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[C1] Convertible Top Installation

 
Old 01-23-2019, 06:57 AM
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59BlueSilver
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Default Convertible Top Installation

Just got an estimate from a renowned C1 installer for a new convertible top from stayfast material and seems high to me (of course, everything seems high to me anymore). This guy is one of the best Iíve seen and Iíve seen many of his tops. I admit the frame is going to require some straightening work. What do you think a fair price would be?
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:29 AM
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mike coletta
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For tear off and install only $550 to $750 labor, plus top kit. If the frame requires straightening, tack strips, or other parts, add on for labor and parts. Al Knoch typically charges $750, plus top, installed at the shows. No framework included.

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Old 01-23-2019, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 59BlueSilver View Post
Just got an estimate from a renowned C1 installer for a new convertible top from stayfast material and seems high to me (of course, everything seems high to me anymore). This guy is one of the best I’ve seen and I’ve seen many of his tops. I admit the frame is going to require some straightening work. What do you think a fair price would be?
Will you care in 5 years if its a world class job ? And it doesn't leak ? And the side windows seal when rolled up ? And it latches perfectly front and back ?

"Cry once, buy once"

You don't provide a number so there is now way to gauge if the cost makes sense...

Even if its $1,500 you can save by getting one of those $2,000 paint jobs I hear so much about....

Last edited by Frankie the Fink; 01-23-2019 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 59BlueSilver View Post
Just got an estimate from a renowned C1 installer for a new convertible top from stayfast material and seems high to me (of course, everything seems high to me anymore). This guy is one of the best I’ve seen and I’ve seen many of his tops. I admit the frame is going to require some straightening work. What do you think a fair price would be?
If you know the "renowned C1 Installer" does excellent work then it is worth it to let him do the job. ( as long as he isn't ridiculously out of line ) After all you will be living with it for a long time. It is a lot of work to install a C1 top. The bows are flimsy so the canvas is what gives it strength. The bows and side rails are easily ( and often bent ). Often there are broken screws and bolts that have to be drilled out. so I agree with Mike on the cost estimate. Also, You don't mention what he quoted. Can you reveal that info ? JMO

Last edited by woodsdesign; 01-23-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:17 AM
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mike coletta
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Even if its $1,500 you can save by getting one of those $2,000 paint jobs I hear so much about....
LOL, now that's funny.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:39 AM
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59BlueSilver
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Okay, the top is $900, it’s kinda special and the color I like so that doesn’t bother me too much. He’s quoted $750 to straighten and adjust frame to windows, $1250 plus $250 for pads to install the top, plus $225 for all new rubber and a rear bow mohair weatherstrip for $100. Making the total approx. $3500.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by 59BlueSilver View Post
Okay, the top is $900, itís kinda special and the color I like so that doesnít bother me too much. Heís quoted $750 to straighten and adjust frame to windows, $1250 plus $250 for pads to install the top, plus $225 for all new rubber and a rear bow mohair weatherstrip for $100. Making the total approx. $3500.
He should have a gun and a mask IMO....
That's too much...
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:33 AM
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jim lockwood
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Really? C1 soft tops are that difficult to install?

35 years ago I had a new canvas top installed on my '54; it cost ~$300. Admittedly not the same as a '59 top, that's my single data point which makes me cringe at prices I'm reading about.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:37 AM
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The number quoted was more than double my tippy-top estimate assuming a meteor had hit the cockpit.

Shop around - there are a few tricks but its not rocket science...
You have a good data point with Mike C's numbers - he installed my top and a hundred others over the years I'll bet.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:44 AM
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59BlueSilver
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I would like to have Al Knoch install it, he attends a couple of shows in Dallas per year. I don’t know how difficult it is to schedule it with him.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:48 AM
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Call him and find out, everytime I have called and ordered from them they are very friendly and accommodating
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:57 AM
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59BlueSilver
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Just talked to Al Knoch, for the next year they’re only doing Tennessee and Florida, so am actually thinking about trailering 600 miles to El Paso. Seems like overkill to me but better than $3500.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:12 PM
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Quite the coincidence 59. I need to get a new top on my '57. I've been quoted $2,500 by a very highly recommended guy here in Dallas. Sounds like there is quite a variance in pricing, and probably quality.
Nick
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:56 PM
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I have installed three tops on my car. Using written instructions, they didn't have video back then.

It is not hard if you take your time and I strongly urge having helper to get it right.
One problem with many professional installers is they put the top on drum tight, which is way too tight, but most owners expect a top that tight even if it wasn't that way from the factory, so the installer put it on too tight. And too tight a top will bend the rear latches and pull the top header away from the windshield, even if you side posts are not broken.

The most important thing is making sure the bows are in correctly position, using the pads, you don't want to necessarily use the old pads as templates without first verifying the dimensions of the bows from the header.

Two newby guys can easily do it in two hours. Take four hours and watch the videos a couple times. Or take more time,and remove and paint the bows, or get them powder coated, and straighten any bends over the doors, etc.
The only special tool you really should ahve is a staple gun. I even used the tacks supplied with the tops, the first two times,as I didn't have a staple gun in 1974 and 1980.

Doug
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:10 PM
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mike coletta
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Two newby guys can easily do it in two hours
I've put over 100 tops on C1 cars. Two hours.......I don't think so, but whatever you think.

Just for the record, it takes Al Knoch's guy over 4 hours, with NO frame work, and he has been doing it all of his life.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mike coletta View Post
I've put over 100 tops on C1 cars. Two hours.......I don't think so, but whatever you think.

Just for the record, it takes Al Knoch's guy over 4 hours, with NO frame work, and he has been doing it all of his life.
Maybe it was 3 hours, but it was two of us. The first time was new years eve, 1974, we started about 8 or 9 and were done sometime before midnight. One guy doing it takes longer. The third time I did it by myself and it took a full afternoon.

Doug

Last edited by AZDoug; 01-23-2019 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Bernier View Post
Quite the coincidence 59. I need to get a new top on my '57. I've been quoted $2,500 by a very highly recommended guy here in Dallas. Sounds like there is quite a variance in pricing, and probably quality.
Nick
Was the guys name Jason?
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AZDoug View Post
I have installed three tops on my car. Using written instructions, they didn't have video back then.

It is not hard if you take your time and I strongly urge having helper to get it right.
One problem with many professional installers is they put the top on drum tight, which is way too tight, but most owners expect a top that tight even if it wasn't that way from the factory, so the installer put it on too tight. And too tight a top will bend the rear latches and pull the top header away from the windshield, even if you side posts are not broken.

The most important thing is making sure the bows are in correctly position, using the pads, you don't want to necessarily use the old pads as templates without first verifying the dimensions of the bows from the header.

Two newby guys can easily do it in two hours. Take four hours and watch the videos a couple times. Or take more time,and remove and paint the bows, or get them powder coated, and straighten any bends over the doors, etc.
The only special tool you really should ahve is a staple gun. I even used the tacks supplied with the tops, the first two times,as I didn't have a staple gun in 1974 and 1980.

Doug
Iím thinking about doing it myself, need to watch the video so I can determine difficulty. Anybody have a copy I can borrow?
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:55 PM
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I am sure you can find something on youtube. Definitely have a helper that watches the vid too, walking back and forth around the car, doing it by your self, is a PITA.
Doug
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:22 PM
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$3500? Trailering 600 miles? Holy "Corvette Premium" Batman!

Maybe I'm spoiled.. But here in SoCal, there are a lot of really good craftsman auto shops.
My frame and rubber was good.. $500 to install a stayfast top. It took him 6-7 hours and is not an easy job.






Still.. Even $500 for an 8 hour job is over $60/hr. How can someone justify $3500????

Look for a shop without the word "Corvette" in it's name. Soft tops of the era were all similar!

Last edited by SDVette; 01-23-2019 at 04:25 PM.
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