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TOPIC: 1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top

1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 11 months 1 week ago #145044

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Okay, then...so guys (Terry), I've been searching for missing parts for my '59 for the last 8 months now, and with some good success. I like to post these finds over on my thread under Member's Projects. Right now there are only two things I still need for certain. One is an Airguide model 653 transmitter for the tachometer, and the other is....THE TOP. Mine had one at ope time,(with photos to prove it!) but somewhere along the line since the 1990's it went missing. The seller of the boat said when he purchased the boat from the owners that I have the pictures from that they claimed the top was no where to be found. I attempted to confirm by writing them based on the address listed on my registration, but that letter just got mailed back to me today to the tune of that old Elvis song, "Return to sender". You know the words. So dead end there.

The closest I have come was last week when a man was selling a 1959 Seafair in Oklahoma. He was asking $1700 for the boat, trailer, and a Merc Tower O' Power on the back. I proffered $500 plus shipping for just the top if he was willing to part with it, but the boat ended up getting sold before my plea was heard. I then asked the seller if he had the contact info. for the new owner, which he supplied. I offered the new owner the same deal, and he quickly said "SOLD!". Great, thought I. But later that night I inquired about a few pictures he was supposed to send, and was now told that the new owner's brother said he'd wring his neck if he sold the top. A half joking, half serious offer of $1000 for the top got me nowhere. And this was for three aluminum tubes and some old canvas that was only good for a pattern for new canvas. Ugh.

It's not that I don't have time countable in years on both hands to track down a top, but it's just that it seems really darn hard.
And if I'm not mistaken, I believe the top for 1959 was a one year design with the third pipe that follows the shape of the fly bridge windshield. Later versions may attach differently as well from the pics I've seen. And because I'm a persnickety sort of man, I want the original style top. You can see the dilemma. They are as rare as Hen's Teeth.

So, (Terry), are there any folks out there with a 1959 Seafair (Terry) who have the original 1959 style top (Terry) who might be interested in helping a brother out? I figure it shouldn't be that hard with the proper measurements and pictures for a handy sort of guy to manufacture his own top. All one would need is some marine grade aluminum tubing of the right diameter, a tubing bender, and some newly available hardware (joints, etc.) plus a traced outline of the canvas top.

If any such people might be inclined to help maybe this winter when your 1959 Seafair isn't in use and can take down measurements, perhaps trace bend diameters, provide pics, etc..it would be massively appreciated.

Or if anyone reading this should happen to have a spare 1959 only top...please let me know.

Also, on a final note...how does the third tube that goes along the flybridge actually stay in place? I know the ends get fitted onto the little rounded nubs on the cast aluminum brackets at the ends of the windshield, but how (or does it) connect to the windshield in front?

Thanks all...
(Thanks Terry...)
Eric

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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 11 months 1 week ago #145045

Hey Guys, (Eric)

Naaty Lee posted a picture of an early Sedan with a decent aftermarket top. I'd guess its a 1960?

I’m sure the original could be replicated given proper tools and materials.

Zoom in here and you can see the how the forward tube is attached to frame using machine screws tapped into the 3 post castings. I know I have pictures of the frame assembly broke down and on the bench. I will dig them up and post later.

That $99 option in 1959 is valued at $925 in todays dollars so your $1k offer was not far off.

Good luck finding the transmitter. There are discussions out there on reverse engineering the circuitry.

Thank,
Terry
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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 11 months 1 week ago #145051

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Terry, depreciation happens. By the logic of the top being worth nearly $1000 today, the whole boat should have been about $18,600.

Also, I have a mint NOS model 654 tach with the gauge for either 653 or 654 transmitter. I bought it because I figured the rarity of a mint tach would be hard to find again. As it turns out, I was the only bidder so got it for a measly $60. Eventually an 653 has to pop up. I also found the appropriate two-gauge Airguide dash plate to accept both Tach and Speedo. I'll be getting that rechromed this winter.

Looking forward to any pics you have. Also, would you be able to take a pic of the ends of the main "pipe" that connect to the threaded holes in the cast brackets? With their appropriate hardware?
Thanks!

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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 11 months 1 week ago #145084

Natty Lee is a 1961. The top was made in Rogers Minnesota by Canvas Craft. Not sure how old it is. It fits OK but I have to redo some of the snaps on the boat for a better fit.

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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 10 months 3 weeks ago #145242

Hello Eric,

I tried to apply a logic that could make your 1k offer seem sane.

Dug up these shots of the convertible top frame on the bench.





I’ve done a fair share of bending pipe and tube and replicating this would be a challenge. But some folks like challenges so good luck. Remember you have only one chance to bend that tube correctly.


Notice the early 59 hinge casting does not have the stud tube support.





And Bills reverse engineering on the Airguide black box.

Nattylee,
They did a nice job on that top.

Thanks,
Terry
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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 10 months 3 weeks ago #145251

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Thanks Terry, that looks fairly simple to replicate. All the end castings and joints are still available in stainless, would probably mount to the hinge castings just like factory. Speaking of, your hinge castings are strange...you've got a few bits and bobs on yours that were only on the extremely early Seafairs, like your roof grab handles (Delmar leftovers?).

Do you know what size OD your frame tubing is made from? And If I ask extra nicely, would you be able to measure the tubes this winter for distances to bends, degree of bends, etc? If you'd like a fee I'm open to that.

Thanks,
Eric

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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 10 months 2 weeks ago #145264

I have my Grandfathers '59 seafair. He bought it used in about 1963. It has the original top. I would be happy to assist as soon as the weather here in Texas cools down a bit.
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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 10 months 2 weeks ago #145273

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Stripgear,
That would be great! Thank you so much for the offer. No hurry, no concerns there.
I hope we can keep in touch, the message system here doesn't seem to work.
shoot me a text or call anytime 908 246-5201
Thanks,
Eric

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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 10 months 2 weeks ago #145288

Hello Stripgear and welcome to FiberGlassics,

Please post pictures of your Grandfathers 59 Seafair.

Thanks,
Terry

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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 9 months 2 days ago #145490

Rather than try to make drawings, I thought I would start with pictures and see that goes. All the tubing is 3/4" OD, which looks like it is available. The bow at the base of the windshield must be bent to follow the curve of the windshield with a stand off of 1" on the sides and 1 1/2 on the front. There are three connectors that look like unused rivets to connect the tubing to the windshield. My center one is broken.

The rear bow has a 15 degree kick at 3" and another at 12". From there it goes up 14" to the start of the bend across the stern and the bend ends at about 18".

The middle bow starts its bend at 14 1/2" and ends at 18 1/2". The hardest bend will be the top of the rear and middle bow. They are not straight, they gently bow up 2 1/2" in the center. However, since this is covered by the top material, not much will show. The good news is that all of the other bends can be made with a 1/2 EMT electrical tubing bender. The radius follows it almost perfectly (see pic). If you know a commercial electrician, he could knock it out in no time. Let me know what I forgot.

I'll post more pics of my boat on a separate thread since I've got some questions.
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1959 Glasspar Seafair convertible top 9 months 1 day ago #145492

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Wow, thanks Scott! you really knocked it out of the park with these measurements and degrees. I really don't think it would be all that difficult to recreate the top frame with this information. Patience, for sure, but not too bad.

My center locating pin is also broken...actually not broken but missing altogether. I looked around for a while online and found some things that look pretty close but no cigar.

Terry, your top being screwed on rather than slid over these three pins must be just another example of the oddities of your extremely early production run.

The only thing I can foresee needing at some point in the future would be maybe a traced outline of the fabric itself noting the location of the tube pockets, but that can certainly wait for another day. Thanks again, so much.

Eric

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