After World War 2, the evolution of the motor car lurched back into forward motion. By August 1948, nearly two million cars were on the roads of the UK, which was a record figure, although only 10% of the total were made up of cars bought since the beginning of 1947.
The newer cars, though, were taking on family-friendly utilitarian flourishes such as the rear-sited ‘luggage locker’ – or ‘boot’ to you and me – which was taking the place of the body-mounted luggage grids and clipped-on luggage trunks popular on pre-war machinery.
A design shift towards full-width car bodies precipitated the incorporation of the luggage locker as an integral part of the vehicle.
“The changed shape of the modern car has brought considerable benefits at the tail end,” noted Autocar. “The luggage locker has more useful capacity than ever before. The wheel arch is merely a local ‘blister’ in a compartment that extends to the full width of the outer panels.
“At the same time, the steeply sloping tail is giving way to a high boot line which carries on the long sweep of the waistline and which terminates in an almost vertical panel.
“Both these changes increase the space within and serve it up in cubic lumps, more useful and accommodating than the wedge-shaped wastes which formerly mocked the unyielding rectangularity of suitcases.”
Developments in engineering, such as inter-axle seating, lower frames and anti-roll devices, had progressed enough to permit car makers to make use of the space without having a disastrous effect on handling. “Structurally, the locker is often self-supporting and adds strength and rigidity to the rear of the car,” said Autocar.