Owning a wicked cool classic truck certainly has its benefits, especially when you top off the tank and hit the open road to enjoy putting down some well-deserved miles. But, what happens when you want to head out to a cruise night or an event and you need to load up the bed with some essentials like a cooler or some additional luggage? For many owners, whose beds are finished just as nicely as their trucks exteriors, it brings forth a dilemma of how to actually make the most of their hauler without damaging some of its finer points. Here’s the deal, for a modest amount of stock and a little bit of labor, your troubles can be solved. On a recent visit to The Hot Rod Garage in Denton, Maryland, we came across a mint ’40 Ford that was there to try and address this exact situation. Shop owner Ray Bartlett guided us through the thought behind their exclusive polished stainless steel luggage racks, which can be custom-fitted to any make or model classic truck utilizing existing bed trim holes, and requiring no fabrication to the truck itself. If polished stainless isn’t your bag, you can create it in mild steel and have it powdercoated for just as much durability. Either way, you can start utilizing your truck’s full potential with a neat removable luggage rack that’s both sleek and sexy while adding even more allure to your ride.
Getting started, team leader Dean Alexander began by evaluating the bed of the truck and determining the exact mounting points of the new luggage rack. It was important to measure exactly from the bed trim center bolt to center bolt to assure the rack will mount perfectly in place. For this particular application the measurement was 233⁄8-inches. The hardware was then loosened and removed from the bed. Alexander then proceeded to create a template on light cardboard stock to transfer all the required measurements, starting with a straight edge for the overall length. To give the rack a subtle appearance, ¾-inch solid polished stainless rod was selected which would sit approximately 2¼-inches from the top of the bed to the bottom of the rack’s cross bars. A simple compass was used to mark a dual 4¾-inch radius. The completed template would be of great help to confirm the bends once they were made. Alexander then sleeved the polished stainless rod in plastic to help keep it from being scratched during the fabrication process. To take on the task of bending, a Hossfeld Universal electric-hydraulic iron bender made the job a snap working with the proper adjustable dies marked for a 90-degree bend. Once the work was completed, the rod was matched to the template, confirming the bends. It’s a good idea to allow some extra stock on either side of the piece to allow for a final trim to fit the application. Noting the trimming required, Alexander made the cuts on a band saw and then deburred the area on a belt sander, all the while wearing sufficient eye protection.