Virtues and vices of photographing black cars

Virtues and vices of photographing black cars

1969 Buick GS 400

The late day sun illuminates the grille and the concours-quality detailed front suspension of this 1969 Buick GS 400, but the importance of this photo for this article is how the side has reflected the surrounding scene right down to the proper colors for the pavement, sand, boulder, water and tree line. It certainly grounds the car to its surroundings, but some may say that the details of the body side don’t stand out due to the reflection. Photography by author.

Some automotive photographers maintain a love/hate relationship with shooting black cars. While it’s important to be able to photograph a black car or any dark colored car to meet the standards of the respective publication in which it will appear, it usually takes more effort and forethought to accomplish than it would with brighter colored cars.

Those online, magazine, and TV ads you see featuring black cars bathed in liquid light with all of the highlights in just the right places and no unwanted reflections on the body are usually the result of using professional lighting equipment, likely including huge light boxes. Considerable post processing may have also been performed. Yes, these images are beautiful, but spending lots of money, time, and effort is not what this article is about.

1969 Buick GS 400

This is the same day and location, but the Buick is about 50 feet away from where the lead photo was taken and it’s about 15 minutes earlier. This positioning removed most of the side reflections and the polarizer helped with the rest. Thankfully the sun was low enough, so that the lower body lines and rocker panel are still defined. Is this photo more or less interesting than the previous one?

Instead, its intent is simply to help owners overcome some of the frustration they may have encountered when trying to photograph their own black or dark colored cars. Since this article is based purely on my experiences over the years, some other photographers may have different opinions.

A well-done black finish on any vehicle essentially becomes a large compound-curved mirror that reflects everything around it. Reflections that are perfectly rendered in the black car’s finish may be much less obvious in a like-model that was painted white or other bright colors and set up in the same location at the same time of day.

Consequently, more care has to be taken to eliminate or reduce undesirable reflections like mailboxes, fences, signs, trees, power lines, other structures and other vehicles, while still trying to retain the body’s details. It can be a real challenge, especially because the situation changes with the design of the car.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am SE

The challenge of this background for the 1978 SE Trans Am was that the car had to stay very close to it because that’s where the road was. Thus we’d have to live with the resulting reflections of the leaves on the hood, windshield and roof. However, the polarizer did a pretty good job of minimizing their impact. The attributes of this background include framing the car with the orange and gold leaves, how they tie in with the gold bird and stripes and the orange parking lamps, and the fact that the driver’s side still retains a clean horizon line.

For instance, slab-sided cars will likely pick up more reflections of items that are directly facing its side and at the same relative height, but a bit less of items above or below it. A vehicle featuring heavily sculpted sides will do the opposite under the same circumstances, however, and reflect more sky and ground instead.

Another issue is that in my experience, direct sunlight in late morning/early afternoon when sun is high and intense is not kind to black cars (not to mention other-colored cars). The body sides of black ones fare even worse in this situation, however, because the character lines and the gaps between panels can sometimes disappear into the blackness.

Additionally, photographing a black car with flash provides a less dramatic result than using flash with finishes of lighter colors. However, the non-black surfaces like the wheels and bright trim will still react to the added light as they normally would, so there is a chance that they can become overexposed in the effort to brighten the body.

Don’t mistake this with flash hotspots, which are simply a reflection of the flash itself in the paint. You can get plenty of those in black cars just like any other color, but they are generally distracting and not welcomed. Though someone will likely point out scientific reasons as to why black and dark colors react differently to the light than lighter colors do, I’m not delving into that topic here.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am SE

This rear photo shot on the same overcast fall day in the adjacent parking lot offers an excellent example of how the body shape determines what is reflected in the sides of the car. The trees you see behind the car nearly surround this parking lot, yet above the main body crease, the side reflects the sky (the streaks are clouds) and below the crease the ground is reflected. In this instance, the resulting photo is cleaner than if the trees were reflected. The gold stripes and bright door edge molding also accentuate the design aspects of the Pontiac.

Black cars can still be photographed in the sun, but they will generally look considerably better when the sun is low like in the early morning or in the evening. The same is true for other colors, but black just seems to be more sensitive to it.

Light pavement or gravel can lighten the appearance of the lower fender, rocker panel and lower rear quarter panel areas on a dark colored car, but it’s basically a result of the ground being reflected in the paint. You will have to decide if that effect is desired. The light gravel or pavement also provides a light and color contrast with the dark lower body and tires, which can be pleasing.

