: thinking about going topless!



Bro-Ham
08-05-13, 10:20 PM
Have yellow 79 Sedan deVille with yellow top. It is a very presentable daily driver, it is showing its age just a tad - top is still supple and nice and has color but has a little patina of age. My thought is to repaint the whole car to freshen it and remove some minor cracks and blemishes, and, I know this may sound like a sin, but I am thinking of removing the vinyl top and refinishing the steel underneath, getting the chrome rear window moldings (inside trim as required to do it right, possibly different rear window if necessary). What do you think? Is losing the vinyl no big deal and may make the car pleasingly different from before, or is the vinyl an essential retro look that needs to be retained? My outlook is to have the car in the beauty shop this fall, right around the corner! Please advise with your opinions. Thanks! :) Dave

1980coupe
08-05-13, 11:09 PM
If it were me, I'd keep the vinyl top look on it. Mine is showing its age and starting to fade and crack and was thinking the same route you are, but should the time come to fix it- I'm keeping the vinyl look to it.

I thought you meant topless as in no top at all on the car, you mean baldy. Well, that how the guys over on layitlow refer to it.
You do need the inside trim, rear window trim and another rear glass.

Bro-Ham
08-05-13, 11:40 PM
Thanks for your thoughts. The other option is to replace the vinyl top with new skin now that Craig (77 CDV) has turned me on to vinyl and fabric wonderland of SMS, they have Colonial Yellow vinyl in stock and ready to go. I grew up with our non-vinyl roof 77 sedan deVille and it was so unique at the time, maybe this is a midlife crisis and that is why I am subconsciously trying to recapture my youth?! :) I just think the no vinyl roof look will perhaps be a bit sporty. I love vinyl too, very seventies, plus it is authentic to the originality of the beast. But that big yellow Cadillac with vinyl-less look still makes me excited wondering...

lacville78
08-06-13, 12:15 AM
Either way would be cool as hell! You might have quite a job on your hands deleting the top and sourcing the proper trim pieces. And smoothing out the bad body work the factory did under the top. The real question is, is the trouble worth going through to you.

YoshiMan
08-06-13, 02:00 AM
I've seen photos of several steel roofed Cadillacs... the 77 and ups actually look totally find in my opinion, the 76 and downs looked kinda funky...

jamespowers
08-06-13, 02:37 AM
Well, let's see:
133361

133369

Looks ok to me. :D

1980coupe
08-06-13, 08:13 AM
here's a 79 sedan that i found on google...
http://i41.tinypic.com/33cyf10.jpg
gives you an idea on how it'll look

csbuckn
08-06-13, 11:08 AM
I think you should go baldy. You'll love it. There will need to be body work on the roof to get out the ripples left in the roof and cover the pinholes around the back window. The exterior rear trim is different from Coupe to sedan so make sure you get the right one. The clips that hold on the interior rear window trim are hard to find, I had to make my own. I did find someone who sold them though.

blueboy
08-06-13, 01:42 PM
I have thought of turning my 76 CDV into a baldy. Anyn thoughts guys? Any pics of a 76 baldy CDV?

jayoldschool
08-06-13, 02:11 PM
Bare top coupes look great. Sedans, I think they look better with vinyl. Bare sedans are too "Caprice" to me. Sedans without vinyl are like martinis without olives.

jamespowers
08-06-13, 06:09 PM
Bare top coupes look great. Sedans, I think they look better with vinyl. Bare sedans are too "Caprice" to me. Sedans without vinyl are like martinis without olives.

Vinyl is a maintenance nightmare though---especially if it stays outside any number of days.

The Ape Man
08-06-13, 07:30 PM
The purpose of a vinyl roof is to minimize damage to the road if you flip over.

Bro-Ham
08-06-13, 08:12 PM
Bare top coupes look great. Sedans, I think they look better with vinyl. Bare sedans are too "Caprice" to me. Sedans without vinyl are like martinis without olives.

Ape, you would have to bring cocktails into this, my low liquor light is already on, guess a martini is in order since you mentioned it!

I agree the topless look on this period Cadillac can be seen as Caprice-ishh but I am thinking the increasingly unusual and very rich yellowness of my car helps with distinctiveness if it is converted to vinyl-less. I have lace style 93-96 Fleetwood alloy wheels on the car which I am going to have chromed while the car is laid up. So, I am thinking (hoping) the metal roof with chrome wheels will work and tickle me. It is not permanent so I can always put the vinyl back on if desired later.

