What's Under All That Vinyl?

M Body General Discussion

  1. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Has anybody pulled back the vinyl on a 79 Lebaron?
    I just learned today (here) that the F-bodies used a plug in the full-quarter window openings to create the "formal" roof. I'm wondering if they did the same thing on the Ms... ?
    Here's a 77-78...
    2018-04-09 02.04.18.jpg
    and a 79...
    2018-04-09 02.06.33.jpg
    I prefer the bigger window, the smaller opera window seems like a step backwards, IMO. But that's gonna mean some parts scrounging if it does, in fact, use a plug to make the opening smaller. I'll have to verify the availability of glass, trim and interior pieces before I start tearing stuff off... I'm learning in my old age.

    Thanks to @modelmakerinc for the link to his Volarė project.
     
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  2. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Jonny --
    Let me start by saying I have never had a Lebaron BUT
    I do have a 87 fifth avenue.

    The Fifth Avenue and the Diplomat have a boadacious amount of parts in common.
    The Fifth Avenue has the 'opera' window, vinyl 1/4 top and the Diplomat does not.

    When I recovered my Fifth Avenue (there is a thread on this forum -- long thread -- lots of pictures), I found a fiberglass 'bonnet'. The bonnet had the squared profile and fit over the back end of the roof and the covered the rear window/side windows.

    The fiberglass bonnet was held on with black butyl which stuck to me, my tools, my shirt, literally everything as I removed the bonnet to replace the vinyl.

    Underneath was painted metal that was not in the same profile as the bonnet.

    Another thread (reference link on this forum in a thread) to a 'Fifthlomat' where a guy took a Fifth Avenue and removed the back 1/4 of the roof and grafted on the back 1/4 of a Diplomat.

    I would imagine that Chrysler used the same technique with the Lebaron. Someone should jump in here and let you know for sure.

    Since you have that metal belt molding that runs completely across the top (just like the Fifth Avenue), I'll bet if you look at that thread of mine you'll find many of the answers you are looking for.
     
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  3. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Good information there, thank you.
    Up until yesterday I had assumed there was just steel under ther and probably an ugly, lead-filled seam where the quarter panel was stitched to the roof.
    My plan would have been as Ive done before: chunk all the lead out, glass it in, smooth it out, paint over it, and live w the little window.
    My preference would be the big quarter window and no vinyl top, but I'm not sure if I can get there from here without just buying an earlier car.
     
  4. Yellowdart69

    Yellowdart69 Well-Known Member

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    if its anything like my Cordoba, when the vinyl top was removed, for replacement, there was a full glass window behind it.
     
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  5. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting. What year Cordoba? Must have been a later model than my 76...

    I'll have the 79 home tomorrow, then I can start picking it apart.
     
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  6. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    80-83 Cordobas and Miradas with the Crown and faux convertible tops had the opera windows hidden under the vinyl
     
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  7. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I’m pretty sure the quarters (metal skin) are the same - if you have the small quarter window or large window. It has been a while – so I might be off, but if memory is correct, the small quarter windows use plugs – much like what F-body uses.

    If a person can get the outer trim, quarter glass and interior trim (which is also different) you can change a car over to larger glass – which might be something to consider if your vinyl roof is needing to be replaced.
    If existing vinyl roof is in good condition – It might not be worth the work to change over.

    By the way, where about do you reside at?
    BudW
     
  8. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, @BudW... appreciate the info.
    The top is in good shape right now, but it will eventually have to be replaced or, preferably, deleted.
    Right now I'm just trying to gather information so I can decide on a direction. I've had too many projects stall when I got blind-sided by my own lack of preparation... something unexpected happens and then I'm scrambling, looking for nonexistent parts or a workaround. BOOM... dead in the water. I hate that.
    I'm getting a better picture of what I need to gather parts-wise before I jump in, this was the easy part... now I have to put in some real effort.
    I'm in Portland, OR and, yes... it's raining o_O
     
  9. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I completely understand. I’m still in part location and modification mode right now, myself. I don’t have the garage space for a long term project – nor a wife willing to put up with it more than a couple of days – so gotta plan ahead.

    One piece of good news. The M-body’s do rust – but not like F-body’s do.
    To coin a term from someone else, the F-body’s came from the factory with the “rust option” already installed.

    I can’t twist your arm, but placing a location and/or placing your year/make/model vehicle either on your profile or signature will be of much help to others.
    BudW
     
  10. 7T8 Custom

    7T8 Custom Well-Known Member

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  11. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    He's got some great stuff out there. I haven't been since I sold the Cordoba, but I'll be making the drive out to Sandy as soon as I get an initial parts list together.