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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, who makes the best convertible tops for the Giulietta/Giulia range Spiders? What do you guys recommend for top quality tops.

Thanks,
Carm
 

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The Robbins tops are excellent quality and they look great. Unfortunately, they are not like the original tops, either in material or in how they are fitted to the frame. Still, if you are going to use your car, you will get service out of one. I have one on my 1959. If I were doing it again, I would see what Elvezio has to offer, at least to satisfy my curiosity.
 

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Tom,

As a newbie who needs top for a '64 Giulia Spider, when you say Robbins tops do not fit the frames as an original tops would, how do they differ and what problems does that for installers and owners?

Ray
 

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I have a '64 Spider with a Robbins top. Fits perfect and the material is top notch.
There are several styles of Alfa tops and if the upholstry guy buys the wrong one it will never fit right. I know that the 1600 cars had more than one style of top.
 

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Hi Guys,

I was in Padova at the Auto d' epoca fair. I bought a carpet set and headliner for my sprint, seat covers for the Spider from Elveizo and asked about a top. From my understanding Elveizo is not making tops yet. However, you should email them, great to work with and they will email back.

So I still need a top. My car, a 1960 had the rear of the top draped over the body. I have changed to a later top because I dont like the 1960 design. Further, My 1960 top was rusty. I bought a top from my friend Dyke Ridgely who beleives the top is from an early Giulia series. So I'm having trouble figuring out what to order!
 

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There are several suppliers of good tops. As I understand what has been discussed, what is needed is evaluation by buyers of different manufacturers offerings.
The Giulietta top frames are distinctly different from Giulia. From what I have observed, this was not so much a 750 /101 Giulietta 1300 change, except for length to match the SWB chassis, but a difference in the front bow height, and mechanism folding (with and without the rear locking handles and red lifting handles). This change seems to have been made with transition from the 1300 to 1600 engines. The 1600 cars feature the later mechanism with locking handles, (black) and lifting handles (red) and a low front top bow. Therefore, it seems there are three basic tops, 750 SWB, 101, 1300 and transition LWB cars, and late 101, 1600 low top bow.
Original tops were canvas material, not terribly durable, but nicely attractive. These were made up for PF. I had a NOS PF canvas top in a PF box for years for my 65 1600 Veloce, and when my original top material finally was failing, I installed the OEM replacement. It was not easy to fit, and took my efforts plus an upholstery shop, but came out beautifully. This may have been because it sat in plastic in a box for 40 years!
I have seen some of the Robbins tops and they too are beautiful, and seem to fit (the later) cars well. I've only seen the low top bow 1600 version. The thread count of the material is way off the original, the canvas having a much higher thread count. I did save my original top as a pattern, but fear that is so dry rotted it may fall to pieces if used for a pattern.
 

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Gordon,

As usual, great information.

A great photo of your Spider. I know it was, or was to be, a race car, and I was wondering what size tires are on it.

Ray
 

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As a race car (for many years) it ran Goodyear Blue Streak Sports Car Specials, typical for the time period. On the street, I tried to match rolling diameter and tread width to avoid needing to change the rear axle ratio or CR GTA transmission ratios.
Current tires are Bridgestone Potenza's RE950, 185 x65 R15. Note that this car, from Alfa, had rolled fender lips front and rear, with the wire in the roll PF / Ferrari style. As it arrived NEW from Alfa, it had 4, 165 x 15 Pirellis fitted with no spare or hoop to retain the spare. The front end sheet metal is also lighter gauge than that on the rest of the car. It was, from Alfa, supposed to be some type of race car. Duettos were in production and being shipped when Alfa shipped it to the US. Though not the highest serial numbered Giulia spider, it was the last one shipped to the USA new. It's an interesting car. Part of my reason for enjoying it for 50 years!
 

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Gordon,

"Note that this car, from Alfa, had rolled fender lips front and rear, with the wire in the roll PF / Ferrari style." Was this a car that anyone could order?

As someone who had NO exposure to the real world of such cars beyond magazines, etc., I understand rolling fenders for slicks on muscle cars, but what is meant by "wire in the roll"?

