Evaluation of Metro's repro 70 GTX rear 3 piece chrome trim set
by Roger Wilson


   If you have been working on a 1970 GTX or Sports Satellite for any length of time you will have soon realized that at least one set of chrome trim is probably damaged or missing on your car.  Count yourself very fortunate if the outer 3 piece set of rear chrome trim on your car is intact and in good shape.  You will also soon realize that these pieces are very hard to find and if you do run across them, the seller is wanting an "arm and a leg" for them.  Several years ago at the Mopar Nationals the long top trunk piece was going for $200 for a used piece.

   If you are a numbers person, the molding part numbers I am referring to are: #2965840 for the trunk upper chrome trim and #'s 3348126-7 for the quarter extension trim that looks similar to an upside-down "J".

   Several years ago at the Mopar Nationals, I noticed a 1970 GTX that looked like it had NOS rear chrome trim on it.  I asked the owner where he got the moldings and he replied that I had better look closer as it was stick-on plastic chrome trim.  Sure enough it was, but it was very close in size and shape to the real metal trim.  Since I didn't have $500 or more dollars to fork over for a good 3 piece set of used trim I went to my local Champion Auto Parts store and for $14 bought a package of Premier Wheel Molding, part#5-0090.  (see photo)

 

    I easily applied the self-adhering flexible trim to the back of my GTX using only a utility knife.  The trim is just wide enough to cover the 3 clip mounting holes in the quarter extensions and the 2 clip holes on each side of the trunk for the long chrome piece.  From 4 feet away it is very difficult to tell this trim is not the real thing. 
 (see photo)

   Now fast forward to 1998 and Metro Parts Company of Douglas, GA.  They have been advertising for the last year in most Mopar magazines that they are reproducing this hard to find trim.  When I first called them they told me they had not finished the final production so several of the pieces were not available yet.  On Feb. 11, 1999, I called again and they said that they had everything in stock so I gave them my money and the parts were to be shipped the next day.  Unfortunately, the parts didn't arrive at my place until over 3 weeks later.  They explained they were moving to a different warehouse and they had a problem with the clip kit availability that I had ordered at extra cost.  The pieces finally arrived in fine shape, due to being boxed in very good packages.  The long trunk piece arrived in a long piece of plastic pipe strong enough to handle any abuse UPS could give it. 

   The following is my personal evaluation of the quality of these reproduction pieces compared to the original and my opinion of the clip kit to install the trim pieces.

   Upon comparing the reproduction pieces with several NOS pieces I had, first I noticed that the repros were made of material that was much heavier than the factory original metal.  This extra thickness may not be all bad as the factory stuff was easily damaged, however I did not test the repro pieces ability to take this kind of abuse.  Also, if one compares the pieces side by side the repros are just a little bit wider than the original pieces.  (see photo

    If the repros were installed on the car I think it would be very difficult to notice this extra width.  I paid an extra an $15 for a clip package to mount the trim with.  However, I  sent this back for a full refund (Metro said they would do this if I was not satisfied with any of their products).  Notice the different design of the clips compared to the factory clips at the bottom of the picture.  (see photo) 


    Also Metro included 12 little white clips that were to be used to attach the long upper trunk piece.  On ALL the 1970 Sports Satellites and GTXs I have seen, this piece is fastened to the trunk by metal clips on both ends and rest of the trim is attached to the trunk deck lid by 42" of double sided tape that is centered on the trim piece.  Notice in the picture of the fasteners or clips that there are two styles of factory clips for the "J" pieces.  These slide into the back  side of the trim where there is a groove cut out on the factory pieces (the repro's failed to have this feature).  One then slides the clip up or down the backside of the trim until it lines up with the 3 holes in the body of the car.  Then the fasteners are pushed into the holes.  If you use the spring clips that is all there is to it.   If you use the long threaded bolt fasteners, the nut is then threaded on the bolt from the inside of the trunk until snug.  The "J" piece has a small tab, which is screwed down on the inside part of the quarter extension.  On the repro piece this small tab is longer and wider than on the original pieces and does not have the screw hole in it.  (see photo)


   So when installing the repro piece one would have to mark the location of the screw hole and drill an 11/64" hole in the tab.  Actually the thicker, wider and longer tab on the reproduction piece may be a blessing as the original tabs frequently broke off or tore where the screw hole is. 

   I do NOT recommend using the small white clips that Metro sends to fasten the upper trunk piece.  The lip of the trunk lid is known for rusting out so why would anyone drill 12 more holes (opportunities) for water to get in and cause damage.  Buy some double sided tape  (the factory stuff was a thin black foam or rubbery type material)  and install it on the back, centered, of the chrome trim.  Then push the piece onto the trunk lid in the proper place.  All GTX and Sports Satellite trunk lids had a factory hole on each outer edge where the end clips were bolted, using a special covered nut. (see picture of clips)

   In summary, if your budget is tight and your car is not going to be entered in concours judging, buy the stick-on chrome trim at your nearest auto parts store.  If you are more serious concerning originality and have a few extra dollars to spend, go with the Metro parts as their pieces are very close to the original.  I strongly do not recommend buying Metro's clip kit for installing the chrome trim, however.

   For your set of reproduction rear 3 piece chrome trim for the 1970 GTX and Sports Satellite contact:  Metro Parts Company at 1240 Loyce Lane, Douglas, GA 31533.   Phone number is: 912-383-0172.   As of April 2001  these sets were still available at  $185 plus shipping.


 

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