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Body transportation during build

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Mail From: "jonmac" <(email redacted)>

> > >hi from adelaide australia
> > >i was wondering if any one had photos of the triumph
> > >factory. when they were
> > >making the 2000/2500 models?
> > >a question i want answered is how the body was
> > >supported before it was
> > >lowered onto the suspension?

Hi, Andy
In common with many other manufacturers, it depended on what was being done
at different stages in the manufacturing process. Sometimes it was via the
sills with large hard rubber pads to prevent damage, or on a 'dolly' or
using a U frame.
When the body arrived at the factory from Pressed Steel at Swindon, it was
lifted off the delivery wagon using a jumbo fork-lift and placed on a
conveyor for the first stage of degreasing before painting. I do recall one
incident where the fork-lift driver pushed the wrong lever as he was
reversing away from the truck. Instead of lowering the forks in a horizontal
plane, the head stayed raised but tilted forwards. I leave the resulting
noise as the body hit the concrete to your imagination - rather like a lid
being put on a monstrous trash can!
During the paint process, but depending on model, the front and rear
suspension pick-up points were used on Big Sixes. After paint and during
Pre-mount (installation of hydraulics, electrics, instruments, peripheral
interior trim) it was supported using the same pick-up points before being
dumped on a 'dolly' (a little frame on castors) on its vertical journey up
to the body marshalling area in the roof of the main assembly hall. In that
location, the bodies were moved automatically forwards, backwards and
sideways in readiness for final build, by remote computer control.
While in body storage after pre-mount, the later and final exercise of
lowering it through the floor to meet up with its mechanical assemblies on
the Final Finish line was achieved by lifting the body off the 'dolly' using
a large overhead grab. This took the form of two large frames like inverted
'U''s with retractable fingers that slid from the base of the front and rear
extremities of the 'U' to support the body under the sills.
But this technique didn't apply to just Barbs and Innsbrucks, it was the
accepted method for moving all other models.
As an aside and for the purist, during the assembly process, build sequence
on any Triumph did NOT take place in commission number (chassis number)
sequence - and contrary to popular assumed opinion, it rarely did. The only
time the bodies had sequential numbers was when they emerged from paint in
which the body number was the only identifier up to that point. The
commission plates were awaiting the body as it came down the paint line and
were riveted in place at that point. The commission number had been
determined by Production Control some six weeks earlier and the plate was
fitted to bodies using the body number and body colour as the unique
identifiers. This underscores the situation about which car really was the
last Spitfire off the line (the one in France or the one at Gaydon?) so
owners of Heritage Certificates - BEWARE. Your car may be the 370th before
the numerical end of a model run - but it might have been the 410th or the
326th - or anywhere in between, in reality.


Jonmac

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