Monday, May 23, 2016

VW Week | Day Two: Convertible Installation

The convertible installation is finished!  More importantly-- THE CAR RESTORATION IS FINISHED!

I'm now cruising around town and enjoying spring with a convertible (despite the rain and pollen).

Today I'm going to focus on the convertible top and the process.  It is a very involved process that takes time, patience, and a lot of detailed work.  It's also a pricey undertaking.  When we realized what it was going to cost to put on a new top, we were shocked.  We had the original metal frame, so we had to buy bows, liner, padding, and the vinyl, plus everything that goes with it like webbing straps and wires.  If you don't have a frame, then this will be even more expensive.  I'm just letting you know, so you know what you're getting into if you're thinking about restoring a convertible Beetle.  To me it was worth it.  It's been a lifelong dream for me to have a convertible Bug, and they're hard to find.  I preferred to spend money restoring the Bug than putting the same amount toward a different car, even if it was a newer used car.  No other car has this much character!

We ordered synthetic bows from California Import Parts.  The original bows were wood.  We only had two original bows (which were the smallest of the bows) but were missing the rest of the bows (which happened to be the largest).  Synthetic bows are more affordable, so that's why we went with them instead of ordering wood.

The headliner, padding, vinyl, and all other parts were ordered from Chuck's Convertible Parts.  A man that owns a VW restoration garage suggested we order from Chuck's.  You can pay an upholstery place to put a top on for you.  The quote we received was about three times the cost of what it was for us to do it ourselves.

We bought the car from a long-time family friend.  The car belonged to her late husband who bought it as a project.  In the paperwork she gave us, we found a packet from Chuck's from the 80's!  It looks like the owner before him was the one who ordered the packet.  That would mean this car needed a new top since the 80's.  We didn't find the packet until after we had finished the top.  It was interesting to look through the packet from that many years ago.  It also proved that Chuck's was a good pick.  Any time we had questions, we could call or email the company for help.  The top is BEAUTIFUL inside and out, so I'm very pleased with the final product.

On a funny note, below is a page from one of my daughter's books, Oscar's First Book of Manners.  Colin's grandmother gave it to her for her first birthday.  It took me several readings before I realized what Oscar was driving!

Now, drumroll, please...
Here is a step-by-step video of us installing the convertible top!  WE ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS.  If you have questions while you're installing the top, please contact the company where you ordered your supplies.  This is purely to show our process.  We found a few videos on youtube that were helpful but didn't quite answer all our questions, so that's why we made our own video.  We hope it helps someone else, but again, please keep in mind to consult your manufacturer.

Now, head on over to social media to see the daily challenge and to take part in the fun!
Twitter: @marlaplainsmall
Instagram: @marlaplainandsmall

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