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Rusty Ragtop Gets Covered

Here We See Some Finishing Touches

Tony Kelly May 29, 2003

From its humble beginnings as it rolled from the trailer in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, the Rusty Ragtop has come a long way. It isn't rusty any more but it definitely needs a ragtop. Actually it had one but it was very "raggy", as the photos show. We were lucky to have almost all of the parts, but they definitely needed work. What we didn't have we were once again able to locate at Chevy 2 Only, and the experts at Ron's Restorations capably handled the parts that needed work.

The original seats and top mechanism all look as though they've spent a great deal of time out doors. Most project cars have similar history so we weren't surprised. With lots of attention to detail, patience, and hard work, the framework was salvaged and restored. On your own project, if you feel as though you want to try it, the seats, door panels and carpeting might be something for the amateur, but we don't recommend doing a convertible top unless you have expert help. It's great to say you did it yourself, but only if the completed work doesn't scream loudly that you did. It might be worth saving money doing the parts you can do well and getting an expert to attend the "finishing touches."


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0308sc_02z Chevrolet_Nova_SS Old_top_cover_framework_view 3/14

Pretty scary, huh? If it hadn't been with the car all along, we're afraid someone might have trashed this item. As it was the fabric was quickly discarded and the serious cleaning and prep work took place on the top framework.

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This is what can be done with lots of cleaning, sanding, priming, sanding again, priming, more sanding and then a finish coat. Hard to believe what we started with.

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After all that hard work, it gets covered up. Quite nicely covered up, we have to say.

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Once again the car gets protected while the work goes on.

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Wrinkles will drive you crazy. It took many fittings to just get to these few and then the top was allowed to set for a while before more smoothing and fitting took place.

0308sc_07z Chevrolet_Nova_SS Cover_view 8/14

Look for the car at Super Chevy Shows to see how great the top fits now. We haven't shown each and every step on the top install because we really do recommend you have a pro do it and we don't want to tempt you.

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We show you this to illustrate another difference between convertibles and hardtop Novas. In case we haven't mentioned it lately, this car had the quarters replaced from a two-door coupe and the hardtop's rear quarter window operates differently than a soft-top.

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This results in the notch in the door opening being deeper in the hardtop so we had to patch in a piece of sheet metal to make the car correct. The photo with the two-tone paint is the convertible version.

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Yes, these seats will be able to be rescued. As for the way they look here, they came by it honestly, being around 40 years old. We hope you don't (or didn't) look this worn out at 40.

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Carefully disassemble the seats, saving any connectors. Each and every part will have to be scraped, sanded, painted, and checked for any missing wires or ties. Replace as necessary or you may wind up with a sagging seat or pieces of wire poking through the new material (and other more vital parts).

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The protective paper keeps the foam and metal apart.

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Once the foam is on top of the metal, the new cover is stretched over it and hog ringed down.

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Skipping a step or two, Ron's Restorations did all that fine work and wound up with the Homecoming Queen perched neatly (and sedately) on that fine upholstery and top boot. Seems worth it, don't you think?


Siloam Springs, AR 72761,
Mt. Washington, KY 40047

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