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Old 10-27-2015, 09:42 AM   #1
jacob smith
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Default new top

I have a 36 ford convertable that needs a new top and will need a paint job. I have been holding off on the top because of needing the paint. Is it a big deal to have a top installed and then have to remove it to have the car repainted. I do not want to have to buy a second top. Also who makes the best top. What are the thoughts
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:19 AM   #2
Vic Piano
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Default Re: new top

I had a top installed on my '39 CS prior to having it painted (I wanted to be able to use the car before I was ready to get it painted). If you use a good painter, he/she should be able to mask off the top (where it meets the body). I also painted the area that holds the tacking strip before the top was installed. I put the top down and wrapped it with a plastic tarp to prevent any overspray from getting on the top. I'm very pleased with the resulting paint job. I bought the top from a company in Long Island City, NY (CRS got me and I can't remember the company name. If you would like, I can look for the information. PM me if you want it) it has been on the car for just over nine years and still looks like new.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: new top

While you can do as Vic says, in my opinion it is best to paint the car before the new top goes on if possible. I understand there are circumstances that make that less possible.
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Old 10-27-2015, 11:21 AM   #4
Vic Piano
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Default Re: new top

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Originally Posted by deuce_roadster View Post
While you can do as Vic says, in my opinion it is best to paint the car before the new top goes on if possible. I understand there are circumstances that make that less possible.
I asked the top installer, and he preferred putting the top on before the new paint job... He even told me that he would come to the paint shop and mask off the top... I also talked to the painter, he said he could mask off the top and it would not be a problem.
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Old 10-27-2015, 11:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: new top

If the car in question is just getting the outside painted or already has some or old paint on it, masking the top off can work. The convertibles I have painted for others and myself have been total repaints which include all jambs, inside headers, under dash, inside etc. which would be problematic if the top was already on. Top bows are different color and I paint them off the car too. It all depends on what you want the final product to be and that is always the owners choice.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:40 PM   #6
Vic Piano
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Default Re: new top

Here are a few photos of the '39 CS getting painted, jambs and all, as well as a few photos of it after I put it all back together...




It was my choice to do it this way, and I'm very pleased with the final product.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: new top

The car was repainted in the 50s. The inside is orginal and in very nice shape. So i do not need to repaint the dash or the area under the dash. the welts between the fenders and the body will need to be replaced as they are coming apart and look to be orginal to the car. I do not have the extra cash at this time to repaint but want to make the car a good driver. Truth be told if the welts were not going bad and the one fender did not need to be touched up i would leave the car alone. There is no rust on the car so when it does get painted there will not be any body work. How long do new tops last untill the need replacement? Vic what level of paint work did you do. I know that you drive your car alot.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: new top

Vic i was typing when you posted thank you
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: new top

LeBaron Bonney makes great tops and they aren't all that difficult to install yourself as the directions they provide are thorough.
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:14 PM   #10
Vic Piano
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Default Re: new top

Jacob, When it comes to cars in general, and Flatheads in particular, I know my limitations, body work and paint being the most prominent... LOL I did disassemble the '39 CS at the paint shop, and do the reassembly after all the paint work was done. the paint is an '05 Porsche color, Black Cherry Metallic (if I remember correctly). The top is Haartz stayfast cloth-canvas, tan on interior, black with burgundy piping on exterior. I'm lucky to have garage space for my convertibles so that prolongs the life of the tops. I do drive the cars a lot, with the tops down. Frequent raising and lowering of the top will add to its wear but, in general, I've had tops last as long as 20 years (vinyl) and so far, up to 18 years with canvas.

You can buy fender welt and replace it without having to paint if you don't want to, that would clean up the fender to body lines.
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: new top

I looked at trying to replace the fender welts only but looks like they were painted with the fenders and i think the paint will start to chip out if i try and just replace them. I also do not touch body work. I should hardly touch mechanical work I have been looking at the Lebaron Bonney tops. My understanding is the original color had a green tint to the material. Not sure how that will look on a washington blue car. Anyone have pictures of that color top and car.
Vic did you paint the underside of the 39 when you did the repaint or was it already painted?
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: new top

this is what i am working with
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:44 PM   #13
Ken Bull
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Default Re: new top

I had my car painted before my top irons were ready. A year later I bought a LeBarron Bonney Top Kit and had it professionally installed by (F&M) a local shop. I'm real HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: new top

The painter doesn't want to damage the top and the trimmer doesn't want to damage the paint. Both scenarios are viable concerns. The key is to make certain the underlayment is well finished prior to trimming a top. It wouldn't need to match the body color if it can't be seen after the trimming is done. A person just needs to preserve the car as best they can in case it ever gets wet.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: new top

Jacob, your '36 CS is a beauty! My '39 CS had been restored (and I use the term loosely) some time in the early '60's as far as I can tell. The under side of the car was painted black, and I left it that way. When I had it painted, they took the body down to bare metal and I didn't see any traces of black paint on the body. There were a few other things that the "restoration" did that I was not pleased with but, because it was never my intention to build a "show car", and the fact that I paid well under market value for the car when I bought it, I just wanted it to look good and run well. I'm happy with the results... Now I want to redo the interior... The fun never stops.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: new top

Vic, your car looks great. Wish I could afford to have someone do the bodywork and paint on my cars!
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:15 PM   #17
jacob smith
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Default Re: new top

I love the colors of Vic and Ken's cars. I think that my car might have been gray at one time unless that is a primer. I have thought that if I pant my car I like the vineyard green for 36. But for right know just want to drive it. But want to make sure that anything I do now is in preparation for a full restoration one day. That should be in another 30 years .
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:49 PM   #18
Vic Piano
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Default Re: new top

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Vic, your car looks great. Wish I could afford to have someone do the bodywork and paint on my cars!
I was lucky, I could afford it at the time... Now, not so much... And, I drive my cars/trucks so the paint and tops, etc. don't stay pristine but, that's the price you pay if you want to play, I guess...
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: new top

Your cars look great.
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:10 AM   #20
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Default Re: new top

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LeBaron Bonney makes great tops and they aren't all that difficult to install yourself as the directions they provide are thorough.
David, or anyone who has installed a LB top, is it REALLY a DIY job? Reason I ask, the top on my 47 has never looked real good (20 yrs old). It has always had wrinkles in the quarter area. When I bought the car, I was told it is a LB top. I don't know if it was pro or DIY installed. I've had a little upholstery experience, but I'm certainly no pro. I did the insert on my 34, and it came out 'perfect'. Those of you that have installed a top, what do you think? Can it be a successful DIY job? I'd like a new top, if it looks real good. (Old top is still 100% functional, it's just looking a little poor.)
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