Merry Christmas and welcome to Packard Motor Car Information! If you're new here, please register for a free account.  
Login
Username:

Password:

Remember me



Lost Password?

Register now!
FAQ's
Main Menu
Recent Forum Topics
Who is Online
55 user(s) are online (42 user(s) are browsing Forums)

Members: 1
Guests: 54

Mike Chirco, more...
Helping out...
PackardInfo is a free resource for Packard Owners that is completely supported by user donations. If you can help out, that would be great!

Donate via PayPal
Video Content
Visit PackardInfo.com YouTube Playlist

Donate via PayPal



(1) 2 3 »

1955 Caribbean top material
#1
Home away from home
Home away from home

West Peterson
See User information
Where does one go to purchase a top for a 1955 Caribbean? I searched this site, and nothing came up. So, either my searching abilities are poor (very possible) or it hasn't been discussed (hard to believe).

Posted on: 2/1 17:54
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#2
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

point
See User information
http://www.aro2000.com/
check this website for a conv top

Posted on: 2/1 18:57
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#3
Forum Ambassador
Forum Ambassador

Owen_Dyneto
See User information
West perhaps try searching again, there has been so much written about these tops. Also consider speaking with Eric Haartz and Leon Dixon. The link below by Leeedy will give you info on the original top construction, which is NLA. But premade top kits with a reasonably correct external appearance are available from several top makers who have accurate patterns, Bill Hirsch is one of several agents for these makers. Elektron and E-Z are two that come to mind. I bought my '56 top from EZ via Bill Hirsch and it was excellent, just being replaced after 20+ years. But note these tops will not have the colored inner layer to match the center paint color though there has been plenty published about attempts to simulate that feature though to my knowledge none have been particularly satisfactory.

https://www.packardclub.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=686&start=30

Posted on: 2/1 21:15
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#4
Home away from home
Home away from home

Kevin
See User information
I just picked up a 1955 Caribbean that needs a new top, so I’ll be following this thread with interest. From what I can tell, no one makes the 1955 original [Orlon] top material, and I believe that even in 1956, replacement 1955 tops were make of the 1956 diamond pinpoint vinyl [Hypalon] material. No one is offering 1956 tops with the color pads and headliner, so the two Caribbean owners in our PAC region have simply bought the raw materials and had the top and liners made from scratch. Prohibitively expensive, but they look stunning!

Edited 2/5/21 to reflect corrections from Leeedy

Posted on: 2/1 22:39
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#5
Home away from home
Home away from home

Joe Santana
See User information
Your upholstery shop should have a swatch book of available material for the inner ply so you can specify for E-Z Top the color you want. You can't buy from E-Z direct, but your shop can. I believe E-Z makes up the tops to order from the patterns they have. They can also make it unfinished on the edges so your shop can cut and fit the finished top precisely to your car. I choose special material for the inner ply and ordered the top rough so the shop could finish it to the Duchess. I have photos of what that looks like.

Posted on: 2/1 23:09
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#6
Home away from home
Home away from home

Leeedy
See User information
Quote:

Joe Santana wrote:
Your upholstery shop should have a swatch book of available material for the inner ply so you can specify for E-Z Top the color you want. You can't buy from E-Z direct, but your shop can. I believe E-Z makes up the tops to order from the patterns they have. They can also make it unfinished on the edges so your shop can cut and fit the finished top precisely to your car. I choose special material for the inner ply and ordered the top rough so the shop could finish it to the Duchess. I have photos of what that looks like.


It just doesn't work that way. "Inner ply" (which I presume you mean inner facing of the top fabric) is not orderable from anyone separately. Not unless they are making some kind of headliner–which would be disastrous on a Caribbean. And even moreso for 1955.

Convertible top fabric has at least three layers... all calendared together as one piece at the time of manufacture. Nobody sells "inner plys" separately– unless there has been some radical new development in the industry (one that I have not heard of). And fabric suppliers are not going to make a run that would be long enough to be doable and yet short enough to be affordable too. Especially not in today's environment. Cost to do custom-made fabric (the right type) in the right inner and outer shade would be astrobucks. In the end the top would be so expensive and consume so much time and labor, it could only done with very deep pockets and a lot of time.

I used to get these things made back in the 1970s when I had part interest in a trim shop. But most of the sources for fabric and people to make it and accomplish the coloring are all gone now. A mini-nightmare to do these days. I know and I've vowed never to do another.


