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History Vintage Roof Racks

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dan Hay, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Let's see some pics of roof racks NOT on wagons. The reason I'm asking is that I have a large family that require a lot of accessories (crap) when we travel. We want to take our 39 sedan on some trips but the trunk fills up pretty fast.

    I have an OT German "people's car" that commonly had roof racks in the 50's and 60's. They are made of small round bar bent into shape with wood slats to make up the bottom. I have this car and my 39 sitting side by side in the garage and was wondering about a roof rack for the 39, that would be similar, using feet that sat in the drip rails, with a hold down clamp in the door jamb.

    Best case scenario for my lack of skills is that I buy one off the shelf for the OT car and widen/lengthen it to fit the 39.

    But, I'm open to other ideas of racks that were common back then. Just seeing what's out there.

    roof rack.jpg IMG_2758.jpg
     
  2. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,483

    Roothawg
    Member

    What about a receiver hitch rack? That way you don’t scar up the paint.
     
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  3. In theory the rack shouldn't scar the paint, they have rubber boots over the part that lays in the drip rails. A receiver rack would work in terms of practicality but would not look right. I may end up doing that but wanted to explore a period correct option.
     
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  4. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,483

    Roothawg
    Member

    When did roof racks first appear?mid 50’s?
     

  5. I think so? Not exactly sure. I'm guessing there were makeshift units made during the Grapes of Wrath migration of the depression but I want something more refined then that with a vintage look.
     
  6. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,269

    NoSurf
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  7. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,392

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Something like this? Should be fairly easy to make with some 1/2 or 3/4 EMT, some inch angle, and some flat stock. The rubber cups are available on Amazon and elsewhere as is the attaching strap and hardware. 00R0R_gVbM7H2XVJiz_0jm0pO_600x450.jpg 20220104_091632.jpg
     
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  8. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,483

    Roothawg
    Member

    I was thinking of using a receiver hitch with the old “trunks” like a steamer trunk etc. disguise the hitch portion to just kinda go away.
    upload_2022-1-18_9-18-16.jpeg
     
  9. j hansen
    Joined: Dec 22, 2012
    Posts: 2,850

    j hansen
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  10. Hmmm, that's a good suggestion, probably closer in dimension to my sedan
    Ah, that makes sense. Yeah that could be cool. When you said it before all I could think of was those modern tray style ones that hang off the back of Suburbans.
     
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  11. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,688

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Maybe about what works best for you. Some look cool,some work better ect.
    My wagons,most had factory racks and they were very handy. I did think they looked good too ,on wagons.
    My 28A bobtailed roadster hotrod,years back when my handycaped wife was still feeling good enough to want to go along, I added a rear folding rack*,with custom bracket{so I could remove the rack completely with just two big wingnuts*,or just fold it up} It worked good for her wheelchair and even a cooler if needed! Being low for loading in rear was good for any car,aero was likely not thought of much when these were hot aftermarket ticket add on. :D
    abetters1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
  12. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,845

    jnaki





    Hello,

    Nice Ford sedan. It would be a difficult decision to get clip on racks for the rails on that sedan. Those racks put on a lot of stress and with the weight of the suitcases, bags, tents, etc, it might overtax the whole system. Each of the racks for newish cars comes with a weight limit. 125-150 pound limit on what you can put on top.

    That nice shiny rack with wooden slats looks good on VW bugs, but I have never seen one full of stuff. They are an accessory item that just makes the old car look historic. The weight of that particular rack might be too much for your roof and stuff. It does weigh more than just some clip on rail surfboard racks. A sheet of plywood on the racks rated at 125-50 lbs will weigh less than those with a steel frame and wood slats.
    upload_2022-1-18_7-38-11.png This one looks nice, has the gutter clips and seems like it would fit, but the problem is the weight of the complete rack and then with all of your family's stuff, more weight for those poor drip rails.

    We thought about surfboard racks for our Flathead 40 Ford Sedan Delivery, but it only had drip rails on the door area. With two-three original 1959-60 longboards, it was at least 130 lbs. Luckily, the answer was for us to slide those heavy original longboards in through the open rear door window and stuffed with old t-shirts to seal up any openings.
    upload_2022-1-18_7-42-23.png
    Old surfboard racks with rubber suction cups are lower and can take a lot more weight, but remember what it does to the surface of your roof and the possible outcomes. Paint and body work after heavy weights are put on the surface. IOHO, It is not worth the effort to pack stuff on the roof of such a pristine Ford Sedan.

    Jnaki

    Also, perhaps your family might have to slim down the amount of carry on baggage to take on trips. We used to go traveling with a large suitcase and a mid size suitcase for the two of us. These days, it is one over the shoulder bag with wheels for being lightweight and accessible from the trunk.

    On a three week trip, we had stopovers in laundromats in places like Zion National Park and Lake Powell. (Prior to the pandemic) That makes the amount of stuff that has to be packed, less and easy to lug around.

    That rack that you showed is usually an accessory item for small cars. It may not fit the 40 sedan. Also, any alteration may add additional weight to the overall structure. Weight is your key and weight limits of the racks is also an item to consider, let alone what happens to your pristine Ford sedan.

    An alternative is to get a small trailer if it is absolutely necessary to pack a bunch of stuff behind the Ford sedan. Trailer driving is not for everyone, but we can all adjust to the situation. You just might need a trans cooler and better shocks. YRMV
     
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  13. Dan i hear ya on the roof rack, I had planned to use one on the trip to Bonneville last year. I have one that i used on my 51 Chevy before i sold it and had always planned on using it with the 39. But when i actually went to put it on i noticed that the drip rails are a little different from the ones on my Chevy. I on the 39 the bottom of the drip rail rolls over smoothly and gave no way to hook the straps onto the drip rail. just something to consider when looking for one, i will come up with something different that will clamp to the drip rail, but did not have time before Bonneville to use the roof rack. Here is the one I have still on my 51. Its great for putting a pop up canopy on, and takes up no space when not in use. Picked it up at a swap meet for cheap. 20170423_170021.jpg 51 roof rack.jpg
     
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  14. @Nailhead Jason yeah, the pop up and the cooler are the bulky items that don't necessarily weigh much that could go up top. That one on your 51 is very functional and looks good.
     
  15. Honestly it would be a snap to make this one. I even got all new rubber cups and straps for it. easy enough to bend up the sheet metal and cut a couple hardwood boards for it. https://www.strapworks.com/ is the place to go for new straps, you can custom make whatever you want in what ever length you need, i spent about 40 bucks getting new ones for mine all with black sewn webbing and black rubber coated hardware.
     
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  16. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 912

    Bob Lowry

    Look for 40's to 50's Advanced Design suburban roof/luggage racks. If you find one with the original
    fasteners, a big plus. Typically going for $700 or more, and pretty rare.

    roof.jpg
     
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  17. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 8,711

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If needed? :rolleyes::cool:
     
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  18. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 912

    Bob Lowry

    You could make one yourself, using emt conduit as was said. Also, look at boat supply houses for
    cool rail parts in stainless steel. All sorts of angles and fittings.
     
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  19. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 16,059

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Yea, one must know their audience right Bill!

    upload_2022-1-18_11-27-54.png
     
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  20. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,501

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    Dan, my buddy pat makes what your looking for I’ll gather some pix and info and post later.

    Long as he can find a car to measure etc he can make it for ya
     
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  21. Have you thought about a Mullins trailer? Either steel (orig) or fiberglass (repop). It would look "period-perfect" and allow you plenty of cargo capacity. I know, pulling a trailer is a pain, but so is the potential headaches associated with a roof rack and the damage that could result. BTW, you've got a great looking car!
     
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  22. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,501

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    Here are three different ones he’s made. These are 53/4 chevys but he’s done plenty others. They all use the same drip rail grip but the rest is hand made. He was offering them with or with out wood slats and as each is made per order I’m sure he could tweak details to suit exactly what you want 9892E834-5875-47E8-8C8C-D5F42EEED2F2.jpeg 5E598A55-382E-46EF-B586-1A44AF42B7E8.jpeg 1C83BD29-82D0-49CA-9C67-34DE7C72F839.jpeg 9E7372F4-88C5-45D8-833A-46D82A3AE364.jpeg 412E35E4-87EE-45C2-833C-564891FD374D.jpeg 9892E834-5875-47E8-8C8C-D5F42EEED2F2.jpeg
     
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  23. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,501

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    3B1ACF70-802A-49EB-B720-F55BF5A30515.jpeg Pats contact info and IG
     
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  24. @Tim That's pretty cool. I'll look him up on IG.
     
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  25. Tow Truck Tom
    Joined: Jul 3, 2018
    Posts: 384

    Tow Truck Tom
    Member
    from Clayton DE

    Just me But, some way to haul your stuff out back would hide that beautiful, sedan rear body.
    The thought of needing to climb up to a roof rack, begs me to want it out-back. Easy
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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  26. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,837

    indyjps
    Member

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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  27. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 912

    Bob Lowry

    And those have the original, cool, vintage hold downs. NLA. VERY pricey on the web, but they are what
    you want if you are going to have one. Very cool pictures. Bob
     
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  28. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,583

    abe lugo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Look up Quick N Easy mounts on ebay, they are the original version of the sweet patina mounts. Also the same as that ones Tim posted above. The price ranges from 90-150 for the arms. but it the most versatile so you can mkae what you need as a rack.
    quick and easy.jpg

    I actually like the one Nailhead Jason posted, those also show up on ebay, for around 100-150, but you have to get new cups and they touch on your paint, but these can be stowed in the trunk until you need a rack. I like that part of it.
    rack 2.jpg

    The last one J hansen posted is a Carpac, hard to get- but looks the best on wagon type vehicles. depends where you at you can find a deal or pay a ton. 450-2500
    upload_2022-1-18_18-35-21.png

    The ones you are referring to might be too specific for VW or European cars, do you might want to see and try in person or find samples of cars like yours and then match the rack, better than buying something and then not being able to return it.

    I got both the Carpac and the quick n easy. Might get the suction stick to have the trifecta
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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  29. I've never been a fan of roof racks... awkward to access (kids always want the shit that is dead-center of the load), stuff is hard to weatherproof, they look like the Grapes Of Wrath! They also put a lot of load on those 80 year old drip rails (figure you're pushing another brick through the wind as you head on down the highway). The truck hanging out the ass-end ain't too pleasing to my eye, and I wouldn't like that load hanging out there. Plus, 'the kids always want the shit that's in the trunk of the '39, so there you are again.
    That leaves the third option... take stock of what you REALLY need on a family trip. How large is your family? What does each person need (not want)? How long are you gonna be on the road? Properly 'thinned out', between the '39s trunk and the package tray for light, soft things, you can probably haul everything you need within the confines of the car. Think about it... that's what families did in 1939!
    If the above doesn't trip your trigger and you still want to pack crap on top like a Yellowstone Bus, take a look at how late model SUV roof racks are done... hardware bolted down to the roof in multiple spots, using nutsert-type inserts in the roof. You would have to use a sealant when installing the nutsert to prevent water intrusion, and when you remove the roof rack, screw in a fastener (button head allen bolt) to close the hole. Or maybe leave the base mount in place. If you choose this route, look at boat supply sellers to determine if marine handrail hardware will work for you.
    Good luck!
     

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