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homemade convertible


celicarocks's Avatar
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05-12-06, 07:36 AM   #1 (permalink)  
homemade convertible

hi
i plan to make my own homemade convertible. basically i want to cut the roof off an older hardtop. im currently looking at a 1974 chevy impala 2 door. im am thinking this will be a good choice because it is a 2 door and it has a tradional ladder box frame, it also has vinyl interior which will resist mold and mildew that a fabric interior would accumulate. i know the handling will suffer but im just looking to cruise around town with it, not long trips. i would like help with exactly what i need to cut the roof off. i am thinking i can cut it with a recipricating saw although im not sure it will cut through the B pillars. anyone with experience with this or might have input on car choice i would really appreciate it. thanks

 
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05-12-06, 07:53 AM   #2 (permalink)  
Tune into the show "Overhaulin'" and watch for reruns of the shows where they do this operation. Personally I wouldn't even THINK about attempting this as a DIY project, not the least of which because true convertibles are built with extra reinforcement in key locations to offset the loss of the roof.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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05-12-06, 10:52 PM   #3 (permalink)  
Posted By: celicarocks hi
i plan to make my own homemade convertible. basically i want to cut the roof off an older hardtop. im currently looking at a 1974 chevy impala 2 door. im am thinking this will be a good choice because it is a 2 door and it has a tradional ladder box frame, it also has vinyl interior which will resist mold and mildew that a fabric interior would accumulate. i know the handling will suffer but im just looking to cruise around town with it, not long trips. i would like help with exactly what i need to cut the roof off. i am thinking i can cut it with a recipricating saw although im not sure it will cut through the B pillars. anyone with experience with this or might have input on car choice i would really appreciate it. thanks

Is this even legal ? Can you just drive a car with the top just cut off ? A lot of safety issues here I think.

 
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05-13-06, 07:03 AM   #4 (permalink)  
I've found a recip saw with some good blades works the best







* It was the roof "skin" I was after
As removing the skin from the skeleton is a painstaking process, it's easier to just cut off the roof in the junkyard, and then remove the skin back at the shop later
I've not made a 'Vert
....though I have thought of doing a Targa Top

 
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05-13-06, 07:09 AM   #5 (permalink)  
Don't know if it's legal, but watching the guys on "Overhaulin" do it was downright scary. They turned a classic T-bird hardtop into a roadster (permanent no-top). Think I remember an earlier episode where they did the same to a different vehcile, can't remember what it was.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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05-13-06, 07:14 AM   #6 (permalink)  
Oh, it's legal
It just depends on how the state handles it as to how much of a pain it is to get tags
It can vary greatly

Absolutely possible though

 
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05-13-06, 07:19 AM   #7 (permalink)  
[QUOTE=the_tow_guy]watching the guys on "Overhaulin" do it They turned a classic T-bird hardtop into a roadster (permanent no-top




I saw that too. IMO the ruined a nice Thunderbird.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
celicarocks's Avatar
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05-15-06, 07:37 AM   #8 (permalink)  
thanks

thanks guys, yes it is legal, they are all the rage way down south, basically an older car a/c quits and they just cut off the roof because the car isn't worth repairing. i'll have to start tivoing overhaulin' again, they got a hotter chic now that is not loopy.

 
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05-17-06, 01:05 PM   #9 (permalink)  
I wouldn't recommend it as a DIY project either unless you really have the equipment and skill to do it correctly. It sounds like you may not have either.

My wife has a 1996 Celica GT which came through as a coupe from Japan and was then converted into a convertible by a California outfit for Toyota. This was because Toyota did not build convertibles during this generation.

So I know it can be done and done correctly however I wouldn't recommend attempting it yourself. If not done correctly, you will loose the integrity of the body and could potentially make the car dangerous to drive and unsafe if in an accident.

On another note....I don't think Chip Foose has made a nice car on the show yet. He just ruins a bunch.

IMHO, the classics were never meant to have low profile tires and slammed to the ground. That is a tuner look.

 
ChristopherT's Avatar
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05-17-06, 03:05 PM   #10 (permalink)  
Posted By: mazpower_hd I wouldn't recommend it as a DIY project either unless you really have the equipment and skill to do it correctly. It sounds like you may not have either.

On another note....I don't think Chip Foose has made a nice car on the show yet. He just ruins a bunch.

IMHO, the classics were never meant to have low profile tires and slammed to the ground. That is a tuner look.
I agree with you on the convertible conversion. If he was to
go ahead with the project, I'd at least advise him to take the car down to a local body shop and ask them how to do it safely. He might have to pay for thier time, but at least he'll have a good read on what to expect when he's done.

As far as Overhauling goes, my personal favorite method of fixing up cars is returning them to factory stock. I'd much
rather look at a car that looks like it's still on the showroom
floor, than listen to a 1972 Pacer with a Chevy 454 under
the hood!

Christopher

 
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