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Have you looked at your convertibe top frame lately?

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Thirty some years ago I put a German Haartz Sonneland canvas top on my 66 roadster. I was tired of the cheap vinyl tops of the time, and as I drove my car all the time, I wanted a top that would look good and last.

30 years later and 150,000 plus miles, it was time for a new top. I have some pictures to share with you of what I found under my old top.

I knew that one of the rivets on the frame was not working as the weatherstrip on the drivers side would not line up, leaving a gap between the window and the two window weatherstrips that bolt on.

First I must say that the material used (tackboard) 45 years ago is far superior to the "fiberboard" sold now. The original board was fiber board sewn between two leather strips.

I found some rust that I have to deal with . The problem that many face with their tops is the nylon bushing that centers the rivets. When it breaks, the top mechanism does not work correctly and you will have uneven weatherstrip problems.

It usually is not the rivet as I found out, but the bushing.

Next, you can order the rivets from most vendors, but none listed the nylon bushing. Without it , you will not be able to fix the problem and be able to set the rivet.

Jerry Sullivan of "Sully's Tops" www.SullysTops.com 1-800-451-3998 Fresno, CA

Gave me a call and he has the bushings. He actully manafactors the rivets for the vendors who sell them. Funny they don't list them.

He put them in th mail and said, " send me the check when you get them" Very nice man and I would use him for any parts that may be needed to restore your frame. He is a 17 year NCRS member



Setting the rivet. You need to clamp the rivet, and frame tight, block the rivet and smack the end of the rivet with the hole with a big hammer. Flatten it a bit and pine it over.

I will let you know how that works, I ordered extra rivets just in-case

32 year old top

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore013.jpg

Bottom , top , sides , rivet hole , rust areas , straps , fiber tack strip of frame

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore001.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore005.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore004.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore003.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore006.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/IMG_0400.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore015.jpg

Original tack strip

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore017.jpg
http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore010.jpg


Rivet and nylon bushing

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore012.jpg

Weatherstrip kit and padding to be put on after canvas is installed

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Convertible Top frame repair/Framerepairbefore011.jpg

I am having the top installed after seeing the way the tacks have to be driven. Speedy did it 30 years ago for me and he will do it again on the 12th.

I hope the frame comes out OK, I am doing the work and I am always leery of my work.

I will post some more pictures as I get to work

Jack
 
Joined
May 29, 2002
Messages
8,596
Location
Missoura Ozarks
Corvette
Carbon Flash CE 4LT GS Roadster
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Vendor for Bushings for convertible top rivets

Jerry Sullivan of "Sully's Tops" www.SullysTops.com 1-800-451-3998 Fresno, CA

Gave me a call and he has the bushings. He actually manufacturers the rivets for the vendors who sell them. Funny they don't list them.

He put them in th mail and said, " send me the check when you get them" Very nice man and I would use him for any parts that may be needed to restore your frame. He is a 17 year NCRS member


Jack
 

Tom Bryant

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 9, 2000
Messages
7,195
Location
Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
Is that rust through I'm seeing on those corners? How many bows are you going to have to replace?

Tom
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Pictures of car

:w

Jack - Please post some pictures of your Roadster...

:lou

Here are a few shots of the car

Cody WY

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/National Parks/RidetoCody155.jpg

Grand Tetons












Ottawa Canada

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Ottawa Kerrmudgeon Mike ward montreal/carinfrontparl.jpg

Big Sur CA

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Big Sur/BigSurtoSantaClarita135.jpg

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/Big Sur/BigSurtoSantaClarita001.jpg

Home at last

Before restoration 2009

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/interior done/6612-08rehab.jpg

2010 Not bad for a car with 300,000 miles and original engine drive train and me for 42 years

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/interior done/interiordone5.jpg

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu57/jackfit87/interior done/interiordone9.jpg
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
No replacing

Is that rust through I'm seeing on those corners? How many bows are you going to have to replace?

Tom

Hi Tom,

I am not replacing any of them. The only one with real rust is the front bow. I will gently bast away the surface rust and paint, remove the old tack fiber board which is much better than the replacement I have. The structure of the front bow is still OK and with a rust stop treament, primer and paint, new tack board, it should last my driving life time. The frame rivet bushings were the real cause of problems, not the old canvas top.

With the new bushings and having a pro do the actual top instalation, it should last 30 years. Can you believe that I have put 35,000 miles on the engine and car in the last 18 months.

I am going to do a post on gas, oil and maintance over the time period, so that members can see what it costs to run my car over that distance. Also the status of the engine and parts wear .

Jack

Jack
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Covertible Top Frame done

Just finished up the frame this afternoon. I drive the car to the installer tomorrow. Weather is going to be cold but dry.

As show in pictures, my frame needed two nylon bushings replaced. The hard part is the setting of the rivets. You can order the rivets from the usual vendors, but it is not the rivet that goes, it is the bushing. You need a special setting tool and the ability to block the rivet. Palmers Springs Shop, making springs and carriages since 1860's had a 70 year old part worker who could set it for me.
A large hammer and anvil helped.

