chistech

32' Oldsmobile Deluxe Convertible Roadster

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Posted (edited)

I know it seems like I've posted a lot of pictures of the same thing but there are differences in each picture. The reason I'm doing this is that most GM cabriolet models are either exactly or very close to this Olds and I can currently find no pictures or help about installing a cabriolet interior and roof. My thought with all this documentation is down the road, someone doing their own cabriolet can use my thread for reference. With my goal of OEM authenticity, it can be used for someone wanting a show car and those just doing a driver. When it comes to authenticity, one item often overlooked when the original interior is replaced is the two belt rail footman loops. These loops are mounted on the top of the belt rail close to each end of the parcel tray front board. I remembered removing them from my car which other than one single piece of belt rail wood, was all original. I inquired with other 31'-32' cabriolet owners and most had no knowledge of the footman loops, yet one owner replied saying he owned a fully original interior car and he also had the footman loops. He has no knowledge of what they're for though. They are currently being polished and will be installed soon so I'll pictures shortly.

      Looking at my original beltline wood, I'm able to locate the exact position for the loops. They run parallel to the roof bows and are located just 3/4" in from the inside beltline edge. When the roof is folded down, it's easy to see what the loops are intended to do. A strap would be put through the loop and put around the chrome folding roof iron that connects the mid bow to the windshield bow. Strapping these irons down prevents them from bouncing on the beltline interior, top of the parcel tray, and the rear deck roof supports. Another strange item my car had that no one else seems to have is the wedge shaped rubber pieces attached to the rear bottom ends of the mid bow. While the first impression is these are some sort of bumpers, I believe I now understand their purpose. The outside edge of the wedges is even with the outside edge of the bow. When the roof gets tacked or stapled to the bottom of the mid bow and fastened to the car body, there is an area or gap in the very bottom corner near the rear of the top of door where it is not tacked at all. The reason for this is allow the roof to fold down so it has to be free in this area. I now realize that these rubber wedges keep the untacked corner of the roof taught in this area and do not allow the bottom edge to wrinkle in, allowing any rain water from entering the car, especially down through the hinge socket and also keep the roof from folding in and getting pinched possibly at the hinge joint. I'm willing to bet many other GM cabriolets had these wedges but they've long been lost to father time.  Just a couple more forensic things I’ve discovered.

 

looking at the pictures, you can see the wedges and their alignment with the edge and location above the hinge socket.

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Edited by chistech
Added pictures (see edit history)
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A while back I posted some pictures of the scale radio control dauntless dive bomber airplane I was finishing up. I finally got to fly it when I was away in SC. Here is a professional YouTube video made by a fellow modeler. It flew very well and this is the second flight. Just after liftoff the engine sagged some and it appears that it's out of trim as its porpoising some but it cleared out. I also climbed out a little steeper than normal as I was trying to clear the air space over the runway as 6 planes in the air at one time doing high speed low passes and most flying much faster than me plus much larger than me kept me on my toes.  The landing is faster than intended as we had called for my landing and I had the right of way but evidently a turbine pilot didn't follow the rules and was coming in right behind and above me which you can't see in the video. I stayed in close to the pilot stations and stuck it on the ground. It started to head to close to the pilot station and other aircraft on the ground so I ground looped it to stop it. No damage and it flies great. 

 

 

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Finished up setting the height of the rear bow and tacked all three straps. Put the rear window in the rear curtain. The rear curtain is two layers of T39 Hartz roof material. First you center position the frame where it should be and in my case, the window center is one inch high on the curtains center measurements, then you mark the screw and frame pin locations. You then punch out all the marks and lay the curtain, outside down, over the outside chrome frame. You then spread the two layers of material and put the glass inside, within all the pins. You then lay the inside layer of curtain down, put the inside frame in position, and put in the screws. I slowly tightened the screws working from the center of the frame working out alternating tightening the screws much like a cylinder head torque pattern. I kept turning the screws like this until all were good and snug. Using an Xacto knife and the frame as a guide, cut out the center material. It’s a shame Lebarron Bonney is gone because this roof kit and the interior so far has been very impressive and almost spot on with just minor trimming needed.

      I then stapled and tacked in the parcel tray to seat frame bellows material. I used an old piece of bamboo half round under the end that’s fastened to the parcel tray top to get a nice round effect as described in the directions. Then ends are brought down to the belt rail and are “tented” so the front edge stays up. The reason for this is when the seat is moved from full front position to full rear position, the rear of the seat tucks under the leading edge of the bellows. This material closes off the space between the seat and parcel tray so there is no visible gap.

     I then installed the top beltrail panels and the infamous footman loops I posted about earlier. Real happy with the way this whole thing finished up. This area is done now until the seat goes in. 

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Posted (edited)

I realized that in order to put the roof on correctly, I needed to remove the two Landau arm studs in the mid bow. Then I panicked as I had not ever removed then and was afraid they would not loosen from the frame. Using a good 6 point box wrench, I was able to break both of them free without much trouble. A 9/16 x 12 tap and die cleaned up all the threads. I realized today what I’m sure J Puleo has thought about, that all these tools I’ve accumulated and use in my life will probably end up going to the scrap yard as no one will know how to use them in the near future. Even things as simple as taps and dies are foreign to so many of today’s “men”.

      Put in all the rear interior panels and then started installing the belt line cording around the bottom edge. When putting the cording around the belt line, one has to remember that the center window flap, when raised, exposes the cording so don’t staple or take the center section through both layers. Spread the layers and staple the inside to the wood. Staple two rows worth, one low and one about a 1/4” from the top. Later, I will stitch the outside layer top edge to the inside edge so the cording appears nice and neat. Of course, all five rear curtain fasteners are mounted in the belt line cording also but at least the top edge will be nice and secure.

 

      I will start installing the roof tomorrow. Putting on the roof is so much easier with body off the chassis. I’m not worried about shimming the car later once it is mounted on the frame and it affecting the roof because the whole roof framing is solid because of the way the framework goes together. When I’m done with the roof, the body will be pretty complete when it’s dropped onto the frame with the dash and doors being the major components needing to be done. I’m curious if the bodies were fairly complete when they were put on the chassis in the factory.

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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car is looking good Ted and coming along nicely !!

 

that wood floor looks like a museum show piece :)

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I know what you mean about tools.  Sometimes I have to ask my self what a tool is for and then when I need it I can't find it.  I also have to ask if the tool is for a car or jet engine.

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I just put the floor in it for the pictures and I was looking at how I’m going to cut the drivers side of the main floor board to fit the battery floor plate I made up. So my nice varnished floorboards are going to get a big cut out in them. Then I’ll have to varnish the edges again. The floor boards also had anti-squeak under them, tacked to the sill. That material is impossible to find these days as everything seems to be too thick. Yesterday, I came up with an idea. I’m going to used cloth hockey stick wrapping tape. I’ll put a few layers down and let the adhesive hold it to the metal toe board area. The adhesive is pretty stout on that tape and it’s thin so i should be able to get the desired thickness I want simply by layering it.

 

Sitting here for my real job waiting on a customer who’s late, so I figured I’d type this up. Hate when you make appointments and someone is way late, not just a little which happens to all of us.

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Ted, you are really moving along with the restoration. The Olds is coming together nicely. I admire the work that is going into the Oldsmobile. Thanks, John

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Thank You John. I hope you'll be going to Hershey this year as I plan to have it there for the show on Saturday. 

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Ted, I will be at Hershey this year., God willing and the Creek don't rise. I  am will very much  looking forward to meetimg  you and  seeing the Oldsmobile at the show on Saturday. I appreciate you posting the restoration, making us ,in some small way,  a part of it.  Watching your  '32 being restored is one of the highlights  on thie AACA Forum. Thanks, as always. John

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Whoa ! Anti-squeak ?? Wait a minute. I thought all wooden bodied cars are supposed to squeak. You want that Olds to sound original, don't you ?

My '32 Chevy groans and squeals like a pig going down the road. Leave that fancy hockey stick tape on the shelf. Let the car sing to you. 🤪

 

Seriously, superb job !

 

Charlie

 

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42 minutes ago, Kestrel said:

Whoa ! Anti-squeak ?? Wait a minute. I thought all wooden bodied cars are supposed to squeak. You want that Olds to sound original, don't you ?

My '32 Chevy groans and squeals like a pig going down the road. Leave that fancy hockey stick tape on the shelf. Let the car sing to you. 🤪

 

Seriously, superb job !

 

Charlie

 

Hey, my 31’ is so loud with noises I can’t hear the radio. Wait..............., I don’t have a radio. No wonder I can’t hear it! I all honesty, I do suspect this Olds will be much quieter for a few reasons. One is the flathead engine which runs superbly (so far anyway) and you can barely hear it running. The engine and trans are rubber mounted with the bell housing having  a rubber cushioned torque rod. The driveshaft is an exposed one rather than a torque tube type which radiates noise from the rear and driveline. 8” longer wheel base and larger tires should also help quiet the ride. The firewall pad is also 1” thick heavy jute so it should keep the cabin quieter. 

      All this is good as this car WILL have a radio eventually as I have an original Oldsmobile factory radio that I am having restored with modern internals. 

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Didn’t get a lot done today as I needed to install the 5 Cinch fastener eyelets along the bottom of the rear window curtain. Turns out there is a Cinch specific setting tool and when I went to the upholstery shop and used one of his tools, it ruined the eyelet so I need to get some. Looking on the internet it seems the original type Cinch fasteners are not very common anymore and neither is a setting tool. I did find a vendor who has the eyelets and lists a setting tool but it didn’t look correct in the picture. I decided to take an hour and make up my own setting tool and I ended up posting a thread in the general discussion area. Turns out I should have just made my own tool from the start as it works perfectly.

     With three eyelets in the curtain. I tack stapled it on the rearbow to get a look at how it all fits and the rear bow position. Though the Lebarron Bonney instructions say the top of the two bows should be approximately 16” apart when the tops of the bow and windshield header are level, I found I need to raise the bow more bringing the measurement closer to 15 1/4”. I am held up on the roof right now until I get more Cinch eyelets as I need the rear curtain secured in place for putting proper tension on the bows when putting on the side pads and padding. One discrepancy I found with the LB roof kit is all three straps have a Cinch stud on them. The idea is that when the rear curtain is opened and lifted up inside to the straps, then the center and two outside eyelets are put on the studs. The problem is, only the center strap lines up correctly. The two outside straps are just inside of the outside edge of the curtain which will have three snaps installed intended to snap to the-back vertical inside panel of the roof to seal the ends. If these straps have a snap installed on them in the correct location, it will hold the ends up as originally intended. I will correct this issue when I get to that step. At least a good thing is I got the rear window level as can be seen in the picture taken from the front of the car. The bottom of the windshield frame and the rear window are in line with each other.    

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Excellent work, what a nice car this will be when finished.  I would never put a top on a roadster or touring without it being on frame and bolted down, but you're correct, this is a much more rigid top assembly and that should not be an issue.

 

L-B will be missed, they had a great selection of fabric, and the kits were reasonably priced considering the cost of labor these days.  Still can't believe they went out of business......

 

 

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2 hours ago, trimacar said:

Excellent work, what a nice car this will be when finished.  I would never put a top on a roadster or touring without it being on frame and bolted down, but you're correct, this is a much more rigid top assembly and that should not be an issue.

 

L-B will be missed, they had a great selection of fabric, and the kits were reasonably priced considering the cost of labor these days.  Still can't believe they went out of business......

 

 

Looks to me like it IS bolted to a small frame section.

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51 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

Looks to me like it IS bolted to a small frame section.

It is mounted on a 32’ Olds frame that had rotted just in front of the cowl that I was able to purchase. I finished removing the front of the chassis and the rear arms after I stripped it of all mechanicals. Nothing better than a original frame to rebuild a body on.

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3 hours ago, trimacar said:

 

 

L-B will be missed, they had a great selection of fabric, and the kits were reasonably priced considering the cost of labor these days.  Still can't believe they went out of business......

 

 

I was just talking about this last night with my buddy Joe who’s currently installing a LB interior kit in his 32’ Olds sport coupe. While the installation instructions are often ambiguous, the quality of the fabrics, hardware, windlace, and stitching is first rate. About the only difference I’ve found in workmanship quality from earlier kits to the recent ones were the glued corners on the back of the panels. Years back, the corner material was cut correctly so that it would lay completely flat on the back. In the recent kits, I found I had to go and cut material away at each corner for it to be correct. They probably had a newer person doing that part and they most likely hadn’t been taught properly. My interior and roof kit is extremely nice and I hope another upholstery company buys the inventory as a whole and continues with it.

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I've put in a few L-B kits and always thought the material and workmanship was excellent.  I've never put a kit in, however, that didn't need some tweaking to fit just right.  Has anyone seen talk of an auction or sale of the facility?

 

Didn't realize that was on a part of a frame, that would sure help.  The slightest twist in a body can throw a top way off, with resultant wrinkles....

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Got some more work done on the roof tonight. Started on it late, finished it late. Got both sides of the bow pads done. Not sure if I went a little overboard but I hand sewed the top covers of the pads closed for a nice neat look and I caught the padding with the needle and thread so the pads shouldn’t shift at all. Was real careful to keep all tight and smooth so there’s no wrinkles to see on the inside. This is the first Cabriolet roof I’ve done so I stop and think each process out. Of course I have a good staple puller and I pulled my fair share of them out tonight. I realized I didn’t have the bow pad at the right height on the mid bow until I started on the other side. Luckily I had only tacked it in place and hadn’t started the padding step. I figured out that the pad edge goes up to a step in the bow and had it about an inch away from that step on the first side I did. Well, it’s a learning process and anyone who says they never had to pull Staples is full of it!

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A few more pictures. After all the pads were finished, I folded the roof down just to test operation. It went down and back up as it should with everything nice and snug as I installed it.

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Well, it happened again. Had another snafu. As I mentioned before, this is the first GM Cabriolet roof I’ve attempted to install. Also mentioned about the LB instructions and those instructions, or lack of instructions, came back to bite me. I questioned some of the items in the roof kit that had no listing in those instructions. One of those items was a 40’, yes, 40’ of 3.5” wide webbing. Doing some research and speaking with a former LB installation technician, I learned that the webbing should be installed across the bows and down to the belt rail INSIDE the bow pads. So, out came the staple puller and the razor to cut all my stitching out. 4 hours of work out the window. The plus side is I’m getting pretty fast at hand stitching though! Finished the redo last night into early this morning. I was pretty mad at myself to say the least. I also learned that I had stapled the bow pads originally in the wrong location. I stapled the pads in the groove in the rear bow. Turns out that the pads with the Webb actually get tacked and stapled to each side of the center groove on the angled or quarter section of the bow so I would have had to open the pads and removed all the staples anyway. They are correct now and I’m done with the pads. 

     Tonight I started to layout the roof on the bows. It’s presenting its own problems with the landau posts and the location of the hemmed edges around the door openings. I need to get my doors back, then assemble them and mount them on the car. With the doors on and windows rolled up, I will see just how much clearance I have in relation to the sewn hem clearing the window frame. The doors will show me just how much I can pull the roof down on each side and still clear the widows when the doors are opened.

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Assembled my two doors and hung them on the body. With the window cranked all the way up, I’m able to see how much clearance I’ll have to open the door and not have the top of the window frame hit or drag on the roofs edge bead. I realized that I could bring the roof down more than what I had it and knowing it will shrink some, set it to just above the window frames. This allowed me to bring the vertical sides of the door opening material down and even with the bottom of the mid bow wood. Coming down that 1/4” on each side got rid of the looseness I had in the top over the mid bow and that is what I was hoping to accomplish. With the roof sides where they should be, I’m leaving the final fastening of the roof edges until the body is on the frame. The doors are in the middle of fine sanding and buffing so that is why they look the way they do. The middle picture shows the roof side pulled down even with the bottom of the bow as it should be.

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