At a flea market, an individual stumbled upon a unique Chrysler K-Car grill pattern.

K-Car Engineering Pattern Found on Wooden Grill at Flea Market

In a surprising discovery, a vintage engineering pattern for a front grill has been found on a wooden grill at a flea market in northern Michigan. The pattern bears a striking resemblance to the grill design of the 1985-1989 Dodge Aries, which featured the new crosshair grille design. Robert Schoenlein, the lucky buyer of the item, published the finding on Facebook, sparking intrigue and speculation among auto enthusiasts.

The wooden pattern, which is made entirely of wood and surprisingly heavy, is believed to be either an engineering model or a piece of production tooling. Some experts have suggested that it could be a “positive” pattern used to sand cast an aluminum copy of the grill. The alignment features visible between the various segments of the pattern further support this theory. However, it should be noted that the K cars of that era did not have solid aluminum grilles; they used plastic grilles with chrome trim instead. Additionally, sand casting was not a typical production method for car grilles in the 1980s due to the time and labor-intensive nature of the process. It would also not have been suitable for producing a mold for a plastic part.

Despite these inconsistencies, it is likely that the wooden pattern was used to create a prototype grill using a casting or molding process. This resulting part would have been processed and utilized for measurement and development purposes, aiding in the machining of an injection molding die. The use of tool steel in the production of these dies is essential for achieving a good surface finish and minimizing wear after multiple injections of molten plastic.

The discovery of this engineering relic outside of a Chrysler plant is unexpected and intriguing. It is a rare piece of engineering history that offers insight into the development process of the iconic K-Car. The fact that it has survived to this day and ended up at a flea market suggests that someone associated with the K-Car engineering department took it as a memento. Its journey from a Chrysler plant to a flea market only adds to its allure as an interesting find.

The finding has piqued the curiosity of auto enthusiasts and engineers alike, who are eager to learn more about the significance of this wooden pattern. The unique nature of the item, combined with its historical value, has sparked discussions within the engineering community.

If you have any additional information or insights about this discovery, please contact the author at lewin@thedrive.com.