Vintage ski rack restoration

I have a vintage Barrecrafters Jr. Star Fire SR-45 ski rack. It has four grey ‘suction cups’ on the bottom, where it rests on the trunk lid. These seem to be in good condition, but I worry about them cracking. Is there any way to ensure they remain supple? They are made of a rubber-like material, but they don’t appear to be actual rubber.

The skis are attached by means of black rubber straps. They are attached to the bottom of a post. The top of the post has a hook, and there are holes in the rubber straps to put over the hooks to secure the skis. Two of the straps have a nice curve to them and don’t look to be in horrible condition – but I wouldn’t trust them to actually use. The other two straps do not have their original shape, and they are cracking.

Barrecrafters no longer exists as its own company. They were bought out by Sportrack almost 20 years ago. I’ve sent a message to Sportrack to see if they can supply replacement parts, but have not heard back as it is the weekend. I have little doubt that after so much time, replacement parts will not be available. Any ideas for usable rubber straps?

There used to be a forum called EpicSki, they shut down about a year and a half ago. NOT for lack of members, but for use of the name. They would have been good for new old stock.

Honestly your best bet for the grey base pieces is a similar though newer used model. Any correct age rubber/plastic is likely to be degraded. The design is simple and many different models use the same basic setup. I would go to the ski swaps that will be coming up in the next several weeks. There are black rubber straps still being made. They are commonly used on tire chains.

It may be possible to have someone with a 3D printer make the base pieces.
You know the threads about “What is your special area of expertise?”. Ski equipment from the mid 70s to the late 80s would be mine.

You may have luck with “Phil’s Garage Sale and Ski Swap”. This site (Pugski) took some of EpiSki’s traffic. This is their ski swap page. I haven’t ever actually looked at it before so…

Re-reading for clarity (sorry) I see you wanted to try and use the bases. Armor All might be the ticket. They used to guarantee that automobile dashboards wouldn’t crack so that might work. I would think if you flex and sort of massage the material and it seems sound, it is probably OK.

That sounds like it may work. I thought about mink oil, but then I thought oil may attack the material.

Aha! I don’t need original moulded rubber; I just want it to work. I was wondering where I might find suitable rubber!

It’s a pity I tossed my Hansens! :stuck_out_tongue:

This being the dope and all, it is Hanson. :smiley:

I saw that a few minutes ago when I was looking for an image. :wink:

As expected:

Similar rubber straps are used on bike racks. Maybe something like this?

Those look perfect! I’ll have to take measurements of the old straps, but it looks like they’ll work.

Given that skis can be fairly expensive items, why would you trust expensive skis to an aftermarket rack from decades ago, that might fail, and your skis go skittering down the highway on your way to the slopes?

New Thule or Yakima ski racks aren’t outrageous, and used, you can get more modern racks that will safely secure your skis than that old thing. Sometimes advancement in technology is a good thing.

Here are my Barrecrafters:

I was at Heavenly in my '71 BMW with these racks with K2 KVC’s, and some guy says to me,* “Dude! You are ‘Old School’!”*

I looked back and said, “Dude. I’m the Superintendent of Old School.”

It’s unlikely that I’ll actually use it. Mrs. L.A. doesn’t like skiing, and getting to the mountains would be better done in the Jeep than the MG anyway. Nevertheless.