Fiberglass TDr top

Home Forums MGTD Kit Cars My Project Fiberglass TDr top

This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  jesdreamer 11 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #302560

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    This topic is added as a companion to Ed’s current “Fender Stretching” topic.  Over the years, it has come up that many of you wish that you had a fiberglass top for your TDr.  Ed (edsnova), in his posts is introducing many of you to shade tree fiberglass work and it reminded me of a project that I almost started but decided to leave it to you young whippersnappers: a TDr fiberglass top.

    I would suggest that a nice, properly formed fiberglass top could be constructed by first removing the canvas top from its bows, then reassemble the top’s bows.  Then cover or wrap the bows with saran wrap or some other material to keep the glass from sticking to the bows.  Lay a piece of canvas or poly tarp inside the car to protect the interior.  Then, using sections of aluminum window screening material stretch it over the bows until you have the desired shape of your fiberglass top.  I had planned to “sew” the seams of the window screening with heavy monofilament fishing line and an upholstery needle.  Then, glass it with a few coats of cloth (more or less depending on how heavy the fiberglass cloth you use is).    As soon as the top has enough layers to hold its shape,  you can take it off of the car and glass the inside of the top.  Lotsa smoothing and sanding here.  You could cut and glass in optical plexiglass for the windows from the inside.

    You would need to engineer how to attach the top to your car, but you could probably use the same snaps that the cloth top uses.  How to fit the front of the top to the windshield would vary from car to car since TDr’s use variety of ways to attach the canvas top.

    (I had planned to incorporate the current canvas side windows into the top by attaching half of a zipper to the inside of the top.)

    After you finish the fiberglass top, you could apply a finish coat of paint with spray cans.  (If you think that a quality paint job can not be done with spray cans, you are wrong.  A super paint job can be done with a clean workshop, spray cans, patience, the paint and the clear coat, but not if you’re in a hurry.)

    I did not make the top for my car, but I have done more than a bit of fiberglass work and do not think that this would be too difficult.  It would not be a quickie, and it might cost a lot more than you expect (ask Ed).  I can not give estimates on expense or even the best materials to use since it has been a good many years since I did any work of this sort and prices as well as materials have changed.

     

    #302561

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    After thinking about this a bit more, I think that I would go to a glass shop and have then cut a piece of tempered glass for the rear window instead of using plexiglass.  Relatively cheap.

    #302563

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    You make it sound so easy! 🙂

    Back in the day, I almost sprung for Classic Roadsters Ltd.’s hard top. It came with hard window and frames for the sides, inserted into holes in the top of the door, similar to the way Speedster side curtains attach. I’ll try to dig out pictures. Seeing one might help inspire you “young folk.”

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #302564

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    Coming up empty on the Duchess hard top.

    Meanwhile, here is a slightly longer discussion of hard tops (yes, Roy’s ideas are in this thread too!) http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/hardtop/

    And just for ideas, here are a bunch of hardtops, all on original T-series cars, with a few others thrown in for good measure: http://www.mgnuts.com/hardtops/tseries/

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #302572

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    If anyone’s wondering why I was thinking about fiberglass hard tops, it was 24.9 degrees F in New Bern, NC this morning.

    #302574

    medicine-man
    Participant

    @medicine-man

    Hey Royal,

    It was 26 degrees in Fayetteville today and I’m glad I had a hard top and a heater (as much as a VW heater is).  I built a removable hard top using Foamular board and canvass. It weighs only 23 pounds and is easily removed or replaced in about 2 minutes. I do not know how to post photos but if you will email me I will send them to you and answer any question you or others on the forum may have. The build took several weeks working off and on. I wanted it to resemble a classic T-Bucket top.

    My email is: andyatkinson7@gmail.com

    #302575

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    How cool is that!

    #302580

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    I’d say VERY cool.

    Andy – I sent you an email re the pics

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #302599

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    01 02

    03 04

    05

    07 06

    08 09

    10 11

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  pmossberg.

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #302603

    kall
    Participant

    @kall

    Since we are on this topic and stirring the creative pot – if some clever person could create a hardtop with integrated side windows, perhaps a gull-wing configuration, they would have something both practical and cool.  I’m thinking along the lines of some of the aftermarket tops available for Jeeps and the like.

    😎

    #302605

    johnsimion
    Participant

    @johnsimion

    Amazing workmanship and creativity — but the shape just doesn’t appeal to me.

    #302606

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    More than one way to skin a hard top.

