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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#21
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R H
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Fish eggs.

Pete. Start a blog.

Posted on: 7/9 0:16
Riki
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#22
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Leeedy
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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.



Hypalon was a rubberized vinyl that has not been made in decades. It was nearly impossible to find even in the early 1970s. So conjuring some up now in 2021 is definitely, very, very certainly going to take a long, long time. Nobody can just push a button and make Hypalon roll out of a machine. It will be verrrry expensive too... and that's even if SMS or anyone could conjure some of the stuff up.

As someone who once owned a professional trim shop (and I still have my Hypalon sample swatches and piles of convertible fabric books going back to the 1950s). And as THE person who recommended OEM convertible top fabrics for both Mazda RX-7 and Miata I once knew every supplier of convertible tops. I would say that anyone who would offer to make Hypalon (or a replica thereof) is going to take a long, long time... and be very courageous to even consider doing it. So, despite the time involved, at least they offered to do it when most would just flat-out say no. Getting such stuff made is definitely not easy, and can be very, very, very time-consuming. Just a calendaring roller alone could take a year or so to make–IF someone had the money, the technology, the facility and the talent to make one. And then there would be the chemistry involved–which again would not at all be easy or cheap. Making this kind of stuff is nowhere near as easy as making seat fabric.

Furthermore most of the old companies making these fabrics are either gone or no longer making such fabrics. And the old-timers who really knew all of this stuff are mostly dead and gone. So this business in 2021 is nothing like it was even 15 years ago. The convertible and vinyl top business has all but disappeared compared to what it once was in the USA. And remember– they only made a few hundred Caribbean hardtops and convertibles even when new. So these are all things to consider.

In the meantime, the stuff I always used years ago FOR 1956 only as a replica for Hypalon as used on Packard Caribbean hardtops and convertibles–1956 ONLY– would still not be easy to find. But far more in the realm of reality than Hypalon.

I recommend using a special fabric called "Everflex"... which was factory original material used on Rolls Royce Corniche convertibles. I say this for good reasons. Everflex had a somewhat similar grain to Hypalon–NOT exact, but similar. It passes quite well on a Caribbean–especially since 99% of the people looking at these tops (including "expert judges" at shows) have no idea what is and isn't original.

I doubt that even Everflex is still being made–but it was around for a lot longer than Hypalon. However, a good professional automotive trim shop ought to be able to order Everflex fabric for you if any wholesale-distributor still has a bolt laying around. Once you know what to ask for, then you have a better starting place.

Here is a photo of just a few of my convertible top fabric swatches. I have thousands gathered over decades of working in the auto industry. The swatch card here came from an old company that has been out of business since the 1980s.

I am including an additional photo of a sample swatch of actual Hypalon I saved since 1977. This swatch is as it was for the 1956 Caribbean convertible and hardtop.

Also...don't confuse appearance with grain and what a material actually is. A vinyl fabric could look very close in grain, but even if it looked identical, it would merely look that way. Hypalon and vinyl feel different to the touch and vinyls have very different stretch and longevity factors. Looking the same is not being the same.

There are also other fabrics made even today (like tarps and camping gear) that claim to be "Hypalon" due to their construction and chemical makeup... but don't confuse these "Hypalons" with the grained finish white automotive top kind used on 1956 Packard Caribbeans. NOT the same stuff.

Finally... 1955 Caribbean tops were completely different in both appearance and fabric... and were made of woven Orlon.

Both 1955 and 1956 Caribbean convertible tops had color inner faces, despite their exterior differences. As a general rule, the inner face of the Caribbean convertible tops was the color of the center stripe paint unless a custom paint job was specially ordered.

Attach file:



jpg  ConvertibleTopFabrics copyWM.jpg (1,125.42 KB)
1249_60e87fbd64631.jpg 4032X3024 px

jpeg  HypalonSampleWM.jpeg (1,162.45 KB)
1249_60eb501c9c0b9.jpeg 4032X3024 px

Posted on: 7/9 10:55
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#23
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Ozstatman
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G'day pphfe(Fish Eggs),
for including your '56 Caribbean Hardtop Coupe in the Packard Vehicle Registry.

Posted on: 7/10 16:43
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
#24
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Fish Eggs
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Thank you for the info. Don' want actual Hypalon, this was bad stuff and rusted out the Caribbean hardtop's roofs. Just want something that looks like it with a color that's close. Don't care how it "feels".

Posted on: 7/13 22:21
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#25
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R H
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Posted on: 7/14 0:59
Riki
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#26
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Leeedy
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Quote:

Fish Eggs wrote:
Thank you for the info. Don' want actual Hypalon, this was bad stuff and rusted out the Caribbean hardtop's roofs. Just want something that looks like it with a color that's close. Don't care how it "feels"


You are most welcome.

