Can anyone help me i am a 15 year old girl trying to restore my tudor sedan and theres no top on it and i need pics of how the top goes together.
I would recommend buying a kit form one of the Model T vendors.
After the wood goes in, I think most people cover it with a layer of "chicken wire" or screen. Then the top material goes on top of some padding. The wood kit is sold separately from the top material kit.
Model T's did not use chicken wire originally, but muslim cloth stretched over and the padding followed by the top material. Lebaron bonny makes a good top material. I have no affiliation with this company, but was very dissapointed with the kit the venders sell. Foam in my opinion is not a good top padding and the top material itself should not be to stretchy or it will balloon up while driving, I will only say that I hate to do a job twice to get good results. KB
When I took the top wood off my Tudor, the longitudinal slats were as in the picture from Mike. If you have these slats, it is not necessary to use chicken wire. There wasn't any chicken wire when I took the top off the car. Be aware that even with a kit from one of the vendors, some custom fitting will be required.
If the old top wood is there, it will be a guide for where the bolts and screws need to go to fasten the new top wood. If it is not there, let us know and I'll try to dig up some pictures from when I removed my old top wood.
On my 26, a round nut were used on the carriage bolts. They were too rusted to come apart, so I used a Japanese draw saw to carefully remove enough wood so that I could get the round nuts with vice grips and bread off the bolts. To attach the new top, I drilled the holes from below, then used a forsner (sp?) bit to give me a round hole with a flat bottom on the top side. I then use 1/4 inch washers (one flat and one split type lock) and jam nuts with blue loctite on the carriage bolts to secure the top wood. I couldn't find slotted steel wood screws to put over the door openings, so I used brass slotted screws. Since they were painted, you can't tell what is installed.
Good luck with your project.
I sure wish we could edit posts to correct typos. I had to "break" off the bolts not bread them, and instead of "a round nut were" It should be round nuts were.
You can fill tack holes in your old wood by breaking off a round toothpick so when you drive it in with a little glue it will fill the hole. If you leave the old tack holes open, they will give you fits when you try to tack the new material in place.
Laura, you can buy a complete top kit , wood, padding fabric, tacks and all. I believe it costs about $300.Depending on what's left of your top, (pictures would help), it's the best way to go. It comes apart in a very specific way. Take off the fabric on top, take off the padding THEN take the headliner out from the inside of the car. Remove the wood, clean everything up, install the wood THEN reinstall or replace the headliner inside the car (don't make the same mistake I did). I used chicken wire on mine because it adds a firmness to the top. If you put the headliner back in nobody is going to see it anyway.
If you or your family knows somebody who works for an upholstery shop, get them involved. They have tools you don't and you would only use once if you bought them, depending on the condition of the rest of the upholstery in the rest of the car.
My car is a 27 Tudor, it's the exact same top.
The Model T Ford Club of America has one chapter near Detroit see the listing at: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm#mi and the Model T Ford Club International has 14 additional chapters in Michigan – they are listed at: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm#mi There is a good chance there is someone not to far away that has redone a closed car top that isn’t to far from where you are located. Also the MTFCI has an active “Youth Group” you can contact them through the Youth Editor at: email@example.com
I think the regular posters on this forum are a great group of guy and gals. But I do not think all of the folks that access the internet have the same standards. For that reason I would suggest you consider removing your last name and town from your profile and/or having your contact information listed on your profile as “Please contact me through my legal guardian using the Private Message feature that is set to their address rather than mine. I will get back with you as time permits” Most of the bad folks are not interested in contacting a guardian. I wish the world all got along better but there are some folks out there that are just dangerous.
Depending on the condition of your top wood it may just need the tack holes filled (be sure to use waterproof glue for the toothpicks you fill the holes with) or it may need replacing. Good news – because it is not structural wood – you may also be able to use some of the wood products that are absorbed into the wood to help build up the strength etc. It all depends on the condition of the wood.
By the way – with summer coming the car can be driven without a top. When I was in high school, the first two years I had my 1928 Model A Ford Tudor I drove it without a top, without much upholstery, without glass in the windows (it did have the windshield), and it was lots of fun. Of course you had to watch the weather closely and plan your trips/drives. I left the top off while I removed paint, removed dents, and prepared the body for paint. After we primed the body, we installed the top and then taped the top off to paint the final colors.
Hopefully one of your parents etc. are into old cars, that should be a big help. There is a good article in the “Model T Ford Restoration Handbook” that shows a 1931 REO closed car as an example of installing a top (pages 82-85). The book is available from the vendors (see Lang’s http://www.modeltford.com/item/C18.aspx ). If funds are limited – for most of us they are -- some of the local Model T Clubs have libraries that members can borrow books from. I know of several “how to install a closed top” article on the Model A Fords, but I do not remember seeing many for the closed car Model Ts. I have permission to post information form the “Vintage Ford” but I did not find anything there. I did find two older reprints from the 1930s in the “Model T Times” but I need to obtain permission from them first before I feel free to post that information.
Good luck with your project. Don’t let it lower your grades at school --- scholarships and college can bring in additional funds you can use for the old cars and other things.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Last year we restored a 1918 model tt from just a basket of parts. I am trying to do as much of this project as i can by myself. My dad bought me the car and there was no roof on it at all so any information will help. We bought a top kit but no wood and have no idea were the top fastens to the wood(top or side). We have access to woodwork to help. Thanks again i am having so much fun restoring this. Ill post pics as soon as i find out how.
Laura when I did my top I did it on a hot day in the sun. This let the top material stretch for a better fit. Start nailing in center on both sides, front and back. For nailing place them in the wood at about a 1/4 inch from bottom this way the gutter or hidem strip will cover the nail heads. Good luck.
I have a top for patterns the left front corner is missing from rot. If interested give me an email off line. I am in North West Ohio.
Laura, I have 3 daughters. All grown up with children of their own now. My oldest daughter and I customized and repainted her first car when she was 15. It wasn't a T but she learned how to take care of a car (instead of 'trashing' one), because of the experience. You have a good dad, they are getting to be rare, these days.
If you look at the last picture I posted above and how smooth the top is, that's the difference in using chicken wire and not using chicken wire. That was in 2007, it's 2013, my top is still that smooth. Without the chicken wire, as the top wears in, in 6 years, you will be able to see the outline of the ribs under the fabric. The 'purists' here will say that's the way it's supposed to be, so it all depends on whether you're building a 'show queen' or a 'daily driver', like mine is.
Laura, From your posts it is unclear of you have top wood in place or not. If all your wood is there, the fabric top fastens to the sides of the wood. There is a bead of material that goes around the perimeter to hid where the top is fastened. If you look at the front, you can see the end caps where they meet at the center.
there is nothing no wood either
I suggest you get a top wood kit. The vendors do sell them. You will also need addition wood that goes under the back corners and the bolts there go through the block, the lip of steel at the back, and the top wood. Longer carriage bolts are needed there. If you have the back windows in, they need to be lowered so you can remove the top window cushion. Three or four bolts go up from there. You will see the square holes from the bottom. If the rear interior and header panels are in, they will need to be removed as well so you can attache the top wood.
Laura, this is the style of nuts you will need to fasten the top wood to the body.
I also attached a couple pics of the wood kit I bought for my '27 Tudor. It cost around $500 in the door and comes with no instructions.
I can't wait to get started.......NOT!
Look at my first post in this thread. I didn't use the round nuts. I couldn't find them and I wasn't sure what kind of hole was needed for them to hold the top wood securely. Since the area is covered and can't be seen I used a different approach.
Thank you for all the help it was very helpful!!
Please keep us informed with your roofing project.......
Pictures as you go would make for a very informative thread.
yes i will post pictures tomorrow
Here are some pictures we powerwashed the car yesterday and primed everything today
I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the head liner goes in before you put the top bows on and then the roof covering.
