Another wee diversion.

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Another wee diversion.

Oct 1, 2017
Edinburgh Scotland
This is a rather sad spectacle but, I think, very interesting. I especially like the way that chap fits the main bearing cap with a lump hammer! Also the comparison between the fitting of the door locks, The British chap with his Yankee manual screwdriver and the German with his power tool. Wonder what Michael Edwards is doing now? If he's even still alive?
OOPs, just googled, he's no longer with us.
It was not uncommon to lift the boot mat on a Longbridge car to find a fag packet painted to the floor. Bodies were made from surface rusted panels so corrosion began under folds and seams. Doors especially would rot out at the bottom. Much fuss was made about Zintech steel sheet but it did not stop car doors from rotting out at the edges.

I had a 1990 Montego which was actually quite a good car and ran me about for 140,000 miles. But let down by body rot problems and the front wheel bearings that had not been upgraded from the original Maestro 1300. They would last about 20K miles.
Those yankees were mighty powerful, a lot of engineering companies wouldn't allow them to be used, one slip and that could easily damage the door skin. I used one for DiY - until it slipped, took loads of skin off my thumb and first finger:cry:
A 1.6 Montego was a common hire car for me and I really liked driving them. My sister in law bought a 2.0 litre van den plas estate - lovely car which she kept for years. In fact she only gave it up when her local garage told her they were now welding patches onto patches because there wasn't any original metal left! She replaced it with a V6 Rover 75 estate which I never liked so much.

Yankee screwdrivers? I never owned one but have used them. Yes absolutely lethal, especially when working with slot headed screws.
I was too young (probably a good thing.)

But lived and worked locally to Cowley

Minors. Marinas Montegos

Mirafiori's .. I wish.. ;)

They were on strike A LOT in the 70' s and 80's

Bare shells would sit out in the weather for days.. then when they were working again would be 'mopped out' then straight to paint

Legend has it they
'electrostatically charged'
the paint for the Metro

The wrong way..!! Probably true :eek:
It was not uncommon to lift the boot mat on a Longbridge car to find a fag packet painted to the floor.

I had a 1990 Montego which was actually quite a good car and ran me about for 140,000 miles. But let down by body rot problems and the front wheel bearings that had not been upgraded from the original Maestro 1300. They would last about 20K miles.

Working at a large BL dealership in Dorset (part of a group of 53 dealers) we saw all the issues. Good cars thrown together poorly. Such a shame. When the Montego was launched, we had 5 cars between us and four dealers, so just one each. One car came with grey front seats and brown in the rear. Replacements arrived late afternoon of the evening launch event.

The Regional MD was running a Rover SD1. The electric doorlock failed, and inside the door was a note, "serves you right for buying a Rover". Obviously placed there on the production line. Being the Regional MD of an important dealer group brought a lot of clout with the factory. The note was faxed to Longbridge, and within a few hours, the culprit was identified and dismissed. Without a strike being called.

The Maestro/Montego front wheel bearing problem was a VW design and failure. (The 1300 & 1600 used the Golf gearbox and drive shafts.) Two bearings in a hub, but the hub was machined from either side separately, and many were misaligned. VW fixed this quickly on their cars (Golf mainly) by machining all from one side and adding circlips to locate the bearings instead of a central boss, then later used a one-piece double bearing. Rover took ages to change their machining to adopt the later VW design. Eventually we were allowed to replace complete hubs with the later ones for the most troublesome vehicles.
Mirafiori's .. I wish.. ;)

While working at Unipart in Cowley, for a while I owned a Mirafiori. We could take a short cut through the plant, where MINI is now, to avoid the clog at Cowley roundabout. Theft in the plant was rife, and with so many staff running Maestros and Montegos, 'Security' would regularly stop vehicles and check underbonnet, boot and sometimes in the car. I was stopped nearly every day, presumably because mine was 'different'. The only thing from the plant that might fit my car were bulbs. When this was poiinted out one day, to one of the more amenable security guys, his face lit up with realisation. Never got stopped again.
In the mid 1990s I had a job with British gas. One of the other engineers was ex Longbridge with a few tails to tel. The other was ex Cowley.

The Cowley management could not understand how a whole car was going missing every week. The numbers leaving the factory added up but the parts tally were a whole car short. The crime was eventually solved when a scrap dealer was caught for some other dodgy deal. They had a scrap metal skip (the big container size used for machine swarfe) with a shelf welded into the front end. The car would be rolled into the skip and the cover dropped over. Security could drag out half of the scrap and not find any sign of a car sized cover buried at the far end.
When I first moved to Oxford, there were a lot of colleagues who had worked there for many years, and had stories to tell.

For a long time, many workers travelled on foot or by bicycle. Cycles were parked inside the otherwise secure area, whereas cars were outside.
When a shift ended, there would be a mass exodus. Parts being carried out would be in the middle of the crowd, often large items such as wheels, or even complete seats. Once a whole engine, suspended between two bicycles, and the gearbox a few days later.
There were many Cowley built vehicles around Oxford, low spec models bearing alloy wheels, plush interiors, etc.

Not surprising when security focussed on my Fiat because it was unusual.

I was in an office building, 6 storeys tall. We could look down on the trucks leaving the parts warehouse. One day a truck trundled by with a complete exhaust system on top of it. Head of security had an office on the top floor, that side of the building, and he saw it too, so it got stopped at the gate.
Small items could just be put in a jiffy and posted out. Not sure if they ever woke up to that one. When I was dealing with carburettor parts, I used to post large jiffy bags daily, never checked, just trust. Whilst I never sent anything that shouldn't have gone, it did occur to me that I could have done. Surely this must have occurred to others over the years.
During my power station days, they had an issue with scrap getting taken out illegally. It was scrap so no biggie but it was still gross misconduct, etc, etc.

The management brought in a system where you got your "scrap" weighed at the store and paid the going rate. The handy side effect was the pilfering rate went down. I guess if you are not going to get hung for 2p worth of steel you don't bother to make it worth your while with a fat lump of phosphor bronze.