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Thread: FunnyWheels How to build a 355 top

  1. #1
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    FunnyWheels How to build a 355 top

    I put this off for 5 years because it was so hard to locate parts to complete the project. The plan for this build thread is to provide some easy ideas for topless driving in your 355. Some of the ideas might work for other cars as well.
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  2. #2
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    In order to make a weather tight top for my car I needed to figure out what would work and what would not. I tried a Mercury Capri top based upon recommendations from other “experts” on the internet, but I don’t think they ever tried the process. The Capri top is 8 inches too narrow and over the windows it is 9 inches too long, then there is the need to fold it up somewhere. That cost $150 bucks for the parts and several months of trying to make it work. Don’t waste your time or money on this one.
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    Next up, the Pontiac Sunbird attempt. Most of the header and mechanical parts fit into the Fiero windshield. So far, so good, but none of the other top parts would work other than the header from the top that attached to the Fiero modified windshield header.

    The Sunbird top is made for a 4 passenger car, not a two passenger car. The top when attached to the Fiero windshield stuck up about 3 inches higher than is should and looked funky. Like a canvas covered 2 X 4 attached over the windshield. I didn't want that look since the 355 is almost flush and sits behind the header. The parts over the door were way too long and too beefy for the Fiero.

    Then again, where does it fold when going topless?
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    During this madness Don Ostergard stopped by on his way to see Mickey Mouse in 2004 and saw my dilemma. He mentioned he had a mold from CK3 that might solve my problem. It looks like it is loosely based upon a 3 series BMW. To make a long story longer, Don sent me the part for my header that attaches above the Fiero windshield. He also was kind enough to make a part that would mate to the header.
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    Ok the header will work but now what? I found a Targa panel conversion listed on this site for $600. I thought this might be the ticket.

    Here was the challenge for that one.

    It was based on the Pontiac Sunbird style header and top. It looked like the old canvas covered 2 X 4 attached to the windshield. There must be something or some way to get the top to look like a 355 Ferrari. I

    t was time for a Scotch and Cigar (thanks for the cigar Don) to contemplate my challenge.

    My thoughts were maybe a combination of all of the parts would work?

    Maybe modify the Targa panel to fit Don Ostergard’s parts and make the remainder of the rear section?

    As it turns out, that was my chosen method.

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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    I needed to set up the rear portion in order to get the proper placement of everything. I used part of the “B” posts from the Purchased Targa panel. It was formerly attached to the fiberglass panel. I fabricated a rod to go between the “B” posts for the rear of the Targa panel to sit upon. With the front of the panel resting on the Fiero header from Don. I took a quick trip to the marine hardware store to locate some suitable (non rusting) latches. They had a great selection.
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    At this point the Targa is somewhat attached to the Header and to the “B” posts. Now the next thing was to keep the “B” post in place so the windshield would not crack form not being firmly attached to the top and “B” posts. I ride motorcycles so I had an old set of crutches in the stack of stuff in the garage. The light weight aluminum had the correct bends and looked like it would be a winner for now. Off to the vice with my hacksaw I ventured. It wasn’t long before my brace was in place and functioning.

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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    I did notice that just about all of the tops people make do not look like a Ferrari top. Most have the canvass surrounding the rear window looking square or loose fitting and not sloping the proper direction. I now have the interest of the local boat shop and he suggested he could bend a round tube of stainless steel to shape the rear of the Ferrari style top. Even though the Ferrari top is 4 inches skinnier and 2 inches lower than a Fiero in this area, we got it to look correct.
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  9. #9
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    I welded hinges on the ends of the stainless tubing so it could be attached to the Ferrari ¼ panels and would travel up and down. This would provide the shape and slope necessary to resemble a 355 top.
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    Re: How to build a 355 top

    I now needed something to hold the “C” bow up to the proper level. I was at home depot looking over a job site tool box and thought the hinge they used would work. I had a piece of flat stainless steel stock in my stack of stuff and gave it a go. The result was a hinge that folded and moved slightly forward to lock in place on a small barrel pin.
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