This is the thread of my build of a trailer for my GT that looks like two GT rear ends butted together. “Boot” is used in the British sense of the word, meaning a trunk.
I have wanted to make something like this ever since the 1980’s, when I had my first GT’s. Seeing what an eye-catcher JLThunder’s trailer turned out to be lit a fire under me and finally got me going on the project. What held me up for so long was that I lived in apartments all my life until 10 years ago. I never had the room to get too ambitious. I also don’t have any welding skills and didn’t become much of an auto mechanic until recent years. My training is in wood working and bicycle-level technology and my strong suit, as far as skills, is in ideas and inventions.
So I got the notion that I would make my trailer using the fiberglass replacement rear panels that OGTS sells as the starting point. Trying to mimic all the sexy curves of a GT’s rear wheel wells was out of the question for my skill set, so I decided to “Keep it simple, stupid!”
I had installed one of those rear panels on my yellow GT, seen below, years ago after getting rear ended, so I was familiar with working with them. At first, the plan was to keep the materials the same and build the part that would bridge the two panels out of fiberglass. But, as I researched fiberglass technology and tried to source the materials, I realized that that route would be a pain in the azz and would have me do a whole lot of work doing something that I dread probably more than anything in the world: Working with fiberglass. Just typing the word makes me itch. Simply handling the box that the panels arrived in made me itch. Buying a can of Bondo makes me itch. The smell of resin makes me itch. I was quickly getting to the point where I would grasp ANY alternative that wouldn’t involve the f-word(typing that made me a little itchy).
One thing that I gleaned from my f-word researches is that it’s better to build FROM the finished surface TOWARDS the inside. Most folks who have to work with the f-word are doing repairs, like patching a hole in a boat or doing auto bodywork, so you HAVE to build up from a base towards your finished surface. Not so with my project, since I was creating something entirely new from scratch. So, instead, you have to think in terms of creating a mold of the outside and build up layers of reinforcement inwards from there.
I had contemplated using sheet metal as the skin of the “hull” that would bridge my two f-word panels, but when you live in New Jersey you know that anything made out of steel will be a pile of rust in ten years or will require you to sand, patch, and repaint it every 3 years. I also knew that this contraption of mine wasn’t going to get used much and would be very likely to stay parked under my deck or partially disassembled and stored in my garage or basement for much of the year. I wanted a solution that wouldn't require me to scratch itches, weld metal, or do hardly any bodywork, plus handle sitting outside in the elements and getting kicked around a bit.
In my previous thread about a trailer with an Opel rear axle, a member suggested a type of flexible panel from Home Depot. I checked it out and what I found that would work was thin PVC panels for tub enclosures. They were the only panel of any type that I could find that could handle the bend of the shape of the GT rear panels. A body shop guy had suggested I check out these new PVC panels that are now available for builders to use for making the outside moldings and such on houses. They were inappropriate for using as the “hull”, but they presented some interesting possibilities for other aspects of my build. They come in 4’x8’ sheets in two thicknesses, 3/8” and ¾”, and were really expensive($130+ for one ¾” sheet!). But, they were PVC and the thin panels from Home Depot were PVC, which meant that I could glue them together with PVC cement in just minutes. No itching, dust masks, ventilation systems, full-body environmental suits, rollers and squeegies, and all the other crap you have to do when working with the f-word. Anyone who has done some plumbing work with PVC knows how unbelievably simple the stuff is to work with.
So, I bought all the stuff and started my project. I used some of the PVC to form the outer part of the frame that will hold the panel to the shape I require. It’s a waste of the pricey material for that purpose, plywood would have sufficed, but I’ll be able to cut it up and use it for other aspects of the build after the basic form has begun to take shape.
First, how to set the correct angle for the panels so that they mimic exactly how a GT’s rear looks? They’re curvy, so it’s tough to figure. Ah, but GT tail lights and housings are designed so that the lenses are at right angles to the ground. Simple! Just put a tail light assembly in the panel and tilt the panel until the lense face is at a right angle! Set both panels opposing each other at the correct angle and that part was figured out.
Now, how far apart should they be? Well, from the center of a GT’s rear wheel well to the tip of the top of the rear panel, is almost exactly 24”. So, two rear ends facing each other and joined at the center of the wheel well would be 48”. That’s how wide my 4’x8’ PVC panels are! When everything is glued in place, I’ll want the “hull” to overhang and enclose the f-word Opel panels by a little bit, so I will set the distance between the top edges of the Opel panels at 46”. I now know where to set the upper and lower edges of the rear panels and how far apart they will be within my PVC hull sheet.
That’s how far I’ve gotten as of yesterday. Today I will do some cutting of excess material, access portals for the two primary inner panels, and do some marking of where things start and stop. There are still many other features and considerations, such as how to attach it to and enclose the trailer, the access hatch, the storage box inside, reinforcement, lights and wiring, etc. These have been taken into account and I’ll go into them as the project progresses.
For now, here’s some pics:
Tracing the shape:
Setting the angle:
Spacing the panels:
The cut outs:
The rough fit: