Home » This Isn’t How You Put Books In A Hatchback, Dummies: Cold Start

This Isn’t How You Put Books In A Hatchback, Dummies: Cold Start

Cs Horiz Books'
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Look, I’m as big a fan of the Plymouth Horizon/Dodge Omni as any healthy, green-bile’d American, but I can’t sit by and just let severely sub-par book-packing like what we see here just get by without comment. Actually, not comment as such, but more of a stern, even angry admonition. I mean, look how these chumps are loading books into that hatch! It’s a travesty! It’s going to end in severe and immediate book slippage, and from there, disaster!

They’re just stacking books in there, without any boxes or anything? And, even worse, they’re just sloppily stacking them up? How do they think those foolhardy Jenga towers of books are going to stay upright as soon as that car goes into motion? The first time that Horizon brakes the whole upper tier of books are going to launch themselves forward, a series of hard, sharp-cornered, rectangular bricks of knowledge that will happily pummel the heads of the people in the front seats.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Oh, you literate fools! Besides, what the hell are they going to do with all those books? They’re not all that! And they’re at a library – those books are being checked out – so they have a time crunch, too! Ugh, these idiots, these don’t-know-how-to-pack-books fools! Fools!

Alright, enough about them – they’re doomed as it is. Let’s briefly just talk about the Horizon, and two other cars, the Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit and the Ford Fiesta.

Cs Rabbitcars

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These cars fascinate me because of how remarkably similar they all are, design-wise. The Giugiaro/ItalDesign Rabbit is the one I always think of as the “original” here, being introduced first, but all of these cars are clearly swimming in the same design pool.

I included the Rabbit in its original, round headlight form, and then in its 1984 facelift version, which used rectangular headlamps and wraparound turn indicators. I did this because I thought it was interesting how much the Rabbit ended up looking more like the Omni/Horizon after the facelift.

These were all such tidy, appealing little two-box, simple cars. And there’s still a way to fill them full of books in non-idiotic ways.

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Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
5 months ago

“What’s my problem? Punks like you, that’s my problem. And you better not screw up again Seinfeld, because if you do, I’ll be all over you like a pit bull on a poodle.”
-Bookman

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
5 months ago
Reply to  Freelivin2713

“If I find any drawings of pee pees in that book, you’re going down funny boy.”

GenericWhiteVan
GenericWhiteVan
5 months ago

I believe the Rabbits made at Westmoreland, PA had square headlights and side markers, while German made had round headlights and side markers.

I live about 5 miles from the plant. Given the road salt, you don’t see many Rabbits around here.

Also, didn’t Chrysler buy the Omni engine blocks from VW?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
5 months ago

Yes. I had one in my O24 hatchback.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
5 months ago

You are correct on both counts. I think the engines might even have been complete VW assemblies. The funny thing is, if I recall, those were based on Audi designs, so you could stretch and say your Omnirizon had an Audi engine. Wasn’t Cadillac sourcing BMW diesels at some point too?

As for the styling, this was a deliberate attempt to Americanize the car. It included interior changes too, like a burgundy vinyl dashboard. Somebody in Germany must have said “I remember renting a Buick in Florida, we better make it look like that”. VW has never really gotten over the idea that they have to Americanize their products, yet that barely moves the needle on sales. They would be better off accepting they are a niche player and saving themselves the trouble and cost of doing this. Many of their best sellers have simply been the Euro designs, just accept it already.

Ironically, the Omnirizon styling slowly evolved to try and look more European.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
5 months ago

I believe Cadillac stuck with the Oldsmobile diesel, while FoMoCo sourced a couple thousand BMW M21 mills for the ’84* Lincoln Continental.

*1983? ’85? early/mid ’80s anyway

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
5 months ago

Yeah, Lincoln. I think I saw a post on here a while back about a RV that also used BMW diesels. Maybe same model?

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
5 months ago

Yep. That would be the Vixen RV.

Rapgomi
Rapgomi
5 months ago

The smaller Omni engine, the 1.7L was VW based, the later cars had the 2.2L K car engine. My sister had a 2.2L Plymouth Horizon. It felt poorly made and the interior was absolutely awful, but it would hold 90 mph on the freeway like it was sleeping, reasonably quite with dead straight tracking. It was so unexpectedly good as a highway cruiser that it seemed like a magic trick.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
5 months ago

“Ya big dummy” -Fred Sanford

Also, I really want a VW Rabbit!

