Roadster owners are aging and the need for a top for our delicate skin to protect against the deadly skin cancer has become more of a priority than in the past. Sid solved the problem a few years ago by offering a beautiful top that can be folded and stored in the trunk. Basically, I can think of 3 ways to put a top on your roadster and they are as follows:
- Build your own out of tubing (round or square)
- Use stock irons and have covered to your taste
- Purchase an aftermarket kit that you like such as Sid’s
I have experience with all three methods and prefer to just use the Bop Top for ease of installation and looks. We have heard that the top needs to be fitted to the body so the gap isn’t so large along the back reveal. Sid does that on the ones he installs and so can you. I will provide some photos of building your own top, using stock irons and the buy it now top.
First lets look at building your own top. The process is not difficult if you have an eye for the best profile. I use 7/8″ x 16 ga. for my tops and they hold up well even in high wind areas we have in LA. I use a simple conduit bender to bend the tubing to the desired shape and tig weld the frame welded together. A good pattern out of welding rod is used to make a guide for the bender. You also need to be seated in the seat you are using to make sure you have head clearance. I used painters tape to fill in the frame work to get a good look at the profile. I had to adjust the two center bow to make it look the way I wanted it to look. I also used a metal header and the upholstery guy didn’t like that but figured out how to wrap the top material around the tubing. No wood headers were available when I built my top.
Second, other than the cost of stock irons and bows, I like the wood and stainless version in Hot Rods. The stock deuce and model 40 irons required some modification so you don’t have the high top back profile. The standard chopped irons and post are generally of the 3″ chop nature and looks great. You upholstery guy can make the profile any way you like it. We will get to that in the photos.
Last, purchase a set and be done with it. Install it your self or have an upholstery shop install. This will be the most expensive to the tops starting at around $3000 or more.
click on photo for a larger image
I have about 40 hours in building the top for Lucy.The two rear bows required some tweaking when final shape was set.The curve at the front of the Duvall required some thought about how the match to the Duvall would look. I didn’t care for the overhang on a Duvall.
Terry had his upholsterer install the early white top to the iron frame work.
I like 40 convertibles but the top irons must be modified to make them look right and not high topped in the middle. You can see the new bows being made in this photo.
Here is a smilier style fabricated frame work for a Deuce RPU.
I really like the all metal tops but they are out of my budget. Friends have paint $10K to one built.
Here is one being built for Deuce using flat 1″ strips for the framework. I could probably build one of these if I had a good eye for the shape. Welding skills are required to weld that whole top without wrapping it badly.
This one is current and has the look I like with the Duvall windshield. Not an easy task to make it look like a bomb hasn’t exploded in the cockpit.
Here a Carson style top is being fitted to Duvall windshield. Note the square tubing for the side and the round tubing for the bows.
Ken Gross has one of the nicest Carson Tops I have seen on a roadster. Dave found an original and had it redone.
Inside the tubing frame stands out against the fabric top. Lots of options on how to finish these. Powdercoat, chrome, paint or cover with a headliner.
Stock irons modified on this top make it one of my favorite.
Frank used stock iron and added side curtains for those cold NM winters. Note he chose to leave the wooden bows exposed in the back.
Neil Gates built several tops years ago for our roadster boys in the Valley. He did excellent work but is no longer in business.
The top was for a 3′ chop and had to be modified to fit properly on this Rod Bod body.
Bob O is about 6″ tall and had plenty of head room with his new top.
One of my favorites of Roys, is this red one Micheal.
The Bop Top comes in different colors to match the style of the car.
Roy and Sid are a team that know how a roadster should look inside and out.
We installed a Bop Top on a 34 roadster and elected to send it back to Sids for him to fit it to the car. This has been corrected now.
Joe installed a Rat’s Glass top on his Rat’s body which made a great looking profile with the Duvall.