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Old 09-07-2009, 12:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vinyl Top Coupes

Just thought I'd share an observation that I recently confirmed concerning factory installed vinyl roof coupes (notably 65-66).

There's been numerous posts made in the past concerning the vinyl top trim not fitting correctly when a top has been added to a car. Several notable experts have responded that it was due to the roof having a depression on factory cars allowing the trim to fit properly. This had me wondering since I'd never seen a coupe roof with a "unique" depression in the stamping specifically for vinyl top cars. If anyone has ever wondered how this is so, well, I got it figured out...finally! There is no such thing as a vinyl top roof when it comes to a separate/unique roof stamping. Yes, there is indeed a depression on a factory car for the trim to fit into. It's actually there on EVERY coupe. The reason you don't see it on a non-vinyl roof car is because it's filled with lead. It's actually the seam where the top roof panel is joined to the quarter panel at the bottom of the "b" pillar when the car is assembled. If the car isn't destined for a vinyl roof, the seam is leaded in and smoothed flush. If the car is to receive a vinyl top, the seam is left bare..no filler at all. Yes, the seam is that large!! This also demonstrates one importance as to why a vinyl top is stamped on a body buck tag....so the seam isn't filled while the body as being assembled!

One interesting thing I found when I was in the process of disassembling my '66 coupe (which had a factory vinyl top), was body color overspray on the retaining nuts for the vinyl top trim. There's three of them for each trim molding located behind the headliner on the "b" pillar, inside the car. This would logically indicate the trim was installed prior to the body color being sprayed. It would appear they not only install the top prior to painting, but the trim for it too. I haven't confirmed this, but it's curious for sure!

Just thought I'd share those little bits for anyone wanting to install a vinyl top! Hope you all find them useful.

p.s. If you already knew about the above info, why the HECK didn't you share it?!
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great info,
So was there no finish paint under the top.
I have a factory install top, which I will be replacing in the next few months. I am a little nervous to find out what is underneath.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Beyond a primer coat, I haven't found any paint. This is my second factory installed vinyl roof car. The other was a San Jose '68 coupe. Same situation there as far as lack of paint. The biggest area of concern that I've found is where the seams are located on top of the roof and the rear window opening. Others may have found different problem areas. If the top has never been removed, problems are usually indicated by signs of lifting or bubbling. Best of luck with yours. Hopefully the metal is in good shape still!
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Interesting. I bought a 66 and 67 new, both with vinyl tops. Didn't keep them long enough to have probs but DID buy a 72 Gran Torino in mid 72. It was a terrible car overall and when happily trading it in on a new 74 Comet in Jan. 74, the top had a few small lumps and was starting to lift around base of rear window.
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Crazy Paint under vinyl.

I have two 66 HT with vinyl roof. Both of them are San Jose built and both have had the vinyl changed in the past. On one of them I now have to change again. Itīs a candy apple red body with a white top. When I got the vinyl of, the roof was painted in same colour as the body. It also had a hand written W that looked as a factory info for a white vinyl top.
I would be surprised if they did put the vinyl on before painting the body. Some "guru" must know this?
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Lars, I agree that it makes little sense to put a vinyl top on prior to painting. I'm struggling though to explain any other way the exterior color was on the molding retaining nuts. Another curiosity that I discovered after my original post is a radiator support marking of "VR B". This would indicate a black vinyl top, which mine had originally. What's so curious about it is that this marking would be covered over and useless after painting because it was painted over when the engine black out paint was completed. Just one of those things that makes this hobby interesting!
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey guys. I came across this auction for "rare" side body moldings 65 66 67 68 Mustang Vinyl Insert Side Moulding Kit NOS! : eBay Motors (item 160399584053 end time Feb-28-10 11:07:21 PST)
which they claim to be a dealer option. My Mustang with a vinyl roof has these moldings but I always figured they were just some aftermarket put on by a previous owner anybody have any ideas?
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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On a related note to the vinyl top, what about the drip rail trim?
With the thickness of the vinyl it seems that the drip rail trim
would be impossible to fit on, is there a special drip rail trim that
is wider for a vinyl top car?
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I believe the vinyl is trimmed so as to not interfere with the drip rail trim along the edge.
On this subject- I've seen some ('68's) that have a metal strip in the drip rail gutter (riveted) to secure the vinyl in the gutter. I've also seen them with just a black mastic sealant in the gutter.

