Here I will make a latch for the trunk handle. The mechanism that came attached to the piece from Vintique isn’t long enough to do what we want done. In our application, because we don’t want anything really protruding into the trunk space (as in a plate for the latch to hook on), we wanted to add length to the original “mailbox flag” to make it long enough to tuck inside the lower lip of the body (or roll pan… not sure what to call it). It won’t latch into anything, but because the trunk lid swings out before it swings up, it shouldn’t need a hook and latch.
The tricky part is going to be making sure the “flag” is in the exact location we need it to be in so that the lid isn’t too loose, or too tight. This was done in the last article. So now, we’re just going to install it and hope I didn’t mess up the measurements too badly!
I started with a length of 1/8″ rod. I was originally going to make the locking “flag” out of 1/8″ plate, but I found this bar and the plate didn’t stand a chance. I cleaned it up a bit with a ScotchBrite pad.
The starting bend was made around a 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ tube that I clamped in the vise. The other bends were done around a 3/4″ bar, with a set of pliers to bring the 1/8″ bar in tight to the 3/4″ bar.
Here’s what I came up with after I cut the original flag off because it wasn’t long enough. I carefully welded the ends to the original flag, and next I will scuff it with the Scotchbrite pad to get rid of the welding discoloration. There’s really no way of knowing whether my measurements are correct until it gets installed… this is almost good enough for TV, eh?!
Well, it looks all right, but DOES IT WORK?? Are you kidding- you bet it works! To finish the job, we’ll need to install a small stainless rub plate over the trunk lip, so the new flag doesn’t wear out the fiberglass. This was probably the most satisfying job yet on this car- it works just like we planned it, and it’s really, really simple.
UPDATE: After 10 000 miles, this latching mechanism is still working great. I needed to tighten up the handle once, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the latch. As far as holding the trunk lid in place, it’s an A+.