This has been a bit of a mystery to me since we first got the T. At first I thought it was original and the "top kit" just covered it.
After speaking with a number of people, I'm told that it is Not original and must have been made some time after it left the factory.
Interesting as it actually has a built in drip edge and is shaped for a well rounded fairly tight fit.
I'm also curious about the visor. It's steel sheeted and I'm wondering if that's original, or is it supposed to just have ribs and then get covered like the roof?
Also, Does this look like the original headliner ribbing? Or does it look like someone made it as well to match the steel hardtop roof?
I've been searching for detailed pics of how the top wood on the roof should look, but can't seem to find any? I have bought all of the "essential" books on these cars and can't even find a nice "blow up" of how all the top wood/ material that covers it is installed.
So anyone with a picture oriented tutorial on how to do the top wood and cover for one of these cars would be Great!
Couple more pics of the "hardtop".
A lot of work went into the top and visor for your T, but neither are factory. Both should be fabric covered. First Ford steel roofed car was in 1936.
This thread covers a Tudor, but it should be similar to a coupe. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/356138.html?1380406044
What Terry says is true for the "run of the mill" US production!
However it is well known that Ford Canada was used as a testing/proving ground for any number of innovative ideas, particularly in regards to the body.
So can I document your car, NO. But I also believe it was made that way new. There is no doubt that it was done by a very skilled person and most likely using a "english wheel". Ford "jobbed out" lots of low production bodies during the T era and beyond. To produce a small run of these for evaluation and test marketing would have been very easy to do, particularly in Canada. To find one in Manitoba seems very reasonable to me considering the winters you have.
Now onto construction; I don't believe the "bows" would contact the roof as they would then rattle and squeak.
IF you elect to "standardize" the car as some would have you do, I would like to buy the hardtop AND visor.
Here are the rough dimensions for a '26 coupe. If you plan on making the wood yourself this might be handy.
More pic's of the Coupe top framing...
This top frame was made of Ash for about $35.00. The picture of your frame appears to be pine. I would not reuse them because of that reason. The top frame holds the weight of the doors for the most part and keeps the entire body true. It also puts up with a lot of stress going down the road. If you want to give it strength and allow it to give when it has to, use 3M 5200 marine adhesive on all the joints...it will prevent joint failure.
No glue on joint. A screwed joint flexes and glued joint breaks.
WoW, some excellent posts with Great detail! Thanks guys, this really help a lot!
Les, your post has me torn. As I felt this was too good of a job for any average individual, but having said that, some individuals Are much more crafty and pay more attention to detail that some shops. So If this is original to the car, making it somewhat "special" am I going to feel OK about changing it.
Both John's and Don's pics also confirm how the wood it quite a bit higher that the metal body, which I felt it had to be.
As you can see from the pics I posted, the top wood is flush to the top metal and Les is Right in the assumption that the wood ribs do Not touch the metal roof. They are there to support the headliner only.
Whether it was a factory prototype, or a very well done owner conversion, to me it would be a terrible shame to "standardize" it. There are thousands of 26-7 T coupes that are "standard". What you have was obviously done "in the era", and as such deserves to be preserved. If not by you on this car, then by me on another car. Perhaps I can trade you a ordinary coupe body so that this body can be kept intact.
That hardtop is too neat to dispose of. I would invest some money to restore it and reinstall it. It looks to be of the period so go for it! Don.
Restore it? It looks like it came off a 73 Toyota.
Robert, it sounds like Les REALLY wants your metal top and visor, if you want to return your car to original, I see the potential for a big win-win deal here
The issue is: is removing the metal top returning it to "original" or is it trashing a rare piece of T Ford history?
I'm not as familiar with '73 Toyotas as Ken is. I never owned one or worked on one
Pretty sure it's not from Any car from the 70's and up, the gauge of steel is too thick.
So when you guys say that the top wood supports the doors, you just mean it adds support to the already in place top door jam made of steel, correct?
Or are you saying that when you remove the top wood with everything else that goes on it, that the door area is open across the top?
I should add, I'm all about "win win" deals, but there is a lot to be considered here. The body is in really good shape and may be hard to replace with something in like condition. (I don't know how bad these bodies get?)
I will admit though, that If I chose to go back to the original Ford "softer" top, I would rather see someone retain and show this rare piece of Ford/ Canadian history, than see it disappear and be forgotten.
I agree with Les Schubert...all the detail leads me to believe it was factory made. It is doubtful that anyone with the talent necessary would go thru the effort to do what has been done here. To have it done later, would cost much more than what the car would have been worth. This is not the typical home made job. Restore what you have or sell/trade the body to Les Schubert....at least it should be preserved.
How thick is it? I had my tongue in cheek on the Toyota. It may be from a 57 Plymouth.
It's common in the do-it-yourself crowd to replace the cloth top with scrap metal from an auto salvage yard. I replaced one for a customer on a 31 Tudor but it was all new steel. And it wasn't stuck on with wood screws either.
Robert, the upper door opening has a steel channel but that alone will not support the weight of the doors. The coupe I'm restoring had the wood cut and butted up. The result was the entire top of the body had shifted to the rear and the doors no longer fit correctly. As you can see in these pictures, I had to pull the windshield frame forward to make it right.
Mark, you are correct. No glue, 3M 5200 adhesive is a "flexible" material used on boats. It will give enough to protect any joint it is used on. It is also so strong that you can remove the screws after it cures and the joint will last a lifetime and then some.
