Jump to content

1920's & 1930's Convertible Top Fabric


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

What is the judging criteria as far as the authenticity of the convertible top fabric material on 1920's and '30's cars? Specifically, many of these cars originally used "Burbank" cloth which was a layered material with the outer layer being a tightly woven canvas type material. It is essentially "unobtanium" today. I have seen numerous cars from this time period at AACA meets with modern Haartz fabric such as Stayfast or Twillfast installed. In my view they are probably the best available substitute, but the fabric is acrylic. Are these tops given a mandatory  40 point deduction as non authentic body parts? Thanks.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am certainly not an expert on convertible top material of the period. I have not heard of anybody receiving any such deduction. I think that it would have been publicized if the problem had occurred. If the top material is the closest to the original material that is available, and it is a reasonable substitute with a similar appearance, I would say that there would be no deduction. As long as it looks "right", I would not anticipate a problem. Hopefully Trimacar will see this and can chime in. He probably knows more about this subject than anyone else on the forum.

 

The judging guidelines do specifically indicate that "Good quality vinyl, if grain matches original, will be an acceptable replacement for "leatherette" or "pantasote".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Matt. I was hopeful that you would chime in, and that David will also. I did read the judging guidelines. My concern is with the cars from the era mentioned.( Obviously there is some overlap with when specific materials would have been in use) My take is that your last sentence taken from the guidelines applies more to earlier open cars and perhaps to closed cars with top inserts. There is also a mention in the guidelines of "1949, first use of nylon fabric as a convertible top material." I'm no fabric expert either, but of course nylon and the acrylics previously mentioned are synthetic fabrics. Thanks for taking time to post. Rick.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with above, I've not heard of a deduction of points for what could be considered "non-authentic" top material.  I've done twenties cars with Haartz/Stayfast, they would have had a Pantasote top material originally, and the cars have not been dinged by judges.

 

I'm not the expert, I'd leave that to Eric Haartz, he knows more about the history of top material than anyone.

 

There were a lot of brand names supplying top material in the early days, Pantasote is of course a very well known supplier, but there was also Fabrikoid, Dupont's Rayntite, Carr's Neverleek, and more.  Most of these were a fabric coated on the outside to be waterproof.  This coating would then have a grain or texture embossed into it for appearance sake.

 

There is no real "exact" material available today.  Replicated Pantasote is available, but when you look at it, it's a coated fabric for sure, but it has the appearance of modern day vinyl (which, in reality, it is).  I was lucky enough to have Eric take a specific grained material, and "melt" it, with a Pantasote type pattern embossed on surface.  The effect was excellent, as a little of the grain showed through in the right light, making it appear to be coated fabric.  This had a whipcord interior (tan stripes) and looks fabulous on the cars that were lucky enough to get it!

 

Long story short, I'd wouldn't hesitate to top a car from about 1916 on with Haartz/Stayfast.  Earlier cars, I'd consider one of the replicated Pantasote materials, as it does have a similar appearance to what would have been available.

 

One last note, there are limited colors available for Haartz material these days, although the "hot rod" color chart will make you do a double take!  I have sample books from the 1920's that show available a LOT of different colors for tops, red, green, blue, and so on.  Also, for "fixed" tops, there was a cotton enameling duck available, which was first trimmed to the car, and then "enameled" (painted) to match or contrast with car color.

 

Fun stuff, I'll touch on this at the AACA meeting seminar in February....

Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

David, very informative - thank you! Although I don't see this as a "big deal", I do think it is an area where the judging guidelines need revision/clarification. To me, the current guideline statement that Matt mentioned takes care of early cars that had vinyl/leather type coverings. 1949 and later cars should be good with synthetic tops because of the guideline statement  regarding nylon. There seems to be an "understanding" among judges/long term members regarding fabric type tops like what would have been used on Classics. ( or maybe it didn't occur to anyone). I guess that is also ok, but I still think the standard needs to be in the book. As currently written, I believe that there would be no valid explanation to a judge who felt that a Classic  (for example) deserved a 40 point deduction for non authenticity due to Haartz synthetic fabric being used on the top. It would be great if you would follow through on this in February, as you obviously have way more knowledge/credibility in this area than most.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
On 1/13/2017 at 3:40 PM, trimacar said:

I agree with above, I've not heard of a deduction of points for what could be considered "non-authentic" top material.  I've done twenties cars with Haartz/Stayfast, they would have had a Pantasote top material originally, and the cars have not been dinged by judges.

 

I'm not the expert, I'd leave that to Eric Haartz, he knows more about the history of top material than anyone.

 

There were a lot of brand names supplying top material in the early days, Pantasote is of course a very well known supplier, but there was also Fabrikoid, Dupont's Rayntite, Carr's Neverleek, and more.  Most of these were a fabric coated on the outside to be waterproof.  This coating would then have a grain or texture embossed into it for appearance sake.

 

There is no real "exact" material available today.  Replicated Pantasote is available, but when you look at it, it's a coated fabric for sure, but it has the appearance of modern day vinyl (which, in reality, it is).  I was lucky enough to have Eric take a specific grained material, and "melt" it, with a Pantasote type pattern embossed on surface.  The effect was excellent, as a little of the grain showed through in the right light, making it appear to be coated fabric.  This had a whipcord interior (tan stripes) and looks fabulous on the cars that were lucky enough to get it!

 

Long story short, I'd wouldn't hesitate to top a car from about 1916 on with Haartz/Stayfast.  Earlier cars, I'd consider one of the replicated Pantasote materials, as it does have a similar appearance to what would have been available.

 

One last note, there are limited colors available for Haartz material these days, although the "hot rod" color chart will make you do a double take!  I have sample books from the 1920's that show available a LOT of different colors for tops, red, green, blue, and so on.  Also, for "fixed" tops, there was a cotton enameling duck available, which was first trimmed to the car, and then "enameled" (painted) to match or contrast with car color.

 

Fun stuff, I'll touch on this at the AACA meeting seminar in February....

 

I'm going to push this old thread to the top.  Dave,  what do you suggest using when the original top material was known to be Burbank?   What is available that most replicates it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Burbank was a tightly woven cloth, used on many early cars of the oughts and  teens.  It lost favor when more waterproof materials became available.

 

I’m not the expert on this, but here is how Eric Haaretz sums it up in his discussion of top materials.

 

Apparently there are similar cloths still available.

 

9CC94158-8622-40B8-B0F6-288D9ABF102F.thumb.png.5eaa5ed232d9ad1386fd1010c1ae1499.png

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...