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How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: May 15, 2020 03:04PM

Poking around my computer, I found this old photo of my brother from his high school yearbook. It's him in the LM Monza my dad gave us to drive to school; he's pretending to not have remembered to bring his clothes. (He was student body president so he got to do stuff like this.)

Thinking about that old purple beast, got me curious: as you can see, the car has no windshield at all, just a couple of boat windshields attached. My dad created this monster by hack sawing off the roof and then welding the doors shut. Instant Convertible, minus the ragtop (or any top). Question is, how difficult would it be to make an actual convertible out of a coupe on your own? Where do you reinforce the frame assuming you *don't* want to weld the doors shut?

This is the kind of thing I'm just hypothetically thinking about, there's no way I would be even in a position to put a project like this into play for a lot of years.

____________________________________________

Eric C. Player, Porterville, CA, USA (Seriously! It's the USA out here!)
MEMBER: CORSA National, Central Coast CORSA, South Coast CORSA, Vintage CORSA, Sfba CORSA, and the San Joaquin Valley Corvair Club.
THEN:
1965 Monza 110, Canary Yellow
1965 Corsa 180 Turbo, Red
1966 Monza 110, Purple
1967 Monza 140, Red
1966 500 110, Black; nicknamed "Shadow"
1965 Monza 110, Camaro Yellow; nicknamed "Silver"
NOW:
1966 Corsa 180 Turbo, Blue; nicknamed "Bluvair"

"He cautioned me not to take notes. It would not have helped if I had, as he would start a paragraph with, 'It is therefore obvious. . .'
and go on from there to matters which may have been obvious to him and God but to no one else."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, character of Daniel B. Davis, 'The Door Into Summer.'

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: bobvair ()
Date: May 15, 2020 03:16PM

The deeper question is....how many six packs would it take?

Bob Slusher

Portland, Oregon

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: May 15, 2020 03:30PM

An article in long ago COMMUNIQUE was authored by owner of rusty convert and nice cpe. If you look in P&A 30 Grp 12 you can see every panel/brace/bracket for both cpe and convert. What he couldn't find he fabricated. He had the rusty convert for patterns. Not something you would finish in a weekend or two.

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo---1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4---1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4
CORSA/RMC/PPCC/V8 Registry

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: cnicol ()
Date: May 15, 2020 04:18PM

It's easy! All it takes is a "for sale" sign for the coupe, followed by shopping the classifieds for the convertible!

Craig N. Coeur d'Alene ID.
66 Black Monza 4dr, 4.2L V8 49k
61 Seamist Jade Rampside 140 PG
60 Monza coupe (sold, sniff sniff)
66 Sprint Corsa convt - First car! Re-purchased 43 years later
2+2 gnatsuM 5691

+17 Tons of parts

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: roger65180 ()
Date: May 15, 2020 04:59PM

40 years ago my ex brother in law did this very thing it was a 63 plymouth golden comando 383 it is not easy or quik and not worth doing he would have been better off restoring the golden comando

Roger R
Madison Wi
62 ct pg turbo
65intercooled 180 4sp,autocrosser
62 Rampy

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: Phil Dally ()
Date: May 15, 2020 05:15PM

Been done by Arch Evans...it would become a roadster.

Arch said under no circumstances would he do it again.

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: May 15, 2020 07:00PM

Nothing like a little reality in all this stuck-at-home daydreaming.

Thanks guys.

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: American Mel ()
Date: May 15, 2020 07:54PM

When I was young, a college kid in my hometown took a sawzall to an old Dodge Charger.
He made it into a Convertible.
As far as I know he did not do anything to reinforce it, and it probably only lasted for that one summer.
But it sure looked COOL!

