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Old 09-20-2005, 05:26 PM   #1
a327vette
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Default T-Top to Convertible Conversion?

A friend of mine has a 76 T-top car and wants a convertible. He asked me if we could cut the top off and get a kit to make it a convertible...I figured here would be the place to ask.
Any imput would be appreciated.
Thanks
Stevie
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Old 09-20-2005, 05:45 PM   #2
fl_rider
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If he wants a convertible that bad then he should sell his and buy a Vert!!
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Old 09-20-2005, 06:59 PM   #3
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I saw a 78 someone had done, looked pretty nice. I see them from time to time on ebay. So I would say yes it's possible
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Old 09-20-2005, 07:02 PM   #4
Frankenvette
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There are many former post on this conversion. Do a search and you will find lots of info.
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Old 09-20-2005, 08:06 PM   #5
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I want to do the same thing but can't afford a vert. Where are you in NC? Maybe we can get together and start cutting. Misery loves company you know.
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Old 09-20-2005, 08:53 PM   #6
82Vette'ster
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There are a few examples of nicely done conversion out there. And I wouldn't want to discurage anyone from there dream project, but don't under estimate the cost of that conversion if you're going to do it right. From what I can tell there's actualy a lot of parts and pieces to making a full vert conversion.


Now if all you're going to do is just going to hack off the T-top and bond in a vert deck & lid, . . . . well it's your car. . . . but you might get some flack.
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:17 PM   #7
MYBAD79
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It can be done:

http://forums.corvetteforum.com/show...g&forum_id=119


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Old 09-21-2005, 12:02 PM   #8
a327vette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KALAWAY
I want to do the same thing but can't afford a vert. Where are you in NC? Maybe we can get together and start cutting. Misery loves company you know.
I am in Salisbury. We are trying to find out a little about how much it is gonna run to do this, if it isnt all that much, it will probably get done.
I will try and keep in contact if we are gonna go through with it.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:03 PM   #9
Nate '69
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Good luck
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a327vette
I am in Salisbury. We are trying to find out a little about how much it is gonna run to do this, if it isnt all that much, it will probably get done...
Send an email to Todd at jacksonauto@earthlink.net ..(910)298-4722. he's in Beulaville in Eastern NC. If he hasn't done a conversion on one, I know he's done a bunch of frame-offs on C-3 and knows what's involved. He should be able to give you an idea of what's involved and a ballpark figure for the conversion.

Good luck... GUSTO
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:38 PM   #11
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Default Free 71 convertible back half

Quote:
Originally Posted by KALAWAY
I want to do the same thing but can't afford a vert. Where are you in NC? Maybe we can get together and start cutting. Misery loves company you know.
Check out this thread http://forums.corvetteforum.com/show...ky&forum_id=57

GUSTO
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:45 PM   #12
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By the time you buy all the body panels, conv. top frame, Interior trim, door glass and body/paint labor, you'll have 10 grand easily in the job. Unless you are really attached to this Vette, it would cost less to find one already converted, or find a nice 75 or older vert. IMO. You will save yourself big $$$ if you can do this work yourself... G/L
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Old 09-21-2005, 02:54 PM   #13
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Default For those that might be considering it.

This might help you guys, might not, here goes.

Hereís the basics from what I have found or have been told. Vert guys please correct me if I say something wrong. Lots of the parts could be fabricated if not found used, but some used parts have gotten expensive. The price to pay to have it done (done right) by a shop would be scary. I will be doing mine myself, because I think Iíll be a cool project, and yes I want it done right. If anyone has a line on old conversion manuals or templates please let me know.

BODY PANELS
The convertible rear deck for 74-75 will NOT fit 78-82 without changing the gas tank or filler hole location, but may fit the 76&77. The rear deck lids are all the same. The wheel wells on the later C3ís are shaped slightly different and dimple panels need to be added if you want the soft top to fold down low. The door jambs may have some differences, since the old kit I have came with partial jambs to graft in.

DECK LID
The deck lid has quite a bit of hardware on the bottom side, part for the lid latch , part for the top latch. It is cheaper to get a lid with HW included than piece it together. The deck lid is mounted with hinges with springs inside and may need to be shimmed to fit. The hinges need mounts on the body. The stock lower mounts may work, the uppers probably need to be fabricated. The deck lid has latches and receivers on the body on each side near the front. Later deck lids have guide pins on the front to help align it when closing with associated guide pin receivers which are attached to the body. There are also rubber bumpers on the deck lid to keep the soft top from getting caught up in the lid hardware and another set to keep the seat backs from damaging the lid paint.