Boring Screen Name
Boring Screen Name
5 months ago

I hesitate to correct your perceptions, but looking at the messy book organization and smiles on the faces, these folks are obviously unloading these books at the library for their annual Friends of the Library book sale, thereby freeing up loads of room in their tiny apartment.

Mike F.
Mike F.
5 months ago

Because the female there has a book obsession and their tiny apartment is now crammed with so many of them that you can’t get through the house. And still, she had to be cajoled to even begin to think about donating any of them! (Don’t ask me about my own personal experience with this scenario!)

Salaryman
Salaryman
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike F.

The rise of the e-book freed up so much space in my house.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
5 months ago

Yep, this is it. Or they came from a relative who died and they have to clean out the house for sale

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
5 months ago

Ah, you may think they’re loading these poorly but it was done intentionally.
You see, you’re actually looking at still-shots from the sitcom “Overdue!” about two students working for a stern school librarian and the madcap hijinks that ensue.
In this scene, Rob and Mary Ann load up the Horizon and wind up getting into an argument on the way to the quad. Rob stops short and all the books fly forward. Defying physics, the entire front of the car is filled with books up to their necks. Mary Ann lets out an exasperated upward sigh causing her bangs to fly up and Rob whines “Why me?!”
It was cancelled as they were filming the pilot.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
5 months ago

Based on the lack of sag in the rear end of that car, and the totally unstressed woman is carrying a crap-ton of books, I suspect they were loading up on those fake hollow books that some people load up in their bookshelves to look smart. Thus it doesn’t really matter how they load them because if they hit someone in the head, there’d be no danger of any damage, except maybe to the “book” itself.

The Omni-Rizon (Hor-Omni?) has a special place in my memories. In 1988, when I got my first real job after college, I worked in sales and service for Calgon Industrial Water Management (think industrial boilers and cooling towers instead of bath beads). One of the perks was a company car. When talking with my new boss on the phone, he asked what kind of car I wanted and I said “Oh, I don’t really care as long as it’s not a Dodge!” When I arrived at the St Louis airport the next day, he picked me up in his personal car – a bright orange Dodge Omni. My face quickly turned a few shades darker than the car. I’d like to have been able to see the shocked and embarrassed look on my face when he pulled up. Luckily, Jerry was a kind-hearted guy and a great boss, so it all worked out just fine.

Oldskool
Oldskool
5 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

Beat me to it. Books are heavy. No sag on the rear end?

I am Dr. Wu and I am with you
I am Dr. Wu and I am with you
5 months ago

If you were a poor graduate student working on your PhD thesis in the late 1990s-early 2000s and with no money on your copy card, then this is how you downloaded your references and research articles. Fortunately for both of them, they have a functioning car.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
5 months ago

With a Horizon? Luxury! I was a poor grad student working on my PhD in the late ’90s to early ’00s and was still driving the rather worn-out $400 ’59 Ford sedan I’d gotten upon graduating from high school. Not that it mattered much, as the main library was in the middle of campus and therefore not accessible via private vehicle. Not officially, anyway.

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

Keep replacing books and pretty soon this Omnirizon becomes the Ship of Thesaurus.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago

My girlfriend in college had a 78 VW Rabbit 4-door. It had 150,000 miles and the engine still ran like a fine watch. The horsehair was coming out of the seats but the covers were still fine. The gearshift linkage was sloppy from use but all the synchros and gears were solid. The white paint had turned to chalk from the Florida sun but it was still rust free. At some point there had been water intrusion into the fusebox and the wiring was messed up. The seatbelt buzzer would go off with the wipers. I rewired the rear of the car to fix the brakes and taillights but it was always flaky. We sold it to a VW mechanic and it is probably still running today.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago

Horizon owners smart. Horizon owners read many books.
Buy Horizon. You be smart too.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
5 months ago

He’s not transporting those books. He’s selling contraband in Florida.

Last edited 5 months ago by Rad Barchetta
Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Or maybe Nebraska?

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

There is zero chance those books have porn in them. Not with those khakis.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
5 months ago

Why are they reading those books? To learn to make better choices.

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
5 months ago

“Hurry up, Donny. If Lt. Bookman catches you loading these books that way, he’s going to throw a tantrum.”

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
5 months ago

The real issue here is her carrying technique. Everyone in the world knows that when transporting a pile of books using your meat hooks, the proper starting stack point is the bellybutton. Yet, this lady started at her breasticles like some sort of Communist. America, what a country!