Here is something like what he did.
Stole this image off the web, not his. grinning smiley


-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
WA. state, 1 mile south of the Canadian border,
I am not at the end of the world, but you can see it from here.
Have; '66 Monza Coupe - 140, 4-spd. Daily driver beater
'67 Monza Vert. - 140, 4-spd. Daily driver beater
'67 A/C Moredoor Monza
Have had; '61 Monza coupe, '62 Monza Wagon, '63 Spyder, '65 Corsa
.
non-vair
'04 Dodge Cummins Quad Dualy, approaching 400K
17'Terry

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: FLSteve ()
Date: May 15, 2020 08:06PM

When I was in college we were coming back from Gainesville when we passed a lime green 60 convertible Corvair. The inside was astroturf and I think the front seats were plastic no back seats. I remember pulling over to talk to the guy but he wanted nothing to do with a bunch of college kids. We were amazed, I wish I had a camera that day!

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: Murphy ()
Date: May 16, 2020 05:03AM

Remember the movie Smokey and the Bandit?

I thought their Vert was pretty cool.

65 Monza Coupe
61 500 Coupe-W100181
Earliest '61?

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: blue hen ()
Date: May 16, 2020 05:56AM

My friend and I did it to his 67 dodge dart. Sawzall and an old bi metal lenox blade I had in my tool bucket.

Took all of 15 minutes. The car had a rubber mat and vinyl seats already. We then drilled about 10 holes in the floor.

He drove that car for about 2 years even in the winter. Fun days....

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: May 16, 2020 10:40AM

A fellow in the SCC club in L.A. CA. bought a roof cut off 65 coupe years ago (he may still have it). The doors were welded up and that solved the body flexing issue. Someone made a lift off fiberglass roof for it. It was painted a bright yellow!!

Fun at car shows, but jumping over the doors to get in and out got old.

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: May 16, 2020 02:16PM

I can't believe there are TOO many of those, Vairman. It's entirely possible your friend's car was the one my dad made. He made it in 1988 in San Luis Obispo. It was a 65, only purple, but we all know how easy it is to paint any color. He sold it in 1989 when we moved out of state.

____________________________________________

Eric C. Player, Porterville, CA, USA (Seriously! It's the USA out here!)
MEMBER: CORSA National, Central Coast CORSA, South Coast CORSA, Vintage CORSA, Sfba CORSA, and the San Joaquin Valley Corvair Club.
THEN:
1965 Monza 110, Canary Yellow
1965 Corsa 180 Turbo, Red
1966 Monza 110, Purple
1967 Monza 140, Red
1966 500 110, Black; nicknamed "Shadow"
1965 Monza 110, Camaro Yellow; nicknamed "Silver"
NOW:
1966 Corsa 180 Turbo, Blue; nicknamed "Bluvair"

"He cautioned me not to take notes. It would not have helped if I had, as he would start a paragraph with, 'It is therefore obvious. . .'
and go on from there to matters which may have been obvious to him and God but to no one else."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, character of Daniel B. Davis, 'The Door Into Summer.'

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: May 20, 2020 11:27AM

playerpage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can't believe there are TOO many of those, Vairman. It's entirely possible your friend's car was the one my dad made. He made it in 1988 in San Luis Obispo. It was a 65, only purple, but we all know how easy it is to paint any color. He sold it in 1989 when we moved out of state.

It's possible. Unfortunately the fellow hasn't stayed active in the local club and the SCC folks don't know if he still has the car. The one of a kind fiberglass removable roof was nicely done for a hobby car. A pair of power hinges would have made it a hit at car shows, but I don't think the latest owner every followed through.

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: MtnVairMike ()
Date: May 20, 2020 01:41PM

Man talk about going over bumps and the windshield frame doing the hulu...

1966 Monza Convertible, 140HP-4 speed, Ermine White

Others in the menagerie...
72 Corvette Stingray, 58K miles, owned since 86
72 MGB, 112K miles, bought from original owner in 09
78 Chevy pickup, 124K miles, bought new in 78
93 Corvette, LT1/6spd, 210K miles, daily driver since 96

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: May 21, 2020 08:27AM

I suppose in the end it's pretty obvious I'm going to do it. It can't be nearly as expensive as I'm imagining. If some college students could do it, and my dad could do it when he was completely broke, I could figure it out.

