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The longbridge gets a hard top

healeyblue

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While I was in the middle of the restoration of the 1957 BN-4 we decided we would like it to have a hardtop so I started trolling ebay and finally found one. We paid good money for it (a little over 1,000) but it was complete and in nice shape, just needing paint, polish and a headliner. So we arranged to buy it and had the seller get it crated up so we could get it shipped. We decided on Fedex freight to ship it even though it was pricey ( right at 700 to ship) we figured a national company would be a safe bet. Well here are some before (as seen on ebay) and as we received from Fedex.
 

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Oh, that makes me sick just to look at it....
 
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healeyblue

healeyblue

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Well after a long fight with fedex, they finally said that they received the item in good condition and delivered it in good condition... but they would push for us to get our freight charges back and if possible $.50 per pound in damages. REALLY. This top only weighs about 60 pounds. We had had enough so took what we could get and got to work on some repairs. I stripped it down to just a fiberglass shell and sent it off to the paint shop. Luckily the top only had one small crack in the fiberglass and I think that might have been there for some time, as it was close to where the aluminum surround is pushed on. I then started straightening and polishing all the individual trim pieces. Surprisingly it bent fairly easily, which is also why it was so easily damaged. I was expecting to have to anneal the aluminum prior to reshaping but careful pressure in just the right places and it moved how I wanted it. I made a jig out of some I-beam and a spare set of cockpit surrounds so gauge how far and which way to bend and shape. I then sanded and polished everything, and cleaned and painted the headliner frame. I ordered all the seals and headliner material. I had a friend sew the headliner up and I wrapped all the pieces with the material. I sourced a new back window as the original had suffered a hit and left a starburst in the plastic. Last week I finally finished re-assembly and we fit it today. SUCCESS!!! I was surprised at how well it fit after all it had been through. I did not have to re-bend anything today, just shave a little off the corner radius's of the side curtains so they would clear when closing the door. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
 

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healeyblue

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All is well now though guys. Heres todays progress.
 

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healeyblue

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And a few more.
 

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Not to change the subject, but that is one clear looking windshield! Did you replace the old one, and if so, where did you get it?

thanks,
Larry
 
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healeyblue

healeyblue

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Yes fighting for shipping damage is no fun. I was just flabbergasted at their offer of $.50 per pound damage.
 

dougie

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Hard tops rule on the '57 BN4. I'm glad this story had a happy ending you had be scared at first.....

2013 RMMR Saturday 101230.jpg
 
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healeyblue

healeyblue

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Shoot... you were scared, it sucked being me for a few months thinking about how I could make some lemonade out of this.
 

BigGreen

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Nice result, I am about to get mine in a few days
600 km drive, getting it myself ;-)
 

andrea

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Very nice work, I like your courage to remedy at the FedExpres catastrophic transport, very well done!!
Cheers
 
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Good job Jim, you're a true craftsman! While I would like to "own" a hdtp for my 2-seater, I wouldn't ever want to put that much effort into one! Honestly, if I did get one, I can only imagine it hanging in the garage; heck, I never even put up the soft top ;)

Looks great though Jim, and I think that white was a better choice than blue. Best to LS too!
 
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healeyblue

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bigGreen, yes if we had to do it again we would definitely drive to pick it up ourselves. When we bought the hardtop for my boss's 61 Vette he went and picked it up (lesson learned).

Andrea, thanks it definitely took courage and a good plan for repairing such twisted aluminum (especially because it is an extrusion)

Randy, Thanks, The Healey is one of the rare cars that actually looks good with a hard top in place (boss's vette too) so it may spend a little more time in place than hanging. Now with the colder weather and no heater it is a welcome addition. I think the main reason though is the God-awful soft top assembly the longbridge cars have. It takes two experienced craftsmen to erect the top not an enthusiast and his wife. The white was a no brainer after seeing how it goes well on Dougie's and others cars. The blue would have been too much.
 
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