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Customs Chop top help please. 60s tbird

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Labhis, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Probably because most have been done by shops and I don't know about you but if I am running a business customizing cars I am not spending time explaining to every dude that comes along how to do the work I make my living doing. It's like calling the plumber to walk you through how to fix your plumbing issues for free.
  2. As my very smart glass man once told me,, you can bend metal but you cannot bend glass...
    cut the windshield, should only take 4 of them, then shape the pillars to match....
    He said
  3. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    I sure did Texas red. Thought I had done plenty of research before hand and just had to finally go for it but wish I would of asked on here first. Definitely intimidating only ever seeing three of them done and finding the builders post of the purple one listed in this post that said he went through two roofs.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,260


    I would probably find an extra roof (and all that trim) before starting something like this.

    Last I checked, the cars weren't worth a whole lot, which should make it easier to find a parts car?
    dana barlow likes this.
  5. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 420


    To K13, there's another way to look at the issue of sharing information: I know two people who runs a hot-rod shops where I live, they've learned that if you explain in great detail exactly what the planned modification requires most people realize they don't have the time, talent or tools to get the job done and that's when the shop owner ends up with a new customer. Having said that I do know some shops don't want to waste time answering questions, but most owners of the cars worked on by shops are more than willing to talk about their project. If Labhis is listening, in other words, try talking to the owner of the car if talking to the shop doesn't work.
    P.P.S., Labhis, it might be helpful if you post where you are located, know where a parts-car is, you can PM me or email me at
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  6. Yutan Flash
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 628

    Yutan Flash
    from Gretna, NE

    B-pillar on a T-Bird hardtop? LMFAO...
  7. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    Thanks for the great help junkman!! I am in prosser, Washington.
  8. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    Thanks you k17. Just bought the issue.
  9. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    Very sorry for getting the wording wrong yutan flash. I appreciatate the positive feedback you've given.
    PINEAPPLE likes this.
  10. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 791


    Been thinking about the curved door glass problem. I remember my pal who had a early 80's Ford Econoline window van and he had a herd of teenage boys playing "corner" sitting in the back seat. They leaned so hard into the glass that the long quarter window cracked. These vans from 1975 onwards had curved laminated glass for that quarter window. If by chance the curvature is the same - you have a possible source for the side glass. It should be long enough.
  11. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    I appreciate the though Gold MounyMou and will look into that. Kind of crazy how pricey those Econoline are getting. At least around here.

    Everyone asking about the owner and the shop. I have sent them both emails. I did manage to get a response back from the owner on half of the question but not the other. Haven't been able to track down the builder yet though.
  12. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 13,686


    Another source for large curved glass with a shallow arch is Chevy truck windshields. I'm thinking I heard early 80's were rather flatish with a slight curve both ways. And they used to be cheap.

    If you think cutting a couple sides on your T'bird windshield to get it to fit is tough, how about now having to find a new side window hidden somewhere in a Chevy truck windshield. But at least it can be cut, since the tempered T'bird sides can't.
  13. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 799


    Here's a thought: Cut your windshield first. Take the amount of your chop (3", 4", whatever) off the top of the glass. It will still fit at the cowl, & up the bottom of the pillars, as it did from the factory. Now, quarter the roof, & chop the pillars the same amount as the glass. We are talking vertical amounts here. Re-attach the pillars, with the quartered roof sections, to each of their proper corners. Make filler panels for the missing piece of the roof. It will look like this: +. The front curve of the windshield header will probably have to be adjusted to fit the curve of the windshield, after it's been cut. But, it probably won't be too far off.
    As far as the side windows go, if they are curved, you are probably screwed. They could be rolled down the 3" or whatever the chop was, but they won't fill the opening that way. If they roll straight down, there would be a gap at the front, between the side glass, & windshield post. If we are talking about a sedan, I suppose the frame around the window could be widened. Might not look great, but it could be done. If it's a hardtop, maybe a wing window could be made to fill that gap? Or, maybe slide the window forward in it's channel, until it lined up with the front, & change the B pillar area, to move forward that amount? Also, might not be pleasing to the eye. These are things that need to be decided, & completely planned out, before you start making cuts.
  14. Yutan Flash
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 628

    Yutan Flash
    from Gretna, NE

    Vent/door/quarter glass is curved and tempered for '61-'63 'Birds - same glass is used for both closed (hardtops/Landaus) and open (convertibles/Sports Roadsters) models (only body styles offered). Plus top of original windshield has a compound curve in it. No flat glass except for rear view mirrors. And the top of door glass/frame curves down toward rear.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  15. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,623

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I've chopped quite a lot of cars, and all were post 1940, no easy ones, like A's. You think you've planned this out, but looking at pics, and reading a few references in books, is not enough for a complicated shop like this. It will take an experienced top chopper, as well as one with VERY good welding skills to pull it off (as well as some sheet metal fabrication).
    I don't have the time to examine and research this particular car, but there are several flaws in your plans. Cutting and leaning A pillars 'might' work, but often throw off the shape of the opening enough where you cannot fit the original glass any more. Leaning the A pillars back gives you more problems, in trying to reshape the vint window housings (pot metal?) and then reshaping the door glass as well (tempered? curved?) You can lean the rear window, but the more you chop it, if the glass is curved a bit, it starts to look awkward. More so on straighter, flat sides 60's cars. Quartering the roof is often the best way to some problems, but you'd better be a great welder to pull it off! I've turned down putting glass in a car or 2 because of the way the roof was butchered up, including a quartered roof, that was 'shored up' with 1/8" strap inside. I've seen a car where you couldn't put in a headliner because of all the 'excess' metal hanging down from the roof skin.
    You can easily ruin a car without proper skills, tools, and experience. You see them on the HAMB for sale all the time. Same questions raised by the new owners, too...."How do I put glass in this?"
    I'd say pass on chopping it, until you've gained some experience, and welding skills. Try it on a junk car. Look and examine all the possibilities of things that will change, and be sure you know how to handle the changes a chop will bring.
    And on the subject of magazine articles, while some are a great guide to doing this work, often they leave out some details or even MAJOR information, that make or break the bank. John D'Agostino, for instance, has a connection to a place in Finland (?) where he gets custom made glass for his projects. Believe me, you can't afford this in the US! I've looked into it.
    I hate to be a downer, and discourage new guys from doing this, but you have to learn to walk, before you run!
    texasred likes this.
  16. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,157


    I actually know a guy who chopped one. The side glass was "kind of/sort" of dealt with but I personally did not consider it good enough.
    They just cut out a few inches (maybe 3?), dropped it down, leaned the posts in, and had the windshield cut to fit. But as I said, the side glass didn't really work out 100% and they used fixed glass in place of the wing vents.
  17. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 40,935


    Well you may need to lean the B pillers. The thing to remember is that the top gets narrower toward the top. If you cut the C pillar and do not just lean the back glass you try and remove it metal from an area that takes the least amount of wiggling as possible to make it lay back on the lower body. That is part of the reason that you see later model cars ('50s and '60s) with the back glass leaned forward as opposed to being just cut of and the roof lowered. Give it a long hard look.

    We used to take Poloroids and cut them up and tape them back together to decide how much to chop and where to cut. These days it can be done on photoshop on the computer. Try taking a pic straight on from the rear. If you are not a photoshop guy someone on here can help you with the computer work.
  18. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    Thank you all for the words and help. Some have been discouraging and some not so much. I can admit that I messed up by cutting the top already and obviously not researching as much as I should have. However the damage is done. I might as well go along with it now
    X-cpe and Peanut 1959 like this.
  19. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,482

    Peanut 1959

    That's the attitude I hoped you'd have at this point. Carry on. I'm subscribed!
  20. The orange car you posted was chopped by Oz Welch at Oz Kustoms. Here is an album of some build pics: From Rik Hovings archive. Unfortuantely it is post chop but it doesn't look like he has split the top either. Oz is a member here but doesn't seem to be on here a lot but you might try PMing him. I seem to remember he offered to check to see if he had other pictures of the build when another member was doing a T-Bird chop.
  21. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 498


    This looks like a case of you didn't know what you didn't know. But, when you are done (or done with it) you will know a whole lot. I've found that education isn't cheap. Good luck with continuing on.
  22. patsurf
    Joined: Jan 18, 2018
    Posts: 231


    pictures!!now,and later both!!
  23. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    Photos to come this weekend.
    Peanut 1959 likes this.
  24. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 674


    Looks to me that with the rolled back and over windshield that the chopping of the glass will need to be off the bottom of the glass, not the top. That will pull the sides in and create problems. Is it to late to weld the top back on??? Ralphie
  25. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,656


    I wouldn't say any damage has been done. Its just metal. Seriously. There s no substitute for getting in there and building. Plan your moves. If you run into a roadblock fix it properly maybe even redoing some things instead of chasing it through the whole project. You'll be fine. Worst case scenario you buy a donor roof and start over. Don't sweat it bro.
  26. mlake01
    Joined: Mar 24, 2015
    Posts: 39


    Wiser words have never been spoken. Personal experience - get your glass cut FIRST! I could share horror stories, but just drag up old memories and piss me off.

    Glass first, metal last - unless it’s flat.

    Edit: Just finished reading all the way to the end. Too late, it’s been cut, so too late. Now it’s just a challenge with nothing to lose! Dive in, it’ll be fun and a good way to learn stuff!!

    If you get close on the windshield but not quite all the way for a good fit, you can make about a 3/4” pinch weld that fits the glass well and then glue it in. I’ve done this a couple times and it works pretty well.

    Side windows? Roll them up as far as they’ll go, and then bring the track and weatherstripping down to match them.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  27. HotrodHR
    Joined: Jul 12, 2010
    Posts: 172


    Find a copy of that March 97 Custom Rodder magazine and see what those guys did...
  28. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 791


    Looked up the magazine article and unfortunately it says absolutely nothing about the curved side glass problem, just the metal moving part which is the easy part of this chop. I haven't ever chopped a hardtop with curved side glass which is why I keep checking out this thread. Even if my suggestion of the Econoline side glass is workable, there still is a problem where there isn't much support for when the glass is up and might crack if the door is slammed.
  29. Sounds weird, but here in Dallas, a guy named Zib Ebel and his associate Blaze, chopped an off topic 1970 Dart ( ?? )/Duster ? hardtop for a street cruise project.

    They rolled the windows down an inch or an inch and a half, sliced the top from driver to passenger side, literally removing a band of metal, behind the windshield, just enough to lay the front windshield back to meet the roof. The roof coming down marginally too.

    You couldn't tell it was altered unless parked next to another. The door glass was unaffected, just an inch and a half lower in the channel. Pretty cool outcome.

    I know you said you chop the top, but maybe the side glass is unaffected ? Again, I don't know sh#t about 1960's Tbirds, but perhaps this situation could also be a solution for you ?
  30. Labhis
    Joined: Jun 25, 2016
    Posts: 43


    Haven't got any real photos of the car yet but did get two quick ones. The car right now is sitting with a 2 inch chop on the front and 3" on the back. Think I might bring it down closer to the three in front as well. The other photo is a four link brackets I made. Grade 5 bolt is temp. It boots to the original spring hanger spot. Works pretty good.

    Attached Files:

    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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