SIDE CURTAIN REBUILDING
The Roadster Factory is well known around the world for its side curtain rebuilding service. We have been rebuilding side curtains to factory specs for over thirty years now, first through an outside shop and in more recent years, through The Magic Carpet Factory. Close to one-thousand sets have been rebuilt, and TRF side curtains can be found on Concours cars at all the major car shows across the United States and around the world.
With Magic Carpet now doing the work here at TRF, we are better able to schedule side curtain rebuilding. As a result, turnaround time has been greatly reduced. On the average it takes eight to ten weeks to take in a set of curtains and to completely rebuild them.
There are three different styles of side curtains that were fitted to TR2 and TR3 models, and TRF can rebuild all three types. Following is a brief discussion of the three types to help you to identify your side curtains.
If you wish to order side curtain rebuilding, please use our online link: http://www.zeni.net/trf/webcatalog/specials6.16/10.php . This listing includes a description of the material types, part numbers for the curtain rebuilds, and on the following pages it includes a listing of all of the mounting hardware and windows required for the side curtains.
Side Curtains as fitted to TR2’s from comm. no. TS1 to TS8636 (“Flappers”)
These are solid window curtains that mount to the doors using aluminium wedges that fit into chromed sockets found on the insides of the doors. The lower portions of the side curtains are not fixed and the lower flaps are secured to the outside of the doors using Tenax snaps up to commission no. TS5255, and then later Lift-The-Dot snaps. Access to the car, as outside door handles were not fitted, is either through a brass zipper in the vinyl or by undoing the snaps and raising the flap. The frames themselves are relatively simple as there are no channels for sliding windows. Rebuilding these TR2 frames requires a special sewing machine with a long reach. Because of this, TR2 side curtains are still rebuilt by our original supplier.
The white TR2 side curtains shown above were rebuilt in the summer of 2009 and were shipped to Europe to be fitted to TS11, a very early TR2. These curtains were covered in white British Everflex vinyl.
You will note a white plastic film on the windows. This is to protect the windows during shipping. It can e easily peeled off once you receive your rebuilt side curtains.
The photo to the left illustrates the method of fitting the side curtains to the inside of the door. The chromed bracket is attached to the door panel and the side curtain arm, with an aluminium wedge attached, is pushed down into the bracket. The wedge is then secured with a set screw that is visible on the right side of the bracket. This mounting method was used on the TR2 side curtains as well as the wedge curtains as described in the next section.
Side Curtains as fitted from TS8637, all small mouth TR3’s, and TR3A’s up to comm. no. TS28825 (“Wedge Type”)
While these curtains are similar to the previous listing they now feature a sliding rear window. They still attach to the inside of the door using aluminium wedges secured into chromed brackets. The brass zipper on the lower flap has been eliminated as access to the car can now be made by sliding the window open or by undoing the flap. The sliding windows have a small rectangular block of plastic on the outside that is used to open and close the window, and a curved handle on the inside for the same job. Of course, the TR3A got outside door handles which made access to the car much easier.
The lower portion of this type of curtain was still a flap that hinged below the window although the shape of the lower flap is slightly different from the curtains found on the TR2. Lift-The-Dot snaps are used to secure the lower flap to the door.
We refer to these as “wedge type” side curtains and they were used on all small mouth TR3’s and on the first six thousand TR3A’s.
The side curtains shown in the two photos above were rebuilt for Doug and Cindy Jack in 2007.
Our thanks to Doug and Cindy for providing photos for us to use in this publication.
Side Curtains as fitted to TR3A’s and TR3B’s after comm. no. TS28826 (“Dzus Type”)
These curtains are secured to the doors using Dzus fasteners and are therefore referred to us as Dzus-type side curtains. Like the wedge type curtains, Dzus curtains have a fixed window at the front and a sliding window at the rear. The sliding window has a curved handle to make opening and closing the window easier. There is no longer a need for the small plastic block on the outside of the sliding window as all TR3A’s and TR3B’s have outside door handles. Dzus frames are one-piece. The lower area of the curtain no longer flaps and is not attached to the door with Tenax or L-T-D fasteners.
The two photos above show a Dzus side curtain that has been completely rebuilt to original specifications.
This photo shows a Dzus side curtain in white Everflex fitted to Charles Runyan’s TR3A. Dzus curtains are mounted to plates on the door panels using Dzus fasteners. The plates were painted in a color to match the side curtain arms originally, although some customers have been known to have their mounting plates chrome plated. The mounting plates have been reproduced by TRF and are listed in our catalogue section on side curtains. The strap that further secures the side curtain to the door panel can be seen in this photo.
