Sunday, March 30, 2014

A New Top

I thought I would just have the top done by an upholstery shop......VOID. Its either "didn't they use chicken wire in these??" or " I will only do this by installing a metal top in the car and then Landau the new metal. Probably will scratch the paint!"

So here we go........we start with the new structure and new paint, I can do this!

The first step is to block the bow/side rail joints to be sure that no irregularities exist. Then block and trim the bows and related headliner listings.

With all of the information on the net, I will do a 5 layer insert. This is old school, but so am I.

With a paper pattern of the insert (metal edge to metal edge) I taped the car and installed the first layer for sound deadening. This is one layer of "Warm & Natural" cotton quilt batting. This is stapled down with a simple fine line stapler.

The next step requires better paint protection, so I cut the middle (paper pattern) out of a $2.50 soft blanket from the local Thrift Store and taped that over the first tape line.

I really like Nick's paint, and this seemed a little wimpy to a clutz like me. The CEO was absent, so I scrounged around the house for more protection. I snagged a hidden PINK blanket (she will never miss it) and added it and another layer of tape.

Now it seems better protected.

A buddy stopped by while I was taping this one on and said " You're going to get in trouble when she gets home!! But it does look kinda sporty if you like PINK".

Now comes the chicken *#@/)^. I hate this stuff but the old timer Model A guys swear by it. We are nicely padded now (warm and soft too).

Even after rolling it out on the driveway several times and duct taping the sharp ends, it still looked like a potato chip.

Three hours later, it was tight and smooth and retained by nails.

Now comes the air stapler to secure the wire as stretched. Cut and trim to the inside metal edge again.

The third layer in "the plan" is Haartz Cambria convertible top fabric. This is a very nice, tough, non-stretch material I found at the upholstery supply.

Waiting two days for a warm full sun day, I built the stretching frame for the Landau vinyl.
Now the car sits in the sun to heat and relax the material prior to streching and stapling in place. Not much stretch in the Harrtz fabric.

The Landau fabric heated faster the the top fabric, so I stopped and stretched it to the frame while the top was heating. This is the first of probably 3 stretches.

Click on any picture for full view.

Stretching side to side and front to rear, the third layer is fitted to the inside metal edge and stapled in place. Pain in the *@#(^%$  since the stapler is now hitting previous staples and the wire.

All stapled in place and tight as a drum!

Trimmed and untaped.Now waiting for the 1/2" polyester padding from Labaron Bonney and searching for a trim component that I find acceptable.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It Runs !!!

A multitude of details. Fresh engine, fresh turbo 350, FRESH EVERYTHING!

After a last complete circuit evaluation (defective new starter switch), I got out the beads, placed them in my old tithing dish, poured 5 gallons of  Chevron "Ethyl" in the tank and waited for my friend Teak to show up.

I was nervous trying this by my self but I armed Teak with a 5 lb. fire extinguisher, 7 quarts of ATF, and a cobbled up funnel to the Lokar dipstick tube. I cable tied the funnel to the radiator support rods.
We placed the rear axle on jack stands (don't want this in the spare bedroom) and hooked up the battery with a quick release clamp.

I cannot tell a lie, there were a few glitches........

After about an hour of trying to get it to idle correctly, the points in the distributor finally just closed up...all stop??

Who ever had the idea that the blower was cool never considered working on the points. We finally adjusted them to an eyeball .016". Teak only has one good eye so he held the distributor cap up and I cleaned and set them. No match book covers but a genuine Mark IV, First Generation 1945 Eyeball (brown).

Wow, that was nice, can adjust the carb and everything.

Ended up with 10 1/2 quarts of ATF in the trans. The wheels go one direction in "DRAG" and the other direction in "RACE". How cool is that?

Every thing got better yet after the overflow tubing fell off the radiator resevoir and we got that issue addressed. It does seem to run a little warm (HOT!!) so I may need a swamp cooler for the front??

BIG +++ today. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Interior Update

The last two weeks have been dealing with door glass and reproduction parts! If there were a choice, I would recommend repair or rebuild for some of the components in the "A".

