Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

The forum for all of your technical questions on your classic FIAT autos
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:27 am

--Starting a new thread on this topic. This began as "R & R (remove and replace) Rear Seal on a Pininfarina Hardtop"

--I have successfully removed the rear window and old seal, and refurbished the fiberglass hardtop. The hardtop shell (minus rear glass) is now at the upholstery shop for recovering with the original black vinyl, and installing a new pleated headliner (custom made). After recovering the top, the rear window glass and new seal will be reinstalled using the "rope trick" (to be discussed later).

--I have multiple pics to post, but before I do that, here are a couple of lessons learned. This is not a difficult project, but it has taken me many, many manhours to accomplish. If your top is in any condition similar to the one I have (and most are because they are all 40+ years old) then plan to put some real time in.

---For Randy B., (and for what it's worth) I would not attempt to remove and re-install an original rear glass seal. The original seals can be very hard, and will loose their sealing characteristic in time. Also, you stand a very high chance of breaking the rear window when trying to remove the old seal in tact. As Randy suggested, we cut the old seal out, and even then, the task was tricky.

---The rear window aluminum trim in the rubber seal is coated with what looks like some sort of plating. My trim was scratched, and generally in poor condition. I tried all means of polishing the trim with 600/1000 grit, and polishing compounds on a buffing wheel with no luck. Had to resort to hand sanding the old finish off completely (ugh!) and then polishing the trim back to original finish with progressive 320-400-600-1000 grit, followed by buffing wheel and progressive compounds.

--Pics to follow with task descriptions.
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
User avatar
atruscott
Posts: 688
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:40 pm
Last Name: Truscott
First Name: Andy

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by atruscott » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:41 pm

I did remove the rear seal on mine as I restored. I left it soaking in a container of olive oil on recommendation from someone (if it didn’t work - I figured I’d bite the bullet and buy a new one from AR!). It did work. Once I’d repaired all the fiberglass and glossed the top .... the seal was removed from its petroleum stupor.... and was astonishingly flexible and pliable. Probably spent the best part of two months in there.
1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile
1970 238 Camper OHV
1974 124 Wagon TC
1974 124 Special TC
1975 124 Sport Coupe
1976 124 Sport Spider (The Racer)
1981 Spider 2000 (The Resurrected)
1985 Pininfarina Azzurra
2017 124 Spider Abarth Elaborazione
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:41 pm

atruscott wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:41 pm
I did remove the rear seal on mine as I restored. I left it soaking in a container of olive oil...... Probably spent the best part of two months in there.
---------------------------------------------------------------
--LOL Andy! Ok sure! Who would have guessed.... an olive oil soak!
--Andy, my seal was so hard that I didn't dare try to pry from the inside to release it. Since I was replacing the seal anyway, I just cut it!
Last edited by fp55scca on Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
User avatar
andy
mille club
Posts: 1019
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:40 pm
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by andy » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:50 pm

Inquiring mind needs to know...
Extra Virgin?
Cold Pressed?
Imported?
Andy Jossy
Medford, Oregon
65 Corvette
68 124 Coupe
72 128 Autocross car
82 124 Spider
86 X 1/9
88 Yugo
14 500e
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:40 pm

--Step one, regardless of the method of removing the rear window seal, is to remove the chrome (actually aluminum) strips from the top and bottom of the seal. This is accomplished by gently prying off the triangular corner pieces. Mine were held in place mostly with a sealer that served to both preclude water intrusion in the corners, and to retain the clips in place.

--With triangular clips removed, a stud with a small flat plate and a nut on the inside is revealed. As Csaba noted in the other thread, the inside nuts are similar to those used to retain the windshield visors. A special tool could be used (the one I made for visors didn't fit), so I just squirted with PB Blaster and removed (carefully) with pliers. With studs removed, the rear window and seal can now be removed.

--If trying to pry the old seal out from the inside, the chrome strips should be removed now, by prying them gently out of the rear seal, beginning at the corners. If cutting the old seal out from the inside, the chrome strips can remain in place for stability. I left the chrome strips in place, and cut the old seal from the inside using a sharp knife, then gently pushed and pried the rear window out to the rear.
Pininfarina Hardtop-3.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-3.jpg (113.83 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-3A.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-3A.jpg (180.49 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-3B.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-3B.jpg (86.59 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-3C.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-3C.jpg (128.02 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-4.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-4.jpg (93.44 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-2.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-2.jpg (92.38 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-6.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-6.jpg (111.08 KiB) Viewed 3400 times
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:39 pm

--The rear chrome trip strips on the Pininfarina hardtop are actually aluminum, and finished with some sort of plating. Mine were badly scratched and rubbed, and no amount of polishing seemed to help. I had to resort to stripping them completely using course, then progressively finer sand paper, and ultimately polishing them with a buffing wheel and polishing compound. If you intend to do this, I recommend leaving the strips in the original rubber seal for stability while polishing. The strips are fragile, and can bend easily.

