(First Posted August 30 ,2013) I know, this is the posting you all have been waiting for, the SEAT production line in Barcelona, Spain!
When I traveled to and worked in Spain in the ‘60s and ‘70s, SEATs were probably the most common cars to be found on the country’s roads. All were licensed from Fiat, 850s and 124s. By the time I returned to Spain in 1989 to assist my friend Bob Frerck on a three week photo shoot, SEAT had been bought by VW, and all SEAT models were VW variants.
All photos in this article, except as noted, were shot by Bob Frerck.
Aside from our SEAT PR guide, this was the only other person that we encountered at the factory. I’m not sure what his job description was, but he probably was waiting for a fault light and buzzer to go off so he could shut down the line. We had expressly asked to see the body assembly line, which was totally automated.
The guy was just sitting there playing with himself, so I asked him if he could pretend to actuate a switch, or some control. The result was this Pulitzer prize winning (Not!) action shot that Bob captured.
This three-door hatch was more than likely a SEAT Ibiza. The Ibiza was the first car developed by SEAT as an independent company, with input from Italdesign, Karmann and Porsche. From the second generation of the Ibiza onward, SEAT was part of the VW Group. Judging from the VW decals on the robots, these Ibizas were second gen or later.
At this point on the line, most of the body panels and floor pan had been brought together, and a army of robots were busily spot welding the stampings into a recognizable car body.
The line was eerily quiet. The only noise came from the hiss of the spot welders.
These photos were taken 24 years ago, nearly a quarter of a century, but I doubt that the line would look much different today.
This is the finished product, a SEAT Ibiza 1.2. A number of displacements were available, including a 903 cc unit, 1.5 and 1.7 liter variants, as well as a 1.7 liter diesel.
This exhausts my collection of SEAT material.