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Hello everyone

I'm new to this. In my quest to find a hardtop for my 356 speedster from Vintage, I've come across this site....and find this really exciting. There's a helpful bunch of people with an awful lot of knowledge....what a goldmine

I've been in Germany [work related!] since end of 2016. Got about 15 months to go, then we go back to Colorado. Got my Vintage widebody speedster with me...its a lot of fun to drive around the countryside using the "backroads" in my off-duty time...as long as the weather is good! And "...as long as the weather is good..." is precisely the issue . Point is that the weather is rarely good...or rather reliable. When one gets caught in the rain or a sudden drop in temperature in a speedster, hmmm....well, y'all get the point.

Of course I had gone to Kirk first to see if I could get a top from him. after all he had built the car to begin with. But he was already in the process of selling the business. He referred me to the guy who bought Vintage, but apart from asking a a pretty penny for it, getting a response, respectively a commitment out of him is challenging to say the least, thus it all came to naught.

Back to square one!  Still looking for a good hardtop. Maybe one of y'all would know someone who builds and sells them. Shipping wouldn't be a problem either....I could find a little space in one of the containers we frequently ship from the US to Germany.

Any tips and leads would be much appreciated!

Happy motoring

Ernest

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@Evergreen One  Speedster replica hardtops are really scarce.

I think it's safe to say that NO builder will have a hard top that perfectly fits right out of the shipping container.  Anything you find will have to be modified in some way to fit your car, even if it's Vintage making a top for a Vintage.  On top of that, the shipping and VAT coming from the USA will drive your cost up way beyond $3K USD

That said, you would be a lot better off to find a top in Europe and have it locally adjusted/altered/fitted to your car.  I think that @Marshall has a top from a company in the Netherlands - Sounds a helluva lot closer than California, right?  Maybe this thread will help you find a few sources closer that have something that can be modified to fit.  Also, @Alan Merklin modified a hard top for someone a few years back and might be able to point you to his thread about what he had to do to get it to fit right.

Good hunting!   (And what part of Germany are you in?)

I don't have any idea if he has molds, but I'd contact Greg at Vintage Motorcars Inc. in Hawaiian Gardens CA.

Greg started building Spyders in the mid-90s and shared the building with Kirk. He moved out in the mid-2000s. Eventually, Justin bought the business and moved it to Arizona when Kirk retired. Greg hired ALL of Kirk's employees(that Justin left high and dry!) and moved his Spyder and pre-A coupe business back into the old Vintage Speedsters building. From that point, Greg started building Speedsters as well.

A real stand-up guy by all accounts. Give him a call, if he can get a hardtop for you, he will. And I'm sure he'd be happy to get it to your container for overseas shipment. That is if he can make you a hardtop.

The tops need to be individually fit, then painted. As Gordon said, not a plug-and-play affair. It is quite a bit of work, but if you really want one...

https://www.vintagemotorcarsinc.com/

Thank y´all for the helpful hints. I´ll follow up on ´em.

Actually I bought this car from Troy and had it shipped to Germany! Let me tell y´all, getting it through German inspection to get plates, etc was an adventure to say the least ... German bureaucracy is nothing to laugh about and should never be underestimated!! You can´t imagine all the things I´ve learned. But in the end I´ve got it on the road...phew!!

If anybody is planning on bringing one over to Germany, I can certainly coach him through the process.

Back to the issue with the hardtop. As I had previously said, I had started wanting Kirk to build one for me. I was out in CA at the time and had already made a sizeable down payment. Timing was bad, he was already selling the business and the new owner told me he´d move the business to Arizona.

Meanwhile we had been moved to Germany. BTW, someone had asked where we´re at in Germany. We´re between Darmstadt and Mannheim.

To make a long story short, it went back and forth, the prices that Kirk had given me all of a sudden changed under the new owner, the body was not even delivered from Mexico...they put me off...and off...  To avoid any potential additional bad surprises, I´ve tried to get them to sign off on the build sheet with the agreed upon prices...impossible! In the end Greg said he could not build the car. Communication with them was a nightmare. After six months had gone by and no progress, I told them I wanted my money back!! In the end they did return the down payment and we parted ways! Not a real pretty experience though.

Whatever, it cost me a full year, still bought one for my wife´s birthday...just one year later!

Apparently not much seemed to have changed! I´ve sent an email with a technical question to Vintage a couple of months back.....never even got an answer! So much for that

The one on the Rusty Tubs ad I posted above  is not the one they used to offer.  They had a PlastiKon one that didn't have the small 1/4 window. They offer a longer model for kit cars - it also had longer had trimmable bottom piece.

PLASTIKON Porsche 356 Speedster hardtop NEW

PLASTIKON Porsche 356 Speedster hardtop NEW
<form action="https://order.store.yahoo.net/yhst-63230418117019/cgi-bin/wg-order?yhst-63230418117019+plastikon-porsche-356-speedster-hardtop-356" id="yfc_1" method="post">
Item# plastikon-porsche-356-speedster-hardtop-356
$1,295.00
Availability: Usually ships the same business day
<input class="ys_primary" title="Add to cart" type="submit" value="Add to cart" /></form>

Product Description

. Thanks to the volume, we are able to offer lower pricing on these tops.

PLASTIKON hardtop for the Porsche 356 Speedster. These are nothing like the flimsy clones and older versions from the late 60's and 70's. Molded drip rail, full header bow with reinforced latch area. Ready for final prep and paint. Rear window and rubber included. Freight charges apply. These are in stock and ready to ship. Standard crate up fee is $125.00 or pick up in person.

We can also deliver to the crater and packaging company of your choice.

To see what the non kit car version looks like, use our search engine for, "plasticon".

Be aware they are cut longer, wider, and the arc on the wide window fits only Plasticon style side curtains.

Think of an upside down cone. Keep trimming till it fits yours, as all kit cars are not alike.

These can be painted and finished in any color for $495.00 Axalta paint products with an evercoat G2 base.

I second that.  We've been hearing about "Rusty Tubs" and their second incarnation, "Fibersteel" on here for years and I can't recall anyone actually buying anything from them and telling us about it.

I haven't referred anyone to them for that reason - Zero product purchase data.

Anyone bought anything from "Rusty Tubs" in the past five years?  Comments?

While we're waiting for comments, here's a thread on the 356 registry about them - Looks like those folks have had mixed reviews, too.

http://forum.porsche356registr...iewtopic.php?t=48661

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Fibersteel is run by Russ Rodriquez(I may have spelled the last name wrong). They sell predominately Spyder stuff. They also do custom Spyder work such as aluminum interior...

I got drumskins and jack points from them years ago. I haven't heard any bad things about them either, nor of any affiliation with Rusty Tubs.

I haven't done any research on either one, so I could be mistaken.

I have learned so much about German bureaucracy and all kinds of requirements and stuff one needs to be aware of to avoid the ever lurking trap doors . That´s why I´ve said, I´d be happy to coach and help through the process, if anyone should want to bring another speedster over

Here are some of the things I´ve done! See attached photos

* European tail lights (red/amber) are a must, otherwise you´re asking for trouble

* hidden under the dash are the switches for emergency flashers, rear fog lamp and add. front lights, and the additional fuse box

* also underneath the dash are two power/USB connectors

* moved the wiper switch a touch over, installed an original looking clock, and Bosch ignition

* mounted two removable stopwatches...(no holes drilled!)...now we're ready for some oldtimer rallyes

* Mounted two period-looking add. headlights and the fog lamp in the back.

Now all I need is a great-looking hardtop !

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Hello Wolfgang

it all depends on the car. is it a speedster? And, also on the TÜV guy doing the inspection! If you get the wrong guy... you might catch hell for all kinds of things.

