Just spent two days installing a new top on a 17-23 touring. ( 17 body up to the windshield and then a 23 body grafted on forward.) 17 windshield slanted back like a 23, 17 bows that are warped to one side. The rear window panel was a old replacement and the top panel was new one made by a local man. no idea what year the top was ment to fit. The front bow upright could not be placed vertical or the windshield bow would be 8 inches in front of the windshield. Of about 10 tops I have installed this was the worst one and it shows it. Have fun! things could be worse!!!
Jim maybe they wanted the top to look like one of the "Flat Caps" that people wore in the day
Just like paint will show any body work defects, so will a convertible top show any structural defects of the top assembly.
I usually spend 8 to 10 hours making sure that top bows and irons are all aligned and locked in place (with temporary straps) before beginning to make and/or install any top.
What you describe does sound like a nightmare, am surprised you were able to make it look like anything at all! Do you have a picture to share?