Whether you know it or not, you very possibly already have a part produced by Clark & Clark Specialty Products on your car. I met Robert Clark at the recent BMTA conference, and he explained to me that their parts for a variety of marques and ranging from seat belt retainers and battery boxes to hood lifts and carburetor caps are sold by mass-market vendors including Moss, Victoria British, and The Roadster Factory. After discussing the ins and outs of engineering, development, and production, we then got down to the real business of the parts he produces.
One of the newest items in their line was of particular interest to me – a replacement for the telescoping trunk support used by my Triumph Spitfire 1500. The original type supports are quite common on all types of MGs and Triumphs, and while they work (most of the time) they don’t provide the ease of use that we have grown accustomed to on our modern cars.
The replacement kit that Robert sells is a simple bolt-in replacement for the original unit. He sent me one to try out, and if you own a 7/16″ wrench then you can do this conversion. I timed the replacement from start to finish, and including the time it took me to take the accompanying pictures the process took less that 5-minutes.
The steps to replace the old support with the new pneumatic one consist of taking the two bolts out of the old support, replacing those bolts with the lock washers, pivot bolts, and support plate supplied, and then snapping on the strut. It probably takes longer to say all of that than it does to perform the operation.
What do you get when you are done? You get one handed operation of the trunk lid. If you have a standard trunk lid setup, as soon as you turn the latch on your trunk to unlock it and lift just a bit, the lid will begin to lift slowly and continue up on its own until it is fully open.
If your lid is heavier due to a luggage rack or internal sound deadening, as mine is, you will have to lift the lid about 6 inches or so before the strut takes over and raises the lid on its own. I also found that on my car I had to switch the upper mounting from the outside to the inside due to the upper end of the strut rubbing against the trunk lip seal. I don’t know if this is unique to my car, but simply switching the mount to the inside took care of it.
The strut also works on closing to enable you to just push down – not lift and drop or lift, hit the release, and drop (as on the MGB). Just push down and the strut will take over lowering the lid down securely. So much easier to do when all you have is your elbow available.
For $29.95 plus shipping, this is a nice upgrade for those of us who regularly use our trunks (ok, boots). It is also the type of upgrade that I like – simple, non-destructive, and easily reversed if you want to put your car back to dead stock original.
Now I may need to look into the lift kit for the hood / bonnet. That unit not only makes lifting easier but reduces the twisting torque of lifting entire nose from only one side.
You can see a short video, supplied by Clark & Clark, of the trunk lift kit in action below.
Review Note: The product used for this review was provided to us free of charge, without conditions, by the vendor. We strive to be honest and open in all reviews. If a product doesn’t perform, is overpriced, or is simply a disappointment, we will tell you that without reserve. We evaluate products based on our on personal use, expectations, and experience.