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 Post subject: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:04 am 
356 Fan

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:41 am
Posts: 88
Location: Knoxville TN
I'm considering buying one of Fibersteel's Glasspar hardtops for my '58 Speedster. My rationale is that it will encourage me to drive it under more varied weather conditions, such as when temps drop in the winter and when rain is a likely possibility on trips. I like the Glasspar design with a larger side opening than the Plasticon and Dynamic Plastics designs and the more finished appearance, with the ceiling lining. I'm ambivalent about the single piece versus sliding side windows because I don't like the look of the substantial aluminum base required for the sliding windows, though I'm sure I'd otherwise prefer the sliding windows.

Aside from these issues, I'd like to hear from Speedster owners who have hardtops about how they like having this option and when they tend to use them. Do you switch back and forth from soft to hard tops frequently or put the hardtop on for extended periods? Do you use the hardtop mostly in the winter or is it sometimes nice (without the side windows) for keeping the hot summer sun at bay? Do you tend to use it for longer trips (like a Holiday) when you aren't sure of the weather? Overall, how often do you use it during the year? How does the hardtop change your driving experience, for better or worse?

Jim

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 Post subject: Re: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:05 pm 
356 Fan

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:02 am
Posts: 47
Go for it, you won't be sorry. I have an original, cracks and all. For me it is an essential piece and absolutely extends the use of the car. I live at 2000 meters so we have a lot of cool/cold driving in the shoulder seasons. I leave the soft top on all summer and just put it up for shade on really hot days. I really only use the glaspar in summer on overnight trips. But when at your destination you can pop it off and leave it in your motel room on the bed. Do not forget your tonneau though. It makes the long drives a lot more bearable. I think mine weighs less than the soft top and you can change it out, by yourself, in minutes. With the heat cranked and top on it is absolutely comfortable on cold days. The only drawback for me is the side curtain fit. I like the one piece originals. They actually fit fine and look great but at about 50 mph the laminar flow of the air lifts them out like an airfoil. I do not need the speedo with the glaspar on, I can tell how fast I'm going by the action of the side curtains. The original set up included an inelegant spoiler/foil which screwed into the windshield posts. They look like hell and did not work very well. I've since figured out how to fix this problem. Storage is no problem, just store it on the car all winter. Perhaps the most important thing is how cool it looks, I get way more comment with it on than off. I've had eight speedsters over the years but the glaspar always stays. You can also paint it a contasting color and get more pop out of your car or not. I've had speedsters since 1964 and the original offering was only white and black from glaspar; maybe red too. Anyway you can't go wrong. Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:50 pm 
356 Fan

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:41 am
Posts: 88
Location: Knoxville TN
Thanks Steve. Just the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I once had an original as well, but it had been stored for years on end and was so warped there was no way it would fit. I tried stretching it back into shape in the hot sun, but no dice, so I sold it. A friend has an original he had to cut into seven pieces and reassemble to get his to fit. BTW, I've seen some pretty careful use of closed-cell foam artfully fitted with the side windows to reduce rain coming in, though it will never be like a Coupe! I've always liked the look of the Glasspars on the cars, and many period rally photos show cars racing with them. BTW, what is your fix for the side window problem?

Eight Speedsters over the years...I'm impressed!

Jim

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 Post subject: Re: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:02 am
Posts: 47
Jim, yes I am a speedster freak. During several periods over the years I had two. The glaspar was always on one and no top of any sort on the other. Speedsters just feel so much more lively to me than the coupes I have had. The one with the glaspar was my "coupe". You are correct about the warpage on the originals. I've seen glaspars that would not come close to fitting because of the way they were stored. The one I have now fit each one of my cars differently. But I learned to latch the front first then gradually tighten the bolts til all the parts were happy and a good fit was had. I also always use a front seal. I also like the finished look of the headliner and the whole feel of the cockpit. I can even hear my 58' Blaupunkt Derby radio which I take on trips. I too solved the side curtain issue with foam. I've also designed a more elegant keeper but I've been reluctant to install it because it requires drilling some holes in the top. It's not a big deal, the foam works. The main thing is to store the top for long periods on the car. I think with Fibersteel and modern glass technology its not so much of an issue if at all. Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:06 am 
356 Fan

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:40 am
Posts: 40
Jim
Restored my original with parts and rubber from Fibersteel several years ago. Good service and helpful hints from Russ. Using the slider side curtains,generally only passengers side installed. Have the inelegant spoiler/foil attached to windshield frame,haven't solved leakage problem. Rumor has it that Russ has new side curtain configuration that minimizes leakage.
My car has absolutely no sound insulation,doubt if I could hear a geto blaster.

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 Post subject: Re: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:06 pm
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I've got one of Russ's Glaspar hardtops on my car and it's great. Bear in mind that there is some individual fitting required for each particular car. It keeps you from getting beaten up by the wind on long cross country drives and it opens up the area behind the seats for lots of soft luggage. I'd best describe the top as being weather resistant, not weather proof. There's still leakage along the side curtains in the wet. The rear quarter windows help a little with the usual windshield fogging in the rain and also gives you a little bit of air flow when you have the solid side curtains up. I'd like to get the sliding curtains to further improve the ventilation.

In a pinch you can take the top off by yourself if you unbolt it, get in the car, and then stand up with it balanced on your head - but I wouldn't recommend putting it back on the same way!

Go for it. I don't think you'll regret getting a hard top.

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 Post subject: Re: Speedster owners: What about hardtops?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:02 am
Posts: 47
My technique for solo Glaspar removal. Unlatch and remove all bolts so the top is completely free. I'm right handed so I stand on the driver side. Hold the leading edge in the middle and tilt to the rear so that all the weight is supported by the rear cowl. Then hold the front of the window opening with your left hand. With your right hand grasp the rear edge just past the middle where it is being supported by the cowl toward the passenger side. Rotate the whole top toward you til you feel most of the weight then lift and remove. I've done this hundreds of times. It's easy to do solo. And takes seconds once the top is free. And I do not have a big ape index. To install, just reverse. My top is an original and very light. The new one may weigh more. Steve

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