The car he used was in an old lady's backyard, body rusting out but interior in great shape, and it cost him all of $200. I think that's going to be the real stickler. Where can I find a running Corvair that I can get cheap enough to make it worth my while?

____________________________________________

Eric C. Player, Porterville, CA, USA (Seriously! It's the USA out here!)
MEMBER: CORSA National, Central Coast CORSA, South Coast CORSA, Vintage CORSA, Sfba CORSA, and the San Joaquin Valley Corvair Club.
THEN:
1965 Monza 110, Canary Yellow
1965 Corsa 180 Turbo, Red
1966 Monza 110, Purple
1967 Monza 140, Red
1966 500 110, Black; nicknamed "Shadow"
1965 Monza 110, Camaro Yellow; nicknamed "Silver"
NOW:
1966 Corsa 180 Turbo, Blue; nicknamed "Bluvair"

"He cautioned me not to take notes. It would not have helped if I had, as he would start a paragraph with, 'It is therefore obvious. . .'
and go on from there to matters which may have been obvious to him and God but to no one else."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, character of Daniel B. Davis, 'The Door Into Summer.'

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: Richard ()
Date: May 21, 2020 09:58AM

No offence, but if you have to ask "how difficult", you don't have the skills.

There are thousands of this type of conversion out there that end up like crap or are never finished.

This may be the car vairman mentioned. It looks really good, but in the end there are a number of drawbacks. Basically a trailer queen. The rod holding the top up says a lot.

cnicol's solution is the smart way to go.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2020 09:59AM by Richard.

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: May 21, 2020 10:42AM

Yeah, that's probably not dad's. Unless the new owner put a LOT of effort into it.

Even then, why build a convertible you can't drive and that still has a top?

With the car from high school, Dad's welds were visible. You can't see it my original picture above, but they were four melted spots right along the door line on each side. Rubbed smooth, but big spaces between each one. I have attached another picture with another brother of mine. You still can't see the welds, but it gives you more of an idea of the shape the car was in, and stayed in.

Anyone who meets me knows I don't have the skills. Wasn't saying I did. I just wanted to know what it entailed, and I'm actually getting WAY more info than I expected--a big plus of being on this forum.

If and when I do it, it will be exactly that way. Doors secured, top off, and drive away.

EDIT: Looking closely at this picture, it was at least a 66. Wow! I forgot that.

____________________________________________

Eric C. Player, Porterville, CA, USA (Seriously! It's the USA out here!)
MEMBER: CORSA National, Central Coast CORSA, South Coast CORSA, Vintage CORSA, Sfba CORSA, and the San Joaquin Valley Corvair Club.
THEN:
1965 Monza 110, Canary Yellow
1965 Corsa 180 Turbo, Red
1966 Monza 110, Purple
1967 Monza 140, Red
1966 500 110, Black; nicknamed "Shadow"
1965 Monza 110, Camaro Yellow; nicknamed "Silver"
NOW:
1966 Corsa 180 Turbo, Blue; nicknamed "Bluvair"

"He cautioned me not to take notes. It would not have helped if I had, as he would start a paragraph with, 'It is therefore obvious. . .'
and go on from there to matters which may have been obvious to him and God but to no one else."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, character of Daniel B. Davis, 'The Door Into Summer.'



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2020 10:44AM by playerpage.

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Re: How Difficult is it to Convert a Coupe to a Convertible?
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: May 25, 2020 09:14AM

Hello Eric and all: I found the COMMUNIQUE article I referenced in my first reply above this morning and thought I would share with everyone so anyone interested due to the extensive parts list and labor feat.

It is May 1995 issue.

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo---1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4---1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4
CORSA/RMC/PPCC/V8 Registry

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