 4 Rabbit shells along with their skids piled, crunched and contortet together from side to side and ceiling to floor. Now visualize this an opening that measured 12 feet wide by 12 feet high piled full of twisted Rabbit shells and skids. It seemed that on of the shells had become detached from the conveyor and lodged into the interior walls of the oven. Now the conveyor continued to pull shells forward and crashed into the lodged shell. Once the collision took place the bodies continued to be pressed together as other shells came into contact and after the 4th shell impacted the conveyor became so bound that it overloaded the conveyor and it shut down. We had to shut the oven down and allow it to cool off. I wish I had a picture of the interior of that oven. Now we couldn't just separate this mess and pull is out the end of the oven. What we had to do was to bring in a crew of maintenance guys with torches to cut the bodies into sections carry them to the door and throw them in to a pile on the floor. It took approximately 4.5 hours to clear the oven. When done we had a massive pile of steel a combination of shells and skids. It was a mess but we were able to be back in operation within 6 hours. Thanks for listening.

      Capt.


    2. Geriatric Member VDub2625's Avatar
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      04-19-2010 09:32 PM #107
      Was there a cost per shell? Like could you value the loss of those 4 shells? or the one your boss dropped
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      04-20-2010 05:36 PM #108
      Bagpipe, this one's just for you The Captain has handed me another gem, this one hand-made. He came up with a illustration of the layout of the paint plant and describes it's operation:

      (Edit - just for reference, here's the entire plant layout - the paint shop took up half of the 2nd floor, and is illustrated at the bottom of this pic)


      Quote, originally posted by cooljet »
      Area Descriptions:
      1. Conveyor brings the shells from the body shop for processing. The conveyor was an overhead design. There are 4 points on the floors panels that both the conveyor and the skids attached to the body. The front 2 are located just behind the front wheel house near the rocker the other 2 are located behind the rear wheel house and near the corner of the quarter and the rear valance. We use a simple cam lock to hold them in place. 2. 7-Stage Iron Phosphate (Surface Preparation): In this process the body travels thru a machine to convert the steel surface so the paint creates a strong bond. To complete this process the use of high impingement spray nozzles were used to basically scrub the exposed surfaces. The process is as follows:
      2A) Pre-clean Stage: This was a quick to get the major soils off the shell
      2B) Cleaner Stage: In this stage the cleaner was stronger to strip all of the soils from the surface. This process usually lasted for about 3 to 4 minutes. In these two stages we used a strong alkaline cleaner. Also involved in this process is that the cleaner provides a micro etch to the metals surface which also improves adhesion.
      2C) Rinse stage: In the stage we totally rinsed the shell of cleaner.
      2D) Iron Phosphate: In this tank the bodies are sprayed with an iron phosphate solution which reacts with the clean steel surface. This reaction starts a process that builds micro salts that are chemically bonded with the steels surface and promote adhesion and corrosion resistance.
      2E) Rinse stage: Again the surfaces of the body are completely flushes of the residual solution.
      2F) Chrome rinse: In this stage the bodies are again immersed in a chromated solution that basically stops the reaction of the phosphate and also seals the surface.
      2G) Fresh water rinse: The shells are flushed of the residual solution from the last tank
      2H) DI rinse: in this final stage the shells are reflushed with deionized water. The reason for this is the removal of any remaining mineral salts that have been left over from the process.
      3. Ecoat (Electrocoat): In this process the bodies travel through a tank of positively charged coating. By this the shells were totally submerged in a tank and the charged coating attaches itself to an exposed surface. As the coating is attaching itself to the steel surface it insulates the steel were at a given thickness the coating will no longer stick thus a very consistent and thin film of paint on all exposed surfaces. As the bodies come out of the tank at a steep angle they are draining and being flushed with DI water to remove any residual material. At this point of the process the shells are removed from the overhead conveyor and placed on a skid to finish the process.

      4. Bake Oven: Here the bodies are baked at 450 degree F to cure the coating.

      5. PVC Undercoating: In this area the shells would come into the area stop in a specific point and the shell as well as the skid would be lifted off the conveyor. The underside of the shell would be sprayed with this highly viscous PVC coating. With the bottom done the rockers, real valance and the front valance were sprayed. I was interesting to note that the edge that they were able to spray was achieved without any masking materials. We were spraying with and airless gun at about 2200 PSIG. Once that was sprayed then tow operators with long handled brushes and would trace out specific lines where the major assemblies came together. The reasoning for this was that the brushes would push material into area that the spray might otherwise miss thus removing any trapped air bubbles. Then the shell was lowered and a group applied PVC in 1⁄2” ribbons around other critical joints and would be followed by guys with brushes to smooth them out. At this point the PVC was not cured so we all had to learn to stay away and don’t touch it.

      6. Prime Booth (Application): Here the outer and inner portions of the shells where sprayed with a high build primer. To understand this process the primers and the paint were chemically modified to not cure unless high heat was a part of the drying process. These coatings are called thermosets. A chemical blocker is added to the coating to block cross linking of the coating. When heat is added the chemical blocker reacts with the heat and allows the coating to cross link or cure. The coatings where electrostatically applied. Electrostatic application allows the coatings to wrap around corners. It is a very efficient way to apply paint. As the bodies continued through the booth they were manual touched by a painter. Then the shells proceeded to the oven to be baked for 25minutes a 450 degrees F. Upon exiting the oven the bodies were allowed to cool to ambient. As you look at the diagram you will notice the spray booths are very long and that reason was once they entered and area they would be enclosed and a clean room environment until cured. Also as part to this curing process the PVC from the previous station was also cured. This process produced a very hard coating.

      7. Prime Surface Prep: In this area all of the exterior surfaces where evaluated and defects where removed. This was done by hand. Individuals were taught to rub a cotton glove across the surface to feel defects and remove them. Larger defects were removed with a small orbital sander. The major areas of concentration where the hood, roof, and deck lid. Other areas were the quarters, doors and fenders from the character line up. The booths were designed as a down draft which pushes air into the booth at the top and exhausts from the bottom. So any dust would be drawn away from the shell. All of the booths were designed this way. Before leaving the area the exterior surfaces were blown off and tacked by hand to remove any sanding dust.

      8 & 9. Color Booths: Here the designations of color had been decided by a schedule and the bodies VIN was checked and a color was selected for application. As the bodies entered the booth the shells were again tacked and door, hood and deck lid props where installed. These props were wire that attached at the locking points and would space the door away during the process. Then the body would proceed to the next phase which was the interior coating. Here 5 painters manually coated the engine compartment plus under the hood, A/B/C pillar with the quarter window opening, the hatch opening, and finally the interiors of the door openings and frames. The bodies would next have the exterior shell coated with the use of electrostatic bells. These units would reciprocate on a vertical plane for the sides and a horizontal plane for the hood, roofs and deck lid. The use of these bells allowed for an application of a very consistent film build and the desired slight orange peel to the finish. Finally the wet shells would go through an inspection of the surface and if necessary a painter would manually touch up especially the horizontal surfaces. From there the body would go through a heated flash zone and finally an oven that would bake the bodies for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.
      Color 1 (no. 8) was used for most nonmetallic colors no clear
      Color 2 (no. 9) was used for both nonmetallic and metallic colors with clear

      10&11. Buyoff/QC Inspection: In this area the bodies are inspected for surface quality and defects. The defects were highlighted with a white china marker and sent a repair station where they were sanded and buffed. Finally an inspector would evaluate both the interior and exterior and buy off the units. This area was completely illuminated at all major angles (horizontal, vertical, 45 degrees facing down from the ceiling supports, and 45 degrees facing up from the floor. You couldn’t miss seeing anything on the exterior. Although our focus was on the horizontal surfaces anything that was navel high or above was suspect.

      12. Storage Bank: When the painted shells are released from the inspection area they proceed to a storage bank. Here the completed shells are kept until the schedules calls for them. Just imagine standing at one end and seeing 5 rows of 10 Rabbits waiting to become whole. It was an awesome sight.

      13. Repair: If the bodies had any additional damage or defects that could not be handled by buy-off they were sent to repair and would completely pass the bank. In this area the defects could range from small items to an entire respray. Also in this area is where the optional striping, lettering or secondary colors were done. In this area it was feast or famine. Some days we could not keep up while other days we were bored to death.

      14. Interior Repair: The last paint operation was to make and small repairs to the interior surfaces. We used air dried Imron base clear. It was a manual process with 4 painters taking care of the defects. Also in this area the body side moldings where installed.
      15. Wax booth: This was a unique area, when the shells reached this booth and elevator would raise them up approximately 6 feet and they would be pushed onto another conveyor. The bodies would enter and stop, 4 operators would complete the rust proofing operations on the shells from the top and underneath.

      16. Shipping: Here the shells would be released from the skids and lifted. An overhead conveyor fixture would be released and come into the station. The shell would be lowered onto the fixture, locked in place then released to the assembly area.

      This was my world for a long time.



      Modified by buzbomb at 4:42 PM 4-20-2010
      Last edited by buzbomb; 05-07-2010 at 11:28 AM. Reason: trying to fix formatting
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    4. Member deer_eggs's Avatar
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      04-20-2010 06:46 PM #109
      wow, that's quite the set-up.
      Click here to bother me on facebook...

      Check out mk1dubz.com,a better Mk1 site.
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      04-20-2010 07:53 PM #110
      Awesome description! Whats' the "Vinyl Top" section though?
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      04-20-2010 08:01 PM #111
      This thread keeps getting better and better.
      Quote Originally Posted by WackyWabbitRacer View Post
      You're new here but don't be a DORK.....
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      04-21-2010 02:38 PM #112
      great stuff in here!!
      i am ready to read more of these awsome storys and see more of those highly interresting pictures!

    8. Member buzbomb's Avatar
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      04-23-2010 11:57 AM #113
      Morgan remembers only a few of these cars coming down the "repair" section of the paint shop, as that's where they did two-tone exterior colors. I swear I've read about these cars before in the MK1 forums years ago (somebody had pics of one on their dad's VW showroom floor). This is the Blackjack Rabbit, precursor to the US GTI:


      And here's Herb Adams' vision for the Rabbit:


      Bonus Tad Burnett info on the Caddy:
      Last edited by buzbomb; 05-07-2010 at 11:29 AM.
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      04-23-2010 12:25 PM #114
      Awesome stuff.

      As many of you have read and seen from some of the pictures of his projects, this is one very talented and knowledgeable man.

      I am very glad to have the honor of knowing both Brian and Morgan. I do however, wish I had spent more time out at the barn before now, especially since the Captain is moving away. To anyone who is lucky enough to get to spend some time with Morgan in PA or anywhere else, absorb all you can.


    10. Member vw fiend's Avatar
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      04-24-2010 11:33 AM #115
      Quote, originally posted by buzbomb »
      jackrabbit[/img]

      Does Captain, or anyone know if any of these were made?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...edded


    11. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      04-24-2010 07:07 PM #116
      I have seen one sassembled kit outside of Morgantowm WV. IT was for sale along with some other sports cars

      Capt


    12. Member vw fiend's Avatar
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      04-24-2010 10:48 PM #117
      Quote, originally posted by cooljet »
      I have seen one sassembled kit outside of Morgantowm WV. IT was for sale along with some other sports cars

      Capt

      I was just reading up on them online, they evidently only made about 25 of them.


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      04-25-2010 12:39 PM #118
      Neat video find, Adam! I've seen pics of one in the "doing it wrong" thread in the car lounge, but never run into one in the wild. That thing would be a lot of fun with a 2.0 16v Morgan was back in Indiana this weekend, and he found another couple nifty pieces. Here's a set of calipers he used for quality control:

      Here's the DeVilbiss paint gun he uses around the garage - I never noticed the engraved rabbit on the handle

      Also got some clarification to some of the unanswered questions, such as:

      Quote, originally posted by VDub2625 »
      Whats' the "Vinyl Top" section though?

      Believe it or not, they originally intended on putting vinyl tops on the Rabbits and Jettas to "americanize them". Yea, really. I remember back in '79 seeing a couple Dodge Omnis on a dealer showroom floor that had vinyl roofs installed, I still have nightmares. This area ended up becoming a extended repair area - if something happened on the line, the car could get routed back up here to repair a scratch / dent or repaint a panel (or entire car).
      Quote, originally posted by VDub2625 »
      Was there a cost per shell? Like could you value the loss of those 4 shells? or the one your boss dropped

