[[Template core/front/global/utilitiesMenu does not exist. This theme may be out of date. Run the support tool in the AdminCP to restore the default theme.]]
John Goschke

'58 Bonneville Hardtop Back on the Bench! 3/20/18

Recommended Posts

Now She's a Hardtop!

A while back I was fortunate to be able to pick up this really clean built-up '58 Bonneville ragtop. Stripped what little paint there was and gave her an attitude adjustment and new rolling stock...

_5712-vi.jpg

58Bonneville_1-vi.jpg

58Bonneville_5-vi.jpg

Problem was the car I really wanted to build was a hardtop, plus, without a roof it's real obvious that the interior in this old kit is kinda shallow and not very detailed. Wish it was a hardtop but, unfortunately, AMT's Trophy Series '58 Impala won't fit without more work than I care to do...

Then a pretty horrendous hardtop body turns up on ebay that looks like it has a salvageable roof... Sold!

After several hours under the scalpel (and other sharp implements) the main surgery's complete...

58BonneTop14-vi.jpg

Edited by John Goschke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the roof wasn't perfect the rest of the hardtop body was pretty trashed, looking like someone had attempted to strip the paint with a wire brush and a utility knife! I wetsanded some scratches out of the forward section of the roof and did some other cleanup to make sure it was salvageable before marking the beltline and lower rear windows moldings for cutting with a razor saw. After those cuts were made I repeatedly scribed a cut with a #11 blade high on the quarter panel about a 16th inch from the base of the C pillar from saw cut to saw cut, freeing the back of the roof. The vent window and windshield posts were already cracked through so no cutting was needed there.

58BonneTop1-vi.jpg
58BonneTop8-vi.jpg
58BonneTop11-vi.jpg

Edited by John Goschke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After the roof was cut free I made a light knife cut at the back edge of the vent window, then carefully shaved the remnants of the vent and windshield posts off. Then I highlighted the knife cut by rubbing a little pencil lead into it. This gave me a reference point for locating the roof on the convertible. I also carefully shaved the extra bit of plastic from the hardtop quarter panel off the base of the roof, right up to the beltline molding and the base of the C pillar and no more. Moving to the convertible body, I gingerly cut away the sun visors from the windshield frame. Then I held roof to body, and noting the reference marks at the vent windows, marked the location of the cuts on the beltline and rear window molding, and using the #11 blade, bit by bit, cut out the notches in the body for the base of the roof. Test fitting at frequent intervals prevented cutting away too much plastic. I also trimmed off the upper windshield molding from the hardtop roof since the convertible frame would take its place. At one point during the testfitting it appeared that some additional needed to be removed from the front edge of the roof and I did go too far, having to add a bit styrene strip along that edge to fix it.

58BonneTop27-vi.jpg
58BonneTop28-vi.jpg
58BonneTop26-vi.jpg
58BonneTop25-vi.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The convertible interior is the same as that used for the hardtop kit except that it has holes at the back for locating the boot cover. I used telescoping plastic tubing and rod cemented in with liquid cement and a little cyano for good measure to fill the holes. These were then cut almost flush, then shaved down with a #11 a bit more before being filed and wet sanded smooth on the top side.

58BonneTop30-vi.jpg
58BonneTop31-vi.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's plenty left to do, including making a new rear window and adding weather seal and window channel detail to the side window openings. The windshield header will need to be reshaped once the top is glued on, then yadda, yadda, yadda... but I'm pretty happy with the result so far!

58BonneTop18-vi.jpg
58BonneTop12-vi.jpg
58BonneTop15-vi.jpg

58BonneTop13-vi.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terrific work, John! It looks great.

I gotta admit, I was almost afraid to open this thread! Didn't know what to expect. :rolleyes:

I was pleasantly surprised! B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, that is some great work you're doing on this Bonnie. I love it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. There is no way I could have done that so cleanly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great job on the new top. You cut it so precise that it will hardly need any filler. It looks like you have done this before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice conversion! You did an excellent job swapping the roofs. This is gonna be worth the effort you're putting into it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, that is some nice clean work! That was a stoke of luck that you came across a trashed body with a good roof..........Knowing me, I might have went through all of the trouble using the AMT '58 Chevy. :D

I wonder if the roof off of the Revell kit might have worked, being that and the AMT are two different kits?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

excellent exercise! exceeding expectations!

re the 58 kits, wouldn't the rear glass from one of those work?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, that is some great work you're doing on this Bonnie. I love it.

X2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now