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Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car
Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car
Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

HOW-TO

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 1 - Page 2

Design

A simple theme to apply when it comes to trunks is that size and shape matter. Proportion is important. Too small a trunk on a large car can appear as ridiculous as an oversized trunk being used on a small car. Length, width, height, and shape are all important when it comes to designing your trunk. In most cases, the rack and mounting hardware can dictate the basic dimensions and there are instances where even the body contour or placement of the fuel filler cap can determine the trunk's final shape.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Should the trunk open from the top, the front, or both?
  2. Should it be made of wood and covered with material or all metal and painted?
  3. Are corner protectors called for, and should they be made of metal or thick leather?
  4. Look at your design and decide if it should include lid support brackets, strain reliefs, integral vents, and side carrying handles (mainly for appearance).
  5. Should the trunk have a domed lid or should it be flat? The domed shape presents some construction challenges, but is still doable using a special product called wiggle board, a special plywood that bends to a contour or shape.

These are design features to consider when researching the right trunk design for your specific Marque. Be sure to research your car to see which of these features are right for your car. To help, we've added Photos 4-18 which show many different trunk configurations for you to consider. Photo 18 documents an authentic trunk for our car and was used as a guide during this fabrication.

If you are fortunate enough to have found an example of the trunk originally offered for your car, be sure to take exact measurements of every facet of the trunk, including such things as the exact position of handles or decorative features. Clarify your findings with sketches and/or photos.

Once you have determed the size, shape and design of your trunk it is good practice to create some basic working drawings. This is invaluable when working through the project and requires you to give some thought about how the trunk is to be constructed before you start cutting the wood.

Here are some important things to consider when determining the actual construction of the trunk:

  1. How will it attach to the luggage rack? Will it use external rods (Photo 9) or flat/angle steel or will it bolt into the base using strategically placed hidden threaded inserts?
  2. How will trunk lid and other mating surfaces meet? Will they butt together or overlap each other?
  3. Where will hardware such as hasps, handles, alignment pins, and hinges be mounted?
  4. What is the best outer covering material? Don't forget to leave allowances between surfaces for material thickness when moving and opening pieces.
  5. Does the design include or need extra trim around the edges to enhance or duplicate its original appearance? Some original trunks used the piano hinge with extra long strips to wrap around the cover (Photos 4 & 7).
  6. Is there a possibility that it will be exposed to the elements when touring? If so, overlapping joints in the lid may be necessary to prevent water from getting inside. An alternative may be to include a well-fitted cover.
  7. Be sure that your design includes a sturdy base.
  8. Research available hardware from various suppliers. We've found Restoration Supply and Ohio Travel Bag are good sources. Consider purchasing the hardware and having it on hand before finalizing the design and beginning construction. [Editor's note: we will be including a list of resources at the end of Part 3 of this series]
Photo 4 — This example has a piano style hinge on top which could leak. Note the remnants of a leather corner on the left and that the piano hinge was configured extra wide to form around the curve and nailed at the very end.

Photo 4 — This example has a piano style hinge on top which could leak. The remnants of a leather corner are on the left and the piano hinge was configured extra wide to form around the curve and nailed at the very end.


Photo 5 — Another example of a piano style hinge nailed in place. Note the nail spacing on the piano hinge at the end is about 1 inch then approximately 2 inch spacing thereafter. Also note that this used separate metal strips around the curve and the nails likely were lead coated steel.

Photo 5 — Another example of a piano style hinge nailed in place. Note the nail spacing on the piano hinge at the end is about 1 inch then approximately 2 inch spacing thereafter. Also this used separate metal strips around the curve and the nails likely were lead coated steel.


Photo 6 — This trunk employs three strap style hinges on the front panel. Note the horizontal metal edges on both the front panel and the base which were likely added after the fabric was applied. Also note the vertical chrome strips on the edges. Sometimes trim like this offers decoration and can also cover seams.

Photo 6 — This trunk employs three strap style hinges on the front panel. Note the horizontal metal edges on both the front panel and the base which were likely added after the fabric was applied. The vertical chrome strips on the edges are used as decoration and sometimes they are used to cover seams.


Photo 7 — Close up view of the trunk from Photo 6. Note the use of the polished trim around the curved edge and the leather corner at the base. Molded leather corners were typically found at the top corners while this example used them in both upper and lower. Also note the nail's head style, That low profile truss is almost identical to the threaded rivet used on this project.

Photo 7 — Close up view of the trunk from Photo 6. It uses a polished trim around the curved edge and the leather corner at the base. Molded leather corners were typically found at the top corners while this example used them in both upper and lower. Note the nail's head style and that low profile truss is almost identical to the threaded rivet used on this project.


Photo 8 — This example also employed the use of a separate metal strip over the piano hinge curved around the side of the panel and nailed on the end. Note the mating seams are flat butt style seams. Likely under the seam is another wood edge that overlaps the hinged panel for providing protection from the weather. This is the preferred method for a practical joint between surfaces.

Photo 8 — This example also employed the use of a separate metal strip over the piano hinge curved around the side of the panel and nailed on the end. The mating seams are flat butt style seams. Likely under the seam is another wood edge that overlaps the hinged panel for providing protection from the weather. This is the preferred method for a practical joint between surfaces.