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Trunks..... what are the guidelines/Rules?


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I searched to see if this has already been covered and didn’t see a good response. What are the guidelines/rules on Trunk’s?  Do all 1930 Cadillacs have the same trunk regardless of series and wheelbase?  Do all in house bodies of a Packard, model and body use the same, but custom coachbuilt bodies will have their own?   Do people just put what they like or think looks good?  Did a trunk get used from a make across many years and series?  Is there a Brunn trunk?  Dietrich trunk? Derham trunk?  What is going on with why a specific trunk is on a car.......in house body and coachbuilt?

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Cadillac used their own specific trunks for 1930 and also very specific trunks for 1931 and most are not the same (ie most people think a 30 and 31 trunk are the same, though the accessory brochure shows otherwise).  And there are a good 7 plus varieties per each year, plus a custom paint option too. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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Well.......I shall chime in. In fact, there were two accessory catalogs to look at. The orange one, and the white one. Problem is, trunks were often leftover and sometimes installed after the sale.........so, there is a correct and fair argument that a trunk that is the same year, or plus or minus one year are correct and acceptable. My 1931 Series 355A came new from the dealer with a 1932 trunk on it, as it was not delivered till September of 1932. 

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

so, there is a correct and fair argument that a trunk that is the same year, or plus or minus one year are correct and acceptable. My 1931 Series 355A came new from the dealer with a 1932 trunk on it, as it was not delivered till September of 1932. 

Ed, thanks.  I was using Packard and Cadillac as examples.  Your answer that the Company had a specific trunk listed as an accessories and it might span a couple years is helpful.  I started looking at more pictures last night and noticed that it seems common that factory bodied cars had the same trunk across multiple years/series and models/wheelbases.  I see the same trunk on a Packard 443 Phaeton as is being displayed on a 726.  I assume coachbuilt bodies may have had some type of custom trunk with luggage.  I have been looking at a car that has a trunk unlike anything else I have seen of that make and series.  It made me curious to know "what is appropriate for a specific car".  I guess for some, if the original trunk is gone, they just put something back there for storage.  

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It’s an accessory.......thus you may use a factory authorized unit, and aftermarket unit, or something custom built. Getting something that fits the rack correctly and looks good are entirely different issues. Duesenberg used the same trunk manufacturer as did Cadillac & LaSalle in 1931-1933. Same hardware and attachments, different bezels and sizes. 

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The car factory issued accessory catalogs  ( I am talking mostly for luxury cars as mentioned above by my friends  Ed and John M.) usually showed photos of them in the accessory catalog and they were also seen in Factory issued magazines that were sent to car owners, Cadillac had an in house magazine that went to dealers that had a lot of accessories being mentioned urging dealers to get same and let customers know ( extra $ for sales) . Stamped steel trunks that were painted ( usually black) started to appear more in the mid to late 1920s. Fabric or canvas covered trunks were the choice before that. By the early 1930s some trunks were painted to match body color especially starting in 1933-34 when form fitting trunks appeared to grip the back of the bodies on sedans. Most trunks came fitted with luggage ( hat box, 2 or 3 suit cases) The car companies rarely if eve made their own trunks that mounted on a rack at the rear, These were all made by other manufacturing companies/suppliers ( just like the wheels on most cars were made by wheel companies - especially wire and disc.) Packard did attach a tag to the trunks they made , I am guessing to note that they approved and it was up to the standard that they wanted to see attached to one of their cars. will try to get a photo of this later and post here.

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4 minutes ago, Walt G said:

The car factory issued accessory catalogs  ( I am talking mostly for luxury cars as mentioned above by my friends  Ed and John M.) usually showed photos of them in the accessory catalog and they were also seen in Factory issued magazines that were sent to car owners, Cadillac had an in house magazine that went to dealers that had a lot of accessories being mentioned urging dealers to get same and let customers know ( extra $ for sales) . Stamped steel trunks that were painted ( usually black) started to appear more in the mid to late 1920s. Fabric or canvas covered trunks were the choice before that. By the early 1930s some trunks were painted to match body color especially starting in 1933-34 when form fitting trunks appeared to grip the back of the bodies on sedans. Most trunks came fitted with luggage ( hat box, 2 or 3 suit cases) The car companies rarely if eve made their own trunks that mounted on a rack at the rear, These were all made by other manufacturing companies/suppliers ( just like the wheels on most cars were made by wheel companies - especially wire and disc.) Packard did attach a tag to the trunks they made , I am guessing to note that they approved and it was up to the standard that they wanted to see attached to one of their cars. will try to get a photo of this later and post here.

 

Packard TRUNK TAG.jpg

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Thanks Walt, good to know some history and how they evolved.  Some trunks look appropriate even if they aren't technically an option that was available, but some clearly aren't a good look/fit.  

