1955 - 1957 Hardtop Differences

Greetings fellow enthusiasts. I recently became owner of my late grandfather's 1957 TBird. The hardtop does not seem to fit properly and I'm wondering if anyone knows if there's a difference between 1955, 1956 and 1957 hardtop sizes. I don't believe the hard top I have matches the 1957. Or it could be that the gaskets and fasteners just need to be replaced. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
 

George

Passed Away July 25, 2015
Greetings fellow enthusiasts. I recently became owner of my late grandfather's 1957 TBird. The hardtop does not seem to fit properly and I'm wondering if anyone knows if there's a difference between 1955, 1956 and 1957 hardtop sizes. I don't believe the hard top I have matches the 1957. Or it could be that the gaskets and fasteners just need to be replaced. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Gingerbird: I passed your question on to an expert of TBirds and here's their response:
"Hardtops are the same as far as size and shape are concerned but the latches are different".

Hope that helps, but here's a thought; I would suggest you get someone to help lift it up and at least place it on the car's deck and windshield to see what it looks like and how the latches line up with the windshield and the rear latches line up on the deck.
If you do this and it's the first time, be sure all four latches are retrackted to avoid damaging paint. Also, possibly lay a blanket on the deck first so you do not scratch the paint. That way, if things line up, you can just lift the rear slowly and slide the blanket out.

By the way, since he was your grandfather, he may have had a lift in the garage to help him lift and change the hardtop -= I know, I am one and it's the only way I can change my HT without asking others to help. -Just a thought
 
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Ward 57

Well-Known Member
I do the same, have a 3 point fabric harness and lift my top into the rafters. I think I read somewhere on here that on some of the tops the sides tend to spread sometimes. Don't have the documentation at hand or know the production times but could be the issue. Mine fits very well and just had the headliner and gaskets replaced. Had to loosen up the front latches to accommodate the new thicker gaskets.
 
Depending on how the top has been stored, the sides may have spread. Using a come-along you can gently and slowly bring it back. As it has been noted above, the rear latches and mounting plates changed over the years.
 
I see some people store their hardtops standing on end. I have mine that way now with the front edge down resting on blankets. Anyone know if storage that way leads to problems or is that a pretty common way to do it?
 

doug7740

Well-Known Member
I have a hard top hoist that I don't use, because since the top only weighs 85 pounds, I found it easier and faster to have my wife help be put the hard top on a rolling standup cart.

When I used my hard top hoist, I made protective covers that I put over the side and rear weather strips where the hoist straps would contact. I got this idea from CASCO's "ThunderEnlightening" newsletter.

The attached article is from the Shop Tips section of CASCO's October 1997 "ThunderEnlightening" newsletter.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
weather-stripping.jpg
 
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