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Adding a hardtop to my 61

Old 12-26-2011, 09:25 PM
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dmruschell
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Default Adding a hardtop to my 61

So, I've found a hard top that I'm considering picking up. Are there any modifications that need to be done on a soft top only car before that hard top can be attached? It would be a shame to drive the vette 8 hours to pick up a hard top just to find out that I can't attach it to the car!

I know I won't have the 2 screw holes on the deck lid, but can I attach the other 2 screws in the rear and the 2 clamps in the front? Thanks!

Derrin
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Old 12-26-2011, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dmruschell View Post
So, I've found a hard top that I'm considering picking up. Are there any modifications that need to be done on a soft top only car before that hard top can be attached? It would be a shame to drive the vette 8 hours to pick up a hard top just to find out that I can't attach it to the car!

I know I won't have the 2 screw holes on the deck lid, but can I attach the other 2 screws in the rear and the 2 clamps in the front? Thanks!

Derrin
I don't think there is a good answer for that.

Yes it should...but that doesn't mean a thing. Seems like no two of these cars are the exactly same. The repair history of the doner car and your car can make a big difference.

You'll just have to try it on for size...

Good luck...Stan
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dmruschell View Post
I know I won't have the 2 screw holes on the deck lid, but can I attach the other 2 screws in the rear and the 2 clamps in the front? Thanks!

Derrin
Derrin,
Be aware the 2 side brackets on the hard top, which bolt to the holes atop the door jambs, are often loose or missing on used tops because those brackets took the weight of the top when the owner set the top on the ground. If you rely on those 2 brackets to hold the top on for the drive home, be sure they are still firmly attached to the hard top.

Jeff
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 62Jeff View Post
Derrin,
Be aware the 2 side brackets on the hard top, which bolt to the holes atop the door jambs, are often loose or missing on used tops because those brackets took the weight of the top when the owner set the top on the ground. If you rely on those 2 brackets to hold the top on for the drive home, be sure they are still firmly attached to the hard top.

Jeff
are they missing on this top? it could be a problem if there isn't a way to attach the top to my car.


Last edited by dmruschell; 12-26-2011 at 11:30 PM. Reason: redundant information
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dmruschell View Post
are they missing on this top? it could be a problem if there isn't a way to attach the top to my car.
I don't see it. It should be hanging down just a bit below the quarter window.

They look like this:
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:43 AM
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Are you sure you have a '61/'62 top ?

The older ones are a bit different and have different mounting arrangements along with a lack of a curve in the rear to accommodate the '61/'62 deck lid ridge...
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:56 AM
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Jeff,

I thought I had seen them in other pictures, but I don't see them on this top. I found it on craigslist and that's the only picture that they posted. I sent an email asking for more, so we'll see where it goes.

Originally Posted by Frankie the Fink View Post
Are you sure you have a '61/'62 top ?

The older ones are a bit different and have different mounting arrangements along with a lack of a curve in the rear to accommodate the '61/'62 deck lid ridge...
It's advertised as a 61/62 hardtop and I don't have much to go on from the craigslist ad. I'll post more pictures if I get them.

Might just be easier to pay the $6,000 and get it from Glassworks.....
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:31 AM
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As was mentioned, 61-2 are the only ones that have the indentation in the bottom center of the back window, makes them easy to spot.
I personally would not spend $6000 on a hardtop for one of these cars unless it's a daily driver in a wet or cold climate, or unless you are going to add air.
I have one because it came with the car, but I think I've used it maybe twice since I refurbed it?
Looks cool, but since these are fair weather toys for most of us, few ever use the hard top. Also, as Frankie can attest, if you live in a hotter clime you'll die with the hardtop on the car unless you add AC.



Paul
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Fawndeuce View Post
As was mentioned, 61-2 are the only ones that have the indentation in the bottom center of the back window, makes them easy to spot.
I personally would not spend $6000 on a hardtop for one of these cars unless it's a daily driver in a wet or cold climate, or unless you are going to add air.
I have one because it came with the car, but I think I've used it maybe twice since I refurbed it?
Looks cool, but since these are fair weather toys for most of us, few ever use the hard top. Also, as Frankie can attest, if you live in a hotter clime you'll die with the hardtop on the car unless you add AC.