I think that top is homemade or possibly body shop made. I can't see the factory using 3/4 inch junior channel iron for drip rails like this one has. JMHO. Dave
My concern is I have seen people get a totally "myopic" view on how a specific car was supposed to be built. They ignore the fact that we are preserving a bit of history. As I said I can't prove or disprove when this top was made. Maybe Ford built it (and a few others to try out. Maybe some really skilled guy made it in the '30's. The original top was giving up and he planned to use the car for years. Maybe it was made in the '60's-'70's. All these options are worth considering for preservation.
It looks like quite good workmanship and would be very functional. I wouldn't feel right throwing away the very history of this car just to satisfy the "herd". And by now most of you have figured out that I am not to concerned about what the "conventional wisdom" is!!
Whatever everyone else says about it I'd fix and put it back on.
It looks great, should last forever and it's different........
Your T will have an unusual top unlike every other one with a vinyl top.
I bought my '29 Model A sight unseen.......only photos and some phone conversations.
When it arrived I was tickled to pieces to see the metal top!
A WHOOOOOOLE lot of work went into installing this top and it's safe to say this car will never need another one.......
Your photos show a tudor with the molding & rain gutter bases, but missing the "caps" (on the sides, the rain gutters, over the back, a smooth cap. These pieces are seldom found on restored cars as they are often damaged during removal. I hope you have the parts!
I can get some kind of rain gutters but probably won't.
I couldn't have put on a metal top like that or that nicely.......
Ken, I want to say around 35 thou, but i'll measure it today, just to see.
Don, I see what your saying, just wanted to verify that the upper steel channel wasn't something completely unique to this car as well
Dennis Halpin used to post here a lot. His '27 Tudor had a heavy plywood top someone likely added while it still was "just an old car". Pictures from his top repair job in this thread (among others) http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/59570.html?1216003464
Here is a thread with pictures of how the visor looked from Ford and how it was made: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/216680.html?1308017692
Love that '59 Chevy.
A little off topic, but this thread brings to mind a question:
How old does a modification (if this is one) have to be before it is "grandfathered" in as part of the history of the car to be preserved?
Thanks for the clarification on the adhesive. While I did not do a complete search I did look it up. We have a Model A in the shop that the header was "glued" to the side rails. Problem is the header is mounted in the wrong place, it's too far back from the front of the car. Fun stuff, fixing boo-boo's!
I mentioned this some time back, never found out much more. I had a 1930 or 1931 Model A Coupe in the early 1940's, it was a fairly new car at the time. It was what I guess you would call a "Deluxe", in that it had a rumble seat, a roll down rear window, and dual side mounts. It's oddest feature was a one piece metal top, not aftermarket or home made. I had taken the upholstery out to redo it, which included the head liner, and one could see that there was no welding or any joints, just one piece. There were wood strips across the top below the metal roof, made a flat ceiling, easy to tack to. Someone said on the previous post that it was probably a "one of" or maybe an experiment by Ford, they made stainless and soybean I think it was bodies, who knows, and remember Edsel had them make him the first Lincoln Continental convertible. I wish I had kept it, sold it to a guy who I think took it to Mexico.
Thanks Richard.......I love it too.
My first car was a '59 I bought when I was 17 years old and I never fell out of love with it.
I totally LOVE driving it but that doesn't detract from the fun I have driving the T's.......
My first new car was a '59 Chevy Impala. All black.
Some Great stories guys! Grady, thanks for the re-tell of yours. Your description of the roof sounds exactly the same as the roof on this coupe!
Any chance you remember what the drip edge looked like?
Here's a thread at HAMB where coupe's like Grady's were mentioned: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=158992&page=3
"1931 Ford coupes with Murrey bodies had steel roofs with no insert.I know this because my mother had one. I've only seen one other (at Hershey many years ago).I never saw one without paint so I don't know how they were put together."
Then there were Ford Pick Ups in '31 with steel roofs..
"The 37 kid" wrote:
"The 1931 Ford Pick Up with the steel top was NOTHING different than the other 1930-31 cabs, just a visor and roof section screwed and nailed to the wood framework. Steel TOP with a WOOD framework is the proper way of viewing one of these cabs."
I'm sorry, Mr. Mclellan, I am suffering from the Old Man's Disease, CRS. I am trying hard to remember if it had a sun visor, I am pretty sure it did, and I would be willing to go to Court that it had a drip edge.
My 21 Model T Speedster will have a unique factory one-off design too. Tucked under a Mercury Body will be a variation of a Model T frame. It will be factory because it'll have a Ford 4.0L V6 and Ford AOD transmission. And nobody can change my mind about it being Ford factory provided either. And yes, it will be a 1921 Ford Model T. That's my story and I'll stick to it.
Some close ups of the wood before it came off. Definitely been there for a Long time.
Visor looks interesting.......
Now we're having fun ~~!!
I'm being quiet because I have never popped the top on a 26 or 27...
But I do have a question before I do...
The top rails and headers on the '25's and before have a rabbit channel in them on the inside face, yes? Did the 26/27 not have this as the pictures show? If so, how did they end the fabric on the 26/27? Just face nail and welt? The earlier turned the corner and became hidden.
About the rabbit channel, Likely this isn't the original wood. 87 years is a long time, enough for two sets of wood rails to rot
George......'26 and '27 wood definitely has the rabbets you mention.