I had a 2-inch thick file full of paperwork, engineering reports, orig. tech expertise, etc, copy of the US title, certificate of origin...and, and... incl. a 30 page(!) expertise on the wooden steering wheel alone !

What lenses are you talking about. Generally  they don´t know DOT, thus they don't look for it.

They do look whether tail lights are the correct colors: red / amber for turn signals.

TÜV will check that the headlights are properly adjusted and beams aligned.

In my case...its a 1957 speedster....I got classic car license plates...lap belts were no issue at all. No mountings were checked.

EMPI parts are ok.  No one even looked ar my discs and calipers.

oil leaks are definitely an issue though.  The car better not leak while you´re going through TÜV inspection.

Last not least....the inspection is not cheap...no bargains here! At least not when its the very first one...the one you need to get German papers and plates. Only certain inspection centers are allowed to do those!

Hope this helped.

Wolfgang,

One more thing! Since my speedster is a widebody, I have 225x17 tires on 7" polished rims in front and 265x17 on 9" in the rear.

I usually take these off for the winter....while the car is in hibernation and put instead old 185x15 on 5" steel wheels on...just to be kind to the fat rubbers ...but able to move the car around if necessary. The car looks like an ugly duckling that way....but it serves the purpose.

I took the car to get FIRST inspection after it arrived from the states on those old steel wheels !! Just to not freak them out at TÜV right away.

Later I went back to them...with a bunch of additional documentation for the wheels (i.e. US patent number, entry in the patent registry, engineering expertise, load capacity and mfg specs) and got a "specialty" permit to have them mounted and operate the car with them! Its an additional charge of about $85 and is written in your vehicle registration docs. Once done, you´re ok.

Of course its a hassle, but especially with wheels and such, they are extremely strict in Germany. The main problem is....if you drive on ´em without having them written in the car´s registration docs.....and anything happens....like any small accident and God forbid it involves another car or person (we all know that the devil is in the details)....the insurance company will NOT pay a cent...not for your car and definitely not foe anyone else involved!! Their excuse will be, that the car had no official TÜV to be driven with those wheels and tires and thus does not conform with standard safety regulations!!

So beware!!

And in FL, there is never a safety or emission testing!  Not on a new car or an old beater.  I even get to pay a lot of extra insurance to have my car covered by someone that has no insurance (uninsured).  Motorcyclist don't even have to wear a helmet - it optional.  When you register a car the only thing the tax office checks is the VIN and the speedo mileage reading.

@Stan Galat That one does look very nice, doesn't it?  Doesn't have that "lumpy" look that some of the others do.

Yep - it looks really sweet - like a chop-top coupe, rather than a speedster with a hemorrhoid on top (like most of the Plasticon-copy tops we get here). I think it's the shape of the windows, as much as anything. I would imagine the car is not very roomy inside with the top on, but they aren't a practical proposition to start with.

I'll never understand why the hardtops all bend so hard toward practicality. It's not like any of us said, "why there's a practical and sensible conveyance" when we first saw a speedster. Sometimes, you have to give up a bit of practicality to get something truly beautiful.

Remember the immortal words of Fernando, "It's better to look good than to feel good. And you look mahvalous, dahling!".

Hey Gordon. One's gotta love Fernando

Of course some of the tops are better looking than others ...in the end they serve the same purpose.

@ Marcel: Nice looking hardtop!

But does anyone have a company name, location, phone number, email for the manufacturer??

I know The Netherlands is but a small country, but large enough when one doesn't know where to start looking

@Stan Galat wrote: "I would imagine the car is not very roomy inside with the top on, but they aren't a practical proposition to start with."

I would think it's precisely the same "roominess" as in Pearl with the top up.

A little contortionistic getting in and out, but once you're in there it's roomy.

Provided you're a well-dressed 5'6".    

IMG_2741

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Images (1)
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