Boldly colored backgrounds can be used to great affect with a black car, since black goes with any color. If the car has differently-colored graphics or stripes, the background color can be chosen to complement them, adding further interest to the photo. Very bright or white backgrounds should be avoided however, because the contrast can be too much with the black subject.

A polarizing filter can aid in removing reflections from either the side or top of the car, just as it does for other colors, but it’s not a fix-all for a poor shooting location. You may find that in order to remove unwanted side reflections with the polarizer you’ll then be forced to live with gray sky reflections on the hood, windshield and roof when shooting on an overcast day. It may be better in that instance to find a location that produces side reflections you can live with, so you can turn the polarizer to saturate (remove the gray sky reflection) the hood, windshield, and roof.

1971 Pontiac GTO

Direct sunlight brings out a truer black in this 1971 GTO than we’d likely see on an overcast day. This shoot was earlier in the day than I’d normally like to shoot a black car, but it worked out okay. The stripes, door edge guard and rocker and wheel well trim help to break up the black panels. The white letters are just slightly starting to blow out, however.

If you are shooting outdoors and you want the cleanest reflections possible, you’ll have to work for them. You’ll need to find flat, smooth ground for clean lower body reflections and a cloudless sky for smooth upper body reflections. Also, there shouldn’t be any trees, fences, structures, power lines or anything unwanted remotely close enough to the car to reflect in the paint. Don’t forget to choose a time of day when the sun is low and at your back, the sun has just set, or the sky is overcast. Those are a lot of considerations, but each one is important. Now you know why desert photos are so popular.

Since it’s rare to be able to meet all of those conditions, you’ll likely have to make some compromises just like we do every time we photograph a car. Survey the foreground/background/lighting situation, set up the car, decide what you can and can’t live with, and make your adjustments accordingly.

Of course there are seemingly countless post-processing procedures that can be utilized in your favorite photo editing software to enhance the photos, but to reiterate, this article is simply geared toward a car owner who would like to take a nice photo of his/her black car and not worry about spending lots of time in Photoshop.

Triumph TR3

You may recognize this Triumph TR3 photo from the lighting article. Just after sunset, the horizon line picks up an orange highlight, as the rest of the ambient light turns bluer.

As you can see, none of the photos presented here are perfect by any means. They all contain compromises and are simply examples that illustrate the results of techniques I’ve used. None have been Photoshopped. This way you can see them as they came out of the camera.

When attention is paid to the eccentricities of working with a black paintjob, the resulting photos can be quite pleasing and just as striking as those of other color cars. If you own a black or very dark colored car, hopefully some of what was presented here will be useful to you.

For further information regarding photographing your car, see these past articles: “Take better photos of your car, today,” “The story behind this action shot,” “Ideas for backgrounds when photographing your car,” “A few lighting tips for photographing your car,” “Shooting the moon…behind a Z/28,” and “Behind the shoot: 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6.”

 


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Iron Invasion

Iron Invasion

October 1, 2016 saw the 5th annual Iron Invasion take over the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Illinois. Traditional hot rod and custom fans from around the Midwest once again came out in droves to take it all in.

This event, which came into existence after the 10 year run of the well-known Hunnert  Car Pileup came to a close, was created by John and Kim Wells to benefit the Helping Hannah’s Heart Foundation. October weather can be a crap shoot and the rain or shine policy has been put to the test a few times, but that has never stopped the enthusiastic crowds from coming to take in the cars, motorcycles, live music and other fun stuff that the Invasion has come to be known for.

If the photos don’t convince you to attend, then head over to www.helpinghannahsheart.org to see the reason behind the event. It benefits families with serious needs and has enhanced the lives of many. The rodding community has responded strongly to the need.

More Info

Words: Dan Podobinski; Photos: Dan Podobinski, James Whistleman, Fritz Schenck

 

Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion
Iron Invasion

The post Iron Invasion appeared first on Ol’ Skool Rodz.


Source: ols Skool Rodz

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1962 Hatch Park Special

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1962 Hatch Park Special

Handbuilt 1962 Hatch Park Special for sale on Hemmings.com. From the seller’s description:

This vintage racer has seen plenty of racing action. Raced in USRRC and SCCA, SCCA C modified Champion. Northwest SCCA Division Champ 1963 and 1965 Everett Hatch had an engine business in the late 1960s that was intended to cater to racers and automotive enthusiasts. His business was called Hatch Engine Service and it would evolve into a respected business that built and tuned engines for dirt and asphalt oval racing, drag racing, road racing, and beyond. The business continues today, even though Mr. Everett passed away in October of 1997.

