There are various options available and things to consider, the main points are listed below:
- The ORIGINAL style hardtop is normally only available fully fitted. Typical cost for this is around £2400 (no vat).
This earlier version of the hardtop doesn't lend itself to DIY assembly and is best being fully fitted at the workshop in Halifax. It can be both painted, or covered in canvas to look like a soft top.
- The new MALAYSIAN hardtop is for painting only and is available either fully fitted and also as a DIY kit of parts .
Current cost for the DIY kit (standard/solid targa panel) is £1795.00 (no vat), and the typical cost to fully fit and paint can vary around £750.00-£950.00 depending on the exact amount of work needed to tailor the hardtop to the specific car, and the type of paint.
- The panoramic targa panel option adds £650.00 to the above kit cost.
- This new Malaysian style version of the hardtop has been specifically designed with DIY fitting in mind and is simpler to fit than previous versions, requiring no special tools (other than a Rivnut tool for inserting Rivnuts into the rear bulkhead).
- The current DIY kit is made up of 14 separate fibreglass sections, most of which are already pre-bonded together. These partly-built kits come with a significant amount of pre-assembly work already carried out, leaving only the final jobs to be finished on the car.
The DIY kit of parts is finished up to the primer stage (grey 2-pack primer as standard) and pre-trimmed on the internal surface in lightweight black acoustic cloth a standard (other colours available on request).
The 'B' and 'C' pillar support sections come pre-bonded into position with their relevant catches / hook plates attached.
The rear window comes pre-bonded in place along the top and down both sides. The lower edge of the rear window is deliberately left un-bonded - the hardtop will need to be set-up on the car first and be tensioned down properly on it's catches before the lower edge of the rear window is bonded to the aperture.
This method allows the lower edge of the fibreglass hardtop to conform perfectly to the deck shape of the individual car before the window is bonded to it - avoiding the rear window being stressed and ensuring a perfect seal where the hardtop sits on the car.
After clamping the hardtop to the car, the side flanges (where the header rubber sits) need to be ground down to suit the door windows - this will determine the pressure on the rubber when the door is closed onto it.
The hardtop side windows are supplied ready to fit with the black border pre-applied, and will need bonding in place on final assembly to be flush to the door windows.
Full assembly instructions and pictures are detailed in the relevant website section using the drop down menu. Any additional help and advice is available either via email or phone.
- Costs listed above do not inc P&P. To avoid excessive packaging and carriage costs DIY customers are urged to collect the kit parts from the workshop address where a full explanation of the assembly jobs can be given and any questions answered.
- The hardtop installation is done in a such a way as to make reverting back to the standard soft top set-up quite simple if desired - giving the option of both hard, and soft tops, for winter / summer use.
If the option of occasionally refitting the soft top is required, this would involve leaving the Velcro in place on the top of the rear wings (previous hardtop versions involved fully removing the Velcro) and other minor details necessary for easily refitting the soft top are retained.
The total time to revert back to the soft top, once familiar with the process is estimated at around 15 minutes, and will involve simply unbolting the Deck Finisher Panel (the mounting panel for the quick release catches) re-bolting the folding soft top onto the side pivots and rear bulkhead, reconnect the interior lamp wiring, and re-bolting the aluminium roof struts to the underside of the folding soft top header.
- Chimaera's up until around 1995 have the rear edge of the original TVR folding soft top (directly under the rear window) bolted down vertically into the top of the rear deck with hidden bolts underneath the canvas and nuts accessed vertically from up inside the boot (instead of being bolted horizontally with the fixings accessed from inside the cabin).
This exposes a row of redundant bolt holes on the top/visible part of the deck when the soft top is fully removed from the car.
The solution is to fill in the holes and apply a neat black border around the top edge of the rear deck to disguise them. This also has the advantage of disguising any unsightly masking edges that may also be found when the soft top has been fully removed - which may be the case if the car has had previous paintwork to the rear wings with the soft top masked up instead of being fully removed. The black border solution kills two birds with one stone.
- Chimaera's up until around late 1998 have a boot hinge design that restricts the opening height of the boot lid. To allow much easier storing of the hardtop panels the boot hinge conversion shown in the TVR / GRP Projects section is recommended for earlier Chimaera's.
Simply fitting a longer gas strut on the boot lid may strain the original hinges beyond their limit (hinge pivot pin failures have been known in the past) and may also cause the rear edge of the boot lid to foul the rear roof area so be cautious of this.
This conversion isn't necessary on later cars as TVR altered the design of the boot hinges from around 1999 onwards to allow the boot to open almost vertically.
- Some of the assembly stages involve using bonding sealants which may need leaving overnight, or over a weekend, before progressing to the next stages.
Because of this, the typical turnaround time for a vehicle brought on-site for a hardtop fitting would be in the region of 2-3 weeks (may vary depending on existing workload) including final prep / paint, and to allow drying time before polishing and refitting..
- Some difficult or specialist colours may require aditional time / cost. In rare cases some colour formula's may no longer be available so it's worth checking first.
- The new targa panel included in the hardtop kit uses a new sealing method for the targa seals, and involves a new custom-made fibreglass retaining channel that the sealing rubber bonds into.
During the initial set-up, the retaining channel is easily adjustable for height and angle to achieve the best possible weathertight seal to the door windows (rather than the factory method of inserting packing washers under the retaining screws), and is then sealed in place to prevent any movement.
- The DIY option includes everything needed to complete the installation except vinyl trim material which will be needed to cover the rear deck finisher to match the door tops. Details of suppliers who can match this material to a sample from the car can be provided.
Consumables such as contact adhesive, etc, not included.
- All hardtops are built to order, please allