making a 35/36 fleetwood into a convertible

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The Classic Cadillac Forum Discussion, making a 35/36 fleetwood into a convertible in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I have dreamed for some time now of owning a 1935/36 cadillac 4 door convertible (the longer the wheelbase, the ...
  1. #1
    James Bargar is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): NONE
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Greenbrier, Arkansas, United S

    making a 35/36 fleetwood into a convertible

    I have dreamed for some time now of owning a 1935/36 cadillac 4 door convertible (the longer the wheelbase, the better), but even the barn finds are going for $40k+ in ratty condition (or WAY more), whereas good examples of 35/36 nonconvert models can be found for well under 10k.

    So, this begs the question as to what needs to be done to make a nonconvert model into a convertible. I have seen many posts on this process relating to more modern cars, but never one on 30s autos, which seem to me to be obvious candidates for such a conversion.

    The 35/36 cad uses a pretty standard frame, so I have to believe that with some structural strengthening and support it would be the perfect platform to turn an inexpensive car into the car of my dreams (I don't care about keeping "intrinsic value" - I am fine with using a cad that not period-correct, missing engine, etc...I'll probably just put a chev smallblock in it).

    I notice that the standard models have the hinges to the front of the front doors, and behind the rear doors, while the convertible doors both hinge in the middle, so I would imagine that some serious strengthening would have to be done to the center support on each side. The bodywork required to chop the top off and finish it out correctly is not a concern at this point (I have a good body man who is eager to help me out on this, and a good upholsterer who can make me a soft top) this point, I'm simply looking to learn more about what would need to be done structurally.

    Does anyone have any experience with this, or know anyone who has done this before, OR (dare I get my hopes up) is there any info on converting 30s cars on the web, and if so, where?

    All info is appreciated. James

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  3. #2
    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
    Automobile(s): 58 Coupe Deville, 77 Coupe deville, 90 Deville
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Re: making a 35/36 fleetwood into a convertible

    I think this is doable certainly. A FSM for a 35/36 convertable would be a good place to start, or even better inspection of an actiual 35/36 convertable for the mods the factory did to the sedan body. Fabrication of the top frame and mechanics will be challenging and it is unlikely that you will find used convertable top hardware for that vintage car. I would start with research on how Cadillac originally built these cars new.

  4. #3
    akaBC is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 57 conv 58 CdV 60 conv 67/69 Eldos 67 CdV 72 CdV MORE!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Palm Springs CA/Mansfield OH

    Re: making a 35/36 fleetwood into a convertible

    I noticed it has been a while since these posts. Have there been any developments, James?

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