One of the most rewarding aspects of our hobby would have to be hitting the highway and putting some miles on our hot rods. But if you hit the road often enough, chances are you're going to run into some questionable weather at one time or another. For some, a little rain doesn't exactly spell disaster, but when we're dealing with early tin, most of the luxuries afforded to us by modern automobiles are nonexistent. An early Ford coupe wasn't equipped with a great set of windshield wipers to begin with. Throw a chopped top into the equation and the wipers probably got vetoed when it came time to put it all back together. But all you coupe guys aren't going to receive a bit of sympathy from those roadster brethren. These are the guys who usually end up completely screwed when Mother Nature unleashes her fury out on the highway.

Lack of trunk space is probably the number one reason most roadster owners don't have a top for their car. While it is possible to stow it under the decklid, the area is usually already cramped with luggage, some tools, and maybe a couple chairs or blankets for the show. The only other option would be to leave the top attached to the body mounts and folded down. There has been a problem in the past with most fold-down tops being a bit too cantankerous for the majority of rodders, as well as not being available for many models.

Mick O'Keefe, our fellow Australian rodder, ran into this problem when he was designing a top for their '34 Ford roadster Utes (SRM, August 2005). Stock aftermarket top irons were close in design, but lacked the simplicity and lines he was after. The design he came up with resulted in a very universal application. By moving the top tubes up or down on the side arms, the top can be raised for stock windshields or lowered for chopped cars. Although the top iron kit was designed for the wider '32-34 roadster body, the width of the tubes and of the wooden header board can be trimmed to allow fitment to other models, such as early Model As, Ts, and other makes as well.

The installation and fitment of the kit on a Deuce was simple and took less than an hour to complete. We decided we wanted our kit to fold down when not in use, but the kit can also be tightened up and removed as a single unit, similar to a one-piece lift-off top. Once the irons are trimmed and fit to the car, the kit can remain assembled and be sent off to the upholstery shop of choice.

Those who have driven their roadster in the rain know nothing can replace a top when the heavens open up, but even road noise and heat and sun exposure can be lessened by the addition of a top, adding hours to the amount of time and enjoyment spent on the road. Check out how easy the top went on a '32 Ford roadster, and see if it will work for you!

C.W. Moss Auto Parts So-Cal Speed Shop Las Vegas
Sacramento Vintage Ford
Vision Rod & Customs