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75RivGS

Vinyl top on 71-76 Estate Wagon

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I'm looking for some information on vinyl tops on Estate Wagons.

A station wagon with a vinyl top is quite rare so I haven't got much references:

Where should the seams be on a Estate Wagon: 2 on the roof or on both C pillars? Or was there a change between 72 and 73.

On the photos I gathered it looks like the 71 and 72 most of the time had seams on the C pillar; 73 and up 2 seams on the roof.

1972:

72ewvinyltopc.jpg

1973:

73estwag4r45t3c118524aa.jpg

But I also have photos of 72's with double seams on the roof.

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I looked about this a while back and did not come to any real answer. I looked in sales brochures I have from back then, but the pictures were too small to make any real determination.

In that timeframe, GM full-size sedans had a "Center Seam" vinyl top whereas Ford and Chrysler had the "Dual Seam" vinyl tops of their own particular grain pattern. Considering how the center seam would not work with the luggage rack, either of the two versions in your attached pictures make more sense.

My gut suspicion was that until production started for these vehicles, with their unique roof size and contours, GM might have experimented to see what worked best. This might explain a year-to-year difference, plus it could possibly be due to a change in vendors to use existing dual seam production set-ups rather than something unique to GM per se. Perhaps an inquiry to Stationwagons.com might be an option?

As I recall, in any sort of BCA 400 Point Judging situation, documentation from Buick (i.e., service manuals, various advisory "Bulletins", "Body Service Manuals", or sales literataure might be admissable documentation for correctness . . . or pictures of the statoin wagon vehicle before it was taken down for restoration or replacement of the top (hopefully, there will be some agreement among these sources).

Just some thoughts . . .

NTX5467

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Guest my3buicks

In that timeframe, GM full-size sedans had a "Center Seam" vinyl top whereas Ford and Chrysler had the "Dual Seam" vinyl tops of their own particular grain pattern. Considering how the center seam would not work with the luggage rack, either of the two versions in your attached pictures make more sense.

NTX5467

here are 2 original full size 72 sedans with the dual seam vinyl tops - I believe the single center seam on full size sedans started in 1973

post-30591-143138486129_thumb.jpg

Edited by my3buicks (see edit history)

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Thanks for your reply NTX5467

On the 73 photo you might have noticed there is a ACS sunroof as well; a center seam might give trouble installing it?

I have dual seams on my 71 Electra, but I don't know if it was changed over the years on that car.

On my 73 Riviera however I added a vinyl top (sorry Keith... :o) with a center seam: I couldn't imagine Buick would have used a dual on boattail Rivieras:

Not mine:

CC-52-046-800.jpg

The stationwagonforum (great bunch of guys there) is for all stationwagons all makes from all over the world; so I thought I rather ask this typical Buick question here.

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I believe at lkeast through 1968 the Riviera had two seams. Mine is a replacement with one and it fits the scheme of the hood and trunk crease. My theory was two seams on the original as GM found it probably easier and faster (thus cheaper) to install with the two seams. If they shifted to one in later years, I do not know.

John

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Guest my3buicks

Thru 70 had the two seams on Riv

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Guest my3buicks

Rob, while certainly not documented proof, looking over the Internet and pictures for the last hour, it does appear the 73's and up changed to the dual seem for the clam-shell wagons.

it also appears the 71-72's had the seam on the C pillars as you stated.

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Thanks for your comments, Keith. Obviously, my recollections (in this area, from my earlier times) is not accurate. Not many new Buicks where I was back then, mainly Chevrolets, Pontiacs, and Oldsmobiles--with respect to GM vehicles.

In general, there should be no difference in assembly line labor to install either the center seam or dual seam vinyl overlays. It might be easier to get the center seam versions centered on the sedan roof panels, though.

One other area which might possibly have a bearing would be the change from the "thick back" to "gauze back" vinyl fabrics for the vinyl roofs. The gauze backs were thinner and some colors seemed to have thinner vinyl on them too. I remember many center seam Grand Prix vinyl roofs that were getting thread-bare after a few years of being in the sun, usually the darker reds. Brush-type automatic car washes didn't help, either.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Thanks for the comments. Looking closer to the photos of the 71/72 w/ dual seams it could have been added (or changed to) later during their lifes.

Although not agreed by many (rust issues) I really like the looks of vinyl tops on BB.

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Guest my3buicks

If you are referring to the 2 72's sedans I posted, one is an 11K mile original(blue) and the other around 30K original owned since 72(grey) - without question the 72 full size had double seems on the sedans.

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Thanks for the comments. Looking closer to the photos of the 71/72 w/ dual seams it could have been added (or changed to) later during their lifes.

Although not agreed by many (rust issues) I really like the looks of vinyl tops on BB.

On those cars and similar large-body cars of that time, it was MUCH easier to apply some protectant to the roof with a sponge than to WAX and polish the painted roofs that size. This fact ALONE motivated me to purchase a car with a vinyl roof back then!

NTX5467

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I'm a sucker for vinyl tops and for station wagons but, on the same car, you've got to admit that's a bit silly. Vinyl tops are supposed to look like convertibles, minus the leaks. When's the last time you saw a convertible station wagon? (Chopped surf wagons don't count.) Still, I like the look of that big brown Estate Wagon with the beige "ragtop" - the seams really set it off. And that centre seam on the boattail Riverboat - ooo, that is a thing of great beauty.

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It is not for my wagon. I was just looking for some (trivial?) information.

Although I'm sure it will look great on a project I know of: somebody is converting a 72 Estate Wagon into a 2 door. Cursing in church here maybe, but I think it is a great job where the 'artist' took lots of Buick 'trivia' to build this wagon.

Look at the tailgate:

72 Estate Wagon Limited Sport Coupe - V8Buick.com

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I have a pic somewhere of an all-original 1973 Pontiac Grand Safari wagon with the original vinyl top... I will see if I can locate them and see what it looks like. I am sure the GM wagons were the same in this aspect?

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