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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    West Sussex
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    9,658

    Kevin's Hardtop Thread

    Bought a 289 'shortie' hardtop in 2016 second hand, and shipped it from Scotland.
    This is a bubbletop style as I wanted easy access for the boot and didn't fancy the cost of the Le Mans top.

    It handily came with a large selection of rubbers, a rear window and front brackets.
    Needless to say it didn't fit by a country mile. I knew major surgery was needed, but a a house renovation project took over.
    Luckily that gave me some new skills and new tools, so perhaps that was a blessing in disguise.

    First trial fit showed I needed to pull off the roll bar to get any sort of fit.
    Pic shows rear roll bar leg sits outside the skirt.
    Rear skirt is a totally different shape across the rear and at the sides.


    So I spent the next few years scratching my head and thinking about what to do - where to cut it, loose the roll bar or...?

    side fitting problem.jpgHardtop Rear fit.jpgRoll bar problem.jpg
    Last edited by KevinW; 04-04-21 at 08:41 PM.
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Sussex
    Posts
    9,658
    Last summer during lockdown Drammyboy started his own project, which made me think about getting started.
    I placed the top on the car and realised I could extend it a bit and tip it upwards.

    I read and re-read Gerry's article on this many, many times.....
    http://www.the289register.com/member.../Issue%205.htm

    In October I decided it was time to either 'sh*t or get off the pot'
    So a plan was hatched.......
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Sussex
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    Step 1: October 2020
    Fix the scratches that had occurred over the last few years with filler and rub down.
    Make some mouldings of the curvey bits I was worried about reproducing with the planned surgery.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Sussex
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    Step 2: November 2020

    The basic bubbletop is a single skin moulding that has potential to twist when taking it on and off the car, although should be fine once sat down correctly.
    I knew I needed to preserve the relative orientation and spacing of the door arches if the side windows were to fit. More on this later.
    The solution: Build a frame. This was constructed from ali angle from Wickes and wood from my local building supplier. The chop saw sorted out all the angles (none of which are 45 degrees).

    The triangulation techniques I learnt during the house refurb with setting door frames gave me some insight on how a simple frame could stiffen everything up. Its worked pretty well so far.

    Hardtop frame.JPG
    Last edited by KevinW; 04-04-21 at 08:58 PM.
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    431
    You started your thread. Excellent! I will update mine soon too. This will be very interesting!
    DAX Cobra. May contain nuts. Always read the label.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    West Sussex
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    Step 3: Nov/Dec 2020

    Surgery: the first cut is the hardest. Marked with masking tape, and out with the Dremel.
    Oh fuck - have I just ruined a perfectly good hardtop that I had several hundred quid invested in....

    Pics of the 2 halves. In hindsight, I wished I had cut much closer to the door frames - live and learn.

    The cut lines along both halves were bevelled using a flap wheel on a grinder. There was also some black paint of some sort on the hardtop to get rid of in the area for grp-ing later.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by KevinW; 04-04-21 at 09:14 PM.
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Sussex
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    Step 4: December 2020


    Next step is to offer up the 2 halves to set up making a joining piece to be made in the middle. The position of the original cut was selected to have minimal curvature to match.
    The grp moulding shown in step 1 was chopped into 3 pieces front left and right. The front piece was then trial fitted to join the 2 halves of the hardtop together. I was hoping the curvature would be approximately matched using this moulding. Here are some pics taken inside and outside the car. Note the careful use of a brick which proved the ideal size for tipping up the hardtop to clear the top and rear of the roll bar. Luckily my car isn't painted yet, as I know I am far too clumsy with tools and sharp bits of wood and metal being used.

    This doesn't reflect the huge amount of time eyeing up the top on the car and finding various bits of wood to chock it up and decide if it was actually looked right, was even both sides and 'square' on the body - perhaps that is a non sequitur as nothing on a cobra is square, straight or symmetric, although the Crendon body is actually really pretty damned good compared to most.

    Once I decided it was OK then I used some scrap ali on each side to hold the 2 parts in position.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by KevinW; 04-04-21 at 09:30 PM.
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Sussex
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    One the alignment was OK I then waxed up the front moulding obtained in Step 1 and taped this in position. There was no point in trimming it up - it was a use once-only item.

    I then got a little production line going chopping up and making little wooden blocks with a hole through the centre. I used these to gently spread the load of the fixing screws and get good contact between the mould and the original hardtop.

    Then a fair few holes were drilled and the moulding secured in place. The entire structure could then be lifted off the car rigidly and I could lay up some gelcoat (which I didn't really need to do - yes you were right Drammyboy - my thinking at the time was minimal filler and a uniform surface for paint prep) and 4 layers of chopped matt. I then waited for all this to go hard....and then the big reveal...

    [hmm seems I'm stuck - have now exceeded my file limit for uploaded pics. So thats it for tonight till I find a solution.... ]
    Last edited by KevinW; 04-04-21 at 09:44 PM.
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Sussex
    Posts
    9,658
    Quote Originally Posted by Bannon View Post
    You started your thread. Excellent! I will update mine soon too. This will be very interesting!
    ... yup, thanks...now stuck have exceeded my file quota
    Crendon Chassis No.49
    Huddart FE428 + toploader

    Not listed in the Shelby Register.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Newark, Notts
    Age
    71
    Posts
    1,660
    This would have made an excellent write up in Snake Torque Magazine. Always short of technical articles. Hats off to you Kev, brilliant work
    Charlie
    Joint Area Rep - East Midlands Region
    AKCharlie - ''AKA SOOTY'' - AK GEN2 - LS3 - 6.2litre - 434bhp - A dream come true
    .

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