Thursday’s Tops

I have been working on building a top for Poppy. Boys built a few for his roadsters but not for this one. Most of his were hand formed from aluminum using an English wheel. I am attempting to build one using aluminum tubing. I purchased some 3/4 x .058 wall 3003 round tubing and bent it with my conduit bender. I have built a couple from steel but never aluminum. I choose aluminum because the car is full of billet parts from the 80’s including the windshield post. I plan to use a tan Hartz cloth to cover the structure. I also have never welded aluminum with any success so this project is a total learning process.

To begin with I made some measurements and headed for IMS to purchase the materials. IMS has a wonderful facility for securing materials you need at a reasonable price. The remnants bins are full of good pieces for Hot Rodder’s. The total cost of materials was less than twenty dollars. I began to research the properties of aluminum and its workability. I thought I had purchased 6061 which not too workable, but turned out I had purchase 3003, which is real workable. I bent all the tubes with my 1/2 EMT bender and each piece was wrinkle free. I still need to put an arch in the two bows but I will do that later on. The shape will determined by my height sitting in the seat and allowing three inches of headroom. I also need to attach the frame and header to the body without cutting the body. My friend Dave showed me his top easterners and I can do the same very easily. The windshield has enough meat to thread in a 5/16 bolt on each side. The front header is wood but the remains structure is all aluminum  and will require snaps to secure the top material. I use regular convertible top snaps or boat snaps.

I have taken photos and will show them on my post as I make progress. I am looking forward to the challenge and some protection in inclement weather.


Stay Tooned!


click on photo for a larger image

My ideal top on a traditional roadster is this McGee style top using stock irons.

Steadfast has the same look with their top. Not sure if it is a Bop Top or their own.

I like Tom’s with the tubing structure and the Sid’s covered fabric top.

I would really like this style but it is beyond my ability and budget.

This style probably fits Poppy the best for the smooth look.



The 33/4 offers a different profile but is one I like.

Another top that is like is this one.

The rear bar was made in two pieces to obtain the correct shape. It will be welded in the middle and sleeved.

The side bends were as smooth as could be and will be painted tan to match the upholstery.

The round dowel was added to improve the 2×4 look of most headers.

The top hold down will be in between the body and upholstery. Not cutting the body.

Dave’s is installed without cutting the body. Poppy will have a trim ring in red.

The windshield will have two holes drilled in to hold the header and aluminum u channel over the frameless glass windshield.

One days work completed and now the two remaining bows must be made.These determine the profile of the top and are critical to the overall look of the top.

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