Finished the top


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    Finally finished installing the top. Several missteps and not perfect but it should do. I worried about David Coco’s advice to install it in the sunlight to keep it expanded, but that wasn’t feasible in the cold weather, so I hoisted an old infrared strip heater above the car to keep it warm. It kept it up to about 140F in the middle dropping to about 90F at the edges.  I installed a dipole FM antenna using thin wire with 30″ 90 degree legs in between the two layers of batting rather than using the chicken wire for an AM antenna. Maybe it will work.

    Thanks to David, Bob Koch and Joe Malone for help and installed


    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.




    Exquisite. When can I bring my two over for you to duplicate. I even have the top material!!!!



    Looks fabulous!

    I had a call from a member, Frank Solono, earlier today asking about sources for the top insert material for his 1936 Club Sedan, but I did mine 20 years ago and didn’t have a solid answer.

    What are your recommendations?




    Bill, I work cheap but the number of manhours is a killer. I think others do it in a day, it took me four or five.

    Dave, there is a long string on the message board a couple years back about the “correct” pattern that can be found doing a key word search. Apparently Eric Hartz did a special run that matched somebody’s sample and needs a call directly to Eric to obtain. I think others have done that and might respond here.

    The whole discussion left me wondering whether there really was ever any one pattern used consistently. I have no intention of ever having my car judged, and my goal has never been to do a slavish recreation of the car when it left the factory. I lean a bit towards function over form (no it doesn’t have a 350 Chevy).

    Looking at the pictures I took of Paul Johnson’s original ’35 (thanks Paul) it appeared the grain on his car is more subdued than the  usual cobra long grain I used on my Packard decades ago. Colonial grain is more subtle and looked like a better match so that is what I used. I bought it from Mac’s.





    Thanks much!



    Can anyone recommend a good preservative for the top material?  The roof inset on my car was redone, probably in the mid 1980’s and is in good condition now and I’d like to keep it that way.  It seems to be a textured, rubberized material.  Good fortune that when they redid the top, they reinstalled the antenna in the panel.  Found the coaxial cable under the car seat and my restored radio plays perfectly.



    This product is usually available at boat and rv supply dealers. I began using is after reading good reviews in several publications.


    The product is available on AMAZON


    My 1935 has the original material in the top insert. Has anyone had experience in using this product on that original type material?


    I would assume the active ingredient is silicone like ArmorAll but maybe less dilute. I don’t know as it isn’t listed. Rainex is also silicone. I would be vigilant about keeping it away from the paint, better to wipe it on with a cloth rather than spray.

    I once had a Tbird with original vinyl top that I sprayed regularly with ArmorAll. When I repainted the fisheyes kept coming coming through even after sanding several times to bare metal. There are additives to paint to prevent this, I don’t know how effective they are.


    Kenneth / Jim,

    The internet tells me: 303 Aerospace Protectant reduces fading and the non-oily, anti-static finish repels dust, dirt and staining. Unlike many products, 303 Aerospace Protectant does not contain silicone, oils, waxes, glycerin or petroleum distillates.

    I looked up the SDS and most of the ingredients are listed as proprietary, along with water, ethylene glycol, magnesium nitrate and Glucitol. All Greek to me.

    That being said, I have used 303 on my modern cars for over 10 years and have been happy with the results, much more so than Armorall. 303 does not leave the shiny surface that Armorall does. It will bring out the color a little.  I have used it on dash tops and the inside door panels and so far none have split or faded even when exposed to the sun most of the time. My daily driver is outside all of the time and I have used 303 on it for ten years. All good so far.  I use it as you suggest, apply it to a rag and wipe it on the surface. I have not noticed any problems with it harming paint.

    I have NOT used it on any old car materials.

    I have used the fisheye preventive in automotive paint and it seems to work. You should wipe the surface down with a surface prep designed to remove silicone residue first.



    For the past 8-9 years, we’ve used Mothers Back to Black liquid on our original ’36 Pantasote top insert and running board mats with very satisfactory results.  This product claims some degree of UV protection which can be further quantified on their website.  Usually, one annual application keeps everything shiny black after buffing out.


    Good to know, thanks for checking the website re: 303 protectant. I have some but the label I have doesn’t mention no silicone which makes me assume it does, like many waxes.


    Top looks great, correctly padded and nice and smooth.  I had to put a new top on a 1932, the guy had installed it in the dead of winter, it flapped at 30 miles an hour.  Well done!

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