Torture Chamber In Sun City AZ

General Discussion

  1. azblackhemi

    azblackhemi Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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  2. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Well-Known Member

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    VERY interesting!

    "Racks were installed on the building’s roof to accommodate sun testing of a myriad of paint samples, leather products, vinyl coverings, automobile glass, parts made from rubber, etc. Some failed miserably."

    No kidding. :(
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  3. 1978 NYB

    1978 NYB Warfighter FCBO Gold Member

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    Cool!

    :thumbsup:
     
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  4. The Goose

    The Goose Senior Member

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    Maybe they closed this place and moved everything up north to the new proving grounds?
     
  5. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Well-Known Member

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    Except what about the necessary sun and heat!:rofl:
     
  6. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    All three of the OEMs had some sort of formal testing facilities in the AZ region, for years. This one was probably an expansion of what they already had there, possibly? Easier to acquire and work out of that to purchase a "for real" proving grounds (as Ford had). Plus a real world extension of the activities of Goodyear (in that region) too.

    When everything was "put back" on the cars, they then probably went into the corporate fleet and were auctioned at the dealer auctions.

    Neat article! Thanks for the link.
    CBODY67
     
  7. saylor

    saylor Senior Member

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    can confirm in the 1970s they used to have solid yellow cars out in the trans pecos region testing tires and whatever else they were testing. alot of road surface testing out that way too.

    trying to keep us from dying -

    - saylor
     
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  8. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat

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    That is quite interesting. Chrysler's history in "the valley of the sun" dates to 1957 as far as I know. The Wittman (Witman?) Arizona Proving Grounds was built in 1986 on land the company had owned since '57 (but was vacant until the 80s). By the time I worked out there, ('99-'03) we did all our UV testing on the properly in an area called the "soak farm" . Of course in 2007, Daimler was kind enough to sell this property to a real estate developer for the largest single land transaction in AZ history, $440 million. Which they promptly sent to Germany and then sold the company. When Cerberus purchased us; realizing the necessity of extreme weather testing, they purchased Ford's old Proving Grounds in Yucca, AZ a town that I'm told lives up to the name. Somewhat ironically, Ford later established a new PG practically in the shadow of Chrysler's old Wittmann grounds.
     
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  9. The Goose

    The Goose Senior Member

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    F4C5DFDB-1BC5-409B-A897-6E0CFEC6C2BA.jpeg

    You can find heat anywhere in Az if you shake it hard enough...
     
  10. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    I remember reading that Daimler was going to automate the Chelsea proving grounds so that they could run the cars longer at a time. With "shock absorber cooling stations" in the durability testing area, too. Don't know if that ever happened, but I read it in (perhaps) the WPC Club News magazine.

    I suspect that Daimler found ways to raid the treasury of "golden eggs" from the 1990s profits. The Cerberus bought it under the suspicion that Daimler had done things well, which left them with some of Daimler's product mistakes. Whoops! Then they imported a bunch of Toyota people that weren't quite as good as they were suspected to be, many "resume-builders" included, and things went south from there. Just my observations and nothing more.

    Not sure how the FCA/Peugeot deal will affect the Chrysler Group, though. Hoping for the best!

    CBODY67
     
  11. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat

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    I tend to disagree with "popular wisdom" (usually written by the same people who also thought Daimler was a great idea) that Cerberus was just a "strip n' flip" operation. I sincerely beleive they intended to fix the company, and they did a lot of good things...including re-establishing the Pentastar! However, they were caught in a perfect storm of crashed credit markets, soaring gas prices along with being saddled with Daimler's horrible deferred maintenance and general hollowing out of the company. Too much for virtually anyone. Politicians are big into "image" and Obama needed to justify those loans that allowed the company to restructure, so Fiat was given a sweetheart deal because of their association with small cars + the Europe-does-everything-better American inferiority complex.
    The company's big turning point was 2011, which was essentially harvesting everything that Cerberus planted in 2009. Fiat gets the credit.

    Believe me or your trustworthy mainstream media.
     
  12. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    The Cerberus deal was very multi-faceted, as I recall. I remember how they were "the best fit" to take over Chrysler (according to many industry people). They already had some presence in the automotive area and alleged expertise. I recall the many former Toyota/Lexus people who eagerly claimed they wanted to "Save the Great American Icon" of Chrysler. Sounded good. Then the 30-year Toyota man that took over Chrysler. When I watched the Senate proceedings on how many of Chrysler's actions to close dealers, pre-bankruptcy. Several small town dealers were there to protest that they had completely complied with all of the Chrysler "desires" and still ended up on the "close: list. It appeared to me that the Chrysler guy was clueless or had no knowledge of what the dealers were claiming. Then, in the year afterward, he filed for personal bankruptcy citing several hundred thousand $$$$$ of debt. Kind of sounded like Toyota was glad he left them?

    Cerberus used a 1980s Chrysler plan to delete Plymouth. As if that somebody inside of Chrysler had thought of it, that gave it additional credibility? I've observed that when some person in a car company gets an "idea" and then seeks to push their agenda, they find ways to do it (which seemingly make sense, on the surface). Obviously, somebody in Chrysler squelched it back then, so it was filed away somewhere. Cerberus found it and acted on it. As with many buy-outs, the new owners seek to cut things so the financials look good as the corporate operations might suffer. A normal thing when financial people run the car companies, by observation. Looks good until market penetration declines too much, as it did with GM in the 1990s, during the beloved "brand management" strategy of Mr. Smale.

    Perhaps I'm wrong to believe that Cerberus probably trusted that Daimler had done the right things at Chrysler? Product decisions and all (Dodge Calibre being one of them?). They they discovered what they'd really bought and whom they'd hired. To me, these things tended to reflect poorly on people Toyota had on their payrolls previously. Much of what led me to perceive they were "resume builders" more than real managers. BTAIM.

    Certainly, Fiat came out of the Chrysler deal very nicely. Funny thing about Fiat is that in Iacocca's book in the earlier 1980s, the last chapters were how that Chrysler would need an international partner in the future. AND, the partner he mentioned was Fiat, due to their large international distribution network. At the time, it seemed to me that Fiat needed Chrysler more than Chrysler needed Fiat. Nothing was mentioned about Fiat's poor USA-model reliability records, just the dealer network that could be adapted to add Chrysler into the mix.

    I have read (in an article by Chris Theodore) that there were some good parts of the Chrysler-Daimler deal, so all was not as negative as some of the news reports might have indicated. Although "the equals" soon became Daimler-dominated. Dr. Z and Wolfgang ended up being like "the kids in the candy store" when they came to Chrysler. They ate in the normal employee lunch area, from reports I read at that time. When Dr. Z returned to Germany to run D-B, he had a 300 SRT for his company car. Which generated the TSB to reprogram the cruise control so it would stay engaged past a particular speed (on the Autobahn). So, some positive things after the initial period of things.

    Respectfully,
    CBODY67
     
  13. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat

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    Plymouth ended in 2001, which means it was planned well before that. Zero connection to Cerberus.

    Dealer closings were mandated as part of the deal to restructure the company in Federally -mandated bankruptcy, which is about the only way an automaker can end a franchise, given the laws are written by individual states, and thus tend to favor local dealer. In some cases, I disagreed with the closings, in others they were long overdue.

    Jim Press is the ex-Toyota executive you're thinking of, and he was there about 6 months before Sergio took over.

    Chris Theodore left the company in 1999, so he was never there when "Dr. Z" arrived in Auburn Hills, nor for the looting of the company. Both occurred years later. Those "eats lunch in the cafeteria" stories are typical early 00s press-release fluff anyway.