Originally Posted by schnitz
Right there are probably two of the most important lines in this whole thread as I've read it. In generalized terms, a high production volume (Hpv) takes time, and taking the time to make a near perfect product will simply take too long for a Hpv company to make enough money building. Cut one corner in production, then another, next thing you know quality falls way down, customers get ticked and stop buying crap products, and then the business falls by the wayside because of it's latest reputation. Am I right in how this cycle works?
In a while, Chet.
BTW, welcome back Centerline and Rob Keller!
Right Chet, that's about the gist of it.
There are very few people on this thread, or on this board for that matter who have worked for a production fiberglass manufacturer. I am one.
Most companies start out with good intentions, but find they are short on experience with the product they are trying to produce..The profit margin decreases considerably when you produce a high quality product, because the market is flooded with lower priced competitors, who claim high quality, to attract buyers with little or no prior experience with any fiberglass product.
The 34 coupe body that was produced by Poli-Form took over 130 man hours to build...that was just the body, from the firewall back..no fenders, no frame, no hood. But the doors and decklid were hung, fitted flush, gapped and all hardware was fitted and installed.. The floor and firewall was installed. The entire body had a steel cage built into it, which had steel surrounding every opening, and all of the body to chassis bolt holes were punched through a 1/8 x2 steel strap that ran the length of the body, was bedded in and glassed over, and the steel cage was continuous starting from that steel strap.
For example, The base doors which were steel reinforced, all the way around, with an intrusion bar..every structural part which bolted to the door was bolted through steel...no thinner than 1/8 HRS..with stock hinges had the stock check strap installed, a 2 stage rotary latch with handle and escutcheon, the stock dovetails, male and female, the stock window regulator, with handle and trim escutcheon, the window channels were installed, along with window wiper moldings and a fitted garnish molding. Each door had an actual window glass fitted, just to make sure that the glass, (which was an option) would fit and operate smoothly. We regularly installed glass , and if we did not, a full set of window templates was supplied.
A pair of doors took 40 hours to build. I did a time study over the course of several years, which had detailed times and cost analysis for 20 complete bodies, options included, as well as keeping track of the production times for all of the short run subassemblies.
Poli-Form actually drop tested 2 bodies to confirm their structural integrity. If an issue was found, we fixed it...and then we retrofitted ALREADY BOUGHT bodies with the upgrade..at no charge. Tell me about any other company that will do that.
I worked for the best in the business. I worked my way up from a base job in the assembly department to being working shop foreman, working and excelling in every department there, including tooling and production design. And I am DAMN proud of that. I still take tech calls at my shop for the stuff I built 20 years ago, and every one of those folks is still happy they bought from us.
But I like any car, as long as it is of sufficient quality to be reasonably safe, and some attention was paid to detail.
Here is what I worked on this week...all steel 34 Vicky. I did not build it, I only straightened out the combined efforts of 3 previous shops efforts to try to make it NOT stop right....
Yes folks actually pay me to work on hotrods...
Yes I do get to see both worlds, original steel as well as fiberglass cars. I can say without a doubt that fiberglass cars are every bit as real as steel. I actually find that a GOOD quality, steel reinforced fiberglass bodied car will be stronger in every way than a 70 year old steel bodied car. They both drive, steer and stop, and if it makes the owner happy, then it's a good thing.