by Dan Cameron

After years of weathering, the fiberboard trunk panels begin to look pretty bad. If you are getting ready to tackle this project, the steps below should help:

  1. First, you need to purchase the following items:
    • Hardboard: this is a waterproof cardboard used by auto upholstery and trim shops for making door panels. It comes in 3′ x 4′ sheets.
    • Aluminum pop rivets with washers.
    • Adjustable shelf metal strip approximately 4′ long.
    • Contact Cement.
    • Spray-on upholstery adhesive.
    • Vinyl: 3 x 4 1/2″
    • (26) screws and washers (escutcheon rings)
  2. Next, using your original panels as a template, cut out the new panels using a packing knife. To get a nice, clean edge, I sanded mine with fine sandpaper.
  3. Now, install the panels with the metal screws. This is only a temporary measure to assure fit and allow for drilling of screw holes in the hardboard.
  4. After proper fit is assured and the panels removed, reinforce the side facing the gas tanks with a short piece of metal shelving strip. I think the strips I used were about 14″ long. This step is only necessary to prevent warpage when the trunk compartment becomes hot. Position the metal strip approximately 3″ down for the top (running from front to rear of the car) and secure with pop rivets and washers. To avoid having the pop rivets show through the vinyl, countersink the hole, install the rivet and cover with a short piece of duct tape. The exact position is determined by trial and error method so as to eliminate the possibility of interference.
  5. Finally, cut the vinyl covering about 1″ larger than the panel itself, spray the panel surface with the spray-on adhesive, let it air dry (will not fully cure) for 3 minutes and place the vinyl over the panel. Turning the panel over, roll the edge of the vinyl over the backside and secure with contact cement (not spray adhesive). Locate mounting holes with a prick punch and you are ready for the final installation.

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