Installing a 1915 - 1922 top

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Great article. I need to install new top on my Runabout. This encourages me to get started.

I’ve done two tops, one for my '25 roadster, and another for my '13 roadster. All I can say is take your time! I pretty much agree with everything in this article. I would encourage everyone to buy their kits from Classtique. The owner, Mike, is a super guy. I too plug all the old tack holes with tooth picks, but being the thrifty type, I do one hole at a time, and snip off the tooth pick, and then use the other end for the next hole. I used bailing wire to align my bows. That way I wasn’t adding any more holes to the bows, and allowed for easy adjustment. I was very lucky on both of my tops, in that they still had most of the original material intact, plus for '13 roadster, the Benson Ford Research Center still has the original drawings. They don’t have them for the touring car however.

Excellent article.No discussion required.

Definitely an excellent article and thank you for the time and effort taken to provide the instruction and explanations. I’ll definitely benefit from having read this article for when I reach this point of installing a top kit on my Roadster.

I do have a question. In this specific example of a top installation the need arose to cut the top bows down to match the bow heights to the original specifications shown in documentation. Thank you for not editing this situation out of your tutorial since it does add to the learning for us non-professional restorers. Was there a speculation as to why the top bows 2, 3, and 4 metal tubes had to be cut down and not just the bow wood portion. I’d assume that since it was an existing top that the metal parts would be accurate in length and not need to be cut. Were the bows perhaps replacements from a previous top repair? Could the top tubes have been after market replacements? Could the top bows left the factory with that much of an error from the start? Please comment on the decision process that lead to cutting the metal and the wood portions of the bow once it was discovered that the dimensions did not match historical documentation. Was there another reference document that specified the length of the top bow tubes minus the wood bows? I don’t see that specification on the diagrams.

Thank you again for your time and patience in teaching this.



Thanks for the insightful questions! I don’t know the history of this car prior to about 1970 so I can’t speculate whether the top bow assemblies were ever replaced or not. The top that I pulled off was sewn and installed by a local Dallas shop around 1971. I do know that the top bow sockets were painted baby blue under the black paint, which matches the rest of the car. The car was hideous looking in baby blue as you might imagine. I suspect that tops might vary at the factory somewhat but more than an inch on some of the bows seems like too much.

When I figured out that the top didn’t fit properly I initially thought about having a local shop replace the center of the top deck to make it wider. With this thought in mind I ordered a roll of material. A day or two after ordering the material I got to looking at my 1914 touring, which has a very nice looking top. I measured the top on the 1914 and realized that the sewed pieces from Classtique matched it almost exactly. A light bulb type eureka moment was at hand. I went through my files and found the dimensions on the old drawing, and they matched the 1914 touring precisely. At that point I suspected that the bows on the 1915 would not measure correctly, and sure enough, three of the four bows were off. This caused me to both alter the car, and improved the article because now I knew that Classtique was making the top deck and the rest of the parts properly, and in accordance with the old drawing of top bow dimensions.

Hats off to Classtique for their excellent workmanship. Mike is going to make the side curtains, and in the near future we will have an article on how that installation goes. I predict it will be interesting.