As for the inside and outside trim and rear window, I believe the rear window and trim from any 77 Sedan deVille will work (should be findable), or a 78-79 that was made from the factory with metal roof (very rare).

I appreciate your opinions about the car and cocktail suggestions, but it doesn't take much to get me excited about cocktails! I love these old Cadillacs so much that everything is all good always!

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I have thought of turning my 76 CDV into a baldy. Anyn thoughts guys? Any pics of a 76 baldy CDV?

They made 76 Coupe deVilles from the factory with no vinyl, my neighbors had a light blue one like that back in 76. I am not sure about the trim around the side opera windows, on the 77-79 models you need a trim piece to cover the openings around those windows, I think you do not need to worry about that on a 1976 but get more opinions before you start ripping the vinyl off. :)

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The purpose of a vinyl roof is to minimize damage to the road if you flip over.

Ape, you are the greatest!

jamespowers
08-06-13, 09:55 PM
The purpose of a vinyl roof is to minimize damage to the road if you flip over.That would be the only reasonable use that I could see. :p

MoistCabbage
08-06-13, 11:37 PM
the purpose of a vinyl roof is to minimize damage to the road if you flip over.

lol!!!

77CDV
08-07-13, 08:14 AM
I personally like the vinyl roof in these cars. It softens the sharp angles while defining the greenhouse. Without the top, I feel the car looks diminished and less substantial. There's a reason most of these cars came with vinyl tops.

Bro-Ham
08-07-13, 12:02 PM
I personally like the vinyl roof in these cars. It softens the sharp angles while defining the greenhouse. Without the top, I feel the car looks diminished and less substantial. There's a reason most of these cars came with vinyl tops.

Good point! If I were to replace the vinyl top I am guessing there is likely rust on the metal underneath that should be addressed before the new vinyl would be installed?

cadillac kevin
08-07-13, 01:36 PM
Good point! If I were to replace the vinyl top I am guessing there is likely rust on the metal underneath that should be addressed before the new vinyl would be installed?

Correct. If your vinyl roof has failed, you will typically find some amount of rust on the top of the A pillars and C pillars. It could be as minor as surface rust, or as bad as hard bumps (not sure what those look like when you expose them) or holes through the metal. Given the condition of your car, I'd be leaning towards minor surface rust, if any.

Bro-Ham
08-08-13, 04:31 PM
Correct. If your vinyl roof has failed, you will typically find some amount of rust on the top of the A pillars and C pillars. It could be as minor as surface rust, or as bad as hard bumps (not sure what those look like when you expose them) or holes through the metal. Given the condition of your car, I'd be leaning towards minor surface rust, if any.

Thanks Kevin, the original top on the car has not "failed," it is still super decent for its age, especially considering all the exposure to Florida sun and rain, but my thinking is if I am going to have the car painted all fresh, fancy, and new then the top should be replaced with new or removed altogether. The current vinyl top would probably look good enough if I kept it but that is not the goal of this undertaking. :)

cadillac kevin
08-08-13, 05:14 PM
Thanks Kevin, the original top on the car has not "failed," it is still super decent for its age, especially considering all the exposure to Florida sun and rain, but my thinking is if I am going to have the car painted all fresh, fancy, and new then the top should be replaced with new or removed altogether. The current vinyl top would probably look good enough if I kept it but that is not the goal of this undertaking. :)

If you are going to repaint the car, replace the top. I personally like the vinyl roof-less 77-79 cars in certain colors. Yellow is one of them. Some colors retain its cadillacness, and some (powder blue, white) make it look like a 98.

Bro-Ham
08-08-13, 05:52 PM
If you are going to repaint the car, replace the top. I personally like the vinyl roof-less 77-79 cars in certain colors. Yellow is one of them. Some colors retain its cadillacness, and some (powder blue, white) make it look like a 98.

Thanks for your feedback Kevin. It is proving to be a harder decision than I thought since I feel I can live with the car either way. If I knew the topless look could be done correctly with all the needed trim pieces installed properly, and the roof underneath could be prepared right then I would probably not be hesitating.