Laura, as Jack said make sure you attach the head liner before installing the top. It is much easier to do this way and you will get better results. I am excited to see pictures of your car.
this is when we first got the car
this is a 1918 model tt this was a last years project.
In the first picture is the car upside down?
"I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the head liner goes in before you put the top bows on and then the roof covering."
Actually Jack, I did, though I didn't say the the headliner goes in before you install the (front to back) bows. You could probably still install the headliner with the (front to back) bows installed but I'm sure it would be a lot more difficult to do.
yeah the car was upside down to prime it, so while it was upside down i went in to sand off all the access paint so we could repaint the inside, And ok thank you
I currently have a fordor with the wood exposed if you would like to stop in and take a look. It is very similar to the tudor.
That sounds awesome. Is this week okay
Yep, click on my name and send a email to me and I will respond.
ok i will talk to my dad and then respond
Thank you everyone for all the great help!!
we found out how to do the top, its looking pretty good
Nice job Laura! I have a '26 Tudor also.
The Model A folks have developed a clever method of using tempered masonite as a base for the vinyl top. The masonite is screwed to the crossmembers. A low pile indoor outdoor carpet is contact cemented to the masonite (Furry side down). Then the vinyl top material is contact cemented to the carpet. No stretching is required and it results in no flapping in the breeze. I bought the video and am going to try it on my '30 Buick.
Keep up the good work!
Don't forget, now is the time to put the headliner in.
Right will it be easier if we put the interior together before we put all that together or no
thanks to dons help and everyones suggestions things are going better
Having done a closed car top once i can say it is easier putting the head liner in first but i can imagine someone could put the headliner in afterward but it might not be as easy or look quite as good.
Laura.......you inspired me to get MY butt in gear and get going with the top on my '27 Tudor.......
I lit into it today and removed a billion tiny tacks trying to save as much of the interior side material as I can.
Those bolts with the slotted, conical, nuts are definitely going to be a problem and it will not be going back together the way it came apart.
It'll go back together another way.......I'm not taking the entire car apart to put on a new top.
Taking it apart is a good experience........sure shows how and where everything goes.......
"Right will it be easier if we put the interior together before we put all that together or no".
Laura, don't make the same mistake I did on my 27 Tudor. The headliner (not the rest of the interior) has to go in 'before' the top insulation and fabric goes on because it attaches to the (side to side) wood struts from the top. It can be done with the (front to back) wood struts in place but it's more difficult. Once the insulation and the top fabric has been put on, there is no way to (correctly) install the headliner. It can be done but not 'Model T' correct.
great work so far Laura, keep the pics coming.
If it is like the earlier cars, the interior upholstery needs to go on before the headliner. The side pieces tuck into the shelf in the roof header, then the wind lace goes on, then the headliner. The interior is basically installed from the bottom up. Once the headliner is installed the roof ribs are put in place. The roof is then covered with a layer of muslin cloth, followed by a layer of padding. The roof material then goes on over all of that.
If it was me, I would paint the car first, then install the upholstery, then put on the roof.
One more thing, the front and back of the roof should be trimmed with the fold over welting, not the standard welting which opens in the middle. I'm pretty sure the top kits include the center opening welting which is incorrect for a closed car.
we didnt buy a top kit we made it ourselves so we should be good with that thanks guys
I agree with D Sosnoski about installing the interior upholstery before the headliner. In my 24 Coupe I got in to big a hurry and started installing the wood ribs first and then noticed quick enough to see things wouldn't work out in getting its trimmed out neatly.
In my opinion the chicken wire makes things really nice and taughnt as far as the top is concerened.
Some of Fords pictures of the T's closed cars when they were new show a slight dip in the closed cars tops if you look close. Some show the 'dip' more than others.
Another project that's been on the burner is getting the new top on my '27 Tudor.
I've had the wood kit since last Fall.
Working in an unheated shed isn't my thing but TODAY, with the help of a friend, we got the worst part done!
What made the job totally miserable are those carriage screws the heads of which are unaccessible without removing the entire interior and the stupid tapered, slotted, nuts (I got every one of them off!) that secure the wood to the body.
So I had to be ultra careful to not lose any of them or they would have dropped inside the body shell with no way to recover them without removing the interior which I'm salvaging as much as possible.
To say it was exasperating would be an understatement but we prevailed although I did eliminate the bolts for the rear corner pieces. There's more than enough steel support without having to deal with more wood.
I'll be pulling up and tacking the interior side material later today.
How's going Laura?
On the 1926-27 coupe and tudor you have to put the headliner in before you do any inside upholstery or the outside top material. The first thing you put in is the piping that has about 5" of material to cover the inside wood. Then you install the headliner. I used upholstery spray glue for the fabric that covers the inside top wood. Then you install the side panels that will butt up to the inside top wood that you covered with fabric. I have some pictures if you need them. send me an e-mail and I can send them out to you. We restored a 26 coupe. firstname.lastname@example.org
hey sorry havent been on much. i havent been working on it much lately i have been working for the neighborhood trying to get money saved up for the interior. thanks for everything again ill keep you updated. We did take it for a drive the other day and it rides very nice it goes a very nice speed for being old too.
Thanks for the update Laura. It is good to hear you have her going down the road. The real joy in these cars is getting to drive them after working on them.
Craig A - what color stripes are on those seats in that Tudor ??? are they green stripes ...
from the little bit of material that was left had the green stripes
Yes the stripes are green as the car left the factory with green paint.
While I love my black cars I wish they had left this one alone.......grrrrrrr
There are two styles and colors listed for 26-27 Tudors in the parts book. Grey with green stripe for 26 and grey with white stripe for 27. Both years had "soft" and "hard" options. Not sure if that refers to padding or the material itself.
We have the original Tudor off the front cover ( and associated story ) 1926 Tudor (model T Times Nov/Dec 1982 )with green material with green stripes with the original green paint on the firewall... but sometime in the past between Bill Barth and Art Gahr, the body became black.
If anyone knows of Bills and Arts ( le canard - the black swan)1926 Tudor .. l am open for further details.
I have read that green with green was available, and have seen here many times, what appears to be correct green on green remnants, but have also been told that the original grey must have faded to a beautiful dark green ... l find that hard to believe myself !!!! hidden sections would surely have retained some of their grey...
the cars not finished but weve been taking it to car shows got it in the paper, when we were taking it to the second car show taking it off the trailer somthing ended up breaking in the rear end i still drove it across the road to the car show but it kept knockin under my feet, we thought it was either the transmission or the rear end, so we took the rear end out and after don talking to us about the shims we ended up not even seeing any in there so we have to order some parts hopfully getting back together soon im missin it haha. at the deer acres car show dad gets a first place trophie and i loose my voice and get in the paper. thanks again don for all the help top turned out good and for the advice on the rear end.
Laura, I have new bronze thrust washers and steel washers. I am heading to Don Booth's saturday morning. I can drop them off for you. No charge.
that would be great thank you so much
You are welcome Laura, now is the time to get the safety items taken care of. Remind your Dad that he can borrow the book for the rear end if needed. We had fun at the car show and you impressed many people. Hope to see your family at many more.
Here is a picture from the Pinconning Journal that was taken of my ole Lizzy. The Crump Car Show turned out to be the biggest they ever had. The total number of cars was 110 compared to around 50 the year before. What a difference a nice weather day makes. Have fun !
I told my dad getting in the paper was better than getting a trophy. we had fun at the car show to and your car looks great. were going to clean up the parts because there are some broken ones we want to find out what they were and then pick up the book if that's ok with you.
Sure, just give me a heads up...