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The trunk you see on the repainted 1927 Sport Sedan may have been originally supplied. I don’t know, but it does have the proper curved back to match the contour of the car. My old original beater did not have a proper trunk when I bought it. My friend Roy Lassen, (classicaccessories.org), had this flat back aftermarket Taylor which I like very much. It is nicely patina matched to the rest of the car. Do you like it better with the single spare and the original tire cover, or with the bare duals ?

 

By the way, Roy is now in his mid-90s, and I recommend getting in touch with him and chat and browse his inventory. Pretty sure he is ready to deal, and tell him Cadillac Carl said so.   -   CC 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/2/2021 at 10:17 AM, Steve_Mack_CT said:

Most trunks look great in the corner of the shed, garage or barn John.  A great dry, secure storage place for tools, parts or maybe even your spare shotgun ammo... 😉😁

 

I've throw many a trunk in the trash.   Usually I can't wait to get them off the car.   Here is an exception,  but a lot of  thought, research and money went in to this one.

29-duesy-j218-dv-20-ai-01-800.jpg

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That’s a great car...........the restoration is flawless. The only car I have ever seen with California Redwood used for the body structure. George must have ordered it special that way. The body panels were hand filed for fit and finish. The belt line is stunning. The doors rolling into the roof line were fifty years ahead of their time. In my humble opinion, it’s the best closed four door Duesenberg in the world. It’s a great driver. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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AJ and Ed, I am new to this era and trunks. The back end of the car and the presence or absence of a trunk changes the look. Another factor is the configuration of the spare. I frequently see side mount cars not riding with a trunk, but for cars with rear mounted tires, it seems like they always have their trunk on. 
 

 I have just purchased a 733 club sedan with some random trunk on it. I have located what I believe to be the correct trunk that would have been the accessory for the car.  Trying to decide if it is worth the hassle of purchasing and shipping it to my home. 
 

the car should arrive in about 12-14 days at my house.  Getting a little ahead of myself.......worrying about the correct trunk. 

as you guys have voiced thoughts on Trunk’s...  does it change if it is a rear mount spare car?

 

To anyone in particular.....any pics out there of club sedans without side mounts and not riding with a trunk?

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John,

 

You do not want that trunk in last three photos unless you are going to convert the car over to a single sidemount spare tire or dual sidemount spare tires  = it is an accessory "luggage rack" trunk for a "fold down luggage rack" WHICH YOUR CAR DOES NOT HAVE and not the proper trunk for the rear deck of a Club Sedan.

 

Club Sedan trunks do show themselves and I would be prepared to spend perhaps 500 - 100 plus shipping.  a Club Sedan accessory trunk for the trunk deck on back is a narrower trunk front to rear and also different in other proportions than a luggage rack trunk. 

 

Also, you perhaps can "rebuild" a standard luggage rack trunk and make it into a Club Sedan trunk - but, you could also beat yourself senseless as well.

 

As to the trunk you have on car currently - buy a reproduction Packard Accessory trunk tag for it and as they say "move on".

 

 

 

 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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For the trunk on the car, black shoe polish (and liquid shoe dye on bare spots) will go a long way to enhancing its appearance.  Maintenance of these trunks is always a problem, so I recommend a having a black canvas easy-on/easy-off cover made for it.  Assuming that the car is not going to Pebble anytime soon, I'd use non-fading Haartz Stay-Fast for the canvas cover.

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John, this is exactly the feedback/insight I was looking for. Thanks so much.  I like your suggestion of getting a tag for it and spending no more time or money on that. 
 

 

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Grimy, thanks....21 years in the Navy....shined a lot of shoes... I can do that.  And a canvas bag is a good solution to help keep it as good as can be. 

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9 minutes ago, John Bloom said:

21 years in the Navy....shined a lot of shoes...

Yup!  I did 32 years in the Army and Army Reserve....until they threw me out for old age....

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Most cars don’t look good with trunks. The club sedan with rear spare.......need to stand in front of it to determine. You don’t use them anywhere near as much as you think you will. 

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Ed, thanks.  It should be tucked away at my place April 2.  I will pour a celebratory cocktail and put an eye to it and get some input from you and others

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On 3/3/2021 at 2:30 PM, Walt G said:

 

Packard TRUNK TAG.jpg

 

Hi John,

 

Walt and I have the same series amd model - both export versions,

and both have the same trumk with the same "Packard Motor car Company Detroit" tag.

There is also a "K" inside a stylized diamond shape, in the lining of the trunk.

I have mine covered with canvas which matches the roof.

Using it is a personal choice, and it comes in extremely handy for touring - as we do at every opportunity.

 

 

1930 PACKARD REAR LICENSE PLATE.jpg

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2 hours ago, Marty Roth said:

 

Hi John,

 

Walt and I have the same series amd model - both export versions,

and both have the same trumk with the same "Packard Motor car Company Detroit" tag.

There is also a "K" inside a stylized diamond shape, in the lining of the trunk.

I have mine covered with canvas which matches the roof.

Using it is a personal choice, and it comes in extremely handy for touring - as we do at every opportunity.

 

 

1930 PACKARD REAR LICENSE PLATE.jpg

I agree with Marty's comments. There is no space for anything on the floor of these cars front or rear - even the 7 passenger cars we both own! Where do you put your lunch, and bottles of water/juice etc ( ok I know a few of you are saying - bottles of what? - there are things called hip flasks!!) Berate the trunks on cars all you want fellas but where do you put the tools to stop them from crashing or rolling around ? Many of us do not have sweep cars follow along to haul all the tools, luggage etc. or haul our cars to tours in an  enclosed trailer to the start of an event. The trunk on the back of my touring is black, and like Marty I have a tan cover to fit over it that matches the top .  I do agree that the choice of the right size and profile trunk has to be taken into consideration, not just plop any  trunk of any era on to accommodate storage. I drove my Derham bodied 1931 Franklin victoria brougham for 40+ years, car has a rear mounted spare a short coupled body . No floor space for anything. The only time that car was on a trailer was 1) the engine was out for a rebuild 2) I broke a rear main spring leaf and didn't want to drive it 100 miles over 2 major metropolitan area bridges to the shop to get it fixed. I would drive it each August 300+ miles one way in 80+ degree August heat , allowing for traffic it usually took 5+ hours to get to the tour.  For some of us trunks work.

PACKARDtouringrearview.jpg

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Marty and Walt. I think the trunk I’m talking about is that same one you two have. You mention the Diamond stylized K. Here is the  inside of that trunk. 

E2AE2C34-9E05-4A67-945C-5E60DCC49FFF.jpeg

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That K may stand for Kaylee the trunk manufacturer. Someplace here I have a sales /promotional catalog they issued in the era of our cars that shows all the trunks they had available for everything at that time. It is here, now to locate it.

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On 3/18/2021 at 3:55 PM, John Bloom said:

Marty and Walt. I think the trunk I’m talking about is that same one you two have. You mention the Diamond stylized K. Here is the  inside of that trunk. 

E2AE2C34-9E05-4A67-945C-5E60DCC49FFF.jpeg

 

Yes, that is the same manufacturer,

albeit there are several varied designs and configurations.

I leave the fitted luggage out of mine and carry:

- side curtains

- multiple tonneau covers, rear, front, mid range

- tools of nearly every description (for when somebody else needs assistance :rolleyes:)

- webbed tow strap (for when somebody else needs assistance :rolleyes:)

- jumper cables (see above)

- jumper box (see above)

- emergency supplies

- first aid supplies

- cleaning supplies

- spare fluids

- whatever my bride decides we should bring along 😎

- spare parts which are too large for glove boxes

- blanket

- car cover

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I am a fan of trunks and do use them.  One a sidemounted Club Sedan I do not like the looks of a trunk on the deck with a luggage trunk on the rack behind it - the trunk on the trunk deck is just fine.

 

John, on your particular Packard I do like the trunk that is already on the back of the car - a nice look as a bit more streamlined than what  would consider the trunk from the accessory brochure. 

 

 

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Thanks John, as Grimy said, I’m going to spend the first weekend cleaning and polishing areas of the car and I will give the trunk a good detail and take a look at its appearance on the car.  I do like the idea of using it for storage of items that will let me keep the cabin as tidy as possible. 

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7 minutes ago, John Bloom said:

Thanks John, as Grimy said, I’m going to spend the first weekend cleaning and polishing areas of the car and I will give the trunk a good detail and take a look at its appearance on the car.

@John Bloom, do your still have your shoe buffing brush from your Navy days?  Give it a workout!  🙂  I used Lincoln brand shoe polish rather than Kiwi....

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14 minutes ago, Grimy said:

@John Bloom, do your still have your shoe buffing brush from your Navy days?  Give it a workout!  🙂  I used Lincoln brand shoe polish rather than Kiwi....

Grimy....  after 21 years in, I’ve been retired for 9 years. I have all the gear and quite a bit of experience, curtesy of the USN. Never used Lincoln, but have put a few pounds of Kiwi on leather in my early days. Outside of young people in the military, I doubt many young people have ever shined shoes. 
 

the key to a great shine is to clean the leather first......  don’t just start with putting wax on. With clean leather, I like a thick coat, let it set, buff it out , and put a second light coat on and buff that out. 
 

I’ll try and get a couple before and after shots of the trunk after detailing once she is home. It is scheduled to be here April 2. 
 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi John, 

Just came across this again. I have been following your other postings in  General. You have an extraordinarily beautiful, REAL classic car. Part of the unusual beauty of your car is the gorgeous varnished stout spoked wood wheels. The rear. mounted spare and trunk look great. I can’t really tell from the picture , but that trunk may be totally patina compatible with the rest of the car as is. Careful, you don’t need to have the trunk steal the scene. Too much “bling” could make it stick out like a gold front tooth in a pim, er, ah, I mean a funeral director’s mouth. Congratulation’s. You did very very well ! A car befitting of a lifelong love affair..   -    Carl 

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