Sully's Tops in Fresno CA was the only place I could find to get the bushings. Jerry makes the rivets for vendors.

Rivet and bushings




Before



After



Sandblasting rust




Old frame



Restored frame on car ready to top installation







Tomorrow pictures of top on car

Jack
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Would you leave your car here ?

Now the wait, Speed is only 75 years old, I think the car will be done soon..... :rofl:



He was waiting for his 60 year old helper to come in

He did the top on my car when he was 45 years old, hope his work is still just as good as it was in 1981

Jack
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
From Speed to Slow in thirty years

I stopped in to see if any progress was being made on my top, Speed said yes and told me , "Don't come back until I call you"

I asked him when that might be? He said " when I do "

I slowly backed out of the door, saying " Oh that's good, I'll wait for your call.

I must have been really silly to think I would get my car back in the same day, he did hint that it might be on Friday.

Of course, I asked him when that might be on Friday ? he said "when I call"

Jack

PS I did get a peek, looks like he still does good work, just a little slower now
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Haartz German Sonnaland Canvas

You've waited a reasonable amount of time Jack, so go in and have a peek. And......take pics, can't wait to see the new chapeau! Did you go vinyl or cloth again. What supplier did you use? :D

I used the same material (30 years ago) a soft canvas that is used on jags and mercedes. It lasts for ever, I poked holes in my top with all the stuff I put in the back and always had the top pushed down to close deck.

Old Top 30+ years




The back window is the first to go, and I have replaced it twice

The new top will look just like the old one, just new. It is double lined, and the stitching is perfect.

You can get the top at ( AutoBerry ) I believe they make a lot of the tops for vendors. The top was made in CA by this company,

They have all the patterns for different make of cars, and you just pick the style car and type of fabric you want.

It takes about a week for them to make it and send it to you.

I bought the high end fabric and it was $375 for the best.

$100 less for regular Haartz Softtop canvas $275 and about $175 for vinyl .

They do not sell pads or any hardware. Just the top.

I was impressed with the workmanship. If you do not need a vinyl top for judging, you will be very happy for a long time with this type of top.

Putting it up or down will not wrinkle it or hurt it.

Jack

Ps Autoberry site

Web site AutoBerry.com | Convertible Tops | Seat Covers | Headliners


63-67 page

Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Top Replacement 1963-1967 | Autoberry.com
categories_id=
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Oh No !

Mid afternoon, I could not wait any longer. So I drove to Speeds.

What did I see............

My car done!



That is the good news !

The bad news !

No Speed.......... no one at the shop

No phone call ,,,,, Oh my God .... what if he died.........

In.........out......in..........out............................
 

LT4man

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2003
Messages
2,214
Location
Chicago
Corvette
96 Collectors Edition LT4
Gosh, I hope your top work did not put Speed "over the top"!

After finding Speed alive and well, please be sure to SAVE the WAVE! :w
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
I called Speed

Wednesday 11:am


Waiting no longer, I dial the number. Speed's helper answered the phone.

" Hello , Hello, " I said, " is Speed in ?"

helper on other end of line

" Speed are you in ? "

background voice " Yea "

I tell the helper who I am and ask him if my car is done .

helper on end of line " Speed, guy with corvette, wants to know if the car is done " " what should I tell him ? "

voice in background " Its done " " has been done for two days"

You can imagine my thoughts as I listen to this conversation......

So, the car is done, it was done, no call, I did not call and......

There is ice on the roads. Nice and sunny for the last few days ......

I asked him what time they close and told them I would be over to get the car.

If I don't crash going over to Speeds in my winter car, and If I don't crash driving the corvette home....

You will see pictures..........I hope

Jack
 

jackfit

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
647
Location
Maine
Corvette
66 Roadster Glen Green/Saddle
Car comes home

So, the car is done, it was done, no call, I did not call and......

There is ice on the roads. Nice and sunny for the last few days ......

I asked him what time they close and told them I would be over to get the car.

If I don't crash going over to Speeds in my winter car, and If I don't crash driving the corvette home....

You will see pictures..........I hope

Jack[/QUOTE]


I just got to Speeds, car off the road, sirens blaring, but did that stop me.......No

Meet Speed



Car ride home



Home at last in garage









Third Latch for no leaks in rain at 100 mph



Top looks great, sounds great inside, looks great inside.

Worth the wait. Any good Staysoft top will be so much better than vinyl, if you are looking for a rich soft look as well as durability

Jack
 

Wayback

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
485
Location
S-NJ
Corvette
93 Ruby Aniv roadster/6spd
I know this is a old post but are there "Tension Cables" on the 63 tops ? Im asking for someone on another forum who's redoing their top.
 

Tom Bryant

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 9, 2000
Messages
7,195
Location
Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
I can't find anything older than 1968.
 

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