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Publication Date: 2003-Nov-11

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


The present invention relates to modular vehicle construction and in particular, to a first embodiment having a clam shell-like arrangement in which the entire belt-line-up structure is pre-assembled for shipment to an OEM plant. Prior to assembly of the clam shell, interior components may be assembled in the easier to install Z-axis direction. In a preferred embodiment, the clam shell includes all upper vehicle structure and exterior class-a surfaces and may be prepared by a combination of forming techniques and may be finished to make the part compatible with other vehicle parts. In a modification of the first embodiment, the clam shell module is used along with box side modules which contain all door related features and body side class-a surfaces. All or a portion of the B-pillar structure, as well as for the other pillars, rockers, and upper side rails, are included with one or the other of the pre-assembled modules. Another variant covered by the present invention combines the content potential and positive interior loading/installation attributes and the value of "B-free" assembly. A further embodiment of the present invention employs a Targa Band to complete an entire belt-line-up zone when used with the clam shell. It provides structural support and occupant protection in crash situations. Belt-line-down systems can be more easily installed before the Targa Band attachment. Finally, within the scope of the present invention is a mortise and tenon half shell which includes a frame module for dimensional stability and roof module. The modules are combined prior to shipment to an OEM plant or combined during final vehicle assembly.