Open roof. A sun roof. A hole in your classic

Open roof sunroof oldtimer

They were once huge. And they were for sale everywhere. For quite serious prices up to very cheap. And that was when China was not even invented. Many people of the more brave kind they assembled themselves. They put the saw in the roof. We talk about the glass sunroofs, the open roof of yesteryear.

DIY assembly was possible

And so many became the proud owner of a car with a sunroof, such a glass lid as a bottle cap. They could usually be 'tilted', then you put the back ajar. Such a roof panel could usually also simply be removed. Nicely light. And baldheads had a burnt skull after a day in the sun.

It has already been mentioned that these attributes were offered in all price ranges. There is of course always a tension 'what is worth', because with a reputable brand you usually pay a piece of name.

The important points

But with these types of roofs there were simply a few things that were very important: The fit and the water resistance of the open roof. In the lower segment, fit and water resistance were often defined with more kit or more kit.

Making the hole in the roof so correct is also of vital importance. I remember someone who had neatly covered the contours of the hole with painter's tape. And who then put the saw on the wrong side of the tape, making the skylight five centimeters wider and longer than intended.

The flat printers

The big difference in quality and price was between the top and bottom limits in the fit and the 'frame' in which the glass panel fell. With the expensive ones, the contours of the roof were taken into account. Because a car roof is often 'double convex'. There is a curve in the width, there is a curve in the length. If you intervene there technically, it is very useful that the graft follows the lines of the roof as correctly as possible. In addition, that window frame must be sturdy and stable because the structural rigidity of the roof can be caught in with the hole making process in the roof, because a few cross connections have to be sacrificed. This results in a stress-free assembly.

Price and quality

The cheapest solar skies were no more than a piece of flat glass in a rather unconvincing aluminum profile window. And that actually gave a very strange result. The not very supported steel plate of a car roof has its stiffness from the (double) bulge and possibly due to some cross connections. If the cross connections due to the glass roof mounting have been removed, such a roof loses a lot of its integrity. If you clamp a flat structural part in the sawn vault, that is to say the roof frame, then the same happens to what your partner experiences during a mammography, but without the pain: The bulge is crushed and the roof gets a 'flat side' ". That is not good and weird. But luckily not painful.

More practice and technology through this link…

In practice, of course, everything is possible if you have the imagination and craftsmanship. At the MotoMidia Garage, those things are abundantly available. The company is in the corner of the cheap classics of the types that are currently being cultivated. They sell that type of engine 'original' or rebuild it, often by order. Such a company naturally requires a serious company car and what else can it be than a Volvo 240.

Roof of a Twingo

And that Volvo 240 was provided with an open roof in the coming sunnier times. Now there are a few reputable providers of classic open roofs. But at MotoMidia they went for the top: open is good. Opener is better. The enormous Renault Twingo roof has now been mounted in an exemplary manner and has proven to be storm resistant. But the job was so labor-intensive that for the time being no positive responses were given to the question "Can you do that with my car?"



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  1. I recently bought a twingo of the first type without a folding roof and have successfully installed one. Wreck bought for 150 euros, roof out and the metal part of the roof cut out to use as a mold. It worked out well, the advantage is that the headlining can be converted perfectly, if you have a roof or car of the very first generation, there are aluminum frames on the inside around the roof, where the velcro is on to easily press the upholstery, at the later models had the upholstery glued and it is therefore a bit more difficult. In terms of seal, there is only a seal under the windshield at the front, make sure that it is well in between and is undamaged. There is no seal between the roof frame and the bodywork, which is also not necessary because the folding roof is, as it were, 'on the car', the rain has no chance to get in. Do lubricate the edges that you have cut out with an anti-rust layer of paint or bitumen so that you do not have any bare metal left.
    A small day of work and enjoy!
    If someone wanted to borrow the mold and if you live near belgian limburg, let me know!

    • hey gerry,

      Would love to see some pictures of the installation if you have them.
      I may not live in the area but would like to get a mold. (Bought myself a panoramic roof of a twingo that was already disassembled)

      Can you maybe approach me?

      Regards Robbin

  2. Hilarious article Dolf!
    I can picture it all: sawing the wrong side of the tape. In the 80s-90s I had such an after Market roof installed twice (in different cars!). Was very satisfied with it then, but I'm glad that air conditioning became commonplace after that ...

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