      According to Morgan, the cost of the shells was not important, the lesson learned from the mistake was the important part. In the early days, it was more important to show the Germans that the Americans could build with the same quality as Wolfsburg. Which they did - we had quite the conversation about how the Westmoreland plant could build what they called a "number two" car. Here's some clarification - cars were rated on a scale from 1 to 4, with a #1 being absolutely perfect (which was unachievable), #2 had 2-4 defects (all small, these were the "best" cars), #3 had more defects but were repairable and #4 was rejected. Wolfsburg made quite a few #2s and few #3's, and at first Westmoreland did the same. #4 were just considered "unexpected opportunities to learn"...He sent me home with a photo album and more newspaper clippings to scan, so more updates this week!
      Last edited by buzbomb; 05-07-2010 at 11:29 AM.
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    14. 04-25-2010 12:47 PM #119
      Quote, originally posted by buzbomb »
      In the early days, it was more important to show the Germans that the Americans could build with the same quality as Wolfsburg. Which they did -

      I dont know.
      I think anyone who has worked on American rabbits and German rabbits can attest that the Westmoreland cars are vastly inferior in many many ways to the German built cars.


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      04-25-2010 01:19 PM #120
      But, they must have been somewhat on the mark, considering the amount of both that are still around as opposed to other cars of the era. It's harder to find Omnis that predate 86, or Citation X-11's, or Fiat 128's, etc etc etc.
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      04-25-2010 01:25 PM #121
      Quote, originally posted by deathhare. »
      I don't know.
      I think anyone who has worked on American rabbits and German rabbits can attest that the Westmoreland cars are vastly inferior in many many ways to the German built cars.
      Oh yea, I totally agree with you there, the German build cars were superior. I guess I'm gaining a different respect for the guys like Morgan and the other talented folk who were proud to work for VWoA and the obstacles that were in their way (unions, supplier screw-ups, dealing with the Germans, the attitude towards imported cars in the mid '70s, etc).
      I also think that even though Westmoreland was capable of making a #2 car, I bet it was the rarity more than the norm. Just because some of them cared doesn't mean all of them did, and unfortunately it's obvious whenever we tear one of these cars down (be they MK1 or MK2 cars assembled in Westmoreland) - on average, the German cars were assembled better with better designed parts and stood the test of time longer.
      What I'd really like to see is one of these MKD cars up close to see what it's build quality was like...
      Last edited by buzbomb; 05-07-2010 at 11:30 AM.
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      04-25-2010 02:56 PM #122
      Quote, originally posted by deathhare. »

      I dont know.
      I think anyone who has worked on American rabbits and German rabbits can attest that the Westmoreland cars are vastly inferior in many many ways to the German built cars.


      The quality dropped off but early on they were nicely built. Also, people equate the use of different materials (dashboards, confusing Americanized electrical systems, etc) with inferior qulaity. It wasn't worse in quality, it was just differentand takes some getting used to
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      04-25-2010 03:51 PM #123
      Wow, what a read! So much learned so quickly. I get a big kick out of production history like this, especially about cars <3 Thanks for all the cool info.

      Quote, originally posted by dubdaze68 »
      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.

      Haha, I've heard stories like this too...

      A few years back I interned at GM's Powertrain Casting Facility in Saginaw, MI. I parked my '90 Camry in the lot everyday and didn't even catch a dirty look. However, I did hear stories from guys who caught wind that I was driving a Toyota, that back in the day foreign cars would get fork-lifted out of the parking lots with no warning

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      04-27-2010 10:57 AM #124
      Buzbomb, if all goes to plan, I'll be down there to visit you in a westmoreland car. It'd be cool if morgan is there when we come.
      Don't break my heart with your common sense.

    20. 04-27-2010 11:20 AM #125
      Quote, originally posted by VDub2625 »

      TAlso, people equate the use of different materials (dashboards, confusing Americanized electrical systems, etc) with inferior qulaity. It wasn't worse in quality, it was just differentand takes some getting used to

      So I just have to get used to the ****ty dash in my Caddy in comparison to the nice German dash in my Rabbit and then it will be just as good?
      You've been drinking!


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      04-27-2010 11:24 AM #126
      I've had a lot of expirence with the USA vs. German/Mexican (yes, they're on the same level) Mk2s, and generally the quality is the same but the materials are so different it's like owning a different car and that frustrates people. But the Mk1s are a little different... the dashes fade and curl much easier, so I'll give you that

      The metal frame of the body notwithstanding of course, those seem to rot easier in USA/Mex cars then German, but that has to do with the paint process as much as the metal quality: in the early 90s VW was in a financial crunch so the German Passat got thinner paint and it shows, since they rust just as easy.

      A2Resource
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    22. 04-27-2010 11:36 AM #127
      Quote, originally posted by VDub2625 »
      I've had a lot of expirence with the USA vs. German/Mexican (yes, they're on the same level) Mk2s, and generally the quality is the same but the materials are so different it's like owning a different car and that frustrates people.

      I've also had plenty of experience with the two different build cars.
      I dont want to turn this thread into German/American rabbit debate so I'll just finish with saying that I 100% completely disagree with you and and that I think the American stuff is shockingly inferior and not merely just "different".


    23. Member otti's Avatar
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      04-27-2010 01:50 PM #128
      do you have a copy of a document on how muck black rabbits have been produced?

    24. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      04-27-2010 07:36 PM #129
      The reason that I know how many Black Jack paint schemes were painted is that I was the supervisor over the repair line during their build. I remember that the first build was for VW as posted earlier but two other shells where painted later on but I was not privy to the trim level after they left paint. During our production meetings we were made aware of the special project and the timing. The only documents at our level were the production schedule. Hope the that helps.

      Capt


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      04-27-2010 07:44 PM #130
      Interesting on the secrecy almost. They say "we're building something a little different" but only told you how your particular department (paint) was going to handle it?
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    26. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      04-27-2010 08:04 PM #131
      not at all, since the plant was broken up into 3 areas the production scheduling group would break the vehicle into groups and would only define what was what was required for the area.
      Capt.

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      04-28-2010 07:18 AM #132
      Yeah, I've seen a few little weird items that the "racing department" of Westmoreland produced....Like a hinged DCOE manifold. Don't know what it was for, but it did come from the factory. Probably not "official".....
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      04-28-2010 12:50 PM #133
      I've been following this thread since it started and all I can say is thank you and I love it! Please keep the info a'posting, it makes for great reading at work That Blackjack is insane-o

    29. Member cooljet's Avatar
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      05-02-2010 05:42 PM #134
      back to the top
      Capt.

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      05-07-2010 11:52 AM #135
      Oh man, I'm so happy this thread didn't get eaten by the rely.net hamsters... :bow
      "We reserve the right to refuse service to ho-dads" - Runnion Ave. Skunkworks
      KDF Chief Perpetrator, Problem Causer & Spare Parts Pimp

      '81 Diesel Pickup - '84 GTI - '87 16v GLI - '89 Cabriolet - '00 Jetta VR6

    31. Member wantacad's Avatar
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      I haz a bunnah
      05-07-2010 04:37 PM #136
      Quote Originally Posted by buzbomb View Post
      Oh man, I'm so happy this thread didn't get eaten by the rely.net hamsters... :bow
      no kidding!

      back in my watched topics you go.
      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.

    32. Moderator
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      05-07-2010 11:26 PM #137
      i made this a sticky. lots of great history in here. I hope we keep this thread on the up and up. also we won't loose it if it's at the top
      If you can't take the HEAT be a COP

      2B1 ask 1

    33. Member 83mk2scirocco's Avatar
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      05-08-2010 01:06 AM #138
      I got a smoothie hood of a 78 diesel.

      http://swallowtail.proboards22.com/
      Well any way swallowtail.info if you type it in you get the site.
      Last edited by 83mk2scirocco; 05-08-2010 at 01:13 AM.

    34. Member vr6jettajay's Avatar
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      05-08-2010 10:12 AM #139
      Quote Originally Posted by irishpride View Post
      i made this a sticky. lots of great history in here. I hope we keep this thread on the up and up. also we won't loose it if it's at the top
      Irish pride ... the mk1 forum knight in shining armour :bow:
      Last edited by vr6jettajay; 05-12-2010 at 09:01 AM.

    35. Member watchxmexdie's Avatar
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      05-08-2010 03:15 PM #140
      squares on rabbit started in the middle or close to the end of 1979. so 1978 rabbit had rounds. i mean every 78 rabbit i have seen on here was rounds.
      donald + Mk1 Rabbit = happy

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