Author Topic: 81 turbo T/A t-top help  (Read 957 times)

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Offline 19transam81

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81 turbo T/A t-top help
« on: July 18, 2011, 03:50:09 PM »
Hey guys, I have a 1981 turbo trans am. I have had it for a few years now and have always wondered if I had the correct t-tops for the car. I know they are fisher style t-tops, but my question is with the trim on the outside edge of the t-top.

My t-tops have a thick chrome or stainless strip on the outside edge of the t-top while the front pillar has a much thinner chrome or stainless strip going up it as well as the same size thin chrome/stainless strip going up the door opening in the rear of the car where the drivers and passengers window would meet the car body when rolled up.

In my eyes, it looks weird to have two thin trim strips coming up to meet the t-tops which have a much thicker trim strip. I am currently in Florida and the car is in Ohio so I can't post a picture anytime soon.

So, I guess I was wondering if they made fisher t-tops with a matching thinner chrome strip on the outside of the t-top that would match the trim mounted on the car which goes around the window instead of the t-tops with the much thicker chrome/stainless trim strip which my t-tops currently have.

I have tried to find info on the subject online and have had a surprisingly hard time finding anything helpful.

Also, I don't know if it matters or not, but the trim around my windshield and rear window is black in color.

Thanks for the help ahead of time!

-Cody

Offline 80TAPaceCar

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Re: 81 turbo T/A t-top help
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 04:16:10 PM »
Pictures would help.

79 Chevrolet Corvette
80 Indy Pace Car Trans Am
80 Indy (Festival Car) Pace Car Trans Am

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Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 81 turbo T/A t-top help
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 06:49:56 PM »
Can't be sure based on the description without pictures but it sounds as though you may just be missing the drip rail on your t-tops...thin "chrome" trim on the A and C pillars would typically be part of the exterior package, "connected" by a drip rail on the outside edge of the glass top itself.
Jeff

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1970 Camaro
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Offline Grand73Am

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Re: 81 turbo T/A t-top help
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 11:16:57 PM »
I agree with Rennovations. It sounds like your car has drip rails, but may not have the part of the drip rails that should also be on the t-top panels.

All t-top panels have the wide strips along the outside edges. The outer wide strips and the thinner trim around the t-top panel are made of aluminum, and were colored black originally. The black often has worn off or was removed, revealing the aluminum underneath. If the car also had drip rails, there would be the additional drip rail piece on the outer edge, to meet up with the other drip rails. The drip rails would be bright anodized aluminum.

Here's a link to a t-top panel on eBay, that has the drip rail on it: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1978-1981-Pontiac-Trans-Am-Passenger-Side-GM-T-Top-/270784578214?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3f0c04c2a6
Steve F.

Offline 19transam81

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Re: 81 turbo T/A t-top help
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 09:24:28 AM »
Alright guys, thanks for helping to clear that up for me. What you say makes sense and I believe I am missing the "drip rail" on the t-top itself. I am unfamiliar with the actual terms for the individual parts of the t-tops, so sorry for not being able to describe everything better for you. Learn something new everyday I guess  :)

So now my next question. From what I understand, when the t-tops came from the factory you say the thin trim which goes around the front, rear, and middle boarder of the t-top, as well as the thicker strip which goes around the outside boarder of the t-top was all black in color. So, what is the best way to recolor the trim back to the original black color? Also, what holds the drip rail on the t-top? I'm assuming the t-top drip rail is not an easy part to find, so am I better off just looking for a set of t-tops that is in good shape with black trim and an intact drip rail as well? Or is it relatively easy to recondition my t-tops back to a factory look?

Thanks again for everything guys!!

-Cody

Offline Grand73Am

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Re: 81 turbo T/A t-top help
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 10:56:32 AM »
The drip rail probably attaches like the ones on the body. Screwed on between the weatherstrip retainer and the t-top frame.

There aren't many that still survive with the black on them in good shape. So, they have to be painted. I've read that SEM trim black is a good match for the right appearance. I'd wetsand the trim with some 500 wet, then prime with some black automotive epoxy(PPG's DP90LF), thinned about 25%, and then spray with the SEM trim black, or some black automotive urethane flattened to the right gloss. That would be durable. Automotive paint is more expensive of course, and requires a spray gun. If you can only do spray cans, you can probably find some epoxy or etch primer in a can, to use before spraying the SEM trim spray can paint. Maybe SEM has a good primer for use under their paint, so that's something to check on.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 10:58:08 AM by Grand73Am »
Steve F.

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 81 turbo T/A t-top help
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 03:31:02 PM »
Mar-Hyde Black Satin trim paint is also an excellent paint for coloring the trim on the t-tops as well as the front and rear glass.

 
Jeff

Projects:
_____________
1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda