Top on or off 55-57 Birds

Hi, I've taken my 56 to several car shows in the area and it begs a question what is the consensus on displaying our cars does it show better with the soft top on or off. I have awards in both conditions. 3 and 3. I like the top on but my wife likes the top off.
How do you guys display your cars top on or off.
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Zoopie

Active Member
Hardtop on if you have portholes, even better if porthole has "Ford" markings. It seems you don't have the HT so dealers choice, however if the cabin is done well, I'd go ST off.
 
I've never taken mine to any show but here's my opinion;
From a distance the top works with the lines. At a judging show they want to see the fit and finish of the top.
If it's just a rally or congregation I agree with your wife. People like to see the fit and finish of the interior. I just finished polishing and painting the tips of the needles on my instruments along with the dash and knobs. They sparkle. Eye candy especially when you crawl behind the wheel in the sun.. You need sunglasses for the sparkle. Your call...
 

57tbird57

Well-Known Member
Hi, I've taken my 56 to several car shows in the area and it begs a question what is the consensus on displaying our cars does it show better with the soft top on or off. I have awards in both conditions. 3 and 3. I like the top on but my wife likes the top off.
How do you guys display your cars top on or off.
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I always showed mine with the top down, but it is a matter of choice
 

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Have shown my 57 bronze (factory correct) at Pine Hurst for several years with the soft top up hard top on. That was never the question. what the folks wanted to know, was is that an Thunderbird color and what color is it. Thunderbirds are a rarity at any shows no mater top up top down. I could retire if I charged for every question about the baby birds. SHOW and GLOTE. BUT Its always cool to topless in a bird., this is my Gun Metal Gray latest.
 

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Douglemmo

Well-Known Member
It really depends on the level of the show judging. Some shows require convertibles to have tops up (hard or soft doesn't matter) as they are looking for fit, condition and cleanliness. The style of the vehicle is typically not judged as the cars are in classes and therefore you are being judged against similar cars. In people's choice or peer judging it is usually up to the driver unless the show rules require otherwise. In these shows if you have a porthole, many people like the porthole so I would show it with the porthole. Under Concours d Elegance rules, top up or down is up to the driver as the judges , in addition to cleanliness and condition are also judging "style" and "provanance" so it is up to the owner to have an interesting history of his car and to display it however he thinks it looks best.
 
i own a hard top but have never put it on, I love the look of the top off, but have never "displayed" it, simply drove it.
Drop it on for the winter and see how it fits and adjust the latches as needed. Buy the vinyl protectors as the old seals can be sticky. You will still get the thumbs up with the top on. And the closed cockpit feel is another experience on it's own.
 

jack-in-sac

Well-Known Member
If you are showing in a Concours with CTCI or other judged show the top soft or hard is to be up/on. This is a judged show and is concerned with fit and finish and depending on your class with authenticity. If you had no top and docs to prove it that should be accepted also. If you are at a show and shine or non Concours show I like top off/down. The interiors that include fllor shifts and tachometers are a rarity for 50s cars and real eye ctchers as are the engine turned dash and door trim. I do find it more fun driving than showing. I can look at my car anytime in my driveway and the bathroom and kitchen are much closer. Whatever you prefer, have fun.
 

zeroroadkill

Active Member
I've never taken mine to any show but here's my opinion;
From a distance the top works with the lines. At a judging show they want to see the fit and finish of the top.
If it's just a rally or congregation I agree with your wife. People like to see the fit and finish of the interior. I just finished polishing and painting the tips of the needles on my instruments along with the dash and knobs. They sparkle. Eye candy especially when you crawl behind the wheel in the sun.. You need sunglasses for the sparkle. Your call...
What do you use to get the sparkle?
 
Have shown my 57 bronze (factory correct) at Pine Hurst for several years with the soft top up hard top on. That was never the question. what the folks wanted to know, was is that an Thunderbird color and what color is it. Thunderbirds are a rarity at any shows no mater top up top down. I could retire if I charged for every question about the baby birds. SHOW and GLOTE. BUT Its always cool to topless in a bird., this is my Gun Metal Gray latest.
You have two of my favorite colors. How about a photo of your bronze.
 
What do you use to get the sparkle?
I took the easy to remove knobs ( radio, lighter fan switch ) and ran them trough my wife's sonic jewelry cleaner with some Mr. clean. I then took the solution and cleaned the the others with a stiff cotton swab to get into the open recesses as dirt & gunk tend to reside in there. The rest of the turned aluminum dash I used the cleaner with a soft cloth and again cotton swabs to get to all the nooks & crannies. I didn't want to use aluminum polish as I figured the residue would be tough to get completely off. If there is any light rust fine steel wool with a dab of machine oil works great.
 
What do you use to get the sparkle?
I forgot to mention that I pulled the lenses off the instruments ( they are snap fitted with spring tabs ) cleaned them, then used the swabs to clean the faces and used some fingernail polish to paint the tips of thee needles. The bezels for the turn lights and oil/gen light don't come off. Do not put ANYTHING on the swabs for those lights as the lettering will rub off. ( learned that the hard way )
 
I have shown my 57 Dusk Rose Bird with hard top up, soft top up and no top -and have won awards each way. I like the lines of the soft top, get a lot of complements on the portholes on the hard top and, of course, no top really shows the interior. I'm always indecisive as I like the car each way. As well, am also wondering whether to show it with the hood open. An open hood shows the engine bay, but detracts from the lines of the car. As some have said, if you are showing at concourse type events, tops are judged, as well as engine bays.
 

doug7740

Well-Known Member
Hi, I've taken my 56 to several car shows in the area and it begs a question what is the consensus on displaying our cars does it show better with the soft top on or off. I have awards in both conditions. 3 and 3. I like the top on but my wife likes the top off.
How do you guys display your cars top on or off.
It depends. If I'm photographing my car, I like the look of the car with the hard top on. If I'm driving my car or photographing it with someone sitting in it, I like the look of it with the top off.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 

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