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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#11
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Leeedy
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Quote:

point wrote:
u are correct, it takes a stainless strip
i believe Merritt has those strips ,i wouldnt put the top on without the stainless strip,looks cheap without it, u can dye the inside, me and a guy did one comes out nice ,the company made the dye ,mixed it the color wanted , and like i stated good place buy the top is from
aro2000.com they show one on there site in vinyl looks good i have installed many conv tops in my day believe me


No. If you click on the link and go to "1955 Packard (which they call some name–"Club Coupe"– other than Caribbean, but show a Caribbean) there is no vinyl top shown. And no colored inside. This doesn't mean they don't make good tops... but what is shown is NOT authentic at all. Just a top. This is not up for debate.

The top this site shows on a 1955 Caribbean is very clearly tan canvas. The site actually says so. And THIS is the site's recommendation... Haartz Stayfast canvas. The web site states that it is "tan/tan Haartz Stayfast." That's NOT vinyl and it is not the right color. And "tan/tan" in the trim business means "tan on the outside and tan on the inside." 1955 Caribbean convertible tops were never, ever tan. Didn't happen.

It may look nice (especially if one does not know any better), but it certainly does not look authentic and is definitely not like the original. White vinyl in diamond pinpoint grain LOOKS a whole lot closer in appearance to the original tops. And like I said, the top shown is missing the stainless trim on the rear bow. People make these things without ever studying an original...and then claim they are accurate. It hasn't been that many years, but this is how far the history and memories have strayed between 1955 and 2021.

And Haartz Stayfast, I can assure you (having once been in this business myself for many years owning a shop that replaced thousands of tops in Southern California) this material is canvas. Not vinyl. Used it many, many, many times and still have the full sample books I got from the company back in the 1970s and 1980s when Steve Giaquinta was their corporate OEM representative.

I even have photos of us standing together at the cycle test of Mazda Miata's folding top with tempered glass window (something I also introduced–credited or not). I also went to dinner many years annually in Las Vegas with my good friend Mr. Nat Danas who was publisher of Auto Trim News. I knew Mr. Danas for many years and he literally wrote the book (and I still have mine) on the automotive convertible top trim business. I can assure you, I know this business and I don't make statements without knowing my stuff.

Any good automotive trim shop can make A convertible top for you. But that does not mean the top is authentic. Nor does it mean said top looks like the original. And if you go this far in a restoration, what's the point if these things don't matter?

FINALLY... if you want to see a REAL original... unmolested 1955 Caribbean convertible top, hustle yourself over to the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio. Take a good look at the very low-miles Jean Peters/Howard Hughes Caribbean which now resides there.

IF the museum is smart and keeps the top raised UP rather than leaving it squished down (like any common display you can see anywhere in the world), you can see a REAL ORIGINAL 1955 Caribbean convertible top. With correct original fabric outside and color INSIDE in all of its original glory. IF you look close and the museum allows, you can also see how on 1955 Caribbeans, the color of the inner top face extended down into the top well (this was changed for 1956).

I first drove and photographed this car in the 1970s in Beverly Hills–when it had less than 1,000 miles on the odometer. And I have original poster-sized color proofs from when the car was photographed back then for Motor Trend magazine. You can read the original history I wrote on the car in the 1970s in The Packard Cormorant magazine, published by The Packard Club (www.PackardClub.org).

Attach file:



jpg  HughesCaribbeanWM.jpg (24.63 KB)
1249_6019e0248524a.jpg 330X462 px

Posted on: 2/2 11:56
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#12
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Pack120c
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Leeedy,

Would the white vinyl diamond pinpoint be a suitable substitute for a 1953 Caribbean also?

Thank you for sharing this valuable knowledge.

Posted on: 2/2 14:14
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#13
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Leeedy
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Quote:

Pack120c wrote:
Leeedy,

Would the white vinyl diamond pinpoint be a suitable substitute for a 1953 Caribbean also?

Thank you for sharing this valuable knowledge.


You are most welcome.

In light of the fact that the original Orlon is not around, the closest in appearance is a material I found some time ago... but it is something over $300 a yard and you'll need at least six yards (and that's with no mistakes or error margin for same)! AND... lonnnnnng waits to get the stuff. And this is just for the bare fabric... which soils very easily.

