Any advice with top? Is it better to take it off or or get a new boot? A new boot would look stupid I think. Are used boots out there? I don't want to go to fast the way it is or I think top will come apart!
When I worked on my barn fresh 1912 I advertised for a used or old top boot with no results. I ended up having a local guy make one out of an old top I had laying around.
Whatever your plans are don't discard one thing from that top, and take detailed notes. One thing I'm searching for now is the upholstery buttons that were used at the top of each top socket, four on each side. These are larger than the 3/8 size that is used everywhere else. I'm guessing 1/2 inch. I'm not aware of anyone making a correct top boot for your car. Since it is a transitional model, it still may have had a flap on each side, or it may have had the newer style that just slips over the top. Up until recently, I had a used boot that would look perfect on your car, but I gave it away to another restorer that had a 16 touring.
I've had to make the boots for all of my T's, because to my knowledge no one makes them correctly.
You should invest in a pair of leather top straps and top saddle pads so you can properly secure the top in the down position. Suggest you contact RV Anderson.
If you have the original buckles for the leather straps, I believe that he will rivet new straps to them. Otherwise, you can get the complete straps with buckles from him.
If you ever decide to raise the top, make sure that you utilize pins (look kind of like cotter pins) for the socket eyelets with the respective leather retainer straps. In prior photos, it looked like the screws for the leather straps are intact on the top sockets. You should look for the original pins. Otherwise, like above, RV Anderson can provide the pins, straps and screws.
If you put the top up, you will also need the front and rear webbing straps and buckles, etc. If you have the original buckles and D rings, you can have new straps installed.
My opinion: do not purchase a top boot from one of the vendors. They are absolutely incorrect in every way, shape and form including the manner in which they are installed on the car which is unfortunate because it is an item than could very easily and correctly be reproduced.
If you can't locate an original top boot, you will need make one yourself or find someone to make it for you if you want it done correctly.
This is what an original top boot looks like for your car. This one is from my dad's 1917 touring but I believe it is also correct for 1916. We used it up until a few years ago when my dad made another one, using the original as a pattern.
Here is the replacement that my father made a few years ago. He had to make one concession; he could not locate the correct width of cotton webbing to make the straps so he made them out of leatherette instead. (He also made and installed the upholstery shown here over 50 years ago using the original for patterns - absolutely no kits on this car).
Here some of the items that you need that I was describing above.
This is my unrestored 1917 roadster but you get the idea. You'll need one additional pin and leather retainer strap on each side on a touring for the additional top bow.
Don't replace it. Leave it on the car intact. That car is too much of a jewel to disturb..
Thanks for those great pictures Erik I had no idea there were retainer straps missing. Both buckles are there for hold down straps one belt is missing. Do you have contact info on R.V. Anderson? I will buy straps top bounces on bumps and it is not put down properly fabric is pinched. Larry and James I would like to leave top intact but if I don't put a boot on it or take it off I think it will be torn apart by the wind. I am looking forward to getting car on road for some longer trips soon.
thanks Mike I sent a e-mail
Russ Furstnow makes all that stuff too, but with Russ you have to be specific that you DO NOT want the brass buckles he uses! A lot of T guys want the brass stuff because they think it makes their T's look better, but for me I like to keep them like Henry made them, so with that buckle, get new leather, but keep the buckle.
I thought of an idea I will try to make a top boot out of an orange tarp and sew on stripes like a safety stripe that way I would get visibility from the rear like a slow moving triangle and would protect the old top and I could take it off easy. I can't see putting on a new boot it would look out of place
I would just strap it down and leave it alone. Mine is just as ratty, who cares, it completes the look of the car. Get some blinking magnetic led lights if you are worried about safety, and drive it.
Ed thanks but I am trying to keep the top intact at least for a patern and it is so rotten it will fly off in small pieces if I dont do something. a new boot would look out of place on this car. the car is close to getting the bugs out and I want to try 30 miles an hour!
A new top boot will look out of place so instead you want to install an orange, candy cane top?
Don't get so hung up on putting on a new top boot and "looking out of place." Nobody is going to care. My main concern would be putting an accurately reproduced one on the car, not one being sold by the vendors.
It's too bad the car wasn't stored all these years with the top up - that's the best way to store a top.
With the top down, you typically want to tuck the the side panels between the top sockets and inward toward the seat. That is also necessary if you have a boot on the top.
I noticed in your photos that the top saddles should probably be adjusted. The passenger side saddle is pushed way in.
I should have typed "orange, candy cane top boot"
Paul... Why not get a second set of bows and build a replacement top? It's a bit costly, but you can remove the original intact with the bows and store it.
Paul, if it were mine I'd just remove the whole thing. That way you can drive the wheels off it when you get it running good and not worry, and delicately open it it up and make patterns on the bench or floor where its easier to work on....Win Win.
Erik I did order new "key straps" from R.V.Anderson thank you for the pictures I never new what it was missing.James and John taking off the old top is probly the best way to go.when it comes to putting on a new top I would get someone that knows what they are doing.thats more than I would try. I guess it does sound funny candy cane boot but that doesnt bother me at all its like safty stripes on back it can be taken off easy. to me a dent or rust hole or paint falling off is fine but a poor repair or touch up I dont like at all thanks guys