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Dreaded Scissor Top


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I have a '73 Centurion convertible with the Scissor top. A new top on this car will last about 3 years and then it begins to split where the roof, side window and quarter come together. Every GM I've seen with this roof either has a new roof or a split at this point. I've tried different shops, heavy duty roofs, nothing stops it.<P>When the roof is folded the frame presses against the top material beside the stitched seam and eventually rips it. <P>Should I try to grind the frame to a rounded shape? Is the frame out of alignment? Has anyone found a solution for this? <P>Thanks

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Add to the aggravation- the hold-down cables break after a couple years and the top develops an arc over the side windows. Had one that arched bad enough it started letting water in. Also- seems like the top material always pulls loose from the second bow. Then you have a lot of wind flap, and the top never stacks right on its own- you have to fumble and tuck to get it to lay down enough to install the boot.<P>The scissor-top wasn't one of the General's better ideas. Corvairs had them first, then in 71 somebody got the idea it would be great for the big cars. This frame is flimsy, and heavy, and after a while always kinda flops around in operation. Ever had to synchronise yer drive cables?<P>The scissor top was ostensibly to increase rear seat room. I think they used it to save a buck 'cause they could then use the same rear seat cushions and side panels in the convertibles and closed cars.<P>Just out of curiousity- what are fiberglass parade boots going for these days?

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I had a 71 Centurion conv 10 yrs without a problem on the same top.I seem to remember pulling the top material out as I lowered it.I never put the top completly down from inside the car.

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That was another thing- having to lower the top 3/4 way down, then get out of the car, tuck the top fabric in between the folding rails, and then get back in to lower the top into the well. Then out again to install the boot. Yah- and I had been searching trader-online for another early 70s big ragtop. I think I have talked myself out of it! tongue.gif" border="0

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These tops are a pain, and you are right to be concerned. Some top shops won't install a roof because it's difficult. <P>But, the roof does do many of the things they were designed to do. They fold a large roof into a relatively narrow space while leaving a useful rear seat. The roof folds completely below the sheet metal and driving one of these topless wonders is garaunteed to draw attention.<P>Look at the modern convertibles and see what they call a back seat. Also take a look at what the car looks like with the roof folded. VW Rabbits or Golf's have a huge stack when the roof is down that looks goofy to me. <P>Some of my best memories have been when the rear seat was loaded with a couple of friends. I'll put up with the roof to have room for my friends.

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I've got a 75 Delta 88 that needs almost everything involving the top. Still has a functioning with assistance top, but needs rebushed,repaired ball joint bow, pads, top, glass window and one drive cable. All bad enough but when I found out even after they are gone through they are still a problem I was disapointed.<P>Then the windows are nothing to brag about either. But I still love the car.

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I asked a top installation shop if they could replace the top on my 65 Eldorado and he said "as long as it doesn't have that scissor top, I won't touch those")I informed him that mine does not and he was relieved.

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2 summers ago , the second season I had mine, we had a rain showery summer it would be sunny and we would head out for a drive then within 1/2 hour it would start to pour.Top-up then 1/2 hour later warm and sunny, top-down next thing you know it would start raining again,top up. A few Saturdays like this really finished off my already tired top.<P>This year drought, like I cant remember in my adult life. I guess its bad to complain about mother nature.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, I have a OLDSMOBILE DELTA 88 CONV. It has the scissor top also. After replacing my top twice, I had the guy that put my last top on to use some plastic and or rubber covered cables instead of the usual cables. It has made a big difference on the wear and tear on the top. It allows the fabric to kind of glide on it, that is, less friction. In addition, I also use armor all or silicone on the top to slow down the weathering of the material.

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Years ago a retiree of the Fisher Body engineering dept. told me that one of the reasons the scissor top was put into production was the potential to offer a 4-dr convertible. <P>Think about it. The fact that is stores BEHIND the seat, and not on the SIDE of it, would allow space to use a rear door.<P>The design work for the 1971's would have been going on around 1968. Remember at this time that Lincoln had a 4dr convertible. Perhaps GM considered the idea of a competing Cadillac product? <P>Outrageous? There was a 66 Chevrolet 4dr convertible show car called the Caribe. (I don't know if it had the scissor top). Also, I've seen several 65-66 Cadillac 4dr convertibles that were "coachbuilder" conversions when the cars were new. I have also heard tales of a GM-built 65 or 66 Caddy 4dr convertible prototype. <P>By the way, I had a 71 Eldo convertible. It was trouble-free while I had it, but the top was not lowered often. I have found (as others reported) that many local shops will not guarantee work done on scissor top cars!

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  • 8 years later...

I can honestly say the top was shot on my Grandville when I bought it 3 years ago and I still havent fixed it yet. It needs a front bow new side cables and new canvas. But it still goes up and down whenever I need it to. You just have to be careful. And having had other convertibles and knowing others who are knowledgable about convertibles ........ you should always be careful anyway. Checking to make sure the top is folding correctly and tucking into the well correctly should be standard operating procedure for ANY convertible owner, not just scissor top owners. I mean hey its your money do you really want to spend it just because you were too lazy to get out and inspect how your top looks at about the half way point ? I dont , I know that . Even after my top is repaired Im not going to put it up or down any differently than I do now.

Dan

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