Paul
I agree. I would put the $6000 somewhere else unless this is a car to be driven in inclement weather or is a show car. I got what I thought was a steal on a top but I only put it on in late Sept or Oct. until March/April to get a few more weeks of drive time (I live in CT).
Otherwise these are usually fair weather cars and so much more fun to drive with the top down.
Plus, if you pay $6000, that first smudge you get when you take it off and put it on the rack will really kill you.
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:27 AM
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this is one of the side brackets



here is the rear 'notch' to cross the windsplit on the deck lid



yes, i think the side brackets alone would hold the top on, BUT you probably might not get a good seal around the back and could end up with wind-whistles. if you are going to do it, do it right... if you don't want to drill holes in your original decklid, get a used lid somewhere that already has the holes in it or that you won't mind drilling.

and use one of those plastic deck protectors to keep the weatherstrip from damaging the paint.

Bill
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Audiophobe View Post
I agree. I would put the $6000 somewhere else unless this is a car to be driven in inclement weather or is a show car. I got what I thought was a steal on a top but I only put it on in late Sept or Oct. until March/April to get a few more weeks of drive time (I live in CT).
Otherwise these are usually fair weather cars and so much more fun to drive with the top down.
Plus, if you pay $6000, that first smudge you get when you take it off and put it on the rack will really kill you.
I thought I would only be driving it sometimes in the summer with the top down (this is the 3rd car i've owned, all of them convertibles, so I love having the top down), but I've been driving it a lot on nicer days in the fall/winter with the top up on long trips. I think the hard top would do much better for long drives in colder weather, especially if I'm trying to hold a conversation with my girlfriend, etc.

Bill (wmf62), thanks for the pictures. It looks like this top doesn't have those brackets, but I'm guessing they can be purchased and put on without much trouble? I'm in PA for the next few days, so i could possibly stop by glassworks and pick up some brackets if I decide to get the top. It is also a 61/62, as you can see in the pictures. Edit: are these the correct brackets? They don't look formed the same way as in the picture. http://www.parts123.com/parts123/yb....5Z5Z50000050x#

I was thinking of getting a second deck lid to drill holes in, but it's not like I would ever swap out the deck lid in the summer/winter. Plus, i will keep the hardtop with the car. And because it will be a real 61/62 hardtop, I don't think it will bother me to make a stock modification to the car. So, i'll probably drill holes in the deck lid (or get someone who knows what they're doing to do it) if I have any problem with the brackets. Thanks everyone for the help so far! you guys are the best!

Here are the promised pictures:








Last edited by dmruschell; 12-27-2011 at 08:52 AM. Reason: added Corvette Central/parts123 link
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:31 AM
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Make sure you mark the top mounting holes correctly and just drill them...no biggee and they have nice bolt receivers and stainless bolts that go in them when the top is not on. I think it is one of the distinctive touches on these cars. The side brackets hold the side plexi windows in place and make the fit with the roll up door windows nice so I think you need them. Can't tell from the photos but since somebody dicked with other mounting areas make sure you have the right hard top latches and not soft top latches (wrong latches break things): .

When installing the top with bolts ONLY snug them up enough for a good seal at the decklid and don't crank the snot out of them as some do. On a hot day all the rear plexi makes for a 'greenhouse' effect and also reflects off the shiny decklid and can roast your brains even with the windows down. The visibility is great though and the car has a stiffer feel and less noise with the hardtop on !
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Last edited by Frankie the Fink; 12-27-2011 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Frankie the Fink View Post
On a hot day all the rear plexi makes for a 'greenhouse' effect and also reflects off the shiny decklid and can roast your brains even with the windows down. The visibility is great though and the car has a stiffer feel and less noise with the hardtop on !
true story, all that clear glass makes it hot inside in the summer... i have a/c, so that takes the edge off, but i still put a white bathmat on the deck lid below the rear window to keep the red decklid from absorbing heat. (doesn't work well with the windows rolled down... )



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Old 12-27-2011, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Stan's Customs View Post
I don't think there is a good answer for that.

Yes it should...but that doesn't mean a thing. Seems like no two of these cars are the exactly same. The repair history of the doner car and your car can make a big difference.

You'll just have to try it on for size...