I installed the door glass with all new hardware then finished the door panels and installed those. This involves a number of sequenced reproduction components, some of which don't quite fit correctly. Each problem fix affects the next components........A nightmare!

Covered the cowl panels yesterday and installed today. Looks good.

We used 1/4" sew foam on the panels and the seat just barely touches the door panels when the door is closed. I would have preferred 1/2" sew foam but was concerned the the contact would wear on both pieces.

For those who consider $8 to $12k for doing this from absolute scratch out of line, I can tell you that there are at least 100 manhours in this job even for an experienced trimmer (200+ for me). Just add it up at whatever the hourly rate.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Doors n' Glass

Finally, I'm down to installing the doors. I need to have them on to install the glass and door panels. The cowl panels need to line up with the door panels. Measuring is good but having all in position to scribe the line is the best.
Remember the dream?? This is looking EXACTLY like the dream. The tinted glass was from Bob's Classic Auto Glass
They were nice enough to compare my patterns to theirs as a check and then I elected to use their patterns since they know the glass business. They are perfect.
I want to mention that if you want to cut to your patterns, be very careful, they cut and you bought! Good people to work with and they know the correct glass thickness for the Model A.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Seat's In !!

After 20 months of work, the plan is coming together. I actually sat in the car today!
Jose did a very nice job on the seat cushions, his upholstery men are very experienced and he demands good work.


They are exactly like my drawings, just what I wanted.

I drew up the the door panels and dropped off the panels, drawings and fabric to them on Friday. He will have the pleated fabric for me in a couple weeks.

Now that the trans cables, cooler, and battery cables are in, It was time for the floor. Finding the bag of hardware from the fabrication was a bit of a challenge but we got'er done.

 The Lokar brake handle is out of the way, and the master cylinder access is going to be fine. I'm going to need a gas pedal soon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Without the online tutorials, I'm not sure I could have got this done. I am sure that with the top upholstery on the car, I would have done it differently.

You start at the rear with glue (DAP vinyl top and trim) on the bows only. None on the listing. Even though this headliner only weighs about 1 1/4 lbs, its heavy to handle. Two of us held it in place against the glue while I stapled with the fineline.
Its important to cut reliefs in the sides of the headliner listings (template this) where they pass under the top wood or the listing will distort the headliner.

After you have it all hung, and a few staples low on the seams around the edges,  you can see the problems from the inside. You can also see the unwanted variations on the topside just by looking at the stitching line.
At that point you can work from the top pulling staples and adjusting out the variations.
When you have it where you want it, get out the precut panel board arched strips and the pneumatic stapler and secure it better by stapling the panel board over the listing and taking the load off of the original listing staples.
NOW QUIT FOR THE DAY and come back tomorrow and look at it again.
Its tougher on the second day, bigger staples and drier glue, but now fine tune the installation by pulling and easing the listings.
I waited a week (adjusting several times) and then emptied the staple gun a couple times into the bows. Its got to end sometime 

Layout, Glue, and You

The minimal skills I picked up during the abuse by my best friend (Dad) were seriously valuable during this little project. When you add that experience to the vast knowledge available at the Interior Forum at Hot Rodders.Com, you can proceed with your SIMPLE project with enough background to muddle through.

It took way to many hours, but a very rewarding experience! The goal was all hidden fasteners but I will need at least 4 and probably 6 covered snaps to complete the installation.

What do you think so far?? The rear bulkhead panel is completely hidden but I may add covered snaps to this to make it correct.
More of the drivers side.....
Even my nitpicking buddies are OK with this so far

I only get upset when people won't work for me. I had not intended to do this myself but the whole thing has been a neat project and very inexpensive.  Less than $300.00 total to this point.
The seat frame was definitely a pain, and the Pfaff 7500 will not do sew foam so we are waiting for the cushions from the upholstery shop. Once the seat is installed I can tell how much foolishness I can dream up for the door panels. The Model A doors are VERY close to the seat cushion.