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top coating for cloth top of a 1928 Chevy sedan

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I have a 1928 Chevy sedan which still has the original top. The top is dull and check-marked and I would like to refurbish it. The 1928 shop manual instructs the owner to apply a coat of #7 Auto Top Finish using a flat varnish brush. Dupont made the top coat referred to in the Manual and that product is not longer manufactured. There seems to have been many manufactures of top coats for autos at the time but there doesn't seem to be anything on the market today for this application and no one I've contacted can suggest what might be used. A member in our club found top coat manufactured in 1930 at a swap meet which he used on his 1933 coupe and he's well satisaficed with the results.

In the shop manual they state “that a coat of this varnish every six months will keep the top in perfect condition” and I'm wondering if the top coat was indeed a type of varnish? If so from what I've learned it was black and very thin.

So my question is do you do you know where I could purchase a suitable product? Or could you tell me what I could mix up to come up with my own top coat?

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I do not know what the formula was , but I know that canvas can be painted, and I'm quite sure varnished as well . If I had to experiment I would try adding some lamp black or black tint (for oil base) to a good quality varnish. I would also suggest you try contacting Haartz Auto Fabric for any information they may have . They have been in business since 1907! A few old cars hang out there too .


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  • 4 months later...
Bobs Antique Auto Parts | Model-T Specialists and others have a product called 255 Top Dressing that I use on my 1928 Buick Town Brougham. It goes on like a paint and is very shiny, but after a few weeks it does turn a low luster black. I do my top every few years. A quart usually does it. It is about $15 or so. Hope this helps and is not too late of a reply.
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