Shortie soft-top fixed


To fix the problem of the individual pop fasteners coming loose.  I found a piece of extruded aluminum 3/4″ x 1/8″, cut to length and bent at either end to follow the top windscreen contour. This involved heating the aluninum until it JUST started to bend and using large pliers, form the curve. Note that the curve is on the wide way (3/4″), so its quite tricky to get it right. Also if you heat the aluminum too much, is just breaks off.

With the bends on either end finished, I marked and the drilled the holes to mount the pop fasteners. Mounted the fasteners and verified the fit onto the top windscreen.

Then I removed all the screws and pop fasteners and started threading the aluminum extrusion into the seam of the soft-top. This was a very tight squeeze and took about 1/2 hour. Once in place, I found each of the mounting holes and screwed on the pop fastener and completed with a stainless steel acorn nut. With all those in place, I installed the shortie and went out for a test drive. Took it up to 70mph and the top stayed on – test passed.

A fun weekend despite setbacks

We had been invited to display our 7 at 2 events over the weekend: first at Roseville shopping mall; and second, the Sacramento Capitol Air Show at Mather field. Many thanks to the Hamlins for putting us up in Plymouth.

We drove to Roseville late on friday afternoon sporting the “shortie hood” (soft-top) that Dot made. We did OK for a short while, but the corner front press studs kept coming loose. Running repair was made using zip ties. Then about 3 miles short of Colfax, “Whack!”.  All the press studs broke free and the soft-top blew over our heads heading rapidly towards the rear of the car. Dot hung on to it until we got to Colfax, where we removed it and put it away in the boot (trunk) – that makes it sound too big – rear glove box is rather more like it.

We continued without a top, but on the driver side the turbulence around my head was rather more (I was using a front deflector).

Dot on the other hand had a regular 7 door/window on, which was OK until we hit slower traffic off the freeway. At that point she started cooking (it was ~90F).

So, lessons learned:

1. front deflectors work a little, but need the rear deflector or shortie soft-top to be more effective.

2. The front press studs on the front of the shortie soft-top need to be spaced closer so that the fabric has to stretch to get them to fit (thus removing the bulges that attract the wind).

3. Need to incorporate a stiff strengthener in the front ‘rail’ of the shortie soft-top, thus all the fasteners will act in unison with a combined higher force to get them free. This stiffener will follow the windscreen top contour, and not be too big as to become dangerous if it comes off in flight.

4. Sitting in the hot sun all day at Mather field really requires: an ice box; fine mist water spray; even more cold water to drink.


You can find a full set of air show photos at this url:

Pics include: Raptor; DC3; P38; P51; B25; T33; Harrier; Spitfire; Wing Walker and a few cars.