Ray
 

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The original top on my 59 Spider (a true 750, with the Lucas tail lights) was installed without any glue - it was all stitched to the frame. There are listings which were stitched over the top bows to locate the bows when the top is up. The Robbins top does not have listings, but relies on fastening extra heavy straps in place of the light originals to locate the top bows. The rear bow of my original top had a velour pad stitched in place, to pad the rear bow from the rear cowl area. As Gordon points out, the Pininfarina cloth was much lighter too. The Robbins top works well, but it is a completely different technique then Pininfarina used. I see the same errors committed on multi-million dollar Lancias and Ferraris at Pebble Beach, so our Alfas with their bastardized tops are in good company.

I had a local specialist add listings to the Robbins top, but they had to be glued in place. The skills that Pininfarina had in the 1950s simply cannot be found today, unless you are spending $$$$ to restore your Mercedes SSK.

The only complaints that I have about Robbins quality, given that it is a modern, inaccurate replacement, are that the side panels are not long enough to get a relaxed fit when you go to put in the Murphy fasteners and the flaps over the windows are barely big enough. I can barely get the fasteners in if the car has been sitting in the cold or dark with the top down. I need sunshine to soften up the material to get the fit to feel natural.

The replacement front bow seal from Cicognani is incorrect. The original was tapered at the ends, with small flaps which went up over the edge of the cloth to get a good seal.

Sadly, no one has the right tops for our Spiders. It's a different world with Porsches, where there are truly exact duplicates for their 1950s open cars.
 

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Tom,

A lot of great info, however. . .

My '64 Giulia Spider came with no top, only the frame. I don't have any idea what a "listing" is in this context, or if a Giulia top or frame has or needs one, much less about all that other stuff such as side panels that are not long enough to get a relaxed fit when you go to put in the Murphy fasteners (what’s a Murphy fastener?).

Please tell me that there is a detailed diagram or photo of the said assembly with all the various parts identified of labeled!

I asked Bill Gillham if he had written the "Reassembling or Restoring Your Giulietta/Giulia Spider Item-by-Item for Dummies" that included color photos of EVERYTHING involved with a 750-101 spider and the absolute correct step-by-step, by-the-numbers instructions. He said he had not gotten around to it as of yet.

Would begging help?

Ray
 

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Hi Ray,
No the car was not a car anyone could order and it was not a special order. Alfa built it for a never developed racing series in italy. It arrived at Knauz Continental Autos in Lake Forest Illinois with the first lot of Duettos in the US. Horst Kwech, who worked at Knauz at that time, suggested I buy it rather than a new Duetto for a race car, and I did so.
The rolled fender lips were a common build technique used by Italian body fabricators (and others) at this time. A wire, about the diameter of a coat hanger wire was rolled into the fender lip, as a internal forming tool, for reinforcement, and to get an even curve in the lip. Pictured below is a Scagleitti build, PF designed body fender lip on a Ferrari that uses this technique. It was used with both aluminum and steel bodies, and can cause electrolytic deterioration of fender lips with aluminum. Often asphalt tar was rolled into the lips with aluminum to slow deterioration and seal the area from moisture.
 

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Ray,
The EASIEST way to understand assembly, is to DISASSEMBLE one. As you cannot do that, perhaps you could locate another BB member that wishes to replace his existant top, and offer your help, free of charge, for the learning experience. Even if you visited an upholstery shop that was doing this job on a Giulia / Giulietta spider, you could learn the process.
Just a thought.
 

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Gordon,

What an incredible opportunity?! How would you describe it; a factory Veloce Abnormale race car?!

Have you heard of any others like it? I can't imagine what the value of such a car would be?
 

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I was told there were 11 made Ray. I have been unable to document this, and it rumor in 1966. I did see a yellow one in New York about 67-68 being street driven by a Dr. but missed his name, and have never seen the car since. Everyone pretty much lost interest in Giulia Spider Veloce's when the Duetto's arrived, except those racing. The advantage of the Giulia was that any racing parts from Autodelta being made at the cars production could be used in racing, which is how it came to be fitted with GTA engine, transmission and rear axle.
Best, at the time, cheaper than the Duetto!
 

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Greetings, on a related note: I can't find the original post where people have asked about the rubber tensioning straps on the sides of the tops. Pirelli made the off white rubber strap that has a weave in it. My upholstery supplier sells it by the yard. This is the same rubber that was used by other makes for things like washer bottles. Spencer
 
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