Home Public Appearances Contact

All images and content is property of Relic Recyclery

Convertible Top

Here is the manual convertible top as I received it with the car. It had obviosly been replaced at least once. The current top was white that was spray-painted black. With the top material removed there was plenty of evidence that the top was originally blue. That and the C-4 code on the car's trim tag.

There was very little blue top material left on the frame. Just a little across the header bow and a small piece on the rear tack strip. Though the blue seemed kind of light compared to what I was expecting....

The pads were obviously blue. There was some blue cloth remnants on the 2nd bow. This is evidence that the underside of the top would have been blue as well.

Many blue top cars came with blue frames. This frame was black. It obviously was not repainted as the original Manual Top decals were still in place. I did read on the web that some original cars were found with blue tops and black frames. No correlation between blue frames and balck frames based on standard versus deluxe interiors or manual versus power tops have been identified yet.

Here are the only pictures I have found of 67's with blue top frames. The first onw is from a real Pace Car, the other is from an all blue car.

In the above pictures you can see the remnants of the car's original well liner. It's a black cloth material (not vinyl) that has a kind of a beige-ish tan rubber coating on the underside. The picture on the right is of an original well liner from a car restored by Lucas Restorations.

I was to find out later that the well liner material, like the blue top, is not made anymore.

The frame was in great shape. I just had to repair a couple teeth on the head bow that are used to retain the tack strip. Once repaired I sandblasted the frame (dismantled) and painted it semigloss black (partially assembled).

I replaced the tack strip on the header bow (Eckler's, PN 17526: Conv Tack Strip 1/2 X 5/16) and the one for the rear window (Eckler's, PN 17525: Conv Tack Strip Conv Tack Strip 5/8 X 3/16). The rear tack strip was originally stapled in place. I've seen some crazy ways of installing new ones. Screws from the top, poprivets from the side, etc. The result doesn't look correct if you go that route. All I did was clean out the channel so that it was bare shiney metal and bedded the tack trip in place with SEMs general purpose panel bond.

I bought new chrome hardware for the frame and stuck with the original hardware for the nuts and bracket bolts as the repos are not correct.

I installed the top frame on the car, but could not adjust it until the side windows and windshield header moldings were installed.

The original windshield header moldings were restorable, so I had them replated by Paul's Chrome. I also had Bright Works Restoration fix the small dents and polish the stainless windshield pillar moldings and the convertible well moldings.

The factory really loaded up the windshield area with gray putty to seal things up. I used plumbers putty in this area as well since it pretty soft initially and does a great job sealing things.

The original convertible sunvisor brackets were too bad to use, so I went with repos. The repos do not fit as good around the windshield pillar moldings as the originals.

I would say that installing the convertible well stainless moldings rates a 9.8 on the pain-in-the-ass-o-meter. The best trick I found was to install the clips on the well lip, set the molding and pry they ears on the clips in place usings a putty knife. A liberal amount of masking tape was used to prevent the paint from chipping in the process.

The original rain gutter was missing, so I installed a repo. The repo is a nice part, but wouldn't you think they would be smart enough to mold it in the correct color? Guess not.

In 67 & 68 Chevy flattened the lip on the wheel houses at the top so that the convertible frames could fold down low enough. They put some padding over the lip. Not sure if it was originally just a waffled cardboard or a thin strip of jute padding, since the remnants found on the car were very brittle.

Finding a blue convertible top was a challenge as the material isn't being made any more. I ended up paying extra money to have Camaro Specialities order me one. They ordered it from Electron Top. The top I got I believe is a bit darker than the original, thought it looked pretty good layed out in place. I pondered the color issue for a while and posted some questions on some of the classic Camaro websites. No one seemed to think it was wrong, but they are pretty hard to come by in blue and who really remembers the shade of blue from a car built 50 years prior? Since I couldn't get the 100% correct color, including the underside color and pad color, I decided to install what I could get. Right or wrong.

The first thing that goes on for the top installation is the well liner. No one makes well liners with the original material, again probably because it is not available. The picture on the right is the one I bought from Camaro Specialities, though I bet all of the vendors sell the same one. The inside material is correct, but the outside face (not shown) is black vinyl.

Prepartion for installing the convertible top involves aligning the frame to the car (if you removed it) and making a pair of spacer blocks for holding the rear bow the correct distance from the third bow. The dimensions come out of the Fisher Body Service manual. 13-3/16 from the center of the round bow to the top face of the rear bow.

The pads are were the first to go on. They are stapled at the front and rear, stapled at the 2nd bow and screwed to the third bow).

The well liner gets stapled to the rear well tack strip prior to installing the rear window (not shown). Installing the rear window was a major pain to do right as the plastic window kept wrinkling on me. The only advice I can offer is to staple it across the top and then staple it on one side at the bottom corner, pull it tight while stapling it at the other bottom corner, bolt it in, mark it, unbolt it, tack staple it and repeat. I'm sure I had bolted and unbolted it a dozen times or more to get it right.

Installing the top was relatively easy. I just followed the instructions in the Fisher Body Service Manual. It takes a lot of practice to get it right, so I don't have much advice besides following the book. I have installed a few tops prior, including the top on my 1969 Firebird, but back in 1998.

Here it is with the top installed. The wrinkles will come out of it once the car sees some sun as they are caused by the material bonded to the underside and its winter time when the top was installed.

***************************************************** BLUE TOP DISCUSSION ***********************************************

Blue convertible tops are a rare option on 1967-68 Camaros. This probably has to do with the fact that blue top cars had to be specially ordered and blue didn't match many of the interior and exterior colors. Of the 25,141 1967 convertibles built only 1,346 were produced with a blue top. Of the 20,440 1968 convertibles built only 1,259 were produced with a blue top. Note: Blue tops were not available in 1969 (according to the Camaros.org). So roughly 5.7% of all 67/68 convertibles came with a blue top (designated by a "4" next to the Paint code on the cowl tag).

I have never seen a car with an original factory blue top in person. I have seen several cars with "4" on the trim tag, but they have had their tops replaced with white ones. So this made it difficult in identifying the correct shade of blue for my top.

Here are the only vintage pictures that I am aware of, that shows a 1967 Camaro with a blue convertible top. They are well known pictures of Dave Welday, GM Indianapolis Zone Organizational Manager, with a pace car replica taken in the spring of 1967 at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway. The top is medium blue in color, but you have to allow for the age of the photo and the fact that it had to be scanned in by someone.

For the past several years I've been searching the web for blue top 1967 Camaros. Here are all of the cars I found that potentially have an original top on them.They all appear to have a light blue top.

I also came across this vintage picture, showing a car that had a light blue top on it as well:

I have come across a couple pictures of restored 1967 Camaro Pace Car Replicas that have replacement medium blue tops that look like the Dave Welday's car:

As mentioned before, there were remnants of a blue top on my car when I removed the top. There wasn't enough to prove that the blue material was original. The only recourse was to spend big bucks to buy 1967 Chevy Dealer Showroom Catalog, which comes with actual trim samples. I compared piece of the material I took off the top frame and a sample of the new top material and it appears the lighter material that was on my top frame is the original material and it is lighter then what I bought. Well I'm stuck wiht it now. Let's say I have increased my doubts about buyings stuff for a gold certified judge.................