I rarely like to get into such detail since internet postings tend to take on lives of their own and go off in directions not intended– at least not by me. And trying to provide information on the internet almost always has unintended reactions or interpretations by somebody, somewhere. And everybody has an opinion. Thus I often say nothing.

First, Hypalon was not "bad stuff" at all. Quite the contrary. It was very good stuff. Packard chose it for a reason. It was not the cause of 1956 Caribbean hardtops rusting out. Who says that?

The actual cause of Caribbean hardtops rusting was not the outer covering fabric. It was the felt padding underneath the Hypalon that caused the rust-outs. The padding held water like a sponge and since it was covered with the Hypalon, the wet felt tended to remain wet for lonnnnng, long periods of time. It was wet, in the dark and had no way to dry out. The covering even cooked and preserved the moisture. Cooking and temp changes resulted in what? Sweating...condensation... which brings us back to moisture against metal again. This was even when the top appeared perfectly dry on the outside. This would have happened whether the outer covering was Hypalon or vinyl or a Wal-Mart blue tarp!

Our shop pulled a couple of Caribbean tops decades after they were made... and the underside of the felt was still wet– some with black mold. Even though these Caribbeans had not been wet for very, very long times.

1956 Caribbean hardtops were not merely covered tops (like typical vinyl tops), they were padded tops. Padded tops look wonderful and have a premium feel. But ALL padded tops eventually fall prey to moisture retention. Therefore, the metal under them only has one direction to go: rust.

Second, regarding the "feel" of Hypalon... I mention this for one reason and one reason only. Not because anyone does or does not care how it "feels"... but rather because it is an easy way for even a novice to quickly distinguish real Hypalon (as used for 1956 Caribbeans) from vinyl. That's all. Just information to assist.

You have no idea of how many people have triumphantly told me over the years that they "found" or have some Hypalon for a Caribbean. Almost every time... they don't.

Finally I did exactly point out that I have used Everflex as a passable replica for the Hypalon used on 1956 Caribbeans. This is exactly, precisely what I said. My exact words were: "I recommend using a special fabric called 'Everflex'..." You can re-read my recommendation in the posting. It would seem that the wish has been fulfilled, so I don't understand the response.

One thing is for sure. Although nobody posted it before...now everybody knows Everflex... or it will seem that way.

Posted on: 7/14 10:23
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#27
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Fish Eggs
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Would you recommend putting a "pad" under the everflex when I redo the roof or just put it over the metal? I plan to shoot the roof with an epoxy primer prior to covering it. Thanks again.

Posted on: 7/23 12:52
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#28
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Leeedy
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Quote:

Fish Eggs wrote:
Would you recommend putting a "pad" under the everflex when I redo the roof or just put it over the metal? I plan to shoot the roof with an epoxy primer prior to covering it. Thanks again.


If I was doing a Caribbean hardtop today I would still slightly pad the roof. But technology and trim solutions have gone huge leaps since the 1950s. I certainly would never use felt padding. Even in the 1970s-80s some automotive vinyl topping fabrics went for the padded look by having a thick, fleecy soft backing made right into the material. But even this stuff tended to hold moisture.

Ask your local professional auto trimmer. They should know best. They may even have a better solution than Everflex (though I can't imagine that–especially in the case of convertibles).

I have not been in that business professionally for many years now. Things change. Last time I was involved in doing a padded vinyl top we used a special layer of thin high-density sheet foam. But things may have gone way beyond this by now.

Problem in the case of Everflex or Caribbean's original Hypalon was that these were fabrics made for a convertible top. Packard wanted a soft, convertible look and a premium look so they padded it ever so slightly. Everflex alone without padding is merely convertible top fabric and thus won't look soft like the originals did without at least a thin layer under it. Otherwise it will tend to look rock hard, just glued to the metal roof.

DIY-ers often try to cut corners when in the long run they actually save by using the services of a pro. Find a good automotive trim shop in your area and get their input.

The original Caribbean hardtops rusted because all padded tops eventually are prone to retaining moisture. My 1979 Continental Mark V (sold new in SoCal) has rust in the roof under the padded vinyl. This is what happens over time. However, my 1969 Continental Mark III has no rust in the roof... but it has a roof covered in a special gained vinyl but not amply padded except for the C-pillars and even they are only lightly padded. The difference.

Whatever method you use will eventually go this route sooner or later if padded. Get your new top done well... out of good fabrics, with dielectrically heat-sealed seams. Don't allow moisture to remain on the fabric for extended periods and your top should last a long time. But none of this stuff is permanent.

Posted on: 7/23 16:34
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Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
#29
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Fish Eggs
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Finally got a swatch of the hardtop material from SMS. Grain is more accurate than the everflex. Color is an off white. Going with SMS's due the better grain match. Thank you for all your info. Also, I was told that the seam lines up with the top windshield stainless steel splice trim plates and is top sewn. True?

Posted on: 7/30 14:11
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