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Old 12-12-2005, 04:18 AM
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64 Cadillac top removal

I`m New to this forum and I was just looking for some tips on removing my 64 Caddi top completely, I`m always looking for different ways to do extreme mods to any project I take on. I got my suspension juiced, I have my frame fully plated, I have a 98 LT1 350 engine i dropped under the hood. I did all of the work myself and I`m ready to see some sky. Can anyone give me some tips on where i should go from here, Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 12-13-2005, 10:42 AM
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I'd say its a huge project. Really big.

Is it a coupe or sedan?

Do you want to just hack off the top and never drive it if there's any chance of rain (some people call these "parade cars"), or do you want to make it so the top is (grunt) removable?

Or, are you planning on putting a softop on it, or even some sort of retractable softtop or hardtop?

Taking the top off isn't all that big of a deal, its what you do next that will be complicated.

In any event, consider reinforcing the frame as the top adds some structure.
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:56 AM
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Removing the top

The top on a sedan or coupe provides a great deal of reinforcement and strength to the body..keeping the doors aligned and things like that..The chassis will need to be substantially reinforced to avoid a "swayback condition" if the top is removed. Also you may run into some "twisting" if the chassis not done correctly..

Can be done as some cars have been made into convertibles after the fact but it does take a bit of engineering to get the car to work well after the conversion is made..

Good luck with your project

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Old 12-13-2005, 05:11 PM
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well that frame wrap for the hydraulics should make the frame plenty sturdy shouldn't it? did you do a full wrap? with 1/4"? I have no idea about removing the top on your caddy but, but i would think that if your frame is sturdy enough to hop on it, and you did a quality wrap job, it should be good enough to make into a convertible... dunno about hopping it then though. good luck with it, post pics as soon as possible!!!

Frank
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Old 12-14-2005, 02:59 AM
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64 Caddi top Removal

Hey, Thanks for all the tips folks! I have a Caddi Coup for the intrested parties. Im looking to remove my top and dodge the rainy days, Perhaps i will explore making my top removable as next years project. Is there any mods i will have to do to the body of my car? Window pillars? windsheild? Im trying to get to cruising by this spring early summer, so any further tips would be great! Any one have any pictures they can let me check out who might have done what im trying to do?
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Old 12-14-2005, 05:02 AM
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to

? is yours anything like these?
I'd say figure out what you want to do before you start chopping into your roof. If you want to make your top removeable, then don't wait to do it, since you'll need to do different things to the body of the car to make it removeable instead of just chopping it off and filling the holes it leaves. you'll just end up making way more work for yourself, and wasting time and money. Here's something similar streetbeat did to an s-10, check out this site: http://www.streetbeatcustoms.com/s10ck.html, there's instructions at the bottom but there's like 36 pages of them (shows you that this isn't an easy job), have fun reading!

Frank
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:26 AM
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I agree that if you want to make it removable, the time to plan is before you cut it off.

That said, the top is going to be very heavy.

One thing you have going for you is there were convertibles in the same year as your hardtop. So, you can use the trim parts from a ragtop to finish off the windshield properly.

I suspect the weatherstripping on the windshield pillar was different and will have to be either replaced with the ragtop version or cut somehow.

I think the major issues making the top removable would be insuring that the top is reinforced before cutting, so it doesn't flex when you remove it. Probably would want to weld in temporary cross bracing and then put in something more permanent and lower-profile when you can actually have the top off and flip it over for convenience, then cut the temporary bracing.

The other big issue will be mating the top to the body and windsheild. Again, since there was a ragtop, you might be able to use the front clamp assemblies from a convertible and modify them to fit the hardtop. You also probably want to find a way to latch the back of the top to the body, and you'll want to do a good job of mating the top to the body so it sits right and applies the load of the top evenly across the deck. Probably want some sort of soft mounting surface both for weather resistance and paint preservation.

If you take very careful measurements, I would think you'd be able to get the top back on and latched in the exact same spot so that all the windows still work. Then you could drive it in the rain or even winter.

Another option might be to make a fiberglass replica of the top once you have it off. It would presumably weigh less and there might be some custom touches you could apply easily. Check out books on duplicating bodies in fiberglass - the kit car guys do it all the time and a hardtop should be doable if properly reinforced.

Another thing you could do with some more work would be to make the top come apart in sections like an opera top. You would need to seriously reinforce the deck and think out the latching mechanism so the back of the top could be held on its own with the wind hitting it. Then you could make a removable section above the front seats that could probably be lifted by one person and stowed in the trunk. Might be a cool look.

Another idea would be to custom build a top-retaining frame out of tubing that would latch to the deck and the windshield, then either section the metal top, or build a fiberglass top in pieces that would attach to the frame. Perhaps one section over the front seats, one over the back seats, and one that has the pillars and rear window. Or, the pillars and rear window in one section, and one section that covers the whole front left and the whole front right.

That way, given the time, you could probably install and remove the top yourself or with one person, rather than having a crew to lift the whole thing up and carefully set it on the car. Might even be able to get all the pieces in the trunk.

Just throwing out ideas...
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:47 AM
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Many 60's gm convertibles had more body mounts to the frame than the hard tops. I would find a convertible that is the same and check out how the factory did it.

Sounds like it may put additional stress on the rockers.
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