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My 1922 Buick Top removal

Mark Kikta

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Today I decided to remove the old top so I could check the condition of the bows and sockets and see what condition the top was in.  I discovered that this was indeed the original top.  There were no additional nail holes on any of the bows so a top had been installed only once.  The top was in pretty bad shape but maybe what I would expect for a 100 year old piece of material.  None of the bows were rotten either so I considered myself lucky.  I documented everything with 140 photos.  I was surprised to see how the pads still had such nice soft fill in them that was still quite soft.

Top up first time.jpg

Top up first time2.jpg

The rear window was in great shape and I was able to save the entire piece that goes between the top and the top of the windshield so I can duplicate that exactly.





So now that my top sockets and bows are all clean I can take them to the blasters and have them cleaned up and then I can paint them.

top frame only material removed.jpg

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Hugh,  if you look at the 5th picture above you can see all there is for 1922.  It appears to be a flap of material that hangs in front of the windshield with a single snap in the center to hold it down against the window frame,  No metal flap.

On the next to last photo you can see what it looks like looking down onto the top front bow.  Just a piece of fabric it seems.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone want to take a guess how many tacks were used to install my 1922 top? 


I saved every tack during top removal and tack removal from the bows and just finished counting them all before throwing them out.


Below is a picture of the two different size of tacks used to install my original top.  The tacks that were curled like the one pictured on the left, did some wood damage when they were pulled out.

Tack sizes used to install top.jpg

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I’m guessing on an original top around 300 tacks.


Tacks are designed so the the point will curl and lock in the wood when driven in, but not to the extent of what you picture.  That tack probably hit metal.


Remember when putting on new top that side irons above front seat are help up and in place by backward tension on bow #3 (the one in front of the rear bow).


Also, be careful using any of old top as a pattern, it’s shrunk and stretched and not accurate.  It’s a great reference, though....


Nice car!

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I counted 483 tacks when all said and done.  Only one set of holes in the bows so I do believe it was original.  


I did notice that there had been a good bit of shrinkage on the back curtain and all around the snaps and push dots.  They are close but won't all snap in place.  I figure the measurements will get me close but I'm not taking them for gospel.


Thanks David.

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On 5/12/2021 at 12:17 PM, Ben P. said:


Which for some reason nutty decided to insert and wood-glue in a thoothpick into every single tack hole (now somebody is going to tell me this is the way it’s done).07230C63-6DC7-4F7C-AA77-195187656193.jpeg.17c5f7a882cc92fd2b95a004fdd64cc4.jpeg





Been there, done that.  I did cut the box of tooth picks in 1/2.  Plugged all of the holes with 1/2 toothpicks. 


I got fairly good at getting a tooth pick,  dip in glue, tap into hole, repeat.  I did it hundreds of times for my '15 truck.

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On 5/19/2021 at 9:56 AM, Ben P. said:

In other words, I have to actually do a job before passing judgement on someone else’s. 
(I really did think the Model T guy was nuts - though a lot of them really are corner cutters or otherwise do some goofy stuff.)


The Model T guys may cut some corners in the eyes of some, but the car is so widely because of the huge production numbers, virtually every thing that can go wrong has been analyzed multiple times the popular fixes are very good. 


On my Model T I lost a freeze plug(core plug for the purists) that after talking to a number of T experts, the best fix is not to put in a new plug, but to tap the plug hole and install a pipe plug. The "fix" is so popular as a one time fix, that the pipe plugs are actually sole in one of the suppliers catalogue next to the freeze plugs.  I do not think there is a Ford part number for the plumbing pipe plug.   


Also an old time fix is to put a regular nickel in the hole. Just hit it with a hammer on a socket to make it slightly concave and then install with some sealer by taping into the hole.

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