Everett Hatch and Joel Park were working at the Salem Speed Shop in 1962, when they began building their own sports car racer. They designed and built the vehicle themselves using American parts. It was given an aluminum 215 cubic-inch Buick engine with a Buick 300 crank and heads. The engine, fitted with a Hilborn fuel injection system, was mated to a Muncie aluminum four-speed manual gearbox. It had Airheart disc brakes, a Hilbrand quick change rear-end, and Troutman & Barnes side plates.

The Hatch-Park Special was successful, winning the SCCA Northwest Division Championship in 1963 and 1965. After its racing career, the car was retired and was ‘lost’ until the 1990s. It was found by Chip Helli in the Oregon woods. Mr. Helli was about to salvage some of the car and sourced parts from various sources. The car and parts were later sold to an enthusiast in the Mid-West who later sold it to Lilo Zicron. The current caretaker was able to complete the project and get the car back onto the track.

The car comes with the killer engine with 350-400 horsepower, as well as a milder 300 or so horsepower motor. we also have many Rover motor parts as well as fresh flowed spare heads. There are also two sets of alloy wheels. Comes with the original Hilborn Fuel Injection. The Car has had podium finishes every year it was raced it at it’s home track in Portland. In the 2016 races it ran in first.

The documentation and build pictures are included with two scrapbooks. Original period pictures of the owner, the Salem Speed Shop, and period racing pictures, as well as the actual SCCA trophies won in 1963 and 1965. I even have the wooden forms for the suspension castings, and hubs and the original 16-inch pin drive wheels, I will include all with the car. I have never seen such complete documentation of an early race car like this.

Hatch park won the 1963 and 1965 SCCA Pacific Northwest Regional C-Modified class. We have the petrified remains of the trophies. We placed 3rd at Portland in 2010, 4th at Portland in 2012, 3rd at Portland in 2015, and 3rd again at Portland in 2016. The car also was accepted and ran at Monterey in 2010, 2015; Sonoma in 2012, 2014, 2015; Coronado in 2010, 2012, 2013; Auto Club Speedway in 2010; Buttonwillow in 2010; Thunderhill in 2011; Willow Springs in 2012; HMSA Monterey Spring Event in 2013. Most races we were in the upper-third of the pack.

Pricetag

Price
$95,000

Location Marker

Location
San Bernardino, California

Magnifying Glass

Availability
Available

See more cars for sale on Hemmings.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Over the river and upside down: Astro-Spiral Hornet stunt car estimated to bring $250,000 at auction

Over the river and upside down: Astro-Spiral Hornet stunt car estimated to bring 0,000 at auction

Photos by Teddy Pieper, courtesy Auctions America.

What started out as a way to save lives by studying highway crashes led to a cascade of events that culminated in perhaps AMC’s biggest marketing opportunity and one of the more spectacular car stunts put to film, and this fall the car used for that stunt will head to auction, where it’s expected to bring at least a quarter-million dollars.

While automotive safety became a topic of national concern in the mid- to late 1960s following Ralph Nader‘s “Unsafe at Any Speed” and the passage of legislation that created the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, had studied how to reduce the growing number of highway deaths since more than a decade prior. Their efforts convinced Ford to adopt some safety features such as safety belts and eventually resulted in a pair of safety-minded prototype vehicles in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Raymond McHenry of the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory and its spinoff, Calspan, thought he could vastly improve on research into automotive safety in the late 1960s by bringing in then-nascent computer technology to model automotive crashes. Working in Fortran IV, he came up with the Highway Vehicle Obstacle Simulation Model (HVOSM) program, which took all the variables that go into a crash — speed, direction, terrain, obstacles, evasive maneuvers, and vehicle dynamics — and returned predictions of exactly how a crash would unfold.

However, according to McHenry’s SAE paper describing the HVOSM program, he needed to validate the program’s results, which meant hiring a bunch of stunt drivers to crash cars under Calspan’s direction and observation.

One of the included stunts was a 50-foot jump from a take-off to a receiving ramp. The degree of achieved correlation between analytical predictions and experimental measurements was found to be remarkably good in all of the included maneuvers and stunts. At the time, it was jokingly pointed out that Calspan had unintentionally developed a capability for the design and staging of auto thrill shows. A related, “far out” suggestion was the design of ramps to produce a combination of jump and rollover (i.e., a “spiral” jump), such that the stunt car would land on its wheels after passing over an obstacle in its inverted condition.

