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Installation of Fabric Top Insert

Tom M

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This question was asked on another forum

"does anyone know of a service bulletin pertaining to the replacement of the fabric top insert on closed cars though 1939?"

I will be in that position in a few months. I have order my material from LeBaron Bonney and they don't have instructions for Packards "Fords only" :(

They did not want to send me the instructions for the installation on Fords for liability issues.

So with that does any one have instructions?

Here is a list of materials I purchased from them



Black colonial grain (T-5)



Also purchased Rain Gutters, Fender Welting and Split Rivets from them

Thanks for you time and input.

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Did you use wire-on if so do you have any close-up pictures of installation?

I purchased wire-on because I could not find a place that carries the Aluminum molding. Hope I made the right choice there.

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Here are the only photos we took. I started by carefully cutting out the old fabric with an utility knife. Then came the hard part, carefully removing the old molding and the 150 or so nails that attach it to the car.

The molding had 75 years of accumulated tar and top dressing that I Removed with paint remover and a wire wheel. This was the worst part of the job. I repainted the aluminum molding with black Rustoleum.

I replaced the batting with some stuff from LeBaron Bonney. The original stuff was cotton, the new stuff was something synthetic.

The new fabric was attached with upholstery tacks. Don't use a staple gun, and don't drive the tacks all the way in as you'll have to remove a bunch to adjust the material to get all the wrinkles out. The tacks are recessed in a groove in the wood frame of the body and later get covered with the molding.

After you are satisfied with the installation of the fabric, lay a bead of black silicone caulk in the groove and install the molding. Don't scrimp on the caulk or it will leak. If some oozes out, it can be cleaned off rather easily.

This was a job that I put off for many years. After doing it for the first time, I wish I had done it sooner. It was an easy and satisfying job to do, and we don't get dripped on when it rains.

BTW, after I finished the job, we left on a 1200 mile trip the next day. One thing I learned: the nails are not galvanized or stainless and they will rust if not protected. I left them bare, and they rusted. Now I need to brush them off and coat them. I plan to put a coating of black caulk on them to keep the rain out.

I'm no pro at this, but I am very happy with the results I got.









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Thank you very much for taking the time to post your explanation and pictures. That sure looks easy enough for me to do :rolleyes:

I like your little helper in the last picture. Is he or she pushing out the wrinkles :)

As you see above I purchased some wire-on since my molding was in pretty bad shape. Hopefully mine will turns out as well as yours and the one in the Model A link.

Thanks all for your valuable input. This is what it is all about makin friends as we go along. :)

Now it is almost time to get home. Have re prep the left rear quarter for paint. Was a little to aggressive with the wet sanding the other night. :o

Edited by Packin31 (see edit history)
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Thanks. Have printed it and added it to my folder for top installation.

See I am trying to get myself more organized when getting info. I started to make folders and when info comes in I print it off and place it in the folders. Just thought I share that little tidbit,

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Bobs Automobilia has the aluminum moulding and the eaves trough for Buicks. The aluminum moulding from a different make might be more desirable than wire-on. When I did mine I used aluminum halfround moulding from a metal shop. At that time I had never heard of Bobs. I now have a set of both to put on my car when I replace the top later this year. Since my car is out in all kinds of weather every day of the year I am going to cheat and glue a piece of sheet steel in over the padding and then put glue the fabric to that. I'm tired of having to change the top material ever ten or twelve years. Of course my car is not now nor wver will be a show car.

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Bob's Automobilia no longer carries the aluminum molding. The vendor didn't want to make it anymore, destroyed the dies and Bob's doesn't want to invest in a new set of dies.

Other than Restoration Supply Company, is there a source for either 8 or 12 foot long lengths of half oval aluminum molding about 3/4 inch wide??


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