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago

The Mk1 Fiesta will always have a place in my heart, as it is the first car I can ever remember riding in – my folks sold it when I was 4. Very dark navy blue with a white ‘S’ stripe down the side, with black-and-gray mini-checkered cloth interior. The thing I liked most about it was its shift knob – it had the H pattern sort of embossed into the top of it, and I liked the feel of the numbers.
Even though the Ghia-designed Fiesta hit the market after the Golf/Rabbit, I think it did the 2 door hatch shape better, with the more steeply raked rear window. It is also a rare instance where the US spec car with the round sealed beams looked better than the euro counterpart with the not-quite-square headlights, which always made the euro cars look droopy to my eyes.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

I’ve gone back and forth over it throughout the years – which do I like better, shift patterns on the top of the gearshift or nearby on the console somewhere? 😉

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

LOL, you joke, but the pedant in me can’t help but to point out that the shift pattern in commercial trucks are usually on a sticker on the dash. Once they started to use more than 8 speeds the shift knobs were getting too big to use with one hand, you see… 😉

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

That’s a great point.

On the opposite end of the scale, my motorcycle has the pattern embossed on the transmission case, right next to the shifter. I was washing her one day, and was delighted to find it down there, so tiny but clear (the owners manual makes no note of it being there).

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

The first time I saw the shift pattern in a modern truck I thought it looked like a wiring diagram. Drivers must have to put on thousands of miles before that becomes muscle memory.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago

Modern manual transmissions in trucks have pretty much standardized to H pattern with a range selector, and sometimes a splitter also. So a shifter with two pneumatic toggle switches on it. So (ignoring granny low and reverse) you shift 1-2-3-4, hit the range switch and shift into the 1 gate again, which is now 5, 6-7-8.
A 10 speed is that plus a granny low that you usually doesn’t use (so ‘low’ and ‘low-low’ are the extra two speeds).
A 13 speed adds a splitter that you can use in the high range only, so you can shift to 5 with the splitter in low, then flip the splitter and bump the clutch and it will shift into 5 high, then flip the splitter into low again and shift into 6 low, etc…
An 18 speed is the same as a 13 speed but you can split the gears in low range, too.
The transmissions that will hurt your brain is the twin stick transmissions from back in the 70’s and earlier. Those you really did need to study and memorize, because there were some possible combinations of the main and auxiliary boxes that were possible to shift into but you’re not supposed to, because you end up either in a duplicate ratio, or the gear ratio would go the wrong way (you up-shift into a lower overall ratio, which… yeah.) Plus, of course, you need to shift two sticks at once, so doing that while still managing the steering wheel can be a whole challenge. Pretty wild!

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Missed my edit window: I remembered the 10 speed shift pattern wrong. The main box is a dog-leg 5 speed, so the pattern is 1-2-3-4-5 (range) 6-7-8-9-10. It is the 13 and 18 speeds that have the ‘Low’-1-2-3-4 pattern that I describe, and the difference between them is in which ranges the splitter can be used.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Dash is better because when you need it, you can see it. When I upgraded my 2002 to a 5 speed I gently removed the factory shift pattern silkscreened on the dash and replaced it with a water transfer decal with the upgraded pattern. Otherwise I would never have known to use that extra gear.

Last edited 5 months ago by Chronometric
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
5 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

That’s the best yet – how many people can say their legitimate mods include a diagram?

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

A couple of years ago at a local car show, someone had an Mk1 Fiesta in chartreuse–factory color, I’m pretty sure–with some black striping. I’ve never been a huge Fiesta fan, but amid all the Chevelles and Mustangs and shoebox Chevys, it was my favorite thing, just for being there.

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
5 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

This summer a major road was closed for 5 minutes for a classic car parade. I managed to get to the veterinarian before they closed the road, so I saw the parade in its glory. Classic Corvettes, Camaros, and some Mustangs…..and an 80’s LeBaron convertible!!! It was refreshingly interested among all of the 60’s and 70’s iron, with its simple, origami styling!

Ham On Five
Ham On Five
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

The shift knob! I had a 1978 Rabbit and still remember the shift knob as it was made of something like a skinned urethane foam – sort of like those squishy floating key fobs for boaters, only less squishy.