After McHenry finished his work validating the HVOSM program, he decided to take the joke semi-seriously. Doing so, he figured, would showcase Calspan’s capabilities, would provide a good challenge for his team, and would provide a break from the psychological implications of studying the factors that go into fatal crashes.

So, in November 1970, he reached out to Walter Jay Milligan of JM Productions in Orchard Park, New York. As a sideline to the demolition derbies he conducted at fairs in Western New York, Milligan ran an automotive thrill show much like Joie Chitwood’s or the Hell Drivers. Though newer and smaller than his competitors, Milligan’s thrill show was still able to secure a deal with American Motors to provide cars for the show (similar to Chitwood’s contract with Chevrolet and the Hell Drivers contract with Chrysler), and he believed that a new stunt like what McHenry described could put him one step ahead of his competition.

After trying out a number of different ramp configurations in the HVOSM program, McHenry and Milligan settled on one that would require a speed of 40 mph — limited due to the space available for Milligan’s thrill shows. McHenry’s simulations also required a few modifications to the car, most notably shifting the driver to the center of the car and rearward, shifting the engine rearward (both of the latter to equalize weight distribution), and adding a fifth wheel mounted directly to the rear axle “to achieve the desired combination of linear and angular velocities at the end of the take off ramp.”

Milligan prepped an AMC Javelin for the stunt while McHenry prepped a patent for it that would conveniently allow him to claim the rights for any toys that performed the stunt too. Then, in January 1972, at the Houston Astrodome, Milligan’s JM Productions took the spiral jump from theoretical computer program to reality with the first Astro-Spiral jump.

Apparently sensing that the jump deserved greater exposure than through fairground thrill shows, Milligan somehow convinced the producers of “The Man With the Golden Gun” to include the Astro-Spiral jump in Roger Moore’s second outing as James Bond (and to hire him as stunt driver and stunt coordinator for the film) and to use AMC cars throughout filming in a product placement deal. With the film slated for a December 1974 release and the Javelin no longer in production, Milligan decided to instead use the next sportiest car in the AMC lineup and one that AMC had newly restyled for 1974: the Hornet X.

“Basically he built the car from the bottom up to do the stunt,” Milligan’s son, Jay Milligan Jr., said.

As with the Javelin, the elder Milligan moved the driver’s seat to the center of the car and back to allow for the rearward-shoved engine, in this case a one-barrel six-cylinder. Not much else beyond the sheetmetal and the engine survived Milligan’s conversion: He replaced the unibody with a full-frame chassis, swapped out the rear axle with a Ford 9-inch, and added a full roll cage. While the Hornet’s dash top remains in place, the only gauge — a speedometer — appears to come from an early 1950s Chevrolet.

In fact, Milligan built two such cars and shipped them both to Thailand for filming. According to film set accounts, however, he only needed one: Stunt driver Loren “Bumps” Willard nailed the jump on the first try (cracking the windshield in the process) and netted himself a £30,000 bonus for doing so.

“In fact, they asked him to do it again, but he said no,” Jay Milligan, Jr. said.

After filming wrapped, both the stunt car and its backup returned to Orchard Park. Milligan pressed the backup — later painted red, white, and blue — into service doing more Astro-Spiral jumps with the thrill show until about 1979 or 1980, but the actual stunt car never jumped again and remained in Milligan’s private museum.

Following Milligan’s death earlier this year at the age of 85, Milligan, Jr., has decided to auction off all but a couple cars from the museum. The backup car will remain with him, but the actual stunt car will head to Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, where it’s expected to sell for $250,000 to $350,000. While that would almost certainly set a record for an AMC Hornet, other AMCs have sold for more — for instance, the AMX/3 that sold this past January for $891,000 — as have other Bond cars — for instance, the screen-used 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that sold for $4.6 million in 2010.

Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale will take place August 31 to September 3. For more information, visit AuctionsAmerica.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

After one-year absence, Palos Verdes Concours returns with a new location and vintage aircraft display

After one-year absence, Palos Verdes Concours returns with a new location and vintage aircraft display

Porsche 356A Speedster

Porsche is one of this year’s featured marques, and this 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster will be on display. Photo courtesy Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.

First held in 1992, the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance has had several homes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula over the years. In 2015, the Los Verdes Golf Course played host to the event, but parking proved challenging, lowering the event’s attendance. After cancelling the venue in 2016, the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance returns on Sunday, October 1, 2017, adding vintage aircraft to the mix at its new location, Louis Zamperini Field in Torrance, California.

The Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance faced other obstacles as well, including the proliferation of concours events and marque-specific shows in recent years. As attendance dropped and corporate budgets tightened, larger sponsors declined to renew, reducing the budget to compete against other regional shows. Instead of matching them for size and scope, Palos Verdes organizers realized it was time to do something different and announced a one-year hiatus in June of 2016.

Hence the new location at Louis Zamperini Field, which provides ample parking for both show cars and attendees, while adding vintage and contemporary aircraft to the mix. Planes expected to participate in this year’s event include a Northrop YF-23A Advanced Tactical Fighter; a Grumman F-14A “Tomcat;” a British Aerospace Harrier T.4 Jump Jet; a Travel Air biplane; a Ryan ST-A; a Grumman F4F Wildcat; a North American P-51D Mustang; a Stearman PT-17 Kydet biplane; a Waco UIC standard cabin biplane; a Stearman Model 75 biplane; a Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing biplane; and a Pitts Special S-1 aerobatic biplane. The Northrup YF-23 and Grumman F-14 Tomcat are regularly housed at the Western Museum of Flight, also located at Zamperini Field.

Featured automotive marques for the 2017 Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance include Packard and Porsche, reflecting the event’s theme of “Elegance & Speed.” Classes of note for this year’s event include Under 3-liter European Sports Cars;  American Speed 1949-’72; Golden Era Hot Rods 1930-’60; Race Cars of Special Interest; Italian Speed 1948-’76 and Shelby Automobiles 1962-’70. Traditional concours d’elegance classes, such as open and closed classics, Brass Era cars, and postwar elegance from both sides of the Atlantic will also be part of the show.

The advance purchase ticket price of $40 ($50 the day of the show) includes admission to the Western Museum of Flight; food trucks will be on hand offering a variety of culinary delights. Proceeds will go to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, as well as the Western Museum of Flight. For more details, visit PVConcours.org.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1968 Pontiac GTO

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1968 Pontiac GTO

1968 Pontiac GTO

From the seller’s description:

Thanks for looking at my 1968 Pontiac GTO. The 1968 model is one of the most desirable years, and was awarded Motor Trend Car of the Year. This GTO is a stunning examp­­le having the correct Verdero Green finish with a black vinyl top and black interior and bucket seats. A frame-off restoration of this numbers matching coupe was completed in 2016, sparing no expense.

The 400 cubic inch V8 was rebuilt to factory specs and is backed by the GM Turbo Hydramatic transmission. Dual exhausts, make the GTO sound as good as it looks. Less than 1000 miles since restoration.

Options include factory air, power steering and brakes, front disc brakes, AM/FM radio, tachometer, Michelin red line radial tires.

Bottom line is, hop in and enjoy, its ready to drive in my opinion short trips or long.

1968 Pontiac GTO 1968 Pontiac GTO 1968 Pontiac GTO 1968 Pontiac GTO

Pricetag

Price
$41,900

Location Marker

Location
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Magnifying Glass

Availability
Available

Find more Pontiacs for sale on Hemmings.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Ford’s other right-hand man: P.E. Martin and the development of the assembly line

Ford’s other right-hand man: P.E. Martin and the development of the assembly line

Photo courtesy Ford Media.

[Editor’s Note: In 1922, Henry Ford issued his book, My Life and My Work, which was largely a book about his philosophy of business and he omitted many details about his work. In 1944, in an interview with Fortune magazine, Henry stated clearly and simply that he and P.E. Martin invented the automobile assembly line. So who was P.E. Martin? The new ebook P. E. Martin: The Origins of The Automotive Industry seeks to answer that question and many others in great detail.]

For the first few years, Ford manufactured average-priced cars and a few expensive cars: Models A, B, C, F, K, N, R, and S. In addition, there were experimental models that were not produced. The stockholders wanted to provide high-end cars with high-end margins. The beautiful Model K was the first Ford with a six-cylinder engine and the last one until the 1940s. The largest investor, Malcolmson, departed after the Model K flop. Ford and the finance officer James Couzens believed the key to survival was manufacturing an economic car. People didn’t expect Ford to produce luxurious cars like the Model K, and were disinclined to buy a luxury car from Ford.