Laura, I dropped of the washers at Don's place this morning. Good luck with Lizzie.
thank you ed its really appreciated and will do don
Congratulations and Welcome, Laura. I'm probably old enough to be your Grandpa now, but I bought my first Model T when I was 16 years old in 1970 for my life savings of $600.00. At the time, I was bagging groceries at Publix Super Market after school for $1.65/hr. It took me 2 years to completely restore it and I finished it in October 1972 when I was 18, a couple of weeks before leaving to join the Marines. It was the best thing I every did. That Model T not only taught me all I know about mechanics, bodywork, woodworking, painting and upholstery, but it taught me an appreciation of the dollar and patience as I had to save my money until I had enough for the next part I needed. It also taught me about myself and the importance of setting a goal and not quitting until reaching it. It also provided me with the most exciting moment of my life up until that point, when after completely overhauling the engine, I got it back together and much to my amazement, it cranked on the second turn of the crank.
It is 43 years later and I still have my 1926 coupe and I drive it around town every weekend. Good luck on your project. I'm sure you have discovered a valuable source of knowledge here and we will help you in anyway we can, as you are now a part of our fraternity. Sincerely, Jim Patrick
Thank you Ed for the parts we will Definantly use them and thanks don for all the great advice and help
This is for Ken. In 1979 Bruce put out a call for samples of original Model t closed car upholstery. I answered that call and sent a sample of the Blue upholstery from our 1924 Canadian Fordor Sedan. The two pictures will explain. The " Soft " & "Hard " materials were described by Mr, William Hirsch in a letter to me in 1980. Portion of that letter posted below. He was as good as his word and produced the fabric in Red Stripe, Green Stripe, & Blue Stripe. Regards, John
we got the parts yesterday so putting it together now haha im enjoying it. have a bad feeling were going to have to take the transmission out but oh well get it done now. thanks for all the help guys!!
Got it back together everything's quiet and working good well bring the book back to you soon don thank you
does anyone know if someone has a right front fender laying around for my car 1926 tudor sedan model t
It had two fenders when I saw it....something change?
Check with John Danuser or Mike Peterson who is on ebay as gunman63.
You may want to ask about a fender with a separate thread.
Someone may have a fender but not read this thread about the "roof on a 1926 tudor sedan".
Don the trick you told us worked for the left fender but the right one we need to take off and repatch it it's in really bad shape and ok thank you I will do that
Hi Laura - Two more suggestions:
Try Model T Haven in Iola Kansas. He has a Model T salvage yard & might have one. Mark Freimiller runs it. Their phone # is: 620-365-6709
The big Hershey swap meet is coming up in one month. You might know someone who is going that can find one for you.
Hope this helps.
This thread is a great read and gives me motivation to get back on my late '26 Tudor. I'm going to bookmark this and also save the photos because my car also came without any top wood or fasteners. Congrats on seeing your hard work pan our Laura! Here's what I started with:
I need to post another update. The chassis is done and the engine/trans were recently picked up from Schwalm's Babbitted Bearings. Sure hope it runs as good as it looks!
Funny thing was that just today my package from Howell's Sheet Metal showed up. My rear corner can now be fixed a lot easier than trying to bend my own repair piece. I'd really like to get the body in primer soon so we can have it painted for assembly during the winter. The new job killed my near-daily progress from when it came home, but I'm slowly getting back into it.
For your info I do NOT have one sorry
we have the other fender patched, lots of lead bondo and braze? Replaced bad metal in the fender learned a few more words while dad was working on it haha doesn't look real bad lot stronger then it was. Don where do you buy your rust bullet? thanks again don and everyone else. cant wait to get it back out of the garage!!! -laura
You can get Rustbullet at www.rustbullet.com .
You need the automotive grey to start and if you really want a good job, get a can of Blackshell to coat over the grey.
Ok thank you will do
Three cheers for Laura. A girl after my own heart. Please tell me you are learning to drive her too.
We have a 26 Tudor with the same upholstery.
Heres one pic , yes I do drive it, it took a while to get used to it. Love distracting my teachers as they ask me about my car along with other classmates. Love my car!!
Notice were my cousins are/ where they belong haha
By the way I did change my handles to how there supposed to be.
You go girl !!!!