Benzilla
08-08-13, 09:33 PM
I'm always a bit uneasy on this topic. When I think about the staggering number of incomplete or failed attempts at bare roofs I've seen driving down the resale potential to purists, and the scarcity / price of the parts needed... I instantly switch to picking out vinyl colors! Lol.

While we are brainstorming, I think the yellow coupes look great with white quarter tops. Haven't seen many sedans in that combo...

csbuckn
08-08-13, 10:36 PM
This is a tough decision. I'm glad my coupe is hardtop but I was able to find the parts easier then I thought. The exterior trim is different from coupe to sedan. I have the sedan exterior trim on my car and will be getting the coupe trim soon enough so my exterior trim is yours when you need it. There will be some body work to the rear deck, rear quarter and rear window area to get rid of vinyl trim clip stubs. The hardtop exterior rear window trim will require somehow mounting the clips to the body, most will drill holes and use t-stud rivets and use them to mount the clips to. Takes work or money to do it right but looks good when done right. I can take some pics if you want to show you what is under the vinyl.

Bro-Ham
08-08-13, 10:55 PM
This is a tough decision. I'm glad my coupe is hardtop but I was able to find the parts easier then I thought. The exterior trim is different from coupe to sedan. I have the sedan exterior trim on my car and will be getting the coupe trim soon enough so my exterior trim is yours when you need it. There will be some body work to the rear deck, rear quarter and rear window area to get rid of vinyl trim clip stubs. The hardtop exterior rear window trim will require somehow mounting the clips to the body, most will drill holes and use t-stud rivets and use them to mount the clips to. Takes work or money to do it right but looks good when done right. I can take some pics if you want to show you what is under the vinyl.

Thanks, would love to see under the vinyl. I know there are the knobs for mounting the vinyl top edge trim, just curious to see how the metal looks and how much of a refinishing project it may be.

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I'm always a bit uneasy on this topic. When I think about the staggering number of incomplete or failed attempts at bare roofs I've seen driving down the resale potential to purists, and the scarcity / price of the parts needed... I instantly switch to picking out vinyl colors! Lol.

While we are brainstorming, I think the yellow coupes look great with white quarter tops. Haven't seen many sedans in that combo...

Yes, I agree, I do not want a tragic mistake on my hands, I love the car too much and want to do it right, you have me thinking vinyl may be the way to go. I just want the metal underneath inspected and treated if necessary before tacking new vinyl on if that is the route that is taken. Thanks for your thoughts!

Mark 78 Coupe
08-09-13, 02:34 AM
I've always thought the sedans look very cool without the vinyl top. In the mid 80's I almost bought a black 79 Sedan De Ville with a gray leather interior. Even that long ago I thought it was a very unique car, given that virtually every car back then had the vinyl top. If you choose to go the "baldy" route as they say on lay it low, as you have read in previous posts, it is going to cost you some serious money to get the roof metal ready for paint, plus the cost of finding the elusive sedan non vinyl top trim. Just replacing the top with new vinyl when you paint your car is by far the easiest and cheapest way to go. In the end it is up to you, and what you feel you can afford. I would think at the very least a shop would charge an additional 8-10 hours of body labor to prep the roof (grind and smooth crummy factory welds, etc), and then the additional paint time for the roof itself. With body labor at about $50 per hour, you can see it will add up quick. Good luck, and given the car you have, and the color it is, which ever option you choose will be fine.

blueboy
08-09-13, 09:01 AM
Good info here on the vinyl tops and the choices for going 'bald'. I have a 76 CDV and am about to take off the badly weathered and worn vinyl top (padded). Has anyone tips for removing the top? What should I expect underneath...or is this a loaded question? :-)
I know the trim is expensive to replace so I am looking to save the 'trim bits' for the professional installation of a new top. I'm intending to prep the car myself for a repaint...lotsa elbow grease !



i134721

csbuckn
08-09-13, 10:15 AM
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad196/csbuckn/20130614_155851.jpg (http://s935.photobucket.com/user/csbuckn/media/20130614_155851.jpg.html)
Studs on decklid
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad196/csbuckn/20130528_221331.jpg (http://s935.photobucket.com/user/csbuckn/media/20130528_221331.jpg.html)
The pics below are off a 79 at a yard.
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad196/csbuckn/IMG_20111208_105351.jpg (http://s935.photobucket.com/user/csbuckn/media/IMG_20111208_105351.jpg.html)
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad196/csbuckn/IMG_20111208_105417.jpg (http://s935.photobucket.com/user/csbuckn/media/IMG_20111208_105417.jpg.html)
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad196/csbuckn/IMG_20111208_105357.jpg (http://s935.photobucket.com/user/csbuckn/media/IMG_20111208_105357.jpg.html)
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad196/csbuckn/IMG_20111208_105344.jpg (http://s935.photobucket.com/user/csbuckn/media/IMG_20111208_105344.jpg.html)


I still think its better then a soft top if done right. The pic of the 79 on the first page looks real good without the top.

cadillac kevin
08-09-13, 10:19 AM
That 79 is rough under the top!

csbuckn
08-09-13, 10:39 AM
Yep, I think it sat like that for a long time but it definitely wasa MN car. I dont think Bro-Ham's car will have any rust. The first pic is of my blue 84 and we all know how much rust that thing had, but no rust under the top.

Bro-Ham
08-11-13, 02:10 AM
Yep, I think it sat like that for a long time but it definitely wasa MN car. I dont think Bro-Ham's car will have any rust. The first pic is of my blue 84 and we all know how much rust that thing had, but no rust under the top.

That looks like the gray 79 Fleetwood you told me about at the salvage place in the twin cities you told me about a couple years ago? If so, I picked a few decent interior plastic wood pieces from that car. The roof underneath looks workable.

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I've always thought the sedans look very cool without the vinyl top. In the mid 80's I almost bought a black 79 Sedan De Ville with a gray leather interior. Even that long ago I thought it was a very unique car, given that virtually every car back then had the vinyl top. If you choose to go the "baldy" route as they say on lay it low, as you have read in previous posts, it is going to cost you some serious money to get the roof metal ready for paint, plus the cost of finding the elusive sedan non vinyl top trim. Just replacing the top with new vinyl when you paint your car is by far the easiest and cheapest way to go. In the end it is up to you, and what you feel you can afford. I would think at the very least a shop would charge an additional 8-10 hours of body labor to prep the roof (grind and smooth crummy factory welds, etc), and then the additional paint time for the roof itself. With body labor at about $50 per hour, you can see it will add up quick. Good luck, and given the car you have, and the color it is, which ever option you choose will be fine.

Mark, the trim needs to be either from a 77-79 Sedan deVille with no vinyl top from the factory OR a 77 with a vinyl top since the rear window will still have the chrome around the back window.

Aron9000
08-11-13, 03:55 AM
I'd go vinyl top since its a sedan. On the coupes I can go either way, kind of depending on the color IMO.

Another thing to consider is that you have the D'Elegance package on your Deville, which was pretty expensive at the time. D'Elegance cars were pretty well loaded with most of the options including the vinyl top. IMO it would be very period incorrect not to have the vinyl top on this car. Now if it was some sort of custom ordered oddball like a D'Elegance with a steel roof, that's fine if it came from the factory that way. But it would just seem weird to me to see that D'Elegance script on a steel top car.

Bro-Ham
08-11-13, 08:39 PM
I'd go vinyl top since its a sedan. On the coupes I can go either way, kind of depending on the color IMO.

Another thing to consider is that you have the D'Elegance package on your Deville, which was pretty expensive at the time. D'Elegance cars were pretty well loaded with most of the options including the vinyl top. IMO it would be very period incorrect not to have the vinyl top on this car. Now if it was some sort of custom ordered oddball like a D'Elegance with a steel roof, that's fine if it came from the factory that way. But it would just seem weird to me to see that D'Elegance script on a steel top car.

Ah yesss Aron, but that is the mystique! A vinyl-topless d'Elegance may be a one of a kind, and in this era of proliferating blandness it may be just the prescription for individuality and fun! :)

77CDV
08-12-13, 03:48 AM
You could order the d'Elegance package without the vinyl top. I've seen original examples of them. Notice on that 79 in the j-yard how the rear window is. If you go from vinyl to metal, you'll have to source a new backlight as well as the trim for it, since the glass itself is different. Then of course you'll have to grind off and smooth out all the retaining studs for the roof trim, as slick tops don't have it. Then, you'll have to smooth out all the seams where the top panel meets the C pillars and A pillars. All in all, it seems like a lot of work for not much gain IMO.

ferrisworld
08-12-13, 04:33 AM
I was thinking of taking my vinyl off at one point too, mainly because I have the factory sunroof and I thought it might leak less without the vinyl because then the sunroof would be more level with the rest of the roof. As for looks, I like it both ways, but I hate it when people put vinyl tops on newer Cadillacs that never came with them. ick.

