As the deadline approaches for the concours debut of Bugeye #501, we are getting into some of the finer points of accurate national concours preparation. Each trip down the list of requirements reveals a new element or something we may have missed. We are double- and triple-checking every element to ensure maximum accuracy (and points) and also to ensure we have properly returned car 501 to its accurate original state.
This week, we worked on the top and side curtain fit. The car will probably never be out in the rain again, but the kit has to be accurate and has to fit right, as we will be judged on accuracy of the components and also on quality of the fit. None of these ever fit well; in fact, the weatherproofing of a Frogeye was always a bit of a joke. However, this car actually has quite nice fit and finish of its weather components, especially when you consider that the pieces are all quite old!
The earliest Frogeyes came equipped with the setup shown in the above photos. Up to chassis 1606, soft side curtains were equipped, and were sewn to the frame all the way around. This made for a tight seal, but came with a unique problem: the only way to access the door handles was by opening up the top! After chassis 1606, the soft side curtains were updated and a snap enclosure was added to the lower rear corner of each curtain to allow access to the door handles when outside the car, as well as to access toll booth change buckets from inside the car.
The tops on early Bugeyes were also different from their later counterparts. Early ’58 cars had nine lift-the-dot studs across the header rail on the windscreen to fasten the front of the top. Unfortunately, this design created several issues. For one, the lack of a uniform tight fit across the windscreen sometimes let the weather in, which defeats the purpose of a top in the first place. The nine-stud windscreens were also thinner for about the first 5000 cars, and as the tops aged and shrunk a little due to the natural tendencies of the vynide material they were made from, breaking the windscreen glass became a real liability! After these early cars exhibited these problems, the windscreens were bulked-up and the more traditional 2-stud top and windscreen became standard.
Check out the video below for the latest update on 501’s progress and for a crash course on early Frogeye tops and side curtains! 501’s two hours of judging meet is only a week and a half away!
If you are interested in adding the correct top for your car, click on the links below to order yours! We sell early and late tops, as well as sliding side curtains (which came available at car 5477). We can also restore your soft side curtains if you prefer! Click the pictures below for more information!