Kerry's 1957 Imperial Restoration - part 28 Continued

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Well, no guts, no glory. Where is the sawsall? There are several ways to cut a top. Some people would use a torch (hot wrench) but since I want a way out, I used a reciprocating saw with a bi-metal blade (5 blades actually. Imperial metal is tough). At the rear of the top, there is an inner brace in addition to the inner and outer skins so you have to cut through 4 layers. It took a few minutes but was not too difficult. The other side was the same.

cuttop1.jpg (33k)

cuttop2.jpg (33k)

Since I don't know EXACTLY where the convertible top will need to fit to the header, I left 3 1/4 inches at the windshield header. I used a scrap piece of 2X4, guided it down the top lip and marked the back side. The result was a curved line that was 3 1/4 inches behind the windshield. This cut was smack in the middle of the inner roof brace and at times the cut as slow as I was going through both pieces.

One of the nice things about having the glass out was that I could stand in the windshield opening. This worked great but I was afraid that when I cut throught the roof, it would fall and trap my legs, or just fall and bend itself so I laid a 2x4 across the doors and cut a piece of wood to wedge the top up. After this was nailed in place I finished the cut.

The top did not move when I finished the cut but I soon realized it was too heavy for me to lift and I did not want to drag it off the car. My son had gone and I was too close to seeing the old girl topless to stop now. What to do, what to do? Where did I put my beer?

Flash! light bulb! The lift

Pulling the lift arms in, I raised the lift until the arms would swing inside the side window openings. I had to pull the car forward a bit to get room for them to swing in. Then I just spread the arms, pushed the up botton an volia, no top!

topnair1.jpg (33k)

topnair2.jpg (33k)

And here she is, topless and looking good!

(Sorry, picture is missing.)

I pushed the car forward, lowered the lift, stood the top up on a hand truck and rolled it outside. The top weighs about 150 pounds. I will store it under a shed in case I need it again.

top.jpg (33k)

I was pretty happy and even my long suffering wife seems to like the effect.

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Finally here are two shots of holes. One of the rear pillar showing the inner frame, and another showing the windshield header. Next I will take out the dash so I don't ruin it. I'm sure the instruments and wiring are going to need work anyway.

hole1.jpg (33k)

header.jpg (33k)

This was fun. Scary but fun. I can see the way I want it to look. The trick will be to get the vision to metal.


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