THEN you have to get it made into a top. Which, of course costs MORE $ money. By the time you've just got the top made (not installed or colored yet) you're into it for thousands... with all that time expended... and with a lot left to do.

Worse, a lot of trimmers (especially today) don't even want to work with it due to the cost and damage liability. One mistake and you're on the hook for large money.

So? Diamond pinpoint grain vinyl can be a decent substitute. Far easier to clean and more robust. AND if you are lucky enough to find it with off-white or light tan inner facing, then you're pretty much home free!

The insides of the 1953-54 tops were very light to compliment the white bows and top frame. Packard was trying (via Mitchell-Bentley) to create a convertible top that looked bright and airy inside–even with the top raised (dark inner facings darkened the overall interior and looked odd against the white frame). People today don't know this and therefore do their cars wrong or listen to bad advice from those who don't know either). Packard did a LOT of work and research on convertible tops.

By the way, the link discussed earlier also shows a 1954 done with a top that looks almost the right color in the photos. No idea what fabric they used here. But then they blow it by putting a fabric strip at the base of the backlight window. Something the original Caribbeans never had.

Posted on: 2/2 15:47
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#14
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ewrecks
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I went through the convertible top replacement for the Caribbean several years ago. I posted my “ solution” but cannot find the link in my history.
I originally purchased a top from Klass collections at the suggestion of the late president of the packard Museum in Dayton where I bought the project car.
Suffice it to say that was a mistake..the top had a sewn in cloth lining which would never have worked. The top was not cut properly and the installer ruined it while trying to make it fit.and Klass had ceased making tops.
I was able to secure 10 yards of the pinpoint white vinyl through Superior tops( they only deal with professional installers):which had the tan interior color vs the Black which was all I could find elsewhere.
A company in .California makes a water based dye which they color matched to the lighter green of the interior. I have the name in an archive folder and it should be in my post.
I sprayed the inside of the fabric and shipped it to Superior who produced the top .
There are a few shots of the color coordinated top on a subsequent post where I screwed up and broke the top frame of my car( the fitting at the top of the cylinder was positioned to the inside rather than facing forward...contacted the wheel well).
The too looks fine but it is not the original Orlon which , if the late Bill Hirsch is to be believed , is fortunate since it tended to schrink and needed replaced within a short time.
Hope this helps.
I believe the material can be secured with the tan interior and sprayed as I did. I have stumbled into several suplliers since who offer dyes that seem durable enough for the inside of a top. There are still upholsterers who can produce a top and pads but the seams would probably leak....but who drives a Caribbean in the rain?
I am not sure .Superior would afford the same service or even if they are still in business.

Posted on: 2/2 20:33
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#15
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Leeedy
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Quote:

ewrecks wrote:
I went through the convertible top replacement for the Caribbean several years ago. I posted my “ solution” but cannot find the link in my history.
I originally purchased a top from Klass collections at the suggestion of the late president of the packard Museum in Dayton where I bought the project car.
Suffice it to say that was a mistake..the top had a sewn in cloth lining which would never have worked. The top was not cut properly and the installer ruined it while trying to make it fit.and Klass had ceased making tops.
I was able to secure 10 yards of the pinpoint white vinyl through Superior tops( they only deal with professional installers):which had the tan interior color vs the Black which was all I could find elsewhere.
A company in .California makes a water based dye which they color matched to the lighter green of the interior. I have the name in an archive folder and it should be in my post.
I sprayed the inside of the fabric and shipped it to Superior who produced the top .
There are a few shots of the color coordinated top on a subsequent post where I screwed up and broke the top frame of my car( the fitting at the top of the cylinder was positioned to the inside rather than facing forward...contacted the wheel well).
The too looks fine but it is not the original Orlon which , if the late Bill Hirsch is to be believed , is fortunate since it tended to schrink and needed replaced within a short time.
Hope this helps.
I believe the material can be secured with the tan interior and sprayed as I did. I have stumbled into several suplliers since who offer dyes that seem durable enough for the inside of a top. There are still upholsterers who can produce a top and pads but the seams would probably leak....but who drives a Caribbean in the rain?
I am not sure .Superior would afford the same service or even if they are still in business.