AFTER-MARKET SIDE CURTAINS
Back in the 1970’s it was possible to buy after-market replacement side curtains from J. C. Whitney and others. We are not sure who manufactured these side curtains but they were nasty compared to the originals. The frames were aluminium and there was a wide rubber strip around the outside of the top of each curtain. The lower flap was a plastic material with a bubbly grained finish. The lower flap attached to the door with either Tenax or Dzus fasteners. The arms were also aluminium and were attached to the frames with screws and acorn nuts which would become loose and fall off. Both the front and rear windows slid open. Some of these side curtains are still out there in the world and we mention them here for identification purposes. These side curtains are not rebuildable and we do not have any replacement parts for them.
If you have after-market side curtains, or no side curtains at all, call John Swauger at 800 234-1104 to discuss your needs. He may be able to help you with a set of used original frames. Also give John a call if you have extra original side curtains that you would like to trade for parts credit.
THE SIDE CURTAIN REBUILDING PROCESS
There are a number of steps involved in the process of rebuilding a set of side curtains. We think you will find the process of interest.
The initial steps are for the customer to place his or her order and then to send the frames to TRF. Frames should be fitted to the car on which they will eventually be used. If minor bending and tweaking is needed, this should be done before the frames are sent to us. This is particularly important if different frames are being supplied than what originally came with the car.
After being sure that the frames will fit your car, they should be carefully packaged and shipped to The Roadster Factory, 328 Killen Road, Armagh, PA 15920. Be sure to include contact information as well as details concerning the rebuild. Important details are the type of material and the colour. At TRF, we can recover your side curtains using Robbins or British Everflex vinyl materials, or using Sunfast canvas material. All three of these materials match the tops sold by The Roadster Factory. Side curtains cannot be covered using interior grade vinyl. If you have your own material that you would like to use, a sample should be sent ahead of time to make sure it is a material that that is suitable for side curtain recovering.
The photo below shows a pair of Dzus style side curtains that have been sent to TRF for rebuilding being unpacked.
Upon receiving a set of frames, we strip the frames of old covers and stamp each frame with a control number. In this way, customers are assured of receiving back the frames that were sent to TRF. We visually inspects each frame. In some cases, the lower channels are badly rusted and need to be replaced. If this is necessary, we have replacement channels that can be welded in for a small additional fee.
The photo above on the left shows how we stamp control numbers onto a frame. On the right, the number can be seen on a frame that has already been sand blasted and painted. These numbers are hidden by the covers but are matched to the build tags that accompany the frames.
This photo shows a batch side curtain frames ready to go out to be sand blasted. One of the two TRS LeMans race cars owned by The Roadster Factory can be seen in the background.
The next step in the process, after sandblasting, is painting the frames. The frames are painted with an epoxy primer to prevent future rusting problems. In this shot, the arms on a set of Dzus frames are painted in a silver paint that has been custom mixed to match the original factory colour.
After the paint has thoroughly dried, the arms are taped off to protect the silver paint and each set of curtains is taken to our back room which houses The Magic Carpet Factory. Special build tags are attached to each frame to identify each set of frames by number and to indicate the colour and type of material to be used. TRF can rebuild your side curtain using standard Robbins vinyl top material, British Everflex vinyl top material, or Sunfast canvas top material. These materials match the tops, tonneau covers, and hood stick covers sold by The Roadster Factory. Interior grade vinyl is not suitable for covering side curtains.
Photo above left shows a side curtain cover pattern drawn out on a piece of top material. After being cut out, Brenda Shields puts her years of sewing experience to good use by creating a cover out of the pieces as shown in the photo on the right.
Brenda is fitting a cover to a side curtain frame in the photo on the left. In the photo on the right, Brenda is gluing the cover to the top of the frame.
Once the cover is fitted to the side curtain frame it is time to fit the fixed window. The window is secured at the top and bottom by the fuzzy window channel in which the sliding window moves back and forth.
The front edge of the fixed window is sewn between two layers of material at the front of the side curtain.
Brenda then installs the sliding window by gently bending it to fit into the top channel. In some cases a slight bit of trimming needs to be done to adjust the window for easy movement back and forth.
In this photo, Brenda is attaching the strap that secures the Dzus side curtains to the inside of the door. Special rivets are used to secure the strap.
In the photo on the right, Brenda and Betty proudly display a completed Dzus side curtain. From here, the curtains are carefully boxed and returned to TRF where we install new Dzus fasteners as shown in the photo below.
WINDOWS FITTED TO REBUILT SIDE CURTAINS
As of July 1, 2009, TRF has been supplying all of its wedge type and Dzus type rebuilt side curtains with windows that have been etched with the wording “COBEX AS6” (fixed windows) and “PERSPEX AS4” (sliding windows) as shown in the photos below. In addition, all fixed and sliding windows sold to customers who are rebuilding their own curtains are also etched. This adds another degree of originality to your rebuilt side curtains.
To Order Side Curtain Rebuilding For Your Car: http://www.zeni.net/trf/webcatalog/specials6.16/10.php