Can you identify a 1970's roof rack?

-- Last Updated: Apr-06-11 3:29 PM EST --

Can you identify a 1970's roof rack?

I am trying to figure out the name and manufacturer of a roof rack my Dad had back in the early 1970's, and if anything like it’s clamping system still exists. It was silver metal with round crossbars. The key components were four clamps that held the canoe gunwales onto the crossbars. The clamps consisted of an eyebolt and C-shaped piece of metal with a hole in the middle. The eye of the eyebolt slid onto the crossbar with the threads pointing upward. The C-shaped piece was threaded onto the eyebolt. One of the ends of the C would ride on the crossbar and the other end of the C would pinch the canoe gunwale against the crossbar. Each clamp would be tightened down with a large wingnut.

This setup seemed to work extremely well for us. Our canoe was effectively “bolted” to the rack (I should mention the canoe was aluminum, so the gunwales were extremely strong). It made for a rock-solid connection that was extremely fast to use. If we were driving around locally (driving under 60 mph) we didn’t use any over-straps or tie-downs.

As a humorous note, because my Dad would position the clamps inside the canoe to reduce wind noise (making them nearly invisible), we would often get wide-eyed looks and sometimes frantic waving from other motorists alarmed that nothing was holding that canoe onto that car.

Sadly, my Dad bought a new car in the late 1970's and didn't realize many cars no longer had rain gutters. That was the end of the rack. I wish we had saved the clamps!

I wish I had a picture of it,

Quick n Easy
They’re still available.

Yep. It was a Q&E rack.
At one time Q&Es were THE high-tech setup for the discerning boater. Either with the Q&E metal bars or with just the brackets bolted to 2x4s.


Don’t think Q&E
The way he desribes a WINGNUT and “clamping the canoe gunnel to the crossbar”,…don’t sound like Q&E to me.

I used Q&E racks when rain gutters
were still on my cars, and I remember the clamps you are talking about. But I would never rely just on a clamp system. It’s always worth using bow and stern lines as a safety backup.

canoe hold downs on Q and E
The feet didn’t use wing nuts, but the round crossbar allowed the use of a clamping device to hold the canoe on. It used wing nuts. One part clamped down on the inner gunwale and the other end had a kind of fork that came down over the round crossbar.

Thanks, I found some pictures of the Quick-n-Easy and it clearly is the rack we owned. Several web stores still sell the towers (bracket the connects to car’s rain gutters) and the crossbars, but no one seems to carry the C-shaped clamps used to hold the canoe gunwales down on the crossbar.

Thanks again.

Like these?

What kind?
That is one cool looking rack.

Quick an’ Easy…
Had dem since me’ 1973 Ford Pinto dayz… carryin’ two 17’ tandem canoos - wuz quite a sight, dat it waar.


73 Pinto

Just you in a Ford Pinto would be quite a sight. And two 17’ Canoes to boot would definitely go over the GVWR for a Pinto.

Flaw with Q and E
I’ve had Q and E for years. I current have 4 racks with Q and E on my camper. One major flaw is that the bent metal piece that goes under the gutter unbends with time, finally losing enough curve that you can’t tighten down the mechanism any more because the threaded bolt hits the cam lever.

Thaar wuz me baby…
Out thaar in de KodaChrome hills in de Badlands o’ Soot Dakoota.

Took dat honey all de way ta Yellerstone wit me goyl friend back in ‘76. Me foyst car, got 35 miles a gallon leaded gas, no aar conditionin’, no radio, 4 speed manual, welded rain gutters fer me Q&E racks. Foyst car ah’ got “lucky” in de back seat - an’ it waarin’ easy in a Pinto! But then ah’ wuz a sprite young buck in dem dayz.

Loved dat car…


That would mean you are making it too…

– Last Updated: Apr-08-11 10:26 PM EST –

... tight. Nothing is gained by tightening the mechanism to the point that the metal begins to deform. My brother used his Q & Es since the late 70s, until last year or the year before, when his last car with rain gutters finally died. That's a pretty good example of how long that little L-tab will last if not made tighter than the metal can withstand. Still, it would be easy to make a replacement part that's even stronger than the original, and if that's not the case, it would be easy to hire someone to do it, though that won't be an issue for most people now that rain gutters are ancient history.

problem with q and e
The reason why they unbend and flatten is that unlike Yakima and Thule tightening mechanisms which can be slowly tightened with a screw, the cam lock on the Q and E requires full turns on the screw as the only option. So, depending on the distance from the top to the bottom of the raingutter, one setting can be too loose and the other too tight. Hence the ‘overtightening’, which is not really overtightening but the only option given the circumstances.