In April 1904, Ford bought land on Piquette Avenue in Detroit, built his first plant, and, by 1906, Peter Ed (P.E.) Martin was put in charge of the Assembly Department for what was to be the Model T car, working under manager Thomas Walburn. Design on the Model T proceeded through 1907, with P.E. working alongside Ford constructing the process for manufacturing the Model T. Henry Ford developed such confidence in P.E. that, in April 1908, six weeks after announcing to the world that the Model T had arrived, P.E. was made plant manager. During this time, P.E. and a team of engineers worked on the flow of manufacturing and methods of simplifying the process and increasing productivity. The result of their efforts was the birth of the Assembly Line concept, breaking down manufacturing into simple solitary components/processes that could be done by unskilled labor as the product proceeded along a moving assembly line. This one accomplishment revolutionized manufacturing and the way all products, from cars to appliances to computers, were made ever after.

In 1910, manufacturing was moved to a factory in Highland Park where P.E. again was put in charge. By 1913, the Assembly Line manufacturing process was implemented fully and the Model T began moving off the line so cheaply, and at such speed, that Henry’s dream of a vehicle for the common man became a reality. By 1920, Henry had built the largest factory in the United States and the world, the Rouge Plant. Both the Rouge and the Highland Park plant were now under P.E.’s supervision.

Long before the term lean production was coined, P.E. was mastering the concept with hundreds and hundreds of conveyors throughout the plants. Necessity is the mother of invention. There are many stories about who invented the moving assembly line and whether or not they used rails and a windlass to pull the cars during testing of the concept, but there was no doubt in P.E. Martin’s mind this entire process had to be linear, in one direction, and on one floor, and the pace of assembly in all the sub-departments and from all the vendors had to be tied to the rate of production and movement on the mainline. Years later, Henry insisted that he and P.E. invented the original assembly line at Ford Motor Company.

There is much debate about who and when and how the first concepts for the moving assembly line were tested at Piquette. Some say the test vehicle was dragged by ropes. Others claim they used a windlass. Others say they pulled the vehicles on carts with wheels. But, in all cases the fundamental difference was the line moved somewhat automatically. All of this testing was done late on Saturdays and was demonstrated early on Sundays, so they could dismantle the test and restart production. A few things were apparent: the worker would be limited to a few steps, the line speed needed to be adjustable or different between subassembly lines and the main line, and the fewer steps the worker had the faster the line could run. This last point had been clearly established on the magneto line. The workers stood in place and pushed the assembly “down the line” to the next worker. Although the line wasn’t automatic, P.E. could set the desired production rate based on the division of labor, placement of tools, etc. So all the pieces were in place and it was up to Henry, Albert Kahn, and P.E. to layout the inside of Highland Park. In January 1910, Henry started the move to the new plant; P.E. was plant superintendent.

Assembling magnetos for Model Ts in 1913. Photo courtesy Ford Media.

How the final version came to be was open to discussion and working the details. P.E.’s vision was the future Highland Park facility. In 1908, P.E. and a small team tested the final assembly line concept in the Piquette Avenue plant on successive Sundays. William Avery and William Klann recalled years later that Charles Sorensen was not part of the team and did not participate in the testing. The first assembly line for production was started at the Highland Park plant in October 1913. Klann was the supervisor for motor assembly and Avery was a newly graduated industrial engineer. Together with P.E., they designed the first automated final assembly line in Highland Park. The original plans and layouts for Highland Park did not include an automated final assembly line. Henry’s plan was to provide more space to build more cars, but he encouraged P.E. to experiment. Contrary to Charles, there was no automated line at Piquette, because P.E. had determined there was inadequate space. Moreover, when Ford moved the plant to Highland Park, Charles was in charge of the foundry and shipping. Charles was a naysayer not a contributor to the vehicle assembly line at Highland Park. After the first line was installed, it was so successful that four more lines were quickly added. The only conveyor lines that were familiar to Charles were the conveyors in the foundry to move sand and castings, and to pour steel. Henry had borrowed this idea from breweries that used conveyors to move grain and other raw materials.

The overall plan was simple. Quality was a given. Price was king. Volume was the goal. The Model T changed significantly over the years. There were thousands of cost reductions, and equal or greater number of corresponding engineering changes to reduce weight and simplify assembly. Gradually, stamped metal parts replaced wood parts, which facilitated assembly. With the automated assembly line in full swing, Highland Park reached peak production at more than 9,000 units per day, an unimaginable figure. Even as sales slowed due to competition and as the market for trade-up cars grew, the volume was strong. Ford was building 50% of the cars in the world. P.E. helped establish Ford of Canada in 1910 and Henry exported his model around the globe and to additional factories in the USA.

[P.E. Martin: The Origins of The Automotive Industry is available now as an ebook through Amazon.]


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog