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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Time to start working on the A coupe again, and one of the things I want to tackle is the roof. I've half-assed done the roof a few times with vinyl in the past, as I knew they weren't going to be permanent. Plus I've always kinda wanted to put in a steel roof. Now that I have my little wire feed welder and some practice on some quarter panels on another project, and foolishly think I might try this, time to do the research. First off, when you weld in a steel roof, what happens with the wood ?? Does it stay there? All of it ? Some of it ? If you remove the wood, how do you attach the upholstery/headliner ?
I've seen several other posts about donors. Most seem to be from several years ago, and the suggestions were for Pintos, Vegas, Mavericks, or similar older cars that just aren't in junkyards anymore. At least not around here. What are people using "currently" ? The standard response is usually to find something that "matches the contour/curves" of the coupe; but how exactly is that accomplished? Yeah, it curves front to back, and side to side; but they all do that. Other than running back and forth to the junkyard and cutting up different roofs; the only idea I've come up with is to take one of the roof bows with me, and at least I can check the side to side curvature somewhat. I've seen a couple Youtube videos of people doing these, but they don't really explain it that well. Ideas ? Please ? (and thank you...)
 

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I did one in the last year or so. First, theres this-


No need to make or salvage!

The one I did, at work, used a metal framework due to rot and the desired other mods. I could seriously write a novel, and have a ton of pics but have found that me just sticking to your specific questions is most effective. A laundry list of cautions might get scrolled past, y'know.

Theres no "right" way set in stone. I made a simple sheetmetal roof insert support structure based closely upon the wood and chicken wire that came out of it. Personally I believe you can leave the wood intact. You may at some point wish to remove the insert area section temporarily.

If I can clarify anything further or you now have another set of questions, fire away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To clarify, maybe I used the wrong terminology. I guess "insert" implies being removable. I was thinking more permanent, as in welded in place; although I did see a video where they made a removable insert, using an English wheel, that was covered in vinyl. But it was more of a rat rod, and didn't have too much inside, other than a really nice seat. Mine has only been about a half step above a rat rod (no offense to rat rods....). It actually had a nice paint job at one time (see avatar..). Nevertheless, the Howell sheet metal looks like a real problem solver, depending on how good their freight discounts are. I do realize that given my current equipment, it will be a looooooong series of spot welds.
 

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I am talking about a welded in metal roof filler panel.






 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about ! Do the ribs add that much structural support ? And I presume you cut away the part of the rood where all the nails go ? My seams around the rear window are already welded up after an issue arose after living in Georgia for 2 years. So the wood side rails above the door were replaced with what looks like C channel? Did you use the Howell sheet metal, and does it extend all the way to the visor, or did you have to add some metal there ? I guess once that's welded to the visor, that the windshield facing part of it needs to be welded also.
 

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Yeah, that's what I'm talking about ! Do the ribs add that much structural support ? And I presume you cut away the part of the rood where all the nails go ? My seams around the rear window are already welded up after an issue arose after living in Georgia for 2 years. So the wood side rails above the door were replaced with what looks like C channel? Did you use the Howell sheet metal, and does it extend all the way to the visor, or did you have to add some metal there ? I guess once that's welded to the visor, that the windshield facing part of it needs to be welded also.
This is the only one I have messed with so no comparison of strength between ribs or no. My observation is that some think ribs are dated. I used camper tape (thick foam, stick on) and some stick on universal weatherstrip in strategic locations between the roof skin and support structure and am pretty sure you could tie down a fullsize spare tire on it without hurting the roof. The new roof filler panel looks like a potato chip straight out of the box and neither it or door skins looked like they would even work at first glance.

But, once installed I couldn't have asked for better. The folks making the part did their homework. I think we bought from Mac's but couldn't be sure. Likely all offer that same part at similar prices. The link was just to turn you on to prefab. Making one would be murder for me. Not long ago, I filled a '33 roof hole with a 69 Camaro roof section. That kinda goes back to your original post, ha.

This pic shows yep, what was there before trimming-



14 ga 1x2 steel tubing was used above the doors and for most of the upper body structure.



The filler panel generously overlaps the visor. With visor removed, I was able to slide the filler panel in over the supports but under the side and rear panels then adjust my support frame's height to find the sweet spot where roof crown looks correct and support structure sits a uniform distance away from the filler panel, then use screws through the overlapped areas to secure it for trimming. With the structure helping to hold the filler panel evenly but not bearing it's weight. You could do the same thing with wood. The smaller wood ribs are the reference I used and they could work in a temporary support frame.

And yes, then visor ends were welded to A pillars next to the windshield top corners.
 
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