I also remember enlisting my mother’s help in push-starting that car. What the neighbors must have thought, seeing her pushing my car down the street as I ran up to hop in and pop the clutch …

Larry B
Larry B
5 months ago

Isn’t the real issue here how the books are organized? Are they alphabetical by author or title? Are they chronological? Did they use the Dewey Decimal System? Only a a philistine would arrange by size or color. I’m going to be fixated on this for the rest of the day. Thanks a hell of a lot.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
5 months ago
Reply to  Larry B

The books in the Trinity College library in Dublin are arranged by size. I’d hardly call them philistines…

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

I would now I know that… 😉

A. Barth
A. Barth
5 months ago
Reply to  Larry B

I’m going to make your angst a little bit worse; apologies in advance for that.

On eBay there are collections of books that are arranged solely by color. Need a bunch of blue books? You’re covered. Need a dozen yellow for some reason? There you go.

I learned about this while looking for random lots of antiquarian books. Apparently the color-coordinated sets are useful for stage productions and similar activities, but it still seems vaguely wrong somehow.

Bill Garcia
Bill Garcia
5 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I can only hope my wife never finds out about this – she already arranges the apps on her phone by color (and then she has to use the app search function to open any app, of course)!

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
5 months ago

I bet Chrysler used some books to block up the rear suspension for that photoshoot too. Adding a few armfulls of books into the back of an econobox like that, and it’ll be driving uphill the whole way home.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
5 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

My thoughts exactly! There is NO WAY that thing is sitting level with that many books piled in the cargo area!

Dale Mitchell
Dale Mitchell
5 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Being totally unfamiliar Chrysler, I was going to say ‘wow these small cars had very impressive suspension’ . That is enough books to make a full size pickup ride a bit low on the springs.

A. Barth
A. Barth
5 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Maybe it’s just some light reading.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
5 months ago

in 2020 we packed up and moved across the country. We had a lot of books. A lot. We had to cull. There isn’t much of a resale market and time was kinda short so we found a guy who took books. It was his hustle. If they were free he’d come to you and load up. His car- which was much larger – looked just like that.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
5 months ago

I had an ’88 Horizon, a significant upgrade from my ’86 Chevette–which says more about the Chevette than the Horizon. The 2.2 was peppy enough, and the car did its hatchback thing admirably. But hoo boy, the ergonomics were laughable. The non-adjustable steering wheel was at an odd angle. My favorite was adjusting the mirrors. The little manual joystick was so far forward on the door, you had to lean to reach it, so you couldn’t adjust the mirror while actually sitting in your driving position.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
5 months ago

Our US-spec 1982 Rabbit LS had square headlights.

the loose books reminded me of one of my early driving experiences in an automatic. We loaded some 2 or 3000lbs of old books from the library I worked at in a 15 passenger van to take to the recycling facility. When someone cut me off just before the on-ramp, my left foot instinctively flew to the non-existent clutch, catching the left side of the wide brake pedal. Books flew: one caught my shoulder on its way to the dash. From that day forward, when driving an automatic, my left foot remained flat on the floor almost tucked under my seat

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
5 months ago

Somebody rolled into the book fair with $5, walked out too giddy with their trophies to focus on proper cargo storage.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
5 months ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

I’ve made that mistake at a library book sale before, compounded by bicycling there. Those panniers were badly overloaded.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
5 months ago

Boy, you’re right Torch, one quick stop and there’s going to be bookmarks all over that Horizon’s interior.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
5 months ago

I had a 78 rabbit. I loved it. I had friends with various versions. I think the vw motor was in at least one that did not have a vw badge. I knew several old guys that had one of these as a grocery getter to save the truck for the camper towing. I miss these.

Janek PL
Janek PL
5 months ago

At least they put books horizontally 😉

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
5 months ago

I drove a Plymouth Horizon for a while in the early ’90s. I think it was an ’88 model? Wholly unremarkable other than being a 5-speed and a rental agency sell off.

Are we sure they aren’t dropping off books at the library? Overdue returns or a donation? Maybe they somehow magically made the trip TO the library without being concussed?

I do like the stacks of books here. If you think about it a bit, that’s quite a heavy load and just enough to keep me occupied over an arctic weekend.

GizmonicLoadingBay
GizmonicLoadingBay
5 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

My parents both had Omni/Horizons in our driveway. In the same maroon color, even! My parents were small hatchback people until suddenly they weren’t and joined the cult of the crossover. I sometimes want to look around for an Omni GLH, but I don’t think many made it through very well to the 2020s.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
5 months ago

I’m definitely interested in hatchbacks over SUVs as my kids are grown and I don’t need a people hauler anymore. Drove a conversion van for a long time, but really prefer the hatchback in most applications.

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