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Hardtop to Convertible - What to look for?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by darciusrex, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Hi Everybody!

    I've been doing some lurking and searching and reading, and now I have a question I'm having a tough time finding answers to. I've come across an 1952 Olds hardtop that's been converted to a convertible (some smart ass kids took a baseball bat to the original top). The guy did the work himself, and says it was a pretty sano job. Since it's on a hardtop frame, it has the x-brace like a convertible - he says. I'm driving up to look at the car this weekend.

    As far as snipping off a top of a hardtop (not 2-door sedan or coupe with posts), assuming it is the right frame, is there anything in the body I need to look for as far as bracing and whatnot? In theory, I can't foresee anything since GM built the hardtop to be a "hardtop convertible" - and on my 50 Belair all door parts and stuff are the same as for the convertible.

    Thank you all!
  2. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,739

    from Quincy, IL

    Olds and Buicks of that era all had "X" frames, regardless of body style. The convertibles may have had a bit thicker material and additional gussets or bracing than the other body styles, but none of that is likely a make or break issue.

    What did he use for the upper windshield frame and latches? Is there a folding top on this and what is it's origin? Did he install all the convertible retraction hardware?

    If a hardtop is 'converted' to convertible, and all the parts used in the conversion are the same as used in the oem convertibles, well, then, you have a convertible.

    To the extent parts are substituted or left'll have to decide if it meets your personal standards.

  3. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 988


    X's 2
    Open and close the doors and see how everything feels and fits. Could be a really cool car.
  4. charlieb66
    Joined: Apr 18, 2011
    Posts: 549


    Not sure about the other manufacturers cars, but the Chrysler Corp convert models have a large box member that is part of the body that runs under the doors of the car. The body is supported by this member. Also has the x member in the frame.
    Might want to check door fit and closure with the car on uneven ground. Windshield header on a cut car can be unsightly if not finished well. Make sure that anything that is unfinished is within your ability to complete, sometimes it's costly to have a shop to complete what is already started.
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  5. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 863


    I have a 56 Olds sport coupe & convertible. The X member on the convert is alot heavier steel than the coupe (twice the thickness). The convert also has probably 3 times more body mounts than the coupe (brackets riveted to the chassis). I would guess the car you are looking at would be similar.
  6. black 62
    Joined: Jul 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,895

    black 62
    from arkansas

    several good threads on this very subject...
  7. Thanks for the information, everybody. Off to look at the Olds today, and then off for some vacation. I'll definitely post pics if I bring it home!

    My biggest worries about it right now are the engine, brakes and how the top attaches at the windshield. Have my fingers crossed.
  8. Get the water hose and test it make sure its not a leaker
  9. dickster27
    Joined: Feb 28, 2004
    Posts: 3,074

    from Texas

    Don't just open and close the doors. You and someone else set in the car, then open and close them from the inside. Any flex will show up at this point.
  10. Sorry for the slow reply. After looking at the Olds, went straight to Kauai, came back and drove spud truck for awhile. Finally getting back online!

    So, there were a few issues. The 303 ran so goddamm beautifully it made me sick to walk away! But in the end, the doors pinched at the top but there was enough gap at the bottom to fit my thumb through, the hood had to be closed at a special angle, and the small big of rust on the driver side floorboard was actually a giant fucking hole under the whole front seat (literally, the seat was bolted into Dynamat). So, all the structural stuff you guys mentioned plus a fair bit of cowl shake was going on. Not to mention the convertible top he fabbed, while ingenious, was relying on a 2x4 bolted to the windshield and it was wearing out. Plus the brakes locked up on the test drive.

    Thanks for all input and advice you all gave me! And if anyone is interested, I still have the guy's contact info in my phone. Other than those problems, it was still pretty sweet!

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  11. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,613


    My friends 47 Olds convertible has a deeper 'I' beam centre X-member not the open 'C' channel commonly found on other bodies

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