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As a general rule, we like to think we’re getting a great deal more creative when it comes to transport than we were 40 years ago. As it turns out…nope. These rail cars stowed 30 Vegas per car, nose down, in the early 70’s, ya’ll.

Some quick checking revealed that Chevy and Southern Pacific designed the entire rail car system dubbed “Vert-A-Pac,” which overnight almost doubled the previous best-loading method’s record of 18. Ramps were lowered by forklifts and the cars were backed off and delivered to waiting dealerships. If it weren’t for its ability to break down and leave a pile of rust in the driveway, the sporty good looks and the sweet rail transport system might have made this a more common sight.

Performance of the actual vehicle aside, it’s worth mentioning the engine was designed so the oil didn’t flow into the cylinders while they’re vertical, and the other fluids were designed not to leak into their various components, either. Looking back, it was pretty forward thinking, even if the car was discontinued after about seven years.

How Chevy Vegas were shipped (circa 1971) [Imgur]


8 Responses to It’s Just Cool: Chevy Stacking

  1. Jim says:

    I had to study and cite the patents for the Vert-A-Pac system while filing a patent of my own last year. Very interesting system.

  2. Slow Joe Crow says:

    Unfortunately the Vert-A-Pac cars had clearance issues which limited the routes that could be used to deliver Vegas, adding cost and inefficiency. Worse, the time and expense devoted to modifying the oil and cooling for vertical delivery could have been applied to preventing the chronic overheating and warping that dogged the Vega.

  3. Fong says:

    Interesting. Reminds me of the automatic parking system shown in “I, Robot” (featuring the Fresh Prince of Scientology). Surprised no one’s perfected this system today with 40+ additional years.

  4. CJH says:

    I remember hearing many years ago that sealed batteries were developed for this.

  5. Ray says:

    The photograph actually shows two different systems tried by the SP – the Vert-A-Pac car (with hinged panels) in the foreground, and several Stac-Pac cars (which employed removable three-tiered modules). A couple of the Stac-Pac modules are just behind the loader.

  6. Karson says:

    All I can think of when I see this is the first star wars haha

  7. Ryan says:

    That is certainly a creative solution and beats having someonme drive them personally to their new owners :p

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