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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#31
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Leeedy
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Quote:

West Peterson wrote:
[quote]
Leeedy wrote:
[quote]

Leeedy. I appreciate all the information that you have provided through the years on '55-'56 convertible tops. You are certainly a wealth of knowledge.

I am ready to order a top for our 1955 convertible. At this time, because of cost and complexity, I'm not so interested in having the inner liner being correct (blue). Black is fine for our use. However, I certainly want the outer material to look as correct as possible.

Which supplier would you recommend ordering from?

Thank you!!!


Understand about cost and complexity. Normal fabric most accurate in appearance, with light color, dye-able inner face I would use today for 1955 Caribbean costs over $300 a yard. And is still tough to get even at that price.

But even if you don't care about having a color inner face on your 1955 Caribbean top, it is still best if you don't default to black inside. While black is the most common inner-face color for convertible tops, Packard never, ever intended for these top insides to be black. Their stated intent was for the Caribbeans (and other postwar convertibles) to be as light and airy inside as possible. Thus the reason why Packard's convertible top bows and top-stack framework were painted white instead of black as other car makers did.

If you do a bit of looking, there are convertible top fabrics with a tan or beige interior facing. Far better than using black.

As for recommending a supplier? As I've stated, I have not been involved in the industry for a lot of years and so much has changed. And remember... there are fabric suppliers... and then there are convertible top suppliers. Somehow you need to marry the two and come up with the best solution for you. This is the best I can say. Know what look you want and then approach a supplier.

Posted on: 3/16 12:47
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#32
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West Peterson
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Thank you.

Posted on: 3/16 13:36
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#33
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West Peterson
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Unfortunately, it looks like convertible top suppliers only offer the black liner.

Posted on: 3/16 15:16
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#34
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Leeedy
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Quote:

West Peterson wrote:
Unfortunately, it looks like convertible top suppliers only offer the black liner.


Again, this is why I purposely stated that you need to "marry the two"... find a convertible top fabric manufacturer that makes the stuff with a light backing instead of black. Then get whoever you choose to make your top to use the material you find instead of just typical off-the-roll stuff.

Suppliers of ready-made tops are not going to offer you anything but the easiest stuff they can find at the cheapest price they can get it for them. The extra effort is just more work for them at no profit. So as expected, they'll offer you a take-it-or-leave-it one-type-does-all situation.

It was never an easy business to do unusual convertible tops. Here's where the work comes in. Gotta do some searching and calling and emailing. In the end it never pays to be in a hurry when getting a convertible top– especially in the case of a Caribbean.

Posted on: 3/16 17:46
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#35
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West Peterson
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Can someone measure the back plastic window on the top? It seems that Electron's window size is way too big. Their catalog says they will make it any size, but I need to know what the correct size is.

I'm am taking your advice and ordering the light colored liner. Thanks.

Posted on: 4/6 15:58
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#36
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Leeedy
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Quote:

West Peterson wrote:
Can someone measure the back plastic window on the top? It seems that Electron's window size is way too big. Their catalog says they will make it any size, but I need to know what the correct size is.

I'm am taking your advice and ordering the light colored liner. Thanks.


Measuring the rear window opening and checking the appearance ought to be very, very, very easy. This is because the lowest-mile, nearly NOS 1955 Caribbean purchased new by Howard Hughes still exists and WAS unmolested, the last I knew of it.

Where is this Caribbean today? It was donated recently to the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio. How do you get to see the beautiful original color-lined top and measure the rear window? Well. Here's the rub (in more ways than one). You can see the car with the top down... just like any other 1955 Caribbean you might see in a display or a museum. But seeing the top? Well. That's another story.

Last I knew, the one, most pristine, unmolested, all-original 1955 Caribbean top was un-seeable. Why? Because the museum did the very typical today thing that novices do. They immediately sucked the top down and left it that way. And that was that. To anyone who really knows convertibles and vintage convertible tops... a nightmare. Aside from being the absolute worst thing that could be done to this particular original Orlon top (it was formerly always displayed with the top UP), you can't see and measure the rear window opening.

But here is (or at least was) your best example... with the rear hiked up and the top buttoned down...

Attach file:



jpg  HughesCaribAtNatPackMuse2.jpg (2,214.15 KB)
1249_624e3fb5c1487.jpg 4032X1960 px

Posted on: 4/6 20:35
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#37
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ewrecks
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West Peterson -:I went through the top repacement drama for my 55 Caribbean probably 5 years ago.
If you check the posts on this same subject from May-June 2020 there are a number of photos of the Howard Hughes car with the top displayed which may give you some ideas about the window size.
I was also unable to find a top with the light colored ( tan) from any vendor and was lucky ..or unlucky…enough to be able to secure 10 yards of the white pinpoint vinyl from Superior tops. I may still have a portion of the material in the garage.
I opted to spray the inside with a water based dye to match the interior and sent the vinyl back to Superior who used the material to create the top.
Superior only dealt with authorized installers …not the general public.
I do not know if they are still in business but they may still stock the material with the tan interior color and might be able to produce a top with that color.
Assuming that you plan to have the top installed by a professional trim shop, they may be able to secure a top for you.
Good luck .
I agree that the cost and availability issues get worse every day. I was just forced to buy the adapter kit for the brake light switch after the last NOS unit in my larder failed( again) and the only replacement I could find was over $90.
RJR

Posted on: 4/7 10:14
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#38
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Let the ride decide
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West,
The blueprints for the part does exist. I did purchase one, but finding it right now is a challenge!

IF I remember correctly, it even showed some stamping in the corners.

You might try three PPG, or Studebaker National Museum for the blueprints.

Posted on: 4/7 13:24
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#39
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West Peterson
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Obviously, since I'm not going the full route of trying to match the inside color to the light blue stripe, I'm not entirely interested in an exact measurement. So, if anyone with a 1955 Caribbean who is happy with the size of their window would measure side to side, top to bottom, and the distance from the bottom of the window to the body trim, I'd very much appreciate it.

Posted on: 4/8 7:44
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#40
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West Peterson
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This is really getting to be a huge frustrating experience. Electron tops says their rear window size is 44 x 26 inches. That is absolutely insane. There is probably no existing rear backlight that has a measurement that size ... on any car!!

Attach file:


pdf electron.pdf Size: 106.43 KB; Hits: 35

Posted on: 4/14 10:00
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