New Trunk Latch

August 17, 2006

e-bay is both a blessing and a curse when you own an old car. The good news is that e-bay provides a quick and easy way to watch for and purchase parts without spending every weekend rooting though tables at car-show swap meets. However the flip side is that you have to be very careful that you are buying what you think you are buying. Prices tend to be all over the place. My gut feeling is that schilling is pretty common on e-bay. It seems like I end up bidding against one and only one other person a lot. Bargains are pretty rare too. Plenty of people will snap up a cheap item and try to resell it. Regardless I watch e-bay closely and bid when I see something I need or sometimes just when I see a good deal. Last week I saw something that I just had to have.

The chrome on my car is a mixed bag. The bumpers, interior chrome, and hubcaps are great but the rest is pretty badly pitted. One of the worst parts is the trunk handle/license plate light assembly. The lock and license plate light are both broken and the chrome sucks. So when a N.O.S. (short for new old stock which means vintage parts never used on a car) trunk latch came up on e-bay I decided I was not going to miss out on it. From the pictures it looked perfect and even included a new lock cylinder with key. I bid high and got it. I don’t think I got a great deal but I still probably beat what it would have cost to fix and re-chrome my old parts.

As you can see I got just what the seller said. The chrome is not perfect but it is as good as it was when it left the factory 60+ years ago. Here you can see the two bases for the handle and light.
And the handles. My old handle had pretty good chrome but the new one is much better.
Here are the license plate lights. I reused the glass and rubber from the old light. You can see the crack in the old part. Not to mention the chrome damage. The old lens was really stuck the old light. I ended up heating the whole thing up in a pan of water to just below boiling. After a few minutes of that the rubber seals softened enough to let the whole thing slide apart. I even was able to save the seals.
The new lock cylinder was a bit of a challenge. All the parts were there and it went together without any problems. I put the key in and the lock turned to the lock position….then stuck. No amount of wiggling would unlock the lock. I finally gave up and took it to a locksmith in town. He determined that I actually had the wrong key for the lock. It was close but not right. One tumbler must have stuck to let me turn it that one time. But once it hit the locked position I was done. No harm done though.

Here is the final result. It literally looks like new!

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