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Who is re-manufacturing Top Irons?

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Are there any companies that specialize in manufacturing top irons(metal sockets) for brass era vehicles? The car in question has a one man top and the top irons will most likely need to be made from a set drawings.

 

Any info is appreciated.

 

Dan

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Yes, in Auburn, California there's a company called John's Enterprises.  He bought the business from a guy who'd been making top irons since 40 or more years ago, and at one time he had drawings for just about any car you could come up with. 

 

I've bought three sets of top irons (not bows) over the years, very pleased, and very reasonable pricing....

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I hope you have better luck than I did with him. As Dave said he has drawings on about any car you can come up with. That is except mine. 1925 Buick Standard Touring. He has done great work for other Buick people I know. He said he may have an old set for my car in one of his  storage trailers. That has been 5 years of reminder calls/letters.

 Rick Kesselring in my town of Chambersburg was still making top bows and assured me he had the specs for my car.

I know we have to act when these services are still being offered. My plan was..... John for top sockets.... Rick for top bows then get on Dave's "list" for the top. As it is I do not think I will ever find a set of sockets.

Best of luck:

Larry

Edited by dibarlaw (see edit history)

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I do realize that contact with John's Enterprises has been sporadic the last couple years...hope we don't lose this service..

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Just for the record John's Enterprises is owned and operated by John Boorinakis.  I have a 1916 D-45 Buick that had the front socket (when the top was laid back) with a big ol' ding in it on the passenger side.  Gary Martin from Goldfield Trim and Upholstery in Des Moines, Iowa put the new top and side curtains on the car for us.  Gary and I talked with John about maybe making that particular socket new.  Gary cleaned the sockets up (both side sets) and sent them out to John.  He ended up being able to straighten the dented area to the point that one cannot even begin to tell where it was at.  The man is that good.  He was extremely reasonable in the price and the turnaround time was something like two or three weeks.  I have nothing but good words to say about the experience that I had with him.  Rick Kesselring was going to make a new set of bows if we needed them.  As it turned out the bows in my car were in perfect condition and that saved a lot of money and time.  David, you are right, John is in Auburn, California.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Some antics about semantics.

Colloquialisms abound. And for every reference that clearly says one thing?  I have seen others that used the same words differently. All that said, the forum I spend most of my online time with often gets into severe discussions on what the "proper" words are (not just top assemblies, but many things including splash aprons).  According to many, the top "irons" are the iron brackets built into the body that in turn support the entire top. These include the pivoting brackets that stick out from the seats as well as the brackets that the folded top rests upon. The usually steel sort-of tubular pieces of the top assembly (usually about a foot to two feet long, depending on marque and vintage) are usually called the top "socket"s (much like a lamp socket, the wooden bows insert into them and are then held in position). The "bows" (like a bow and arrow) are the curved wood pieces that span from side to side.

 

It is a complicated subject. But language SHOULD mean something. And using the proper word is a good thing. However, language is also a fluid art. Words for hundreds of years have varied in their usage across small geographic divides. Historians can debate etymology (the study of word origins and evolvement), and perhaps we should try to improve our word usage. But, as long as we understand (or make clear) what we mean? All should be good.

When I first got into this hobby, at least in my part of the country, the entire assembly was simply called the top bows. These days, for most cars, finding a complete top assembly is rare, and trying to put together a top usually involves a lot of effort on each individual section of the assembly. Therefore, the need to be clear about which pieces are being discussed.

 

No offense meant toward anyone.

 

Although I live only a few miles from John B, and have met him a few times, I do not personally know him, and have never needed his help with a top for any of my cars. However, I often hear from friends how wonderful and good he is. 

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Wayne, you are technically correct, what is being discussed here are "top sockets".  A car gets "ironed" from the factory for fitting top sockets and bows.  Many early cars have no provision for a top, thus they are not "ironed" for a top.

 

I guess we just overlooked the semantics of the discussion, since it was evident what the original post was concerning.

 

Reminds me of a current country song about "driving a car off the coast of California", which, from a semantic point of view, is an awful idea.....

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One of my early cars was "ironed" for a top but never had one installed. When shown a judge questioned me about the top, I explained it was the original owners option, but it fell on deaf ears. I got a deduction, but learned to carry my documentation.   Bob

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Thanks for all the replies. Could someone PM me John's contact information?

 

Wayne, Thank you for the clarification. Correct terminology is important to avoid confusion.

 

I did some searching on this forum and came up with another fellow named Deafy from Australian Hood Irons. Anyone had experience dealing with him? 

 

Dan

 

 

 

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Seldenguy, please explain what you are talking about when you say your early car was 'ironed for a top'.  I have been playing with Buicks for almost 55 years and have never heard that phrase or expression before.  Maybe you should refer to wayne sheldon's previous post so that us dumb ol' car guys will know what you are talkin' about.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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"Ironed for a top" means that the car came from the factory with the necessary brackets on the body so that a top could be attached.  The pieces on the body were usually forged iron, thus the name.  These would consist of a pivot point and top rest bracket on each side of car  for a roadster, and two pivot points and a top rest on each side for a touring.  This was prior to the one man, or locking, tops, that later cars would use, thus the extra pivot point (support) on early tourings.

 

Many early cars were not standard from the factory with a top.  Same is true of windshields and headlights.  I'm talking about many cars pre-1912 or so.  I've seen early cars that had no irons for a top at all.

 

There were many after market suppliers for these "accessory" items.

 

Maybe we need a glossary of terms for early cars!

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44 minutes ago, trimacar said:

 

 

Maybe we need a glossary of terms for early cars!

 

This Is an excellent idea. A massive amount of institutional knowledge is going extinct. If not NOW , when ? If not US , who will ? One might think that the young high-tech multi-billionaires , soaking up knowledge about their recently acquired Bugattis , Duesenbergs , Hispano-Suizas , etc. , would be interested in , and have the technology necessary to preserve this information in an easily accessible , logically cross-referenced format. Imagine the vocabulary and language these highly able and intelligent historians use to persue another even more expensive preservation hobby. Large antique wooden boats. Particularly the restoration , maintainance , and use of great elegant wooden sailboats from bygone days. Gotta call that thingamajig SOMETHING !   - Carl

 

P.S. You used the term "standing seam" recently. If you have pics of this handy , could you please post some ? Thank you ,  - CC

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Hi- the "standing seam" I referenced seems to be a feature seen on some late 1920-early 1930 Buicks....it refers to a vinyl or leatherette top on a coupe or sedan, and it describes the sewn seam at the rear vertical part of the roof....I've looked at thousands of old cars over the years, and never seen this anywhere except on Buicks, and I personally know of two such treatments more or less in my area, both owned by good friends.

 

From a trimmer's perspective, it's a nightmare, not only fit the top, but sew a seam AND a curve with a finish.  If you look at period sales literature, it gave the cars a nice rounded look at the rear of the top, from the side view.  I can honestly say I know of little reason to do this detail, other than the aforementioned side view, and the pride of the trimmers back when...

 

Here it is on a Model 90 recently on this forum...and why this car hasn't sold, I don't quite comprehend....what a wonderful automobile, Full Classic and all...

 

http://forums.aaca.org/topic/295215-1931-buick-896-s/

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David, thank you for the explanation.  Now I understand what the fellow was talking about.  Carl, I have seen several Buicks with this treatment on the top and I remember thinking at the time - what the heck is that supposed to be all about.  OH WELL!  Live and learn then die and forget it all.  Thanks to both of you guys for enlightening us old fogeys.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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I'm somewhat baffled by this standing seam detail, but if you look at period sales literature, it gives the appearance of a nice, rounded, rear section of the top.  Remember, this was the late 20's, when "styling" was somewhat of a new concept....thus this was the cusp of the soon to come era when, not "form follows function", but, rather, attractive styling to attract buyers,, was coming into vogue...

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Terry-  I just got back here to the forum, I know it's not politically correct to be watching football when old car things are being discussed but I do have many interests. Looking back, yes I should have made my illustration a little clearer . Thanks to David for clearing up my lack of communication. That said, my collecting interest started in the year 1900 and ending at 1942 . Early cars have always been my interest and have owned many brass cars. Also I must be an "old fogey " for real as I bought my first brass car with my lawn mowing money 70 years ago. And have enjoyed every minute of the hobby. --Bob

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