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Converting GT6 headliner bows to TR6 hardtop bows

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  • Converting GT6 headliner bows to TR6 hardtop bows

    Hey all, a while back I restored my hardtop and used GT6 headliner bows as a starting point for making a set of TR6 headliner bows. I promised to write a magazine article and never got around to it but I did capture all the info I needed (because I really did plan to write an article). Recently OrionENC here on the forums PMed me asking for details so I decided to finally get off my butt and write up my experiences.

    As many of you know, the TR6 hardtop requires 3 rails that fit into holes in the underside of the top itself. These rails provide some structure to the fabric headliner. Unfortunately, they are also nearly impossible to find and without them, you cannot install a headliner in the top. My hardtop was in decent shape (no rust, no dents, all glass was present, etc) but it needed a bit of work. However, the biggest issue was that the headliner rails were missing. After a bit of research, I was told that the headliner rails from a GT6 were a direct fit. I promptly went to eBay and bought a set for $25. Perfect! Or so I thought. It turns out that GT6 rails are basically the same but the curve and the length are both wrong for a TR6 hardtop.

    So?only option was to modify the GT6 rails to fit a TR6. A helpful 6-Pack member (Philstr6) sent me a spare set of TR6 bows so I could use them as a pattern on the condition that I send them back when I was finished. I proceeded to measure, cut, bend, etc the GT6 rails so they matched the length and curve of the TR6 rails perfectly.

    Here?s the process and specs.

    Here are 2 sets of rails.



    You can see that they are reasonably close to each other but definitely not a direct fit.

    Below are some details on the 3 sets of rails:
    Front 38 7/8" 41 1/4" 38" 1 1/2"
    Middle 40" 41 1/2" 38" 2 3/4"
    Rear 41 1/4" 42 1/8" 38 1/4" 3 3/4"


    With these measurements in hand, and a little math I determined that I needed to remove a little bit of rail from each end of each rail. I decided to remove some from each end so that I could preserve as much of the existing curve as possible. In the end, I?m not sure that mattered but?whatever.
    - Remove 1 3/16? from each end of the front GT6 rail
    - Remove 1/4? from each end of the middle GT6 rail
    - Remove 7/16? from each end of the rear GT6 rail.

    I used a dremel with a cutting wheel for the job.

    With that done, the next task was to re-bend the rails to match the curve of the TR6 rails. It turns out that the rails are mostly straight except for the ends so it was a case of straightening the middle and then rebending a bit on each end of each rail. To do this I made a template on paper, laid each end of each rail on the paper, marked a likely place for a new gradual bend, bent a little in the vise, rechecked, re-mark, bend, recheck, etc until each end of each rail matched the template. I put the rails in a small vise, gently applied pressure, tried again, etc. Be careful not to crimp it.

    Here's are some pics of the process.

    Rear rail initially laid on the template



    Put it in the vise



    After a few gentle tweaks



    Final result



    So, to oversimplify the process:
    - Print the template on 8x10 paper.
    - Bend each end of each rail to match the curve.
    - Insert the pins (purchased from any of the big 3 I believe) and you are good to go.

    The PDF of the template is attached.

    @Fid and @Elwood, happy to provide this in word with hi-rez images (I think) if you want this for the magazine as well.
    73 TR6
    Libertyville, IL
    My TR6

  • #2
    Opps, just realized bent height is shown wrong. Its to height from the top of the rail to the ground. Hopefully you know what I mean
    73 TR6
    Libertyville, IL
    My TR6

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    • #3
      Fantastic and many thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        Great Documentation Phil!

        Cheers
        Tush
        81 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 81 Triumph TR8, 1973 Ford Capri
        73 Triumph TR6 CF4874UO, 68 Triumph TR250 CD5228LO
        62 Triumph TR4 CT6716LO, 60 Triumph TR3A TS69891LO
        60 Triumph TR3A TS64870LO, 59 Triumph TR3A TS44836LO
        https://www.youtube.com/user/cheftush

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        • #5
          Cool - love it when people post this kind of stuff.

          It also begs the question, is there a new material substitute for the metal bows?

          Comment


          • #6
            Very well done, Phil.

            Comment

            Converting GT6 headliner bows to TR6 hardtop bows

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