    #302610

    jesdreamer
    Participant

    @jesdreamer

    I posted in another thread several months ago per plans to make a fiberglass removable hardtop in Airline Coupe style for a replica TD that I was considering buying. I have lots of fiberglass experience in both custom cars and custom boats. Followup posts discouraged possibilities of any sales of HT shells to help spread costs of the molds and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the replica.

    Over the years I have come close to buying a TD replica at least 2 or 3 different times — but as a long time family of MG, Jaguar, and Austin Healey owners I felt the TD replicas had just too many serious discrepancies. Main one is the wheeltread some 20% wider than the TD — but I never could tolerate the home made looking windshields, the lousy canvas roof lines and the excessive slope of gas tank (usually made far worse by addition of an oversize rear tire).

    I have always loved the MGTC but never could afford one — at 13k when I was younger and now usually over 30K — So I decided to build my own — a reconstruction of the J3 cycle fendered factory race car of the 1933-34 era. My fiberglass body tub would fit an MG Midget or AHSprite but 19″ TC wheels are really costly so I decided to use a Honda ATV as a basis from which to work. Wheelbase stretched to 80″, 42″ wheeltread, 20HP, etc — all the same as in the original cars.

    So here again, I will end up with a set of body and fender molds — Might anyone have interest in undertaking a similar project??

    #302611

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    More than one way to skin a hard top.

    Agreed! As Andy wrote above, he was going after the classic T-bucket look. Goal achieved!

    What’s cool about Andy’s process is that it’s an alternative to learning to work with fiberglass mat and resins. Probably more straight forward for many hobbyists. You can adapt the process to any roof line config you want to achieve.

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #302612

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    I agree also.  It is probably much easier to form in the shape you want than my window screen method.  Plus is would offer some degree of insulation from noise, and nicer in temperature extremes.  Very nice.  Thanks.

    #302613

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Jes, I think we’d all love to see photos of your handiwork. It sounds fantastic, and I bet a lot of us would love to rock an Airline Coupe style TD.

    But we’re all pretty much cheapskates.

    I say post what you have and try making the sale from there. You never know what will catch some guy’s fancy.

    #302614

    kall
    Participant

    @kall

    I agree that the sheet-foam design is very promising in terms of using amateur-friendly material.  Insulation capability is also a big plus.  Well done indeed.

    What is the outer covering?  In the brown photo it looks like canvas but in the finished photos I can’t tell.

    😀

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  kall.
    #302616

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    I would be tempted to put a few layers of fiberglass as a final (before paint) outer covering.  This would give an advantage of strength and make the surface harder, less susceptible to damage and be a better base for a nice paint job.  ???

    What say you guys??

    #302617

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    I think the Foamular board would be much easier to use than a styrofoam base with a fiberglass outer cover. I have the plans for the Phoenix VW Van that would benefit greatly by using the Foamular board. I like the look of the top but prefer it be level with the windshield frame and side curtains. Excellent workmanship.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302622

    kall
    Participant

    @kall

    Since we are on this topic and stirring the creative pot – if some clever person could create a hardtop with integrated side windows, perhaps a gull-wing configuration, they would have something both practical and cool. I’m thinking along the lines of some of the aftermarket tops available for Jeeps and the like. 😎

    l added some photos of a few t-tops/hardtops to my media gallery.  What I am visualizing is a combination of those features, especially the incorporation of side windows as part of the swing up doors or snap-on panels.  Sadly, I don’t think I have the skills to create such a thing.

    #302623

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    I think the Foamular board would be much easier to use than a styrofoam base with a fiberglass outer cover

    Allen, Perhaps I am not familiar with new Foamular board.  The stuff that I thought was Foamular would be quite easy to dent.  How would one apply a nice finish to a soft product?  If I get a chance, I will try to go to the lumber yard and check out Foamular tomorrow.

    #302624

    jesdreamer
    Participant

    @jesdreamer

    Formular Board is expanded polystyrene (foam). Pieces are easy to glue and shape but the material does have a downside — If you try to use polyester resin to impregnate glass cloth over a polystrene foam shell, the foam will just dissolve. Epoxy must be used at 2x to 3x the resin cost unless you spend hours and lots of money trying to successfully seal the styrene foam surface. It is virtually impossible to get an adequate seal to prevent styrene attack.

    I do like the metal screen technique but have another suggestion — Why not leave the canvas top up, tightly cover it with polyethylene film (a large garbage bag might be large enough if split open), then laminate strips of kraft paper lightly saturated with thinned out white glue. The strips will slightly shrink while drying this will eliminate many wrinkles.  4 or 5 layers will create a good shell at very low cost — this is the way racing crew shells (boats) were made before fiberglass was available —

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Skip to toolbar