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'60 hardtop restoration

firstgear

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well, I thought it was a '60, some of the characteristics of the hardtop were correct, but key one which I missed until I went to put the roof back together was the roof hold down brackets. And that is when I found out that my hardtop was really a 56-58 (or something like that) and not a '59/'60.

But I was too far into the refurb to turn back, it isn't like my car is correct. Live and learn.....

I wanted to lash it down before I went any further with the back window and the rest of the trim. There have been a few times I have had to go backwards on the build but that was ok. There was a time I had to grind back off a couple of rivets that I had already set and that was ok.

I think that the roof is a bit crooked, but then I am guessing that most of these roofs are a bit off like the rest of the car. I can get everything to line up with some muscle and the latches to latch. So I will let it sit over night and then tomorrow after work pull it back off the car and continue on with the refurb. So far there have been a few things that have been a bit tricky but not impossible to do. Right now if anyone asked would I do it again, yes. Lets hold that question until it is completely done.

Here are photos of the top sitting on the car lashed down....

beginning...
IMG_3693Small-vi.jpg


all stripped down
IMG_3739Small-vi.jpg


and now...
IMG_7562Small-vi.jpg


IMG_7565Small-vi.jpg


IMG_7559Small-vi.jpg


IMG_7568Small-vi.jpg


stay tuned......final product yet to come....

ps...I will have to post later the photos of the headliner. I bought from Paragon just the ABS headliner with nothing on it. Cost about $100 but it is the right contour to the roof. I had the upholstery guy put the leather right on the ABS. He said it was a great way to do it. Then I put some contact cement just in the middle of the roof (per Glassworks) to make sure that in the hot sun that the headliner doesn't sag or whatever). The headliner is black and red....red expanding center strip with black on the sides....about 5 inches wide in the front expanding to about 12 inches wide in the back.
 

Tom Bryant

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Restoring a hardtop is not for the faint of heart. Nice job so far.

Tom
 

Tom Bryant

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Your hardtop had a '56-'57 headliner and appears to have the wider '57 and up header molding so I'd say it is a '57. Did you check the dates on the glass?

Tom
 

firstgear

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Your hardtop had a '56-'57 headliner and appears to have the wider '57 and up header molding so I'd say it is a '57. Did you check the dates on the glass?

Tom
best I can tell, this top had been refurbished before. the glass didnt have any dates on it. the glass front edge stainless strip that goes over the front edge had a mark on it that said "reproduced". I hadn't noticed it but Sharon was looking at the part and made comment. It would go well with my car since so many things on the car aren't right anyways....

We are taking the top back off tonight and I will have to get after the rear glass and then installing the trim pieces.

Actaully, while I would agree that it isnt for the faint of heart, it hasn't been that bad so far....now maybe the worse is yet to come between the rear glass and the trim.....but I would have thought that getting past some of the stuff I had to deal with so far would have been the hardest parts such as riveting back on the hold down brackets. I think to make it much easier to set the rivets, that if I was to have taken the center punch and hit each of the rivets first with that, then they would have smashed over much easier.

Stay tuned!
 

firstgear

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15 Z06, 01 Vert, 63 SWC & 60 ALL RED
Restoring a hardtop is not for the faint of heart. Nice job so far.

Tom
;LOLall you need is a die grinder and with that you can take it apart....oh yeah you need a phillips and flat blade screwdriver.....but they come apart. the die grinder is needed for the rivets. I put a small disc on the grinder that way I don't get any flutter as opposed to a new wheel which will want to flutter......:rotfl
 
