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Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Best Automotive Assembly Line Job in the World?

Robert Emslie June 14, 2017 Hooniverse Asks 22 Comments

It’s a sad fact but for most automotive assembly line workers, the job is oftentimes little more than rote repetition offering few opportunities to escape the drudgery. That’s not the case for every auto worker, some in fact are considered artists and get to apply a plate with their signature on it as a finishing touch to their work.

That’s the kind of job I wouldn’t mind having. I mean, think of the oneupmanship at parties, where when someone tells you they just bought the latest Aston Martin DB11 and you throw right back at them that you in fact assembled their car’s motor. I know, mind blown!

What we’re interested in today is some discourse on what might just be the coolest auto assembly job on the planet. If you had one dream job that was part of pushing out cars, what would it be?

Image: Klix

  • 0A5599
  • Hillman_Hunter

    Don’t know the best one but I can tell you not to sign up for painting black sash on the doors of 215+ Honda Civics per day…

    • 0A5599

      I visited a ceramic factory once. It was a very manual process. They had a long conveyor belt after the ceramic was appropriately dry. It was lined with different painters, each one specializing in one unique color.

      The day I was there, they were making birds. The person with black paint had a small brush and would dot one eyeball, then the other, then return the piece to the conveyor. ALL. DAY. LONG.

      • Hillman_Hunter

        Exactly.

  • P161911

    Looks like Morgan cars would be a great place to work. http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/3a5b5d86e03a42a3b208916b1be1185f/morgan-motor-car-factory-plus-8-production-line-in-malvern-link-uk-e8r3x2.jpg
    I remember seeing pictures of the factory in the last 10 years that had to have the pinups that the workers had put up blurred out. So it might be a bit of a rough crowd. Seems like the kind of place that wouldn’t mind if you had a pint or two while you were working.

  • About the best I’m indifferent (I believe putting your nameplate on something british is satisfying), but I have heard some bad ones:
    – walking behind a moving chassis, looking down in order to mount, say, rear lights, and then it stops… bonk.
    – Being the idiot that has to mount the steering wheel hub cover. When you leave the ignition on it will honk and they’ll shout at you. When you turn the ignition off they can’t check other functions and will shout at you.
    – Manual painting jobs look hard both physically and in terms of delicate work product.
    – These steel presses are monsters spitting out half a van every few seconds. Being near to them is cool and intimidating. On the other hand, optimizing the tool and sheet metal along design and price requirements doesn’t sound inspirational to me.
    – Engine blocks are cast with a kind of sand/resin plugs in the bores. These need to be removed quickly: they are hot, they stink (which will bite in your eyes, too), they are heavy, require force, and it’s piecework payment.

    If the reverse questions will be asked tomorrow I’ll try coming up with some more good ones!

  • Alff

    Test track driver.

    • AlexG55

      This is the old FIAT factory at Lingotto in Turin. The assembly line spiralled up through the building ending at the banked oval test track on the roof. Every car that came off the line went onto the track for testing before it was delivered.
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Fiat_Lingotto_veduta-1928.jpg

      • outback_ute

        As seen in The Italian Job, if I’m not mistaken?

        And was it Deusenberg that ran every car off the line up to 100 mph before it was shipped?

        • Vairship

          And probably *still* cautioned owners to break in their new car gently 😉

          • outback_ute

            I think that was after they had run the engine in on a dyno!

  • DiCE

    I would like to be the guy who dynos the motorcycles as they come off the line, somewhere like kawasaki honda harley or ducati, dynoing the H2R must be a blast.

    • 1slowvw

      I had the opportunity to visit the Harley plant in Pensilvania. The dynos set up with the bikes being run to redline was pretty neat. It almost made me not ask the tour quide “where are the Buells?”

      • Rover 1

        Almost.

  • Sjalabais

    The plant closed in 1994 (that’s like…yesterday), but Volvo’s Kalmar factory in Sweden was a pretty impressive feat in its time. Upfront, and also mostly for real, the factory had two objectives:

    – Create a better, safer, more interesting work environment
    – Raise the quality of the product

    Some of Volvo’s most renown cars were made here. In its time, some said it was the biggest factory for hand made cars in the world, which is a slight exaggeration, but it tells a bit about its reception.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_Kalmar_Assembly

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aI7ornrCKnM

    • The author of “Confessions in Quality Control” said he went there as a travelling salesman several times solely in order to enjoy the canteen…

  • P161911

    My wife’s grandfather retired from GM, he worked at the assembly plant in Lakewood, GA. He started there at 16 (he lied about his age) during WWII. One of his first jobs there was to go out and “test”/abuse the trucks that they were building for the Army at the time to find any issues. Basically go out and off road and jump 4X4 military vehicles. That wouldn’t be a bad job.

  • JayP

    To address my auto derived ADD… anywhere on McLaren’s line.
    http://gfwilliams.net/v2013/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/GFW_448411.jpg

    • dukeisduke

      “Hey, I see a speck of dust – pick it up!”

      • JayP

        Did you see the video of Ron Dennis showing the facility, where a chipped tile was found but not replaced? Because the new tile wouldn’t match the color perfectly.

  • I think Motus would be a relatively cool place to do assembly work.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/02d1a1c759641b6d125cd39f6b063d570e3e2289add2e11482ea4b2dbc02d647.jpg .