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Old 01-25-2006, 08:55 PM
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2nd generation camaro convertible

i think this is the right place for this

anyway, I did not know that there were convertible camaros produced from 70 to 81. well, there were no factory ones, but there was a company that made them custom at the time (can't remember the name, just read it).

well, i'm almost done with 80 camaro project and i'm gonna need something else to work on pretty soon. so i have an extra 79 camaro that is mostly there and i was thinking about turning it into one of the convertibles. and don't try to talk me out of it, i'm already set. please do however tell me how hard this is going to be before i get started.

my question is, does anyone know if you can get the parts for the convertible top that these cars had, and if not, how would I go about fabricating what i need out of later model convertible cars parts and stuff

thanks
Will

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Old 01-26-2006, 08:56 AM
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Sounds like a fun project.

I'm not going to try to talk you out of it.

However...

Since these cars were essentially unitized bodies, at least where the passenger compartment is concerned, the roof is a (significant) structural member. Without it, the only thing holding the car from bending in two is the floor (and the doors - when they're closed). You're really going to have to engineer some solid bracing to make the floor rigid, either above, below, or both. I'm not sure if you'll ever be able to eliminate the "cowl shake" common on unitized body ragtops.

On this particular car, since the rear glass is part of the rear bodyline, you're also going to need to do something to either change the lines of the trunk and quarters to something more gently-sloping, or build some sort of filler between the back seat and the trunk.

Not sure about the top. Might be able to use something from the 1st generation f-body. The top itself isn't the problem - it can always be custom-made, its the top frame that is going to present the most challenge. Also, unless you want the top to fold and rest on top of the body, you'll need to find some way to make a top well behind the back seats, which will likely require narrowing the back seats for the mechanism to drop down on the sides.

Also, the second-generation has ridiculously long doors compared to the space from the door edge to the back seat. You have to span that entire distance with something that's going to fold up in the area between the back of the door and the area behind the back seat. Most cars with doors that long were large coupes, so finding a top mechanism that's going to work might be difficult. Engineering a top mechanism is probably not insurmountable, but its also no small task.

If you want the top to be power-actuated, that's even more work.

That's just what comes off the top of my head - I'm sure there are plenty more things to consider...
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Old 01-26-2006, 12:15 PM
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I would go over to the best Camaro site on the net, Camaros.net and post there asking if anyone has one of these conversion cars.

With out the parts they used for the coversion this is going to be a HUGE project. First off, the folding top is without a doubt what will take the most time if you have to make it or even modify another. The geometry involved would be overwelming to most anyone, even someone with a thorough understanding of the workings.

As I remember those conversion cars used the rear window area as the end of the roof, that wasn't a big deal. They didn't change the quarters or how the deck lid fit at all. All they did was cut the top of the quarters off and put a fat trim there that covered up the top of the wound.

I would seriously think about a removeable hard top before I spent much time on the folding top.

Brian
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Old 01-26-2006, 12:41 PM
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just so everyone can see, here is what one of them looks like
Attached Thumbnails
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Name:	convertible camaro 1.JPG
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ID:	9533   Click image for larger version

Name:	convertible camaro 3.JPG
Views:	714
Size:	63.0 KB
ID:	9534  
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:07 PM
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I'm not afraid to say I'm surprised at how good that looks with the body lines.

If it was me, I think I might consider eliminating the back seat and using that as the storage area for the top, and then fill in part of the area in front of the decklid to about 1/2 way into the back seat area.

That would allow you to really accentuate the "hips" of the rear quarters and would give lots of storage behind the front seats - like a C4 Corvette. The way it is cut in the photos, IMHO, ruins the potential lines of the quarters and deck area.

Just MHO...
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:14 PM
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William, the one thing I see is the beautiful country you live in. I have to go on vacation to see mountains like that.

Brian
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Old 01-26-2006, 08:15 PM
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oh, naw, that's not where I live, that's just a picture of one of the cars, lol

I wish I lived there
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Old 01-28-2006, 04:12 PM
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William, I have an old issue of all chevy, july 1990 and it has an article in it called convertable fantasies in which they are making a non convertable camaro into a top dropper. It is pretty vague, and think it is a bit newer model camaro, like late 80's that they show, Again it is pretty vague and all it says about reinforcements is using careful design and reinforcements in the proper areas, the peiople at California Convertibles can create a factory like convertible top without affecting the car's structural rigidity. It doesn't even show a picture of it with the top up and it came with a fiberglass cover where the top retracts. It said back then the kit sold for $2.895 and came with templates, or could have them do all of it for 6G's. I tried scanning the article for you but my scanner is on the fritz. I remember seeing a few adds for companys that did that type of thing back then, think there always was an ad in the back of hotrod magazine back then. Anyways here is the address they gave for the company in the article in 1990
California Convertible Co., Inc
28720 Roadside Dr., Suite 225
Dept AC
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
(818) 706-3919
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