Journal: Unique Ways to Transport a Classic

Unique Ways to Transport a Classic

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
August 16, 2013

Over the decades, people have transported their automobiles in many various ways—some ways have been more interesting than others. Until the 1960s, cars being shipped by train were held in boxcars, and in the mid-1900s, railroads came up with the automobile boxcar, which were fifty feet long and had double-wide doors. These boxcars protected the cars but could only hold four sedans at a time.

Soon, the flatcars were introduced. These could hold five sedans at a time, and when stacked two or three rows high, they could hold even more.

The majority of the photos below depict Chevrolet Vegas being loaded into “Vert-A-Pac” train cars. These train cars, which held the Vegas vertically and nose down, were created as a collaboration between General Motors and Southern Pacific Railroad in an effort to keep costs down. Aside from staying on a budget (which is a telling factors in the reasons the quality of the Vega wasn’t great), one goal of the Vert-A-Pac was to have the Vegas delivered to dealerships already topped with fluids and ready to drive immediately.

A Vega’s length plus the height of a standard 89-foot flatcar deck above the rail head was less than the height of an auto carrier car, so it was determined that if the Vegas could be placed vertically rather than horizontally, 30 Vegas might be able to fit in one car as opposed to the 15 to 18 that would fit on a regular tri-level autorack. The cars were fixed with specific mechanics, plugs, and spacers to keep the fluids from leaking out all over the place. After the cars were driven up onto the ramp/door and secured, a forklift had to push the ramp/door up to close it.

Though they were scrapped not long after production was discontinued on the Vega, the Vert-A-Pacs were more successful than the car itself.

A few more photos below depict other ways cars can be delivered. Our favorite is the one of the porters carrying the car across the river on long poles.

Have you ever had to transport a car? What’s your preferred method?

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Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

The mechanic who looks after the Daytona, worked for the UK Ferrari importer for many years. he tells the story that back in the early seventies a lot of new Ferraris were being delivered to them with unbody damage. Turned out the truck being used to bring the cars from the UK to Italy was not compatible with the loading ramp at Maranello, so Ferrari were using a Fork lift to load them onto the truck!

No idea if the story is true but I like it 🙂

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo
When you’re a teenager everything with four wheels is a classic, and since I had a very dependable 69 Volvo 142 I was the tow guy, and a strong rope was our friend. Looking back I can’t believe we got away with it and no one being towed rear-ended me. Looking at the photos of how those Vega’s were transported makes me think GM put more money into engineering their delivery than the cars themselves. Before anyone yells at me my (then future) brother in law, who was the only person on earth that could keep his and his fathers… Read more »

Does this count:

Craig Zeni
Craig Zeni

To be truthful only part of the Vert-A-Pac cars were scrapped; that is, everything above the deck of the flat car itself that carried the structure. Same thing would apply to the Mopar-loaded autorack car in the photos above – the rack is separate from the flat car itself. The flat car part of the Vert-A-Pacs remained in service for many more years.

motoring con brio
motoring con brio