Chevy Vega And The Vert-A-Pac Rail System In The 1970s – Design You Trust

Chevy Vega And The Vert-A-Pac Rail System In The 1970s

When Chevrolet started designing ‘Vega’ during the 1970s, one of the main objectives was to keep the cost of the car down around $2,000 in circa-1970 dollars.

h/t: vintag.es

At the time, the freight charge for moving a loaded railroad car from the Lordstown assembly plant to the Pacific coast – the longest distance that cars produced at Lordstown would need to travel – was around $4,800. Since the Vega was a subcompact, it was possible to squeeze three more cars on a railroad car for a total of eighteen, instead of the usual fifteen.

But that still worked out to around $300 per car – a substantial surcharge for a $2000 car. If only Chevrolet could get more Vegas on a railroad car, the cost per unit of hauling them would go down.

The engineers at GM and the Southern Pacific Railroad came up with a clever solution. Instead of loading the cars horizontally, the Vegas will be placed vertically on a specially designed auto-rack – the Vert-A-Pac. Within the same volume of an 89-foot car, the Vert-A-Pac could hold as many as 30 automobiles instead of 18.

The Vega was hugely popular when it was introduced in 1970 however it quickly earned a reputation for unreliability, rust, safety issues and lousy engine durability.

When the Vega was discontinued, the Vert-A-Pac cars had to be retired as they were too specialized to be used with anything else. The Vert-A-Pac racks were scrapped, and the underlying flatcars went on to other uses.


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Vintage Photos of Cars During Winter in the 1950s and ’60s
Amazing Vintage Photos Of The Grateful Dead’s Wall Of Sound, 1974
Nano Hummingbird
Artist Designs Classic Cars Inspired By Exotic Wild Animals
Neuno - A New Brutalist-Modern Tablet Stands!
This 1958's General Motors Firebird III Looks Like A Future Spaceship
Photographer Dieter Klein Captures The Nostalgic Beauty Of Abandoned Cars Across The Europe And United States
Cool Vintage Photos of Victorian People Posing With Their Penny-Farthings
Delahaye Type 165: The Most Beautiful French Car Of The 1930s
Crazy Japanese Vending Machines
Limo-Jet: The World's First Private Jet Converted Into A Luxury Limousine
Haunting Photographic Self-Portraits by Francesca Woodman From the 1970s
Glow-In-The-Dark Underwear Is Exactly What You Need Right Now
Dreamy Photographs Of Young Women Taken By David Hamilton From The 1970s
See How the Hollywood Sign Has Changed from between the 1920s and 1970s
The Jeep Wrangler Based G. Patton Tomahawk 6x6 Is What Nightmares Are Made Of
Photographer Benedict Redgrove Given Unprecedented Access To NASA Technology
"Debbie Harry And Me": Shooting The Blondie Singer in 1970s New York City
Space Colony Art from the 1970s
Explorer Visits Abandoned and World's Largest Ekranoplan, Here Are Some Great Pictures of The Inside and Outside
Ohio Youth Of The 1970s – Lovely Photos Of Long-Haired Teenage Girls In Dayton From 1974-75
Planet Mercury Unmasked: Fantastic Photos Of Crazy New Discoveries
50 Awesome and Colorful Photoshoots of the 1970s Fashion and Style Trends