I have a 1926 Touring that is in need of a new top. The seam stitching is disintegrating and the rear curtain has pretty well ripped out of the rear panel. I was contemplating getting a kit from Lang's and doing it myself as a summer project. I put a new interior in a couple years ago, and did the top on our '30 Model A pickup. Am I biting off more than I can chew? What are them major pitfalls?
Wayne, You should be able to do it by yourself, although and extra pair of hands is handy now and then. I built a three sided scaffold (on horses) about 18 inches high to make it easier to get to the top. Be sure you get the pads to go with the top. I don't think they are automatically included. Without them, your top looks like a staved horse.
Preparation of the bows is critical. I plugged the old tack holes with toothpicks and glue, then covered them with the fabric supplied and sewed the cover. I re-used the original short tacks, because that size is hard to find.
If you can get it, I think you will like having a roll up rear curtain, even though that was not original.
- Take your time.
- Expect to remove tacks as you work out the "fit", wrinkles and shapes.
- Don't use staples, as they are hard to remove when doing the adjustments above.
- Don't drive the tacks all the way down until you're certain everything is as you want it. Again, easier to remove them.
- Invest in a decent upholstery stretching plier. Or, a couple of them. Excellent tools for pulling out wrinkles before tacking!!
- Install on a warm, sunny day.
- Be sure the car is setting on good, flat ground during installation. (Don't want to flex the body while fitting the top)
- Mark the center lines of your top & back panels as well as the center lines of the bows & body. Fit the panels, (rear one first), matching up those center lines, and tacking from the center outward.
- Don't cut ANYTHING until you're certain everything is fit up perfectly.
- Take your time.
Upholstery stretching pliers. A MUST!
You can do it! Get a Classtique kit and follow the directions. Also, watch their videos. I used push pins to temporarily position the material on the bows. Once I was satisfied with the positioning, only then did I start driving staples using a pneumatic upholstery staple gun. If you decide to use staples, don't try to get by with a hardware store generic staple gun, get the real thing.
Who ever put the new top on my '26 didn't keep the back or the top parts centered on the car body & top bows. It works ok, but it's sure noticeable if you look at it.
I have installed a roadster and a 26 touring top, both were kits from Langs. Read what was posted above concerning the bows. The front one is of special importance. The length must be just right so that the brackets will clamp to the windshield posts. If the wood is good and the nail holes are filled you are ready to go. First thing is the webbing. The webbing will determine the height of the rear bow and the distance between front and back. Be careful with the measurements and measure the rear bow from the top of the body, not the ground. If your car leans and you measure from the ground the top will always look crooked. Next thing is the pads. They also help keep everything in alignment. Then put the center of the top at the center of the bow and rear panel. You will need to place the rear panel so that the Gypsy curtains are in alignment with the rear bow. You might have some trimming at the top and at the bottom in order to accomplish this. After you get the rear panel installed you can install the fastener rings or snaps on the curtain. Nest thing is to install Windbreaker on the front bow. It should hang right in front of the windshield. Not too far forward or too far back but right on top. Next comes the top. Same applies center the top on the bows and after you have everything installed and you are satisfied with it, you can trim the edges and place the trim material.
OK, youa'll talked me into it. Even sounds like fun, and I have an 18 yr old to help me! I wish I knew about the stretching pliers when I was doing my pickup. This will be a summer project, but I'll post progress reports once I start in July or so.
There is a woman on YouTube who is installing a new top on I think a 1925 T Touring car.
She goes through it all step by step.
I would follow everything as recommended in the previous posts.
I recently finished a top on my ‘12, went well. All the advice above is good. Video on Classtique.com is very helpful.