Posted on: 2/1 23:56
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#7
Home away from home
Home away from home

Leeedy
See User information
Quote:

Kevin wrote:
I just picked up a 1955 Caribbean that needs a new top, so I’ll be following this thread with interest. From what I can tell, no one makes the 1955 original top material, and I believe that even in 1956, replace 1955 tops were make of the 1956 diamond pinpoint vinyl material. No one is offering 1956 tops with the color pads and headliner, so the two Caribbean owners in our PAC region have simply bought the raw materials and had the top and liners made from scratch. Prohibitively expensive, but they look stunning!


No. Original 1955 Caribbean tops were made of Orlon–a very tightly woven, slightly silky material. NOT vinyl and certainly not "diamond pinpoint"...

"Diamond pinpoint" vinyl is not a material so much as it is a convertible top grain. It is the fabric that I have always suggested comes closest to the appearance of the original Orlon. But diamond pinpoint grain vinyl is certainly NOT the factory-installed original stuff. Diamond pinpoint grain was the most commonly used convertible topping for most (not all, but most) American post-1940s convertibles.

I also recommended (and Mazda adopted) a diamond pinpoint grain vinyl convertible top fabric for RX-7 convertibles during development in the 1980s. I also did a re-design of the clock and warning light unit atop the instrument panel on the same car. RX-7 production convertibles used the diamond-pinpoint grain fabric I specified in black with a headliner. Finally, I had a prototype built using color-keyed canvas supplied to me by Robbins Auto Top Company, who I knew well. I have photos.

And as far as I know, it is still possible to buy American-made vinyl convertible top fabric in diamond pinpoint grain. But almost always this stuff is going to come with a black inner facing. Almost impossible to dye.

Back when it was possible to get white vinyl in diamond pinpoint grain AND light tan inner facing, I used a couple of these to simulate 1955 Caribbean tops. I used to have a very good dye specialist in Long Beach, California. Unfortunately he passed away many years ago.

Now. As for 1956 convertible topping... very different stuff again. The originals were made of Hypalon– a kind of rubberized vinyl, for lack of a better description. The Hypalon tops had a kind of leathery grain commonly known in the industry as "crush grain." Some people use other terms. I made perhaps 20 of these tops with colored insides back in the 1970s, using two companies located in Southern California.

At one time I owned the original factory patterns for 1955 and 1956 Caribbean tops, but I gave these to one of the companies doing work for me in the 1970s. No idea what ever happened to them.

I was able to substitute a vinyl used on Rolls Royce Corniche tops for Hypalon and this worked put very well in both operation and appearance. One of these tops complete with colored pads was folded new in the box IN my 1956 Caribbean when it was stolen out of my barn years ago.

No such thing as "liners" for Caribbean convertible tops. This is a myth. A popular one, but a myth anyway. A friend and I had a liner made as a desperate and VERY expensive solution in the early 1970s (as I recall, It was over $1200 THEN–which was more than some of the cars were bringing in those days). All Caribbeans had whatever color or shade you saw on the inside as the integral inner layer of the outer fabric.

I still have my binder books of convertible top fabrics that once were my lifetime reference source. But most of the fabrics and a lot of the companies are now long gone...

Posted on: 2/2 0:34
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#8
Home away from home
Home away from home

Leeedy
See User information
Quote:

point wrote:
http://www.aro2000.com/
check this website for a conv top


Yes, but 1955 Caribbeans didn't have tan canvas tops. As in never. AND the rear bow outer should be covered by a stainless trim piece, not an aftermarket universal trim Wire-On or Hidem...

Posted on: 2/2 0:47
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#9
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

point
See User information
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

Posted on: 2/2 2:46
 Top  Print 
 


Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#10
Forum Ambassador
Forum Ambassador

Owen_Dyneto
See User information
Yes, Max Merritt did reproduce the stainless trim piece for the exterior of the rear bow. It was a decent reproduction, not quite OEM quality but satisfactory.

Posted on: 2/2 9:06
 Top  Print 
 




(1) 2 3 »




Search
Recent Photos
Photo of the Day
462670 - Imitation Leather Sidewall - Dark Blue
Recent Registry
Website Comments or Questions?? Click Here Copyright 2006-2021, PackardInfo.com All Rights Reserved