Q&A with Kit Foster: April 26, 2012

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Q. I was asked to identify this trunk as to age and origin. I have no doubt that it was on a very old car or on a stage coach that ran into town in the late 1800s or early 1900s. There is a very small plaque on the underside of the lid that says “L.E. Morrison, Trunks, Leather Goods, Travel Bags.” I would like to have you or a reader help me identify it.

M.E. “Red” Burke, Fort Bragg, Calif.

A. Looking carefully at the photo you sent of the tag (which won’t reproduce here), I see that L.E. Morrison and Co. was located at 27 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis, Ind. I found reference to the company online, in which it was described as a “goods store” specializing in travel apparel like raincoats, boots and the like. Morrison later added leather goods, and in the early 1900s noticed that people of means were beginning to travel extensively. He then added a line of trunks bearing the “Bee Hive Trunk” label.
This trunk is of the common flip-top, drop-front style seen on cars of the 1920s, and may have originally had luggage that fit nicely inside. As to what car it belongs to, it’s hard to say. Trunks, particularly from local suppliers like Morrison, were fairly generic items, and there were hundreds of manufacturers. If the style looks good on a particular car, the most important thing is that it fits the trunk rack and doesn’t interfere with any other part of the car. In other words, if the trunk fits, your car can wear it.

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Q. Some of the guys were sitting around talking about old cars. The Pontiac 2+2 came up. We all knew the Pontiac GTO and Olds 4-4-2, but no one knew what the 2+2 stands for. Can you help? The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975 gives production numbers and options. I know they were built from 1964 to 1967, and were all Catalina coupes or convertibles.

Paul Sabourin, Fife Lake, Mich.

A. “2+2” is often used generically to describe a car with seats for two, plus two occasional seats in the rear. Ferrari designated its first four-seater, a GTO with small rear seats, as “2+2” in 1960, giving considerable cachet to the term. As you’ve discovered, Pontiac’s 2+2 was initially an interior option package for 1964 Catalina hardtop coupes and convertibles, consisting of bucket seats, center console and upscale door panels. In 1965, the 2+2 package acquired the 421-cubic-inch engine and heavy-duty suspension, becoming, in effect, a larger sibling to the GTO. It became a separate series in 1966, on the 121-inch Catalina wheelbase. For 1967, 2+2 reverted to an option package, and was discontinued that year, although it lived on in Canada for a few more years. The 2+2 name is often applied, officially or unofficially, to a number of other cars, like the Mustang fastback coupe.

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Q. I have a trophy featuring the same wing-and-wheel design as featured in the Nov. 10 “Q&A.” I received it in 1965 from the BCRA organization during fast time trials with my sprint car. While the base of Martin’s trophy is different, the wheel-and-wing casting is identical.

Thomas Martin, West Burlington, Iowa

A. I believe BCRA was the Big Car Racing Association, active in the Midwest in the 1960s. “Big car” refers to a class of larger cars in sprint racing. I find scant references to BCRA online. Perhaps readers can tell us more about it. As to the trophy, I know from experience that awards of this type are usually assembled by local suppliers from generic components purchased from wholesale suppliers, then engraved for the specific organization and award. The wing-and-wheel casting might have been used for any number of automobile-related trophies in its day, and as reader Martin observes, on a number of different bases. Without a presentation plaque, it’s hard to say exactly what it was received or when.

 

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

 

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