Okay... but here is yet another situation where non-professional trimmers need to stop and think. This is one area where bypassing the middleman can actually create more problems than it may seem to solve. A convertible top on a Caribbean needs to have an accurate pattern and dielectrically sealed seams. While a Caribbean might not be driven in the rain, what are you going to do when you wash the car? How will that water be prevented from entering via a home-grown seam and seeping into the inner facing and staining it? Or leaking into the pads and eventually either ruining them or building up wonderful mold–especially the bad, bad kind? And... there are other issues.

And you don't want to go to an "upholsterer," you want to go to a professional auto trimmer and professional auto trim shop. Someone familiar with convertible tops and convertible top manufacture and installation. They should have the connections and know the best source companies to get what you need, without getting in between their dealings with wholesalers/suppliers (most of whom certainly do not want to deal with the general public anyway). Then let THEM (your trim shop) obtain the fabric after you tell them what you need because they may not know.

Trying to DIY the whole thing from top to bottom (no pun intended) can end up with you just creating more problems and more expense than necessary. And there are still companies around (not known to the general public but known to professional trimmers) that can manufacture a proper top.

Posted on: 2/2 22:04
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#16
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Leeedy
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Just to show you how well (and how long) I've known the Howard Hughes/Jean Peters 1955 Caribbean that I mentioned is now in the National Packard Museum. AND that I actually do have the things I tell you I have. Here is another artifact I saved from the 1970s when I first drove the car and wrote about it.

I occasionally did freelance work at Petersen Publishing Company (the folks who published Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Rod & Custom, Sports Car Graphic and a whole bunch of other cool magazines). Their offices were on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, just up the street from the Sunset Ecology Car Wash where I believe they photographed the car. A friend with whom I later worked at Mazda (developing the Miata sports car) also previously worked at Petersen at that time..

Right after the Hughes Caribbean had just been photographed and initial page runs for the magazine were completed, he handed this poster-sized print to me and I've kept it ever since.

This is a first proof print-out of what would later become the center spread for an issue of MT magazine– with the first news stand article covering the car.

I had no input on the MT article, and thus no possibility of correcting what it said (silly things like Caribbeans having "air bag suspension"). But it was certainly a very lovely photo (and lovely Hollywood model). I eventually wrote the article I wanted for The Packard Cormorant magazine of the Packard Club.

Now back to today. As I said, if you want to see an unmolested ORIGINAL 1955 Caribbean factory-installed convertible top (the exact car in this photo), you'll want to get over to the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio. Let's hope that the museum is sensible about displaying this rare item with the top in the RAISED position. Anybody with a bad or non-original top can hide it by lowering it. And if the original top on THIS Caribbean is left smooshed down in the lowered position–sooner or later it will need a top replacement too! And that would be a terribly sad waste. Let's SEE this one in the RAISED position, showing off the pink inner face!

Attach file:



jpg  HowardHughesCaribbeanProofWM.jpg (301.75 KB)
1249_6036ab9b6fd2f.jpg 1920X1440 px

Posted on: 2/24 14:45
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#17
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Fish Eggs
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Am looking for a replica of the Hypalon top material for my 1956 Caribbean hardtop. SMS is taking forever and am loosing patience with them. Is there another supplier for this material? Thank you.

Posted on: 7/8 13:06
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#18
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Owen_Dyneto
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It's unclear just what you're looking for. Replica only as to external "leather" grain in white vinyl, or a full replica with the interior layer in color to match the paint scheme? The former is available, both EZ and Elektron have been recent sources, I purchased my EZ top thru Bill Hirsch. I'm not aware of a source for the latter.

Posted on: 7/8 14:45
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#19
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Ozstatman
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G'day Fish Eggs,
to PackardInfo. I invite you to include your '56 Caribbean Convertible in the Packard Vehicle Registry.

Posted on: 7/8 16:13
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#20
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Mechagon
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Quote:

Fish Eggs wrote:
Am looking for a replica of the Hypalon top material for my 1956 Caribbean hardtop. SMS is taking forever and am loosing patience with them. Is there another supplier for this material? Thank you.


Unfortunately you'll just have to live with that when dealing with SMS. Awful service, good product. I waited almost a year for seat upholstery on one of my past cars. If they didn't have an established reputation I would have assumed they'd just stolen my money. They're just a very inefficient operation.

Posted on: 7/8 16:29
Alberta - Canada
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