Bro-Ham
08-12-13, 11:34 AM
You could order the d'Elegance package without the vinyl top. I've seen original examples of them. Notice on that 79 in the j-yard how the rear window is. If you go from vinyl to metal, you'll have to source a new backlight as well as the trim for it, since the glass itself is different. Then of course you'll have to grind off and smooth out all the retaining studs for the roof trim, as slick tops don't have it. Then, you'll have to smooth out all the seams where the top panel meets the C pillars and A pillars. All in all, it seems like a lot of work for not much gain IMO.

That is the question, is it worth it? Thanks for your opinion, I will decide soon. My current thinking is that the vinyl-less look is unique and fun, but my practical and retro sides both think that throwing on brand new vinyl will be easier and just as fun. We will see.

Bro-Ham
08-13-13, 10:45 PM
Thanks for all the feedback! I think I will re-vinyl this car, take care of any issues that may be hiding underneath, stay tuned! Car is in shop for total mechanical re-do currently, once done it will be off to the beauty shop. Next thread will be about fillers - - all are original and holding up but one of the original urethane rear taillight fillers has some micro hairline cracks...might take all the originals off and do the modern hard kind as a preventative measure, does that sound crazy? This car deserves to stand tall! I know it is only a matter of time before the originals which lived most of their life up north will disintegrate with the Florida-ization the car is now exposed to. :)

jayoldschool
08-13-13, 11:20 PM
After all the reports of ill-fitting repro fillers, I think you would be crazy to replace originals. Are you sure the cracks are in the fillers and not just the paint? Even if they are cracked, I would still seek out good originals to go back on.

talismandave
08-14-13, 01:47 AM
I have not weighed in yet Dave because I really have not formed an opinion yet. All of you points for and against I agree with. I personally would keep the vinyl if it were for me, but am trying to view it from the point of someone who loves a sedan without. The color you have would be one of the few I could see topless on. Perhaps with a two-tone. The costs seem so high for that I think finding a nice topless one might be cheaper.

I will propose an even crazier idea for the fillers. How about buy, and fit the filler replacements, then put the originals back on for painting, but have them spray the hard ones for future use. Wrap them back up and you at least have them when the inevitable happens someday?

Sorry about being late to the show, I guess I was overthinking it. Have been following and pondering...

Bro-Ham
08-14-13, 09:31 AM
After all the reports of ill-fitting repro fillers, I think you would be crazy to replace originals. Are you sure the cracks are in the fillers and not just the paint? Even if they are cracked, I would still seek out good originals to go back on.

I hear you! I like the original fillers too but Florida climate eats them fast! The originals on my car are still presentable, left rear keeps oxidizing slightly and needs wax to nourish it back to normal, I think that is an omen for the disintegration that is likely coming. Right rear has micro cracks in a few places, they are a couple inches long and only I probably notice, again doesn't give me hope for longevity, also on the right rear the lower inner small chrome piece by the trunk lip was hanging and broke off when I touched it, not the normally rubbery material - it had dried out and failed

So, that's why, as much as I don't want to, I may just go with the hard fillers simply to keep the car exterior maintenance and worry free for the every day driving I intend to continue doing with this car.

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I have not weighed in yet Dave because I really have not formed an opinion yet. All of you points for and against I agree with. I personally would keep the vinyl if it were for me, but am trying to view it from the point of someone who loves a sedan without. The color you have would be one of the few I could see topless on. Perhaps with a two-tone. The costs seem so high for that I think finding a nice topless one might be cheaper.

I will propose an even crazier idea for the fillers. How about buy, and fit the filler replacements, then put the originals back on for painting, but have them spray the hard ones for future use. Wrap them back up and you at least have them when the inevitable happens someday?

Sorry about being late to the show, I guess I was overthinking it. Have been following and pondering...

Thanks for your careful consideration Dave! I thought of topless with 2-tone also but the challenge is the contrast color and not much goes well with yellow, and I want the car to stand tall so it will remain all yellow. I am going to stay with the vinyl top. Fresh new vinyl along with shiny new paint will be quite a dazzling look!