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Projects Building a foldable, stowable Roadster top

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wstory, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    Rain Shot.a jpg for CanadianHotRods.jpg
    I love my Roadster and have logged over 100K miles of topless fun in it. I've been froze, snowed, baked and drowned to the amusement of my cruising friends. Never have I considered giving up the fresh air, sunshine and vistas that top-down cruising avails. However, age and the dermatologist's warnings say, I gotta do something before melanoma ends the good times.
    A removable stowable top that I could "erect" for sun protection seemed the answer. However, anything I could buy was outta my price range and the stowable part meant that placement in the trunk was on the diagonal. And since I could not find beer or luggage in triangular packages, that was the deal breaker for a store-bought top.
    So I set about designing and building a minimal top that provided some sun protection while allowing some semblance of open air cruising. And further, the package when folded, had to store efficiently and squarely in the trunk.
     
  2. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    I started to visualize a top in late 2016 and did a number of of PhotoShopped images to visualize a goal. Decided on a direction that was sorta Porsche Speedster like. Note the high point projected by the angle of the window opening. Not the final solution but, a direction I liked. At this point I had no idea how it would work so I set about figgerin how to pull it off.
    Oct20Top.jpg
    Oct20TopFrame.jpg Oct20TopWithDims.jpg

    All this measuring and mocking up stuff helped to "zero in". Used up a whole buncha EMT conduit. Much of the initial stuff went in the trash but I've found it's a good way to sneak up on a design solution.
    Img_7680.jpg
    I made the tube bender, copied from a conduit bender but with a tighter radius
    IMG_7700.JPG IMG_7723.JPG
    .
    Found this trick hinge that allowed me to do the folding thing with the bows.
    folding bow.jpg Img_7800.jpg IMG_7803.JPG


     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  3. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    I might add as a point of reference, the cockpit is extended and the top terminates at the deck lid opening.
     
  4. I'm liking where you're going with this.:)
     
    Hnstray likes this.

  5. L. Eckart
    Joined: Jul 8, 2005
    Posts: 415

    L. Eckart
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    looking good so far, keep it coming
     
  6. CFC4BD85-7C2C-41E3-84EF-366B9F5643D5.jpeg Part of the problem with a roadster is how to stow the top when it is “down”. My 32 cabriolet has several advantages a roadster doesn’t possess;when the weather is cold or rainy,I simply roll up my windows and the roadster owner has to “snap on” side curtains to keep the nastiness out. A cabriolet has a “well” behind the driver that allows the folded up top to sit in when not in use and is near flush with the trunkid. A roadster top “down” adds 8-12inches of top hovered above the decklid and is not too pretty. Flatheads Forever!
     
  7. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,324

    GordonC
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I like where this is headed!
     
  8. Well thought out. I like those barrel hinges, those are a nice find!
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  9. More please?!
     
  10. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,008

    louisb
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    So far I like it. Want to see how you finish it.

    —louis
     
  11. GTS225
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 1,175

    GTS225
    Member

    I'll be watching with interest, too. And if you would, please include a sidebar on the construction of that tubing bender. It appears to be an aluminum/plywood sandwich with a piece of angle bolted along one edge. Did the conduit collapse or kink at all?

    Thanks.....Roger
     
  12. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,736

    continentaljohn
    Member

    My roadster has a beautiful top but haven’t been on more then once or twice because of it size. I love the idea of a portable top you can toss in the trunk just in case.
    Love the roadster and I really like your plan and where its going .. I have a small machine shop so if I can help I would love to build such a top and great look
     
  13. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,761

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    Very nice work and engineering. Be careful not to share too much info, someone will steal your idea and start selling the top. Ask me how I know.
     
  14. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,058

    X-cpe

    I've got a channeled coupster on a frame with with an eight inch Z in the back, gas tank behind the seat, and battery in the trunk. My idea for the bows was copied from from an MG Midget I had. The bows were made in two halves with one end swaged to slide into the other. The primary bow fit into a socket in the body with the secondary bows hinged off of it. What I'm interested in is how you are going to handle the header. That is my hold up. My trunk doesn't have enough linear space in any direction to fit the header as a one piece unit.
    P.S. Where did you find those cool hinges?
     
  15. SquintBoy
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 97

    SquintBoy
    Member

    Your top is well thought out. Keep the pics coming.
    For reference, here are 3 pics of '56-'58 high bow Porsche Speedster tops. '54 & '55 had slightly sleeker low bow tops but they didn't have enough headroom. You can see that these are very simple 2 bow tops. That's not counting the windshield bow and the horizontal rear bow that stays affixed to the body. I also had a Big Healey with an erector set top frame that stowed in the trunk. It was easy enough to use but I was 50 yrs younger. The Speedster top goes up or down with one hand at a stoplight! 20180704_103402-1.jpeg 20180704_103459-1.jpeg 20180704_103430-1.jpeg

    Sent from the red phone
     
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  16. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    If someone copied my top design, I'd be complimented. However, it's so labor intensive, it'd probably cost $6-7K :eek:
     
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  17. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    Started by using a conduit bender from Home Depot. 1/2" EMT is close to 5/8" OD which served for the mock-up. I had decided to use heavy wall 5/8 aluminum tube for the final so I copied the conduit bender in order to get a slightly tighter radius,...roughly 5". That's as tight a radius as I could get without the tube kinking.
    As you noted, the center of my bender was built up of a coupla layers of MDF to get 5/8" to match the tube. There is a strap at the beginning if the radius to hold the tube much like a brake line bender. The aluminum "cheek" plates discourage the tube from flattening on the ID. The angle you mention is just for holding the bender in the vice. IMG_9487.JPG Img_7680.jpg
     
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  18. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    Google Soss Hinges. Very cool. Usually associated with wood working. Got mine from Grainger.
     
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  19. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,671

    Andy
    Member

    Fantastic!! I am inspired to work on my top again. Thanks!
     
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  20. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    Header was the next thing I was going to cover. Not meaning to offend,...I hate the headers that look like a 2 x 4. I wanted something with a bit of a visor and had a "crown" across the top. Developed an arc that raises 5/8" over 36" (another Google find) and made a template to mockup the header just to visualize what I had imagined.
    IMG_7724.JPG IMG_7447.JPG
    IMG_7700.JPG
    Got the first round of bows bent and attached in the profile I was attempting and ,..doah! Img_7661.jpg
    I'm 6'2" and the cockpit has been stretched and the seat lowered. A little tight I'd say. More conduit in the scrap pile.
     
  21. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,008

    louisb
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for sharing your mistakes. I am the same height so I am following closely.

    —louis
     
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  22. Dirty Dug
    Joined: Jan 11, 2003
    Posts: 3,670

    Dirty Dug
    Member

    topframe3.jpg topframe1.jpg This is how I made mine.
     
  23. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 451

    H380
    Member
    from Louisiana

    Look through this guys vids.

     
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  24. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    More fussin and bendin and 20-30 more feet of conduit in the trash and I'm where I wanted to be. The view approaching from the driveway makes a statement I really like.
    Img_7698.jpg IMG_7731.JPG
    Decided to do a "virtual" trimming of the bows now that their configuration is pretty well fixed. I'm a bit of an amateur at PhotoShop but the second pic really gets me hot! Note that the backlight is open and there is a mesh indicated as the center panel of the top. This goes with the initial parameter of minimal interference to fresh air and vistas.
    IMG_7774.JPG Img_7774wTop.jpg
    This image has stuck in my head for about 6 months now as I've plodded through myriad details to make it work. Recently some changes have been required however, non detrimental to the goal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  25. GTS225
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 1,175

    GTS225
    Member

    Oh, HELL YEAH! I won't claim to be any type of designer, but that is really looking good. The off-setting color helps, too.
    I suspect your "followers" just got a bit more dedicated, at least to this thread.

    As a sidebar, I found a slightly different type of hinge in the boating world, for bimini tops, made of stainless, but they start at 3/4" and get bigger, in case someone wanted something like that.
    http://www.baselinemarine.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=162&cat=Stainless+Steel+Tube+

    Roger
     
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  26. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

    Regarding the header, a buncha 1x pine was glued up and the contours transferred from the mockup. The ends were cut off and pinned so that they could be hogged out to accommodate the hardware attaching the header to the windshield posts. The header at this point is cut in half and hinged to address the "stowable" goal. Img_7878.jpg IMG_8026.JPG Img_8145.jpg Img_8156.jpg IMG_8226.JPG
    Got these neat "push to release" pins to lock the header to the posts, sourced from marine hardware supplier.
    Img_8553.jpg
     
  27. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,272

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Thanks for the how-I-did(am-doing)-it. I really like the large back window area, but the mesh center is where it's at, for me. Put a serious smile on me, just thinking about how that'll feel going down the road. Should be quick to cover up, when you have to have a top on. Consider this idea fairly appropriated... :D . Same for the fold-it-in-half gig. You also ended up w/a very nice form to the top. Hard to do. Can't wait to see this through to the finish. Good on you!
    Marcus...
     
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  28. wstory
    Joined: Jul 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,266

    wstory
    Member
    from So Calif

  29. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,272

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

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