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Closed top inserts in Customs and Hotrods

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flatheadfever, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. I know a lot of customs and hot rods had the tops filled in with metal but I have seen pictures showing some cool inserts as well.

    I was wondering about examples of different ways that closed car inserts where altered from stock.

    I know that this might be more of a custom question but I am sure I have seen old pictures that showed white inserts in hotrods.

    I thinking mostly fords from the early 30s.

    Where the majority filled with sheet metal? Why?

  2. Most were filled with metal when the original inserts were found to be deteriorated beyond hope, often with a piece from a donor car with similar contour. I much prefer the look of an original insert but that's just me. Yes many had white inserts, for me it conjures up the look of a 60's show car. Henry held onto the fabric style inserts until the "turret style" tops in 1937. His contention was that the drumming effect of a complete metal roof was minimized by the insert and most manufacturers didn't have the capability of deep draw presses much before the late 30's.
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,736


    I think that a lot of guys who filled them with metal and welded them solid did so because they got tired of fighting leaks in their old roofs and then later because it was one of those "hot rod" things to do. It also usually makes the body a bit stiffer. I'm going to fill the top on my Model A Victoria to help make it solid but as it was originally a leatherback Victoria I am going to have the whole top recovered after it is filled. That is as much to stiffen the body up without buying several expensive wood kits than anything else though. The car is basically tin tacked to a wood frame.
  4. Thanks
    Anyone else?
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  5. texkbc
    Joined: Apr 27, 2007
    Posts: 396


    I used the roof panel of another car to make my insert. There are several threads on here showing how this can be done. I had a nice roof panel from a 1959 Belair that worked well on my 34 Tudor.

    Attached Files:

  6. Used 1/4 inch plywood, covered it with marine, ray resistant vinyl. attached with stainless countersunk washers and screws. Cost about 35 bucks. Works for me.:eek: Note: the slight ripples between screws doesn't show other than in this picture, must have been the angle of the sun coming in the garage??

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  7. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,185


    Filled mine with metal. Then put the soft top look back over it. Kind of the best of two worlds. No leaks, more solid body, yet the soft top look. Works for me.
  8. The body on mine without an insert is rock solid and the insert is sealed with silicone under the edges. No leaks, no wind noise, no metal cutting, no welding, much faster and cost less. Using the tools and materials available to me and what I can afford. If Henry thought steel was as economical and easy to work with he wouldn't have put so much wood in 'em in the first place. Best of both worlds.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  9. saw one back in the 70's that had plexiglass in it like a sunroof, might get really hot in there.
  10. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,009


    When the time comes (shortly, I hope), my '36 will have an insert. I just like the vintage look.
  11. Okay, thanks for the replies.

    I like the different approaches.

    On my 36 I would like to make a metal one and cover it in vinyl. I didn't really want to weld and fill the roof. I have a 70s camaro roof skin that I think will work

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