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Herb, as Tom said, the hard top liner shows that it is a 56-56 vintage (venetian red waffle board liner - mine was the same way for my 56). Secondly, it was probably an early 56 hard top as the front external piece over the windshield appears to be unpolished aluminum, as mine was. Corvette changed this for the later model 56s and
57s to a wider, highly polished chrome (I believe) piece. Originally I thought that the wider chrome piece started in 57, but at Vettes On The Rockies three years ago, I ran into a man with a 56 that he owned from the start and it had the wider chrome piece on the windshield area. He told me that Corvette made the change during the 56 model year. Anyway, your car is looking great.
Barrett
 

firstgear

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Herb, as Tom said, the hard top liner shows that it is a 56-56 vintage (venetian red waffle board liner - mine was the same way for my 56). Secondly, it was probably an early 56 hard top as the front external piece over the windshield appears to be unpolished aluminum, as mine was. Corvette changed this for the later model 56s and
57s to a wider, highly polished chrome (I believe) piece. Originally I thought that the wider chrome piece started in 57, but at Vettes On The Rockies three years ago, I ran into a man with a 56 that he owned from the start and it had the wider chrome piece on the windshield area. He told me that Corvette made the change during the 56 model year. Anyway, your car is looking great.
Barrett
it would be my luck that it was a very expensive piece that I have worked on as opposed to a more generic unit........oh well if it fits go with it....
 

firstgear

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got the rear glass in..... wasn't that fun

lets just start out by saying that more than one F-BOMB was dropped trying to put the rear glass in. I know that Glassworks shows one person doing it on YouTube, but I am guessing that one EXPERIENCED, VERY EXPERIENCED installer could do it.

In my case Jeff and I did it. We got the top in first like they show on the video and the got it all the way around. we were struggling getting the last little bit in and we got the great idea to turn the hardtop over. Of course when we did that, the rear window that wasnt in found a way to fall out.
eek6.gif
Fortunately we caught it!

So we realized that was a bad idea and turned it back over and re-installed the glass. Struggle struggle struggle. you are supposed to push the glass to the top of the upper seal and then slide it back done into the lower. we got all the glass in, but we could not get that glas to pull down into the lower channel.

we were about a 1/32" in the very center being in the lower channel.
crazy.gif
We tried several times to pull the glass down and it would move to only go back up. finally with Jeff pulling, I took the scrapper blade and put it into the top channel and used it to help us pull down. Was that what did it? Heck I don't know, but when we were done that time trying to pull, sure enough the rear back glass had finally centered itself in all the channels.

We decided with the glass centered to let it dry over night from the soapy water we had been putting in the channels....it was in!
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IMG_7573Small-vi.jpg


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at the same time we had pulled the front grill out to re-align some of it and then to touch up the paint behind the grill as well as send one of the bumpers back to Pauls Chrome to get redone. That was re-installed along with the center grill.

I also pulled off the exhaust pipes that go from the shorty headers to the side pipes under the car. I decided it was time to polish those to get the car ready for Cleveland Autorama.

IMG_7576Small-vi.jpg


The mid rise lift is great...although my garage is a disaster right now.
IMG_7583Small-vi.jpg


Tomorrow I will try to get all the trim on the hardtop so that I can get after cleaning the car up next to put the hardtop on.
 

firstgear

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got the rear glass in..... wasn't that fun

opps, duplicate
 

firstgear

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quick update

we have all the outside trim in place on the hardtop. On the 56-58 top that I have, it has at the bottom of the outside trim a three fingered trim piece to cover the junction of the three pieces of SS trim.

Getting it on is a real trick because it has to slide under the drip rail gutter at the very end. With two of us working it we got it on, but we also got a few scratches along the way on the SS.

So I took my dremel with some compound and a polishing pad on it and was able to get the scratches back out. Of course I found a few other places that I had scratched along the process and felt that I needed to fix those. What I didnt count on was my carelessness to cause the polishing pad to come in contact with the side plexiglass! Hot ploishing pad and plexiglass coming together means that the plexiglass will get a divot in it.

So, another call to Glassworks to have them send me a new piece of side glass. DUH! I knew that I couldn't polish this one out and didnt want to be looking at the divot forever. So I will replace the side glass. It really isn't difficult to do......live and learn.

My schedule calls for the hardtop to be completed by March 4th. WIth only 6 pieces of inside trim to put on it and to also replace the side glass that I buggered up, I am on track to meet the goal. I am working on the hardtop and the rest of the car for March 19-22 Cleveland Autorama show.....so far so good. At one point I thought I wasnt going to get the hardtop done, but we pushed through the stumbling blocks and are on track.