Good luck...Stan
GREAT ADVISE AND SO TRUE, it's worth repeating. My top looks great but fit's poorly on the car. It's a fair weather car and the top just sits in the basement now. You won't know until you try it. Pilot Dan
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Frankie the Fink View Post
Make sure you mark the top mounting holes correctly and just drill them...no biggee and they have nice bolt receivers and stainless bolts that go in them when the top is not on. I think it is one of the distinctive touches on these cars. The side brackets hold the side plexi windows in place and make the fit with the roll up door windows nice so I think you need them. Can't tell from the photos but since somebody dicked with other mounting areas make sure you have the right hard top latches and not soft top latches (wrong latches break things): .

When installing the top with bolts ONLY snug them up enough for a good seal at the decklid and don't crank the snot out of them as some do. On a hot day all the rear plexi makes for a 'greenhouse' effect and also reflects off the shiny decklid and can roast your brains even with the windows down. The visibility is great though and the car has a stiffer feel and less noise with the hardtop on !
Thanks! I figure since Glassworks is on the way to/from Ohio where the top is located, I can see if I could stop in and make sure everything is ok. Maybe I could even try to get the seller to meet me there if my mom (has a house in Ohio) gives a good inspection report

I'm only planning to use it during the colder months of the year, but I can imagine it can make the car pretty hot on warm days. The visibility, stiffer feel, and less noise is exactly what I'm looking for. In the mean time, I'll need to fix the horn button and shifter rattle so I'll have a noise free vette... besides the engine of course!
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dan View Post
GREAT ADVISE AND SO TRUE, it's worth repeating. My top looks great but fit's poorly on the car. It's a fair weather car and the top just sits in the basement now. You won't know until you try it. Pilot Dan
I don't have the mounting bolts on my car to test it out, but hopefully that will mean I can compensate for any irregularities when the mounting hardware is installed. My mom is in Ohio and said she would inspect it for me. I hope the guy has a 61/62 corvette that he can demonstrate the fit on, but then again, every car is different. We'll see how it goes!

Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:26 PM
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If the hardtop has severe problems then take a pass on it and keep looking. If you buy a crappy one and it turns out to be a snot sandwich you'll regret it big time.

I found my '61 top locally in Tarpon Springs, FL for $2,000 last year. It had a headliner tear which I had professionally repaired ($40) and I put a new rubber header weatherstrip in it ($18) and the top is darn near perfect now. The original plexiglass is in great shape and even date code correct for my car. Didn't even have to paint it.

They ARE out there so don't get too discouraged.

Last edited by Frankie the Fink; 12-27-2011 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:48 PM
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So, I sent my mom a link to this thread so she could look it over before she went out to see the top (she wanted me to give you guys a big "Thank You" on her behalf). She ended up taking a friend of hers who used to own a 1960 Vette that had a hard top, so he was of some help to her also. (The guy who was selling the hardtop also had a yellow and white 58 and was restoring a 57, but I digress.) She ended up buying it (I have to pay her back though) and I had it installed today! The guy who installed it is a local vette expert in Sandusky, OH and his work is outstanding, so if you need a guy in that area, check out www.echosierraent.com He's restoring a 1961 and it looked immaculate. He drilled the deck lid holes and the holes for the side brackets (he didn't have any side brackets though, but apparently you can screw/bolt them on instead of riveting them on).

The back piece of weatherstripping will probably need to be replaced on the top, but it looks really nice. Thanks to Frank for the inspiration to have a white hardtop and thanks to everyone here on the forums for all of their help and information about what to look for, etc!


Anyways, here is a picture of the top on the car.

Last edited by dmruschell; 01-04-2012 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dmruschell View Post
(he didn't have any side brackets though, but apparently you can screw/bolt them on instead of riveting them on).

The back piece of weatherstripping will probably need to be replaced on the top, but it looks really nice.
I was missing the side brackets on mine also, so I bought them with the correct rivets, but epoxied the rivets in so as not to have to completely disassemble the rear of the top to re-rivet.
I also always used one of those static plastic transparent protector strips on the deck with the hardtop, and would doubly recommend if the rear lower rubber is older and harder.



Paul
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:11 PM
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Dang - that car looks just like mine now...doesn't the white make a great contrast ?!
BTW - those plastic deck lid protectors are pretty necessary if you want to save your clearcoat. They have the thin ones from Corvette Central and others available but they are a PITA. wmf62 on here made thicker ones from an old convertible rear window and I made some from rubber tool box liner material. They are much easier to install and store instead of that thin stuff the vendors sell.

I think "Mom" done ya proud...
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