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Soft 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 daily drivers.

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, too.

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, carpets!"

[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)
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."

[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.

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 application.

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 speeds........


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."

[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.

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."

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