New Convertible Top

While the convertible is pretty solid, it does have a few items that need attention. The most pressing is the convertible top. It is pretty ragged and has several holes in it. While it is a summer car and the top is down for the most part, its pretty important to me to have a structurally sound top for the times where unexpected weather happens, or even just needing to park it outside over night at some point. So, that’s project number one.

A starting point

With this car, there is mostly a bunch of little details that need attention. The top itself is a big ticket item, but along the way there are a bunch of things that are small maintenance items. For example, you can see on the stainless trim where the roof cover attaches, there are several snaps missing. Some that are not missing are held in with sheet metal screws. Others are even more creative. After removing the top, I ordered a snap kit and replaced all of the snaps, plus cleaned up the trim with some steel wool while I was at it. It was very straight forward, so I am not sure why the creative engineering was required by one of the previous owners.

Back to the top. I started with inspecting the starting point and documenting how I need to get it back together. Over all, the frame looked pretty good and everything was generally functioning well. The top material was just past it’s prime.

The back ridge had deteriorated away, and the rear window was no longer sealed, with the sides totally separated and leaving a gap you can put your hand through.

The top also had a small slit. When I poked at it, it quickly became a hole. The canvas itself is barely maintaining structural integrity at this point.

Once I started taking the top off the frame, I found a little crud on the front bow, but over all, everything was pretty solid. Some parts would need a little attention with the wheel and a new coat of paint, but I decided it wasn’t bad enough to take the whole top off. I just did some spot fixes here and there, avoiding have to realign things. The exception was the front bow. I took that off to rework it.

To remove the top, I just started with the front and peeled it back, removing a LOT of staples along the way. You can see here, I have a bit of surface rust, but nothing structural.

The cables in the top sides are held on to the frame with a little clip I had to bend out to let loose.

With the cable off, and the roof peeled back, I am left with the padding holding the ribs in place. It is just screwed in place, so easy to remove. I hung on to the pads in case the installer needs a template to show where the bows need to go.

The rear top well liner came out pretty easy. A few trim pieces held in in place around the lip, plus the retainer along the back seat for the cover.

While I had it apart, I replaced the roof retainer clips. The old ones were a little warn and some surface rust. For $10 I decided not to clean them up, but rather just replace since the reproduction part is a great match. The only real difference is the color of the plastic handle.

While I had the header off, I disassembled and cleaned up the lock down clamps/levers. One of the screws broke in half and had to be drilled and tapped, so I just replaced all of them with new screws from the local hardware store. Everything else got blasted and painted to avoid future rust, then re-assembled. It’s all tight and looking better now.

From there, it’s back together and ready to get dropped off at the upholstery shop for the top install. I ordered a white top since I think that looks better with the Brittany Blue. I also went with the real glass back window and a new weatherstrip kit, and a white well liner, refreshing everything at once.

After a couple months of trying to get a slot in the shop, its finally done. They did a great job. I think it looks fantastic.

Parts

  • Tensioning Cable Set – NPD Part #52806-2B
  • Weatherstrip Kit – NPD Part # 53986-1A
  • EZ-On Covertible Top Kit – NPD Part # CT-78-EGL
  • Well Liner – NPD Part # WL-78-E

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