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Old 01-31-2010, 11:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that over the years many of these tops have been replaced. If your top has a single seam running down the center, it has been replaced. All factory tops had two seams nearer the roof edges. Some aftermarkets did also. All the vinyl top cars I had that were original had the gutters filled with RTV silicone sealer angled down toward the roof so they would still function as a gutter. The only one I took off had very little body color over the primer, mostly just an overspray faded from the point of the moulding. That was a '66.
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65fastback6 View Post
On a related note to the vinyl top, what about the drip rail trim?
With the thickness of the vinyl it seems that the drip rail trim
would be impossible to fit on, is there a special drip rail trim that
is wider for a vinyl top car?
No special drip rails. The vinyl was trimmed where the drip rail turns up (the portion that the drip rail molding attaches to). This way the thickness doesn't change. Until at least '68 (the latest one I've owned and paid attention to), there was an additional stainless strip that went into the "gutter" area, over the vinyl. This "hooked" slightly up under the drip rail molding on the inside of the rail and was pop riveted into place. The additional strip was then coated with a color matching sealant (black for black vinyl tops, white for white tops). From what I've found, the holes for the '65/'66 where not in the same locations as in '68. I'm not sure about '67. When I replaced the vinyl top on my '68 (a San Jose car), my strips were missing. I found a set on a '65 coupe in a junk yard. The fit correctly in the drip rail, but the rivet hole locations were completely different. The strips are missing on my '66 coupe (Dearborn), but I don't intend to reinstall any.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Those strips, at least the one I found on a VR Mustang, were potmetal and fragile as hell.
Those body side moldings were the "devil's invention. Holes were drilled for pop riveting them on. Possibly some came as a Ford parts counter item, but independent detailers would install them as well as VR's, mainly on used cars, and the side moldings looked "unatural"! putting it as kindly as poss!

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Old 04-08-2010, 08:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Until at least '68 (the latest one I've owned and paid attention to), there was an additional stainless strip ... and was pop riveted into place.
The pop rivets did not come into play until c.Nov 67. TSB on the issue of the snap-in trims coming loose and the fix of adding pop rivets...

FORDification.com TSB Database • View topic - Article 1216 - Loose Snap-In Retainer for Vinyl Roof at Drip Rail
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:32 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The TSB you've referenced is for '68 models suffering a problem with the trim strip. Based on the text it's obvious Ford STOPPED installing the pop rivets on factory installed vinyl roofs at some point after '66.

They were listed in the assembly manuals as being applied during '65/66 production. Every factory installed '65/66 I seen and owned with a factory vinyl top have not only had pop rivets installed in the strip, they've also had more rivets installed than the TSB calls for. The greater number of rivets are also shown in the assembly manuals. They were not called for in dealer installed tops however.

If I had to guess, I'd say it was a matter of Ford attempting to save money and shorten a manufacturing process that backfired!
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I just joined the Forum so I couldn't say it sooner. Everything about the Non-Filled Seam for Vinyl Top cars is correct for 65-66. The Lower Edge of the Vinyl was right at the Quarter to Roof Weld-Seam and they didn't fill the seam on Vinyl Roof Cars. Remember these cars were Mass-Production. The Reason the Vinyl was installed Before paint, is because they were installed at the Factory just like a Replacement would be installed. Glue, Belt Buckles, Climbing on the Rockers, etc. would all ruin Fresh Paint. It was quicker, safer for the paint, and more efficient for Ford to Mask the Roof and then spray the car, after the Vinyl was installed. .
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