Topping off your woodie
I read the article, “Topping off your restoration,” in the June 2022 issue of the Woodie Times and would like to add a few comments.
I had been dealing with LeBaron Bonney since I purchased my first upholstery kit in 1970. Since then I have purchased several kits and got to know one of the longtime employees on a first name basis.
The reason I bring this up is that when L B was closing, we had someone that would give us inside information. After L B closed their doors, we wanted to purchase the entire roll of 66-inch wide cobra-grain material, not as a business venture, but as a service to NWC members and other woodie owners. We would sell the cobra grain at cost, plus shipping. After numerous emails and phone calls, we were told that all the L B assets were in litigation and in the hands of the attorneys. We were told that they would be in communication with us, but we never heard anything from them.
I have been researching top material since L B closed their doors. I have made dozens of phone calls to several different upholstery companies, never to find one that could supply the 66-wide material that L B could supply.
I don't know about Chevrolet, Plymouth and other makers of woodies, I'm only talking about 1941 through 1948 Ford vehicles. The measurement of the top material for these cars is a minimum 65-inch width. I prefer the 66-inch material because it gives you something to grab onto as you pull and tack the edges, and trim the excess before you attach the rain gutters.
The article states that Haartz Convertible Topping (haartz.com) can supply 65-inch cobra grain, not so. I placed a call to Haartz and was told that they did have something similar, but only in 49-inch and 60-inch widths.
Haartz makes excellent products and can supply woodies owners with several choices of beautiful roof covering.
I don't know what the 80-inch wide material Restoration Specialties and Supply (restorationspecialties.com) has looks like, but I'm trying to get a sample.
I have seen several street rod or non-stock woodies that have Haartz cloth roof covering and they are downright beautiful. However, if you are building a 1941-48 Ford Station Wagon and plan to enter it into fine point judging, you're in trouble.
Covering your top with the wrong material is like painting your car the wrong color, and you will get a major point deduction, putting you out of contention. Material that is only similar, just won't stand up to the standards of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America.
What the answer is, I don't know. Where the L B roll of 66-inch material wound up, my insider doesn't know. I shudder to think that it might have ended up in a dumpster.