Author Topic: How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?  (Read 519 times)

Mike S

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How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?
« on: August 22, 2017, 10:42:10 PM »
  I'm installing the convertible top on my 67. So far I am 8 hours into it and working in the sun and it's not fully done. I'm not complaining because doing it yourself does certainly give you an in-depth knowledge of what has to be done. The time consumer is fine tuning the setting and stapling for the rear curtain and outer top to the trim sticks to work out wrinkles even when there are marks on the top for stick placements. Anyone who has installed one knows how many bolts it takes to hold it in place. Imagine removing/installing it several times.
  I'm curious.....How did the factory do it in a fast paced assembly process? Was the fabric cut so perfect that no adjusting was necessary when stapling it to the trim sticks? Were the final results a perfectly wrinkle free tight top?

Mike
67 LOS SS/RS L35 Hardtop - Original w/UOIT
67 NOR SS/RS L35 Convertible - Under restoration

Mark

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Re: How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 12:29:35 AM »
I had a buddy at work that installed convertible tops on Pontiacs back in the day.  They assembled to tops on jigs next to the assembly line and had several available at anyone time.  The would actually install the top and then travel with the car as it continued down the line until the top was finally adjusted and smoothed out. He said they could install the entire top onto the car in about 15 minutes.  Once it was on they would travel back to the start of the trim line and pick up the next convertible and repeat the process.  There were 2 or 3 different teams dedicated to just convertible tops that worked on the cars as they came down the line.
Mark C.
1969 Indy Pace Car
350/300HP RPO Z11

Mike S

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Re: How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 03:26:41 AM »
Hi Mark,

  That jig must have made it very easy (and efficient) to do initial fittings. The mental image of the jig I can see is a stick like structure, probably actual bows and frame, using a properly spaced area to mount and adjust the top material to the trim sticks.

Thanks for the reply!
Mike
67 LOS SS/RS L35 Hardtop - Original w/UOIT
67 NOR SS/RS L35 Convertible - Under restoration

BULLITT65

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Re: How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 03:50:11 AM »
That would be one hell of a youtube video ...15 minutes  wow! :o
1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
-Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear)
-Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
-Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV

bertfam

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Re: How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 06:42:51 PM »
Here's a picture of Frick and Frack (actual names withheld due to privacy laws) working on a C2 Corvette top.

Ed
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 07:03:56 PM by bertfam »
Ed "Bert" Bertrand
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Mark

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Re: How did the factory install convertible tops so fast?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 08:03:56 PM »
The jig had the complete frame and tack strips on it, The assembled frame got mounted to a fixture that was essentially the same shape and dimensions as the windshield header and rear quarter panel sections.  They mounted the frame to the jig, and the fabric to the frame.  Then mounted the whole assembly in the car, and made all the final adjustments on the line as the body moved along thru the trim shop.
Mark C.
1969 Indy Pace Car
350/300HP RPO Z11