There is a long history of the use of roof racks and their designs. They allow users of an automobile to transport objects on the roof of the vehicle without reducing interior space for occupants, or the cargo area volume limits such as in the typical car's trunk design.
The most common components of a roof rack system are: towers, fitting pieces (for attaching towers to a specific vehicle), crossbars, and gear mounts.
Automobile roof racks are split into different types, depending on the vehicle roof:
Truck bed rack is a derivation of a roof rack designed to be installed over the bed of a pickup truck. The construction of a bed rack is very similar to a roof rack, but features tall tubes (legs) that allow to lift the rack platform higher above the bed surface and leave space for cargo inside of the bed. Truck bed racks are often used in a combination with roof racks and form a long cargo platform that allows transportation of oversized items. They are commonly used in constructions and recreation as a base for various gear and tents just like the roof racks.
Until the late 1970s, almost all regular passenger automobiles had rain gutters. These gutters are formed by the welded flange (raised rim or lip) on the left and right sides of the car's metal roof panel. This made attaching an accessory or aftermarket roof rack a relatively simple process.
The first mass production cars without any visible rain gutters were the 1975 AMC Pacer and Chevrolet Monza. Other vehicles were introduced on the market with hidden rain gutters during the 1980s, and by 1990, vehicles with external rain gutters were becoming rare.
Roof rack suppliers started to developed new products in the late 1970s, designed to securely attach to various types of automobile roofs.
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