--Because I cut the rear seal from the inside, I was able to transfer the entire rear window and seal to the bench; and then I removed the window on the bench.
Pininfarina Hardtop-6.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-6.jpg (111.05 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-10.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-10.jpg (101.55 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-14.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-14.jpg (1.41 MiB) Viewed 3393 times
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:11 pm

--Removing the old vinyl is straight forward, unless there are chrome drip-rails installed. If this is the case, the aft end of the drip rails have a clip and a stud retaining them, and fixed through the top, with a nut on the inside of the top. To access the nut, a plug is removed from inside. Hard to see, but in the first picture, just above the right hand, you can barely make out the plug. A 10mm socket removed the nuts in my case.

--With the drip rails removed, then the old vinyl can be easily stripped from the top....Except for one more surprise. At the base of each B-pillar of the top is a metal strip that is blindly (rolled under the vinyl) held to the fiberglass top with screws. In my case these metal strips were almost completely rusted to pieces. I remanufactured replacements using aluminum strips as pictured.

Pininfarina Hardtop-4.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-4.jpg (93.44 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-15.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-15.jpg (890.66 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-15A.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-15A.jpg (856.94 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-15B.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-15B.jpg (969.51 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-8A.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-8A.jpg (1023.81 KiB) Viewed 3393 times
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:42 pm

--Most Pininfarina hardtops need fiberglass repair where the original rear clips (that held the top down in the back) bolted to the hardtop. Mine was no exception, and fiberglass repairs had to be made on both sides.

--Note too, that the original vinyl is installed onto the fiberglass top, and wraps down into the rear window channel; but only half way through the channel in most cases.

--For the new vinyl to adhere properly, all the old glue needs to be removed completely, including in the rear window channels. Sanding and lacquer thinner worked for me.
Pininfarina Hardtop-7.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-7.jpg (92.47 KiB) Viewed 3391 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-16.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-16.jpg (1.01 MiB) Viewed 3391 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-9.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-9.jpg (129.85 KiB) Viewed 3391 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-13A.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-13A.jpg (886.56 KiB) Viewed 3391 times
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2634
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by fp55scca » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:29 pm

--One final note on Pininfarina hardtop preparation for vinyl replacement. The Pininfarina hardtop on the CSA version of the 124 Abarth Spider does not seem to have the aluminum drip-rail installed. I've seen a few replicas with the drip-rail, but none that I've found with an actual CSA stamping on the firewall? Maybe someone knows why that is, or can shed some more light on the issue?

--In any case, I prefer the look of the top without the aluminum drip-rail, but it is not just a matter of removing it from the top. When the drip-rail is removed, there is about a 1/4 inch raised fiberglass lip underneath. In order for the vinyl to roll smoothly around the top of the window opening, this 1/4 lip needs to be sanded down to about 1/8th inch.

--The first pic shows the drip rail. The second, the raised fiberglass lip with the drip-rail removed. The final shot is the fiberglass lip sanded down to a lower profile.

Pininfarina Hardtop-1.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-1.jpg (1.49 MiB) Viewed 3388 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-8A.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-8A.jpg (1023.81 KiB) Viewed 3388 times
Pininfarina Hardtop-13A.jpg
Pininfarina Hardtop-13A.jpg (886.56 KiB) Viewed 3388 times
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
User avatar
atruscott
Posts: 688
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:40 pm
Last Name: Truscott
First Name: Andy

Re: Refurbishing a Pininfarina Hartop Fiat 124 Spider

Post by atruscott » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:28 pm

About 3 gallons of the cheapest olive oil I could get... so I imagine semi-virgin ;). Pressed in a sweat shop.

Incidentally - if anyone needs the drip guard trims - I’m going to have a surplus pair.

Oh - and the “stud” that’s on them is a rectangular headed bolt that slips into a channel in the back of the chrome trim to hold them in place. They’re super delicate - but easy to make one with a bolt and a grinder.
1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile
1970 238 Camper OHV
1974 124 Wagon TC
1974 124 Special TC
1975 124 Sport Coupe
1976 124 Sport Spider (The Racer)
1981 Spider 2000 (The Resurrected)
1985 Pininfarina Azzurra
2017 124 Spider Abarth Elaborazione
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests