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1955 Ford Part 30: Trunk & Trim Installation

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Installing the Trunk and Trunk Trim

Cold weather had set in around these parts and snow was in the air and on the ground when I entered the garage to install the trunk lid on the 1955 Ford Fairlane. The trunk lid had been painted, cleared, cut, and buffed earlier this year and the weather stripping had already been installed. On Saturday morning I put a coat of wax on the exterior surface and began assembling the script, emblem, and lock mechanism/latch to the trunk. What looked like a simple process wore on for quite some time. Everything went reasonably well until I installed the trunk lock housing. I had purchased a reproduction housing a few months back, and had already encountered issues when trying to install a new lock cylinder (I purchased a matching set of two door locks and a trunk lock all keyed the same of course).

The reproduction part did not have a nice stud on the rear of the mechanism that would hold the thick wire rod (this connects to the latch to essentially open the trunk). That was ok – we just opened up the eye of the wire rod and re-bent it around the new arm on the reproduction lever. The trouble came when I worked the key into the cylinder and turned the lock – it operated fine but when moving the key out the cylinder came out with it along with the springs, tumblers, etc. What.a.mess. After fiddling with the old lock cylinder and the new reproduction housing I decided to go that route – so now we have three keys for the car. It will have to do for now.

(the old trunk lock housing and the new cylinder that went kablooey!)

On to bigger and better things. I employed the assistance of my 14 year old son, Ethan, (seen in various videos in other posts for the blog) to help me carry the trunk from the basement to the garage and onto the hinges. We laid one of mama’s old flannel sheets/blanket across the back ledge just under the hinges. JUST IN CASE!

Thankfully everything went well in this regard and the alignment was pretty straight forward. As you may remember, we had drilled a hole in each hinge plate to match the studs on the clips shown in the photos. Alignment was near perfect right off the bat.

Because of the fresh coating of paint and some body work I did have to make some small adjustments but they were pretty slight. You can see in the video that for body work in 1955 this would have been very acceptable. The gaps look pretty good and I guess on a panel painted white the gaps are more important because they show so well.

From there I recovered the Fairlane specific (and only one year – 1955) pot metal chrome trim from the basement and re-installed it on the car.

This example is pretty rough but I only paid about $75 for it. If you know anything about 1955 Fairlane Trunk Chrome like this piece, they have a tendency to disintegrate on the car – when the chrome finish goes, the pot metal gets eaten up pretty quickly. I know of a few plating businesses at car shows that will use this specific part as an item to display what quality of work the business can do as far as building metal back up, plating, etc. And… that translates to EXPENSIVE! Last I checked, getting this one “rebuilt” and re-chromed would be close to $800. wow. This will have to do for a driver. Maybe one of these days we will get that taken care of.

Later on in the afternoon, I did get some a couple more things done before spending a few hours helping my daughter’s friend get her car out of a ditch (an accident due to road conditions, and thankfully no one was injured) – we won’t go there. I had blasted the heavy wire clips that retain the stainless trim spears that rest on top of the quarters on either side of the trunk.

I also had blasted the original trunk latch which was in good shape but just showing a lot of rust. What I decided to do with these parts instead of paint was to use a product called “Rust Prevention Magic”. As you can see it comes in a container similar to rubbing compound and is meant to be brushed on a metal part or piece that has been cleaned and heated. The heat helps the chemical to essentially melt into the surface and microscopic pores while also aiding the user to spread the material over the entire surface.

You can see in the one photo that the waxy like substance had melted to a high gloss as it coated the clips. Within a few minutes of cooling it went to a matte finish. Time will tell on whether or not this product works as advertised – it had great reviews. I did remember to zip tie the nuts to one of the flanges of the latch. The 1955 Ford Hood has four studs for mounting the latch mechanism.

Due up next in blog #31 – Y Block starter motor woes!

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