DOORS
The convertible door glass is different that the coupe, it has the top back sloped forward much more. There are 2 categories of vert glass. The 68 and early 69 glass and later 69 through 75. The difference is in the mounting holes. So if converting coupe doors to vert, make sure to use the corresponding years glass. For 76-82 the later glass should fit.

Door guide pins and receivers. There is a pin mounted in a recessed cup in the door and a mating receiver mounted in the door jamb. Most conversions forget these or leave them off, though I donít agree with that. Early C3 verts did not have the door guide pins. You can get the recessed cups to retro fit the coupe doors to mount the pins. The receivers are mounted to brackets that mount on the bird cage section behind the door jamb and stick though a slot the door jamb.

The weather striping for the doors is a bit different, so either decide to modify the existing or if needs replacement use the vert, but I believe there are differences between the various years of vert weather stripping.

Note that the bird cage section behind the door jamb gets several thing attached to it: 1) the deck lid guide pin receiver bracket, 2) the door guide pin receiver mounting bracket, and 3) the soft top mounting/adjust plate. So take care when cutting this bird cage frame section, plan your attachments.

SOFT TOP
The soft top for all C3ís are interchangeable. The used frames have been going up in price and consider getting a new top for your project. Tops seem to come in two kinds the hartz pinpoint vinyl and some type of canvas cloth (rag top). Personally I really like the look of a black cloth top, but thatís just me. Donít forget that thereís pads, cables, front latches, weather stripping, and front and rear mounting pins.

The soft top mounts to the bird cage frame section with bolts and thereís a Z shaped nut plate thatís in there. The plate allows for loosening and adjusting so the soft top to get it to fit correctly. On the front thereís alignment pins on the top that fit into matching brackets on each side of the top windshield inner molding. The top latches also need to clamp down so provisions for those especially the center one need to be considered. The center where the T-top is cut will also need trim panels to make it look finished.

STRUCTURE
From what Iíve found most conversions have very little done in terms of the frame. When researching the 74-75 vert/coupe differences I found that the frames are the same part number. So in 74-75 there would be no frame differences. Now for later C3ís, I havenít been able to find much information as to the changes in relative strength/stiffness of the frames compared to there prior years. Are they comparable in steel and thickness? Possibly another reason to include the door pins. There are always several frame/suspension improvements (spreader bars, gusset plates, etc) that can be done to any C3 and might be a good candidate when doing a conversion.

One item over looked or left out of most conversions is the under dash cross braces. But I think they should be added. There is a mount bracket attached on top of the trans tunnel under the dash and it has 4 braces attached to it. 2 of those braces go out to brackets just under the corners of the windshield, the other 2 go up under the dash. The brackets for these may need to be fabricated for later C3ís as well as reshaping the braces fit around the different dash/ac/heater components.

SEAT BELTS
If you convert a later coupe the shoulder mount for the seat belt on the bird cage will be lost since itís up high. A modified belt system, old stock belts, or retrofitted Camaro/Firebird rear seat belts are needed.

INTERIOR
To make a vert conversion look nice and clean donít forget interior trim panels (windshield and rear quarter) as well as carpet mods (or new)

Last edited by 82Vette'ster; 09-21-2005 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:00 AM   #14
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In the parts section, I am trying to give away a back-half to a 71 vert. No decklid, no top. But it has the tub, hinges/springs, and rear deck panel. FREE! Moving, must go soon.
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:00 PM   #15
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Step 1) Sell coupe
Step 2) Buy vert
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Old 09-22-2005, 11:22 PM   #16
StickShiftCorvette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big_G
By the time you buy all the body panels, conv. top frame, Interior trim, door glass and body/paint labor, you'll have 10 grand easily in the job. Unless you are really attached to this Vette, it would cost less to find one already converted, or find a nice 75 or older vert. IMO. You will save yourself big $$$ if you can do this work yourself... G/L


The only time a conversion might make sense is if you roll and total your coupe and have it rebuilt as a convertible. I friend of mine did that - but it WAS expensive and took a long time.
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Old 09-23-2005, 12:59 PM   #17
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I saw a 81 conversion on ebay, presently at $8,400 with a day left. It's red on red with 50K miles. I suspect it'll go for 10-11K. So it seems that for late C3's a clean nice conversion probably sells for about the same as the coupe.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...RK%3AMEWA%3AIT
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Old 09-23-2005, 01:09 PM   #18
paul 74
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Here's one beside my 1967.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 09-23-2005, 01:09 PM
 
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