I have a 68 coupe that I'm working on and I would like to replace the vinyl top. The previous owner started removing the top and pulled out the 2 roof side cover retainers and lost them with the drip rail molding. I can't find any reproductions of the retainers. They rivet into the drip rail channel and run the entire length. All I can find for reproduction is the drip rail molding but I don't think it comes with these retainers. My best guess is they may help hold the vinyl in place inside the channels but I'm not 100%
Are those retainers necessary to replace the vinyl top or can I just cut the vinyl and run some weathersealer down the channel?
Sorry if this is a wall o' text. Any input would be appreciated.
I had the same question when I was restoring my coupe. Previous cars I owned had the strips riveted into the drip rail channel but this car (obviously an original vinyl top car) didn't have them and there was no evidence of them ever being there, no rivet holes or anything. After hearing from lots of people on here it seemed like more vinyl top cars came without the strips rather than with them. I installed the new top and used a thin smear of black RTV at the edge of the vinyl. So far there are no issues wiith it. Be sure the adhesive for the vinyl goes all the way to the edge so it won't start peeling back.
The factory installed vinyl tops had these. They were nothing more than a narrow strip of aluminum band, pop riveted to the roofrail, and covered completely with silicone rubber. It kept the edge of the vinyl in place, and prevented water from getting under the edge.
If you can't find anyone who can provide this, I'm pretty certain I can find a supplier for them for you.
Amateur restorer. Well, sometimes I have been paid for it. But not right now.
My Feb. San Jose Cali did not come with anything like that. I personally removed an replaced the factory top in 1994. Their were no rivet holes in the drip rail, or no signs that they were even in place at one time. I replaced the top without them and never had any problems with the vinyl shrinking or coming loose.
I wonder if it varied from one plant to another whether these strips were installed or not. I've see both configurations, one of which was an original low mileage car that did have the gutter/riveted strips. Other folks have stated that their car never had the strips.
I'm going to install a vinyl top on my '68 coupe and will not install the strips due to their unavailability. If they were available, I would install them. If I had a sample, I think I could fabricate them.
1968's: Best of the Best:
1968 GT/CS J Code
Thanks for all of the responses Mine is a Metuchen car built for the Atlanta market and has never left the area. The only rust I've found was under the vinyl and some in the fender apron under the battery. I got lucky with the cowl etc...
You guys rock and this is one of the friendliest boards I've been to. I'm a former GM guy ('68 Chevelle SS but I haven't had a V8 since my first marriage in '90 until this Mustang) So I pour over these forums gathering bits of info on the Mustang/Ford world.
I don't know enough yet to really contribute and will be doing more lurking than posting for a bit but I am through here just about every day. Thanks again guys. I'm going to redo the top without the strips for simplicity.
Just for info, I previously owned a '68 SJ coupe that did come with the strips (which are stainless steel BTW). When I replaced the top on the '68, the strips were missing (but the holes were present). I was able to locate a set, but they were on a '65 Metuchen car. The holes were placed differently, though the strips still fit properly. My current Dearborn coupe also had them. That kinda covers the different plants. It is not intended to say that ALL received them, even from the factory. The quickest way to find out if a car came with them is to check the underside of the drip rail. There should be a series of holes (somewhere between 4-6), from the front to the rear. If not a whole lot of work has been done to the car, they should still be present. I have a copy of the installation instructions for dealer installed tops. The strips are included, though it's unlikely that most got installed. Once the strips were in (factory or dealership), there was a a flexible mastic applied over the top of the strips and smoothed. The material was available in white or black, for the respective top color. Using a quality silicone sealer should suffice to seal the top. Just apply and smooth prior to installing the drip rail moldings. This way you ensure the edge of the top is fully sealed.
Something else to remember here. Many of our 68's were built during the big strike. Perhaps all vinyl top coupes were slated to have these strips, but were shipped without them due to parts shortages. Just a thought.
Do you still have a copy of the installation instructions? Perhaps a P/N of the SS strips?
Neil I do still have a copy. I reviewed them again AFTER my post. I humbly apologize to all, but the strips are NOT listed. The instruction sheet is intended for 65/66, but the procedures would be applicable to 67/68's too. While the strips are not listed, it does indicate that screws are installed in several locations (8 total), along the interior of the drip rail to install screws. The same screws are also installed in the corners of the rear window opening. On my '66 Dearborn coupe I found that staples were installed in the rear window corners at the factory. Again, I apologize for any confusion.
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