That Were Fun… But…
The other day, someone reminded me about T-tops. If youre
younger than 30 or so, you probably dont remember T-tops.
But if youre older, no doubt you do.
For about 10 years beginning in the mid-70s and through
the mid-80s T-tops (or T-roofs) were very popular.
Camaros and Firebirds, Mustang IIs and 280Zs of that era
and several others, too often had them.
It was a pretty cool idea.
The trouble was, these T-tops werent (usually) very well-engineered.
In many cases, they were installed at the dealer level (Hurst was
a major supplier at first). And what the dealer did was basically
take a Sawzall and rough in the holes, then trim
it up loosely and kind-sorta with chrome surrounds
Because the roof is a structural member of the cars body,
cutting away much of the roofs structure did a number on the
cars body integrity. The remaining and not as stiff
anymore roof would flex. And the tops would invariably leak.
Then, the seats and carpets would get wet.
Mold and floorpan rust ensued.
The factory-installed T-roofs were better because the roof section
was reinforced and also because they werent dealer Sawzall
jobs. But they still leaked and squeaked. I had one of each
a 78 Camaro with the dealer-done Hurst tops (which
can be IDd by their smaller size and shiny chrome trim) and
later an 80 Camaro with the factory Fisher tops (which were
larger and typically had black out trim)
speak from bitter personal experience. The only way to keep the
water out was by RTVing the things in place. And they still
leaked because the frameless door glass these cars had didnt
seal tight enough against the tops.
Anyone who had one of these cars had the same experience.The only
way to keep the water out was to make sure the car never got wet.
Which is why you dont see T-tops much anymore.
Heres another: air shocks on muscle cars.
You know how today the big thing is to mount the biggest possible
wheels on a car? Back in the day, the big thing was to get the ass
end of your muscle car as high up in the air as possible. The idea
was to emulate the look of a dragster you know, get the nose
in the weeds. It it was also a cheap way to correct for saggy leafs
and fix tire scrub.
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© 2012 Eric Peters
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