Model A Ford Closed Car Roof Installation


I always attempt to stay close to Ford's original nomenclature. To clarify any confusion we are talking about what is often referred to as the top. Ford referred to the overhead as a roof on any and all models with roll-up side windows. Roadsters, Phaetons, and Open Cabs were the only models that utilized a top.

A Tudor was selected for the roof installation because it is the most difficult to install due to the compound curves. It also serves as a good example since most if not all the techniques and principles apply to the simpler seamless roof covers.

It is strongly recommended this be made a summer project if at all possible. The aid of direct sun to heat the artificial leather during installation will make all the difference for the novice and and save incredible energy and effort for anyone. The project shown in the following pages had to be done during cloudy 50° California days and required considerable energy and determination.

Using tacks will be one inconvenience to the novice. Staples simply aren't appropriate here. Try to find or borrow a tack hammer. You should be able to find one for under $15. Using any other type of hammer will prove to be difficult. When installing tacks, "pin tack" or set them in about 1/3. NEVER drive them all the way down until all tacks are in final position and no further adjustments are required. Use a good punch for the final third when near sheet metal to avoid chipping paint. In most cases you will be tacking through elongated holes in the body into wood. Inspect the wood behind all these areas. Bad wood or open spots in new wood seem to always be in a crucial tacking area. When tacking through the elongated holes I nearly always place the tack near the right end of the hole so I know there is access to the left of most tacks when installing mouldings or hidem. It saves a lot of time not having to probe for access to wood.

A small bead of sealer can and probably should be used between the cover and body at least on horizontal areas. The header area and rear corners are the most susceptible to leakage. Original mouldings reduce the risk of leaks considerably. This sealer is applied below the roof cover as it is tacked by working an area of about 6-8 inches at a time. Don't use more than necessary as excess sealer may squeeze out from under and make a mess that may be impossible to clean off the exposed painted areas. I have no recommended sealers at this time. I do however prefer to stay away from silicon sealants.

Follow the arrows at the bottom of the page and subsequent pages to follow the project step by step or choose individual segments from the table below.


Roof Cover Installation - Tudor Sedan
Page 2 - Preparing the Roof The metal, ribs, and poultry wire
Page 3 - More Preparation Foundation, padding, and cover
Page 4 - Final Preparation Padding and Protection
Page 5 - Beginning the Cover We start tacking
Page 6 - Tacking In Stages More stretching and tacking
Page 7 - Completing the Tacking Still more stretching and tacking!
Page 8 - The Final Stages Trimming the roof cover
Page 9 - Finally Finished! A quick look at the finished project
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©1998 Marco Tahtaras