and Hard Tops
[JC] "My Roadster had a soft top, but I
rarely used it. The visibility is poor at best with it on, and
although it kept most of the rain off me, just about every Roadster
will leak water somewhere. Mine used to drip water on my left knee.
I did have a heater which helped a lot, but otherwise the Roadster
lacks most of the creature comforts that we've come to expect in our
Now I have seen Roadsters with A/C, stereos,
heaters, hard tops and mild engines that were a lot more comfortable
to drive, but my guess is that 90% of the people who own Roadsters
drive them mostly on the weekends."
[MT] "There are two types of soft tops.
One is the standard snap-on kind, that has the
really cool exposed snaps on the body.
The other is a mechanical one that folds up
flat against the back inner lip of the car. It sits inside the body,
in front of the rollbar, which means that with this top up, the
rollbar is still exposed to the elements.
There are also a few hardtop styles out there,
There are also the side curtains to consider;
There are the plexiglas ones that allow the
window to be slid open,
There are the Jeep Wrangler/Dodge Viper
zippered ones, that flop into your lap when you unzip them,
There is the complete one-piece plexiglas ones
with a circle vent cut into it that is attached to the windshield
(where the windwings go). These pop open when you open the door,
swinging out and up."
[JC] "There is a company in Oregon that
makes a nice car (forget the name), Johnex builds one and Shelby is
suppose to come out with one (CSX 8000 series). However, I've also
been told that Unique can modify their 289 FIA car into a slabside.
Since Unique is closer to me and I know their product, it makes
sense to explore this option. Aurora use to build the slabside back
in the 80's, but from what I've read, the car should have some
modifications done to it to strengthen it."
Tonneau Cover pro and con
[RB] "I use a water resistant car cover
for then I park at hotel's over night. It keeps them wondering
what's under the cover! Early on I heard of people that used
the tonneau cover while driving and had wind problems with it.
SO I think for the $$ a car cover and a soft top are the way to
travel with the Roadster. The car covers go on fast and do a good job
of keep the dew off of those fancy wool, double thick,
[CF] "I just got started in my Roadster
build and have had long conversations about painting the body once
the mechanical part is done. Drilling holes for the snaps in $3,000
to $4,000 paint job is not going to happen with me.
My '95 F-150 came with a removable cover
stretched over an aluminum frame. It did an excellent job sealing
the bed from driven rain and moisture. Is it possible to fabricate
an aluminum frame to cover the same area of the cockpit with a vinyl
cover that folds up and fits into the trunk? The bows that raises
the center of the cover could be the lock to keep the cover taught.
Small clamps can be applied to the inside of the cover pulling it
down onto a foam seal to the body, thus protecting that expensive
paint while sealing against rain.
A zippered flap on each side would allow
access to the inside door handle to open the doors and access the
clamps to remove the cover.
I design tooling for a living and this project
would be an interesting diversion. Anyone with a conduit bender,
drill motor and pop rivet gun could accomplish the frame build. The
local custom interior shop can handle the sewing."
[RB] "I can understand how it could be
done and allow for a reasonably water tight seal. Should be easy to
fab. a frame too. If the frame were designed to allow only one side
open - driver - and the frame still holding the passenger side
tight, might be worth making.
BUT I look at it as for traveling I want stuff
that's light and quick to put on and off. If I were parking the car
for long periods a tighter tonnau cover would be nice. But if
traveling small, light weight, and compact are the key."
[PL] "If you can come up with the frame,
I can supply you with the soft trim cover. I am a trim development
supervisor for a top seating manufacturing company , but really a
Trim developer by trade. I have contacts for all the convertible tob
fabrics and such."
[AV] "I ordered the FFR tonneau with my
kit, but didn't install it. (mainly because I don't like the
"post thingies" all over the body)
[Ro] "I'm going to install the soft tonneau
but I am also going to make a hard tonneau to cover the passenger
side. I saw one on a few race cars and they look great.
The tonneau just sat in the box for a longtime after my car was done
so I sold it to a member who was going to use it."
I have some structural foam which I will shape
into the tonneau and then form a composite using fiberglass over the
foam. Very strong and light."
[ch] "As I said I had a tonneau cover
stretched over an aluminum frame on my '95 F-150. It is easy to
remove and replace except for sliding in the full length of the bed
to get to the front clamps.
My fiberglass boat has the snaps screwed into
the gelcoat. My father-in-law bought it new and the covers worked
well for about 10 years. Once the snaps began to work the glass out
it became a mess. The clear coat over the metallic sparkles began to
spider crack and is a real turn-off.
Now that I'm building a Roadster, I just cannot
bring myself to drilling into a $3,000-$4,000 paint job. My buddies
had an MG and a Austin Healy with the half covers and zippers. They
were great until winter, when they brought out the soft tops.
The company that developed the cover on my
truck had the right idea, it just needs modifying to our
I am going to set up my body on a more stable
platform this spring. Once done I can be assured of proper alignment
of doors, etc and will make models off the body for a frame and how
to clamp it on without marring the finish. Lets remember my buddies
cars were steel bodied. Fiberglass can be stressed and crack the
gelcoat. The fix may be worse than the problem if not studied a bit.
My company, The J.C. Chestef Company, is a
prototype and tool design company I started in the '80s. I am
setting up for tube forming on my chassis so this will make an
interesting diversion when funds dry up or waiting on parts."
[BS] "I would go with a decent car cover,
and the soft top only. You'll find that the more you use the car,
the less likely you are to want the Tonneau Cover on it. I say this
from years of experience with them in my wife's TR6's & MGB's......Fun
at first, but a royal pain in the ass while driving at highway
[Cp] "I have a tonneau cover and a car
cover. I have used the tonneau cover in heavy rain storms (parked)
and it kept the car relatively dry. The cover tends to leak at the
zipper. The car cover on the other hand does a much better job of
protecting the car while it is parked.
Now, if we could design a soft top that use velcro instead of the
studs and snaps (having just a few studs and snaps for the lower
mounting channel to attach to), that would be the ticket."
So... I have to agree. Get a soft top and a
car cover. This way you will be less wet while driving and the car
will be well protected when it is parked."
Go back to the FFR FAQ