I had em too!
FE, I had a set of these in 75 or so but the gutter clamp didn’t have a cam lever but instead, an eye bolt with a wing nut to apply force. Terminated on a

round bar fixed to the tower with a thumbscrew and holddown brackets as described by OP. I carried my 15’,moter transomed Alumacraft on my GF’s,later and still wife’s, 68 Mustang.I loved the clamps, but coming out of 4 years in the Coast Guard, 2 years at Cape May, 1 year at Beach Haven station, I just had to through a couple of bights of line over the hull for peace of mind’s sake.I patrolled Little Egg inlet, the ICW and all those grass islands that the duck hunters’ sneakboxes used to get stranded on during november storms.I worked rescues near Tuckterton and knew of the Wading River and Batsto village ETC. Now I live On the Oregon coast which is truly a kayaker’s and, I suppose, a canoer’s paradise with lots of beautiful estuaries, large bays, and surf rock gardens. Alittle off topic I know, but I read your posts and relive fond memories I have of the Jersey shore


Good point

– Last Updated: Apr-10-11 10:10 AM EST –

I hadn't thought of that at the moment that I wrote what I did, but I do remember setting it just slightly on the "loose" side and then relying on the additional tension created by snugging-down the screw that pulls the 'L'-piece against the gutter. That screw makes it tighter because since the 'L'-piece shifts a bit to grab the gutter with an angle more "open" than 90 degrees (hard to describe: the 90-degree angle is there but the whole piece goes slightly out-of-alignment, hence it would slip off under tension without the snugging-down screw. That misalignment causes the snugging-down screw to serve the additional function of actually tightening the tension on the 'L'-piece by means of a ramping motion as it is pushed closer to the gutter). That was my experience anyway, having a bit of leeway in the cam-lock screws on account of being able to wedge the 'L'-piece against the gutter by just the right amount to make its tension tight but not "too tight". Not being argumentative, just describing how my brother and I avoided bending the 'L'-pieces on our Q & Es.

Also not to be argumentative, but saying this for what it's worth, my Yakima racks use a similar clamping system that requires full turns on a locking lever that folds down into one position, so no fractional-turn adjustments are possible. However, the Yakima setup has so much flex in the clamping mechanism due to its thick rubber pads, the great mechanical advantage of the pipe-gripping cam which digs into the plastic coating on the cross bars (meaning that a few turns make very little difference in tightness), as well as the fact that modern cars have so much flex in the plastic roof racks to which the Yakima clamps attach, that precise adjustment is not only impractical but pointless. I know there are a multitude of Yakima setups, but this describes the ones I use.

Q and E
I’m not familiar with those type of Yakimas. I’ve got the rain gutter models with the infinitely adjustable screw.

This problem with Q and E’s is fresh in my mind since it occurred to me this summer. I have four bars with Q and E’s on my camper on my Fuso FG. I drove to Lanse aux Meadows in Newfoundland from Colorado this summer with three kayaks on top. The day we got to the most remote eastern tip of North America I got out of the truck to find the front bar hanging loose, only connected to the truck by the kayak straps.

It had been nicely snug when we left Colorado. When I tried to re-attach it (in the middle of a freesing rainstorm) I discovered that the original setting was no longer snug. All those miles on some rough roads with a stiff suspension truck had stretched out the metal on the clamp. I was then dismayed to discover that one more turn on the clamping mechanism would not work either because the screw was too long with one additional turn and would not allow the clamp to move down. So I had to remove the bracket, unscrew the clamping mechanism completely and use a hacksaw to cut a few milimeters off the end of the bolt. I discovered that all the brackets on the bars at the two ends of the camper where stresses were greatest, suffered this same fate.

So in that instance the clamping metal had slowly bent as a result of the stresses from a 4000 miles trip on a vehicle with stiff suspension. I attribute that to the metal being too soft and bendable. A stiffer alloy, less likely to bend over time under stress would be better.

I’ll switch to another bracket someday. I chose the Q and E because they were easy to attach to the 1 1/2" square tubing I used for crossbars.

Many painful memories of struggling with rusty old Q&E racks. Usually at night and/or in the rain. Most of the rack was replaced with hardware store nuts and bolts. Overtightening, undertightening, slipping, breaking… Quick and Easy was neither!

same type of footings on my GD’s…
…66’ VW Beetle FE, but your wooden bar = much nicer. With 18’ wood/canvas tandem, rack held so well that brisk winds would move the Beetle a little, but it was good practice…you simply learned “how to drive”(what a phenomenon…), and you would simply slow down a little…:wink: