We’ve all been there. We’ve gotten that car, spoked it down, juiced it up, put some sounds in it, and hit the boulevard ready to ride. We enjoyed the summer nights and drove it ‘til the wheels almost fell off. In due time, she got scratched and scuffed and all of a sudden, we were ready for a paint job. Then, while the paint was getting finished, we decided to add some graphics to spice it up. That’s where it all begins; first new paint, then graphics, a stripe, a new interior, new spokes and whitewalls, and some chrome here and some chrome there. Before you know it, your previous boulevard banger is suddenly dressed to impress, ready for jack stands and mirrors. You know what we always overlook? Those precious show points we miss in the trunk. Once upon a time, a custom trunk was a sea of buttons, wrinkles, and mirrors that hid everything from sight. It was like that old box of Christmas lights your parents kept hidden in the garage that looked like one big knot of wires. Of course in Lowriding, the trunk evolved into a useful place to actually show the hydraulics, and the chromed-out setup.
Trends come and go, but one thing will always remain the same; in order to take home a trophy, you need more points than the next guy. The boulevard mentality is hard to change sometimes and the trunk stays ready for a face off, even though it probably never will see one again. This area of our builds is where we need to change from the respectable to the remarkable. That said, building a clean trunk audio set up doesn’t have to break the bank. A lot of times, the hardest part of a transformation like this is getting past our own preconceptions, as well as our fear of the unknown aspects of planning and putting together the build.
This month’s install was a similar story. After this ride was hitting the points on every front, the only thing left to gain attention was the trunk. The set up and the system were ready to be transformed. Once the decision was made for an overhaul, the team picked up this baton and ran with it. While this build did not go over budget, it did push beyond the initial concept. Follow along to watch our boulevard trunk become a show piece in just a few easy steps!
1. The first item on the agenda was to swap out the previously installed door speakers.
2. Luckily for us, the holes were close to where we needed them to be. Only minor trimming was needed to add these Convertible speakers. The EFX C65 gave us the option to run the tweeters separately or insert them into the center of the midrange driver. In this case, we opted to keep them in the center as a coaxial to keep the cleaner look of the doors.
3. The rear speakers were a different animal. The factory size is a 4 x 10 and we are looking to adapt an additional set of C65 convertible speakers, so we needed to create an adapter.
4. The first step is to trace the 4 x 10’s onto a scrap piece of MDF, and then the 6.5 inch speaker grill to get a good indication of the room we’ll need for the C65 to fit on the adapter.
5. Since there was plenty of room in the 4 x 10 area of the adapter, the tweeter was mounted separately.
6. Here’s a shot of the rough template for the adapter next to the factory sized 4 x 10 speaker.
7. Once we created our finished speaker adapters, the speakers were mounted to them and then mounted to the car in the stock location. We simply screwed the adapters to the metal under dash.
8. The radio was also upgraded to the upper end Clarion CZ500 multi feature control unit. This particular radio was chosen for its ability to control an Apple iPod, built in Bluetooth hands free calling, and the ability to upgrade in many configurations.
9. Since our showstopper will still see the lights of boulevard cruising, we thought it would be a good idea to stay within the law and connect the Bluetooth microphone, in case we get any calls while on the road.
10. Humble beginnings. This look was street ready with easy access to replace motors, solenoids, or charge batteries at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, this won’t give us the points we want for our street and show ride at the big events.
11. The first step is gutting the trunk. In this case, the batteries didn’t need to be removed because they will stay exactly where they are in the final configuration.
12. Now that things are cleaned up a little, we can begin to measure and decide how we want to build out the trunk.
13. We decided to start with a basic square box template and use our two 12” template rings as measuring devices.
14. We then took into consideration the off limits areas created by our cylinders, batteries, and racks. Using our maximum measurements, our box began to take shape.
15. Here, our small box and big speakers came together. This creates the skeleton for our enclosure.
16. This starship commander symbol was made from our scrap pieces of wood to create a support that will keep our enclosure centered while we finish building on it.
17. Can you see it? Well if you can’t envision it, just know this is the box frame. Kind of like the pump framework in the lower part of the picture.
18. Now that we’ve triple checked the fit of the box, we can staple the material and lay the resin. Notice that material and resin stretch over the solid wood areas for further support. Stopping at the edge of the wood could leave it weak at the joint where they come together. Even though these areas won’t be seen, it’s always a good idea to sand them down and even add more resin if necessary, just to ensure the rough edges don’t throw your box out of alignment.
19. With that out of the way, we can begin to hide the batteries. Here we added a strip on the lower portion of the battery cover to create a false floor, since the pump racks were not perfectly symmetrical.
20. Note how we continue with the framing. This will be the front lip and transition from the back wall to the side walls.
21. Here we are taking a piece of chip board to give us an indication of the natural curves that are created by the frame and their transition to the angles of the car.
22. To keep this curve, we need to make supports. These supports will make a skeleton, much like a rib cage. In this picture, you can see us marking an additional piece of scrap chip board to show the curve our ribs will require.
23. Here we mark off our first rib. Each rib will be slightly different after this one, but this is the best place to start from. The rib size will gradually decrease in this case.
24. Once done, we needed to test fit our ribs to mark them before they could be permanently affixed.
25. Now we can affix our chip board to the ribs.
26. Additional chip board scraps were glued and stapled in place to soften the transition. They do not need to be completely smoothed out as the material will cover this.
27. Now we can stretch and staple our fleece to the battery cover.
28. Before moving on, we created our rear panel trim. We wanted to keep it close to the back wall, so we notched out the motor assembly. We will take advantage of the strength and thin walls of the fiberglass.
29. With the fleece stretched out, we can begin applying the resin. The resin should be applied generously so as to soak the fleece thoroughly and gain adhesion to the chipboard framing underneath.
30. A few coats of resin and a few hours of sanding later we have gotten to the point of applying kitty hair to fill the imperfections before finishing our contours with the strength of long strand fiberglass. Keep in mind this step is still a framing stage, so you aren’t trying to finish the bodywork in kitty hair.
31. Peeking back at the box for a moment, the edges were cleaned up and a face panel was atached, leaving a small peek hole for the lights to show through.
32. Hours of sanding and patience have allowed the creation of an almost seamless transition.
33. Just a few more tweaks and these panels are ready to go off to the body shop. Now the wire can be run into the trunk in preparation for the final installation.
34. After a few hours, the amplifiers were bolted up in the final spot.
35. From the Black Magic Hydraulics to the tuning of the audio, everything was test fitted a few times before it was finalized. Once done, all of the panels were painted and bolted up.
36. The finished product is a clean and simple build with just enough paint, stripe, chrome, and style to keep the completion working through the night to keep up. See you on the boulevard!