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Package Tray Question

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  • Package Tray Question

    I have a 53 Commander HT (4H-K5) and a copy of John bridges book on 53-54 cars. The book shows that the rear package tray deck has a cardboard covering matching the kickboards. The book photos of the deck show that it's held by about four anchors with round covers.

    My car seems very original. I even found the undisturbed airway gray upholstery under what appears to be the original nylon? seat covers. My rear deck has no cardboard piece, and no holes/provisions for anchors. The deck is painted metal to match the car, and has an embossed rectangular design with a stylized "S" similar to the radio speaker cover I've seen in photos.

    I checked the body manual and there is a part listed for a cardboard deck in gray or tan. I checked the shop manual and an expoloded drawing shows the deck with the "S" design and no cardboard note. Is it supposed to have the cardboard? If so, how does it anchor?

    G. Howes

  • #2
    I don't know whether or not you're SUPPOSED to have it, but I'm fairly sure all cars at least 55-up had the cardboard. It's anchored by retainers that look very similar (are the same as?) the ones that hold the firewall liner on. They poke through holes in the metal.

    If you don't have holes in your metal, I might suspect that this is an "early car" thing and the cardboard was added later. I have absolutely no basis for that assumption however other than a WAG. Is your car a "tri-star" car?

    good luck,


    55 Commander Starlight
    62 Daytona hardtop
    55 Commander Starlight


    • #3
      My '53 is just like it, a "S" stamped in and no holes for the cardboard. The metal is painted the same shade of grey as the dash. My car was taken out of use when it was about 8yrs old and in restoring it there was no indication it had ever been apart or changed. I've seen others w/o cardboard as well. I wonder if it was added later in the model run? My car was built in May of '53 and has the tri-star emblems if that has any bearing on it.

      My personal opinion is it looks better without. The cardboard gets ratty looking afterwhile from sun and moisture damage.

      '53 Champion Hardtop

      Jeff in ND


      • #4
        The cardboard type panel started with K5-14H at serial #5,017
        K5-4H 10,510 I bet your's is before that number.

        64 Challenger (Green Wrapper)
        63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
        55 Speedster
        50 2R 10 truck
        JDP Maryland


        • #5
          Thanks for the comments. Mine is 4H-K5 #7818, one of the 53 tri-star hardtops, so that's why no cardbboard. I also prefer it without, I was just trying to make sure the rear deck was correct.

          G. Howes


          • #6
            There are at least three correct rear package shelf treatments for 1953 Starliners, depending on when it was built.
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer