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Top bows - Buggy or car


Roy Haynes
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Hey Mike.  not sure of any wood condition as the canvas completely covers the top of the bows. Visual tacks seem to be tight.  I think they are in really good shape. They unfolded and folded very easy.  They are located in Council Bluffs Ia. As far as price, I really don’t know but willing to talk. They were in my old Haynes automobile when I bought it, but are not for or fit it.  Roy

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Several makes used what I call "double wishbone" side irons for their folding tops including this 1916 Chevrolet. While your bows don't appear to match this car, I've seen images over the years with a similar double wishbone setup, typically with a mounting spot at rear of front doors and rear of back doors. I'm guessing yours are for a longer wheelbase car.

1916 Chevrolet double wishbone top.jpg

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Both your and the Chevrolet picture posted by Gunsmoke do not have the front part of the top opened correctly.

It is what is known as a "two-man" touring car top. They were the most common type of touring car top from slightly before 1910 until about 1914. So-called "one-man" tops began about 1912, and other than a few cheaper cars (like Ford and Chevrolet) were favored by most manufacturers by 1915. The "one-man" and "two-man" refers to the number of people it generally took to put them up or take them down. But don't believe it! Most "two-man" tops can be done by one person that knows how (I have done it many times!). And many "one-man" tops are pretty tough for one person to handle, especially on really large cars!

An earlier style top, in several variations, were often referred to as "buggy" or buggy-type tops. They used various types of locking mechanisms or landau bars and were often free standing, not requiring tie-downs to the windshield or front of the chassis. On many (not all) buggy type tops, the front-most bow stays connected to the second bow down near the bottom. That idea had a problem of the driver or front passenger needing to squeeze around the front-most bow! The "two-man" top improved upon that, by having two attachments for the front-most bow. When the top is put down, the front-most bow is moved from its top position to the attachment near the bottom of the second bow, where it can stack, folded neatly with the rest of the bows. 

Then, when the top is put up, the front-most bow is moved from its bottom attachment back up to the attachment near the top of the second bow! Once all put up and tied forward into place, it is easier to get in and out of the car with that front-most bow up high over people's heads. The reason these are called "two-man" tops is that it is a lot easier to manhandle the various bows and swap positions on both sides with two people. One standing on each side of the car.

 

Two-man touring car tops also usually need to have the second bow along with the front-most bow detached from its attachment point by the front seat, and then moved to stack with the two rear bows when all is down and properly folded. 

Two-man tops for roadsters and runabouts, usually have only three bows. The two rear bows simply fold or lift up and back down, but with the front-most bow needing to be moved from the bottom or top positions just like the front-most bow on the touring car top.

 

USA built model T Fords used two-man tops through model year 1922 on both touring cars and runabouts. Although they went to a square (rectangle) shaped socket in 1918. Oval or round sockets were used by most everyone else even well into the 1920s one-man tops.

 

Your top could likely be fitted to almost any midsize touring car from 1910 to 1914, and a few a little later. Good era photos or sales literature showing the top up can often tell whether a given make or model of car used one-man or two-man tops. Width or other dimensions may or may not be critical, depending on the car. On a two-man top, length can be altered easily when replacing the top material.

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3makes,  The wooden bows have a fabric wrapping appearing to be the same fabric as the top material.  The width across the bows at the bottom edge of the top fabric is 61 inches. An additional inside measurement across main installation point is 58 inches.

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