I will post some photos the weekend of March 6th as we will be getting through many of the remaining tasks to spruce up the car.....

stay tuned.....Herb
 

Tom Bryant

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I know the piece you are talking about. I had a '58 top on my '59 for many years.

Tom
 

firstgear

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we got it just about done

Last night we got all the trim that was remaining back on.....we had a couple of challenges.....

The trim the goes just near your head on the hardtop snaps into place on to the long header piece that runs from the rear glass to the front header. The passenger side was easy to do with one person. you just have to be strong enough to grip the trim piece, clip it on the bottom and then "pull or roll" the top edge over the header piece and it grips top and bottom then. No problem on the passenger side.

Now the driver side was something else.....some where along th eline the top had been dropped or something and the header rail that goes along from front to back had a nice kink in it. That was straightened out but when the straightening occurred they also flattened out the side rail somewhat making it impossibel to snap the SS trim piece on. My buddy Jeff that helps with the car noticed that the header was too "fat" where the trim had to snap on and I took a pair of huge channel lock pliers and was able to bend the header so that the trim piece would snap on.

as it was it took both of us to get it into place and with the last couple of inches needing to be clipped coming from some encouragment from the bottom of our hands as we smacked it. This worked out great.

I got the side window back out and replaced. It was a small melted area and you would have had to look for it, but I would know it was there and so I changed it out.

The final piece of trim to be put on was the front outside top SS pieces. The polisher did a nice job on them. There was a crack in the bend on one of them and they were able to get them welded back up and polished. you couldn't tell. By the way, same thing on the trim pieces that ran along the top of the header. At the end of those trim pieces by the side hold downs the trim is supposed to have a seperate piece of SS welded in. I was missing one of those and the polisher took it over to one of our vendors from work who made a new SS piece and then welded them both in. After the polisher got done with it, you couldn't see the weld and everything looked great. Very pleased with what they did.

Back to the front outside SS pieces....OMG, this is where the nerves were tested again. You are working right next to finished paint on the top. So we were holding our breath. the first time we sized it up, it looked as though the SS would not cover the very outside screws that hold the top to the front aluminum header. But since we never saw the screws when the SS was on, I figured that once it was clipped on that it would swing back on cover. Sure enough that is what happened.

The SS clips onto some fingers that stick up near the back of the trim and then clips over the front aluminum piece. At first we were adjusting these clips to make them tight by bending them down to the roof panel But after we started to put the SS pieces back on we decided that they didnt need to be tight, but provide enough clearance to get the SS to clip on and then pulled forward to clip over the aluminum header.

The drivers side was first and this worked great. The passenger side got clipped on to the top and the bottom only to find out afterwards that we missed some of the top rearward facing clips. GRRRRRR. So we had to unclip the front lower section of the SS. Got it off and then this time we both eyeballed the rear facing clips and then snapped the trim in place over the front aluminum header.

I am very satisfied with the final result. I need to sand out tonight the scratches I put in the back window with my drill bit and then two other scratches I made when the screw driver slipped off the barrel nuts. I had to laugh when I called Matt at Glassworks, he knew exactly what happened as he said that happens from time to time there as well and they sand out the scratches to make them good as new. I start with 2000 grit sand paper and work my way up to 7000 grit and finally the polishing paste.

I need to "glue" down the front tabs from the side moldings tonight as well as stick some foam rope in place coupled with the polishing and I will be done with the top. We are actually ahead of schedule from where I want to be by this weekend. Coming out of this weekend I need to have the cars fixes/adjustments complete so that the following weekend is buffing/polishing the car.

I am pleased with the roof. I did take one exception to what would normally be done. The rear window needs to be riveted to the center rear hold down bracket. This helps to make sure that the window stays in as much as anything I could tell. I did not want to try to rivet it in place as I could just see my air hammer slidding off into the rear glass. I suppose I could have made some 1/4" ply wood pieces to go around and protect the plexiglass but decided at first to use 4-40 machine screws. 6-32 screws are too big.

I was looking through the totally stainless catalog and ended up ordering from them some 3mm screws. I got a variety of them and have a fall back if my plan won't work. My plan was to purchase some 3mmX30mm machine screws. Cut off the head of the screw, re-cut the threads with a die and then I bought some 3mm acorn nuts to go on both ends. I figure that the acorn nuts will give a nicely finished appearance as opposed to a machine screw with a phillips head or just a #4 nut.

I expect those pieces from Totally Stainless in the next day or so. When I get it all put together with these last pieces and the foam rope in place, I will take some photos of it on the table as well as when I get it on the car in the next week or two.

Would I do it again? YUP. I never thought I would say that as I was going through the early assembly. But it went together and the videos that Glassworks has on you tube certainly helped in a couple of different situations.

If anyone is thinking of taking on a project like this, I would encourage you to step up and try it. If the top needs to be 101% NCRS correct, I would let Glassworks do it.
 

PTighe

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A long time ago, I bought a hard top for my '57. I was told by many knowledgeable people back then was that '56-'60 hard tops are exactly the same design. The '61 and '62 tops are a little different but were the same design. So there are only two different versions of C-1 hard tops.
 

firstgear

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15 Z06, 01 Vert, 63 SWC & 60 ALL RED
A long time ago, I bought a hard top for my '57. I was told by many knowledgeable people back then was that '56-'60 hard tops are exactly the same design. The '61 and '62 tops are a little different but were the same design. So there are only two different versions of C-1 hard tops.
yes and no. the 56-60 will fit those cars, but there are little differences in them, for instance, the hold down brackets on the sides are completely different and not interchangable. The 59-60 brackets are SS and the earlier ones are chrome plated. They are formed differently and hence fit differently.

The 61-62 have the ridge in the center back to conform to the center ridge that the cars had with the newer style rear end on them.....
 

firstgear

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my latest update.....

well, we are 98% done, there are just a few things I want to adjust here and there.

but here is the top before I put the rear glass in. I wanted to make sure that it would fit fine after coming apart and going back together....you may have seen this photo before....
IMG_7559Small-vi.jpg


the rear glass is inserted in this position (this is how Glassworks shows it in their YouTube videos).
IMG_7573Small-vi.jpg


When I turned the hardtop over, the glass partially fell out. I was not happy. That is when I decided that I needed to have the window fixed to the center latch holes. BUT, the stock set up requires the glass to be riveted to the latch. The rivets have a button head and are a solid shaft that needs to be hammered:smash: or beat on to make the rivet head. I didn't want to take a chance of trying to set the head with the plexi-glass right there and one slip would mean big problems for the glass. So I went out and bought some 4-40 screws and nuts and that enabled me to flip the hardtop over and over without having the glass dislodging out of the seal.

I had to drill through the plexi-glass for the screw to go through. Glassworks sells a special drill to do that. It eliminates any kind of nicks you might get in the edge of the hole that would lead to cracking. It is worth the few bucks.
IMG_7586Small-vi.jpg


Here you can see the screw and nut
IMG_7585Small-vi.jpg


After I got the window in it was time to drill the holes for the trim to go through and to attach the barrel screws. Again Glassworks sells a special type of hole cutter that enables you to drill a small hole then run a small screwdriver or an awl through it and us that to center the drill in the hole. Now this is a cool tool that makes the hole drilling pretty brainless (right up my alley :cool:)
IMG_7589Small-vi.jpg


IMG_7590Small-vi.jpg


IMG_7591Small-vi.jpg


Only bad thing :ack: that happened is that I slipped one time when I wasn't paying attention and the drill went down the outside of the plexiglass....and of course when I was screwing in the barrel screws to hold on the trim, the screwdriver slipped and ran down the other slide of the plexi-glass (yup the F-BOMB got dropped more than once that day).
Here you can see one of the scratches:eek:

In the photo below you can see one of the scratches I put in the glass....
IMG_7603aSmall-vi.jpg


Fortunately Glassworks sells a scratch removal kit, Matt knew exactly how one of the scratches occurred with the screw driver slipping on the barrel nut.

It starts out with 1500 grit sandpaper...
IMG_7604Small-vi.jpg


then to 2400 grit
IMG_7605Small-vi.jpg


then to 3600 grit
IMG_7606Small-vi.jpg


and the final sandpaper is 8000 grit
IMG_7607Small-vi.jpg


the final step is some polishing compound from Glassworks as well, in the photo the scratch is GONE :D
IMG_7609Small-vi.jpg


So if you have some scratches in your plexiglass, they will sell you the kit for about $15 plus shipping.

Up above I showed you the 4-40 screws and the nuts. They weren't SS as I had run down to the local hardware store and they only had regular steel. I knew they would rust so I looked in the Totally Stainless Catalog and found that they had 3mm-.5 screws and ACORN NUTS. They did not have acorn nuts for the 4-40, but they did for the 3mm. turns out the 3mm was 0.006" larger in diameter than the 4-40. So I bought some 3mm acorn nuts and 3mm x 30mm long machine screws. I cut off the head and re-threaded the screw. This enabled me to put acorn nuts on both sides, it gives a much nicer finished look as opposed to having a phillips head or the nut showing.
IMG_7613Small-vi.jpg


IMG_7623Small-vi.jpg


Here is the top on the table all done....
IMG_7599Small-vi.jpg

I had the foam taped to the top of the hardtop so that we could spin the hardtop around on the table and not worry about putting scratches into the hardtop paint.

Putting on the front trim pieces was bit scary. only because the finished paint was there and we had to take one off once we got it on because we didn't quite catch all the tangs that hold the back side of the trim down, fortunately everything worked out just fine as you can see in the photo below...
IMG_7595Small-vi.jpg


the inside head liner was custom made for me by the same shop that did my trunk. I bought from Paragon just the ABS formed head liner without anything on it (cost about $95 plus shipping). What is nice is it is preformed and the shop was able to make the leather just how I wanted it and then they used high temp contact cement to fix the leather to the ABS. The ABS is fixed in the center only to the hardtop with a center section of contact cement. This just helps to support the center. With the formed ABS it is pretty stiff already.
IMG_7601Small-vi.jpg


You will notice I had green tape in a number of places, this was to protect some of the areas, of course I put the tape on too late when I had scratched the glass. duh....

I will post photos of the top on the car all done and no tape weekend after this one coming up. We have some things to do in the interior of the car and it will be easier without the top on it.

All in all, my conclusion is that if you are making your car NCRS, send the top to Glassworks. If the car is a restorod or will be a driver, I would do the top again.....
 

firstgear

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15 Z06, 01 Vert, 63 SWC & 60 ALL RED
got the top done and installed on the car for the Cleveland Autorama....found a couple of other scratches I missed the first time. I could feel the scratch with my finger nail. Followed the same process as above and got them out and polished up nicely. If you are looking for the right kind of sand paper, it is micro mesh. I did a google search and found a hobby store that had a kit. Between the glassworks polishing compound and the hobby store kit (had more and bigger pieces of sand paper) it was easy.

Here are some photos of the car completed at Cleveland AutoRama....

aIMG_9734Small-vi.jpg


aIMG_9759Small-vi.jpg


for next year, I am going to have the vertical stands cut down to about 4 inches tall. Tall enough to let people know to stand back, but not so tall as to inhibit the view and photos....
aIMG_9738Small-vi.jpg


aIMG_9764Small-vi.jpg


car looked great with the top on it....this summer unless it is too hot inside, I will keep the top on and run around with it that way for a different look
aIMG_9762Small-vi.jpg
 

Tom Bryant

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Very nice!
 
L

lou3606

Guest
Hi Tom This is Lou from Australia

Restoring a hardtop is not for the faint of heart. Nice job so far.

Tom
Has anyone got any info on how to install a headliner on a 59 Vette hard top my trimmer is having problems with the corners they keep on creasing up, liner was from Corvette America
That is a nice Vette
 

firstgear

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15 Z06, 01 Vert, 63 SWC & 60 ALL RED
I would suggest that you call:

Glassworks :: THE HARDTOP SHOP

Matt usually answers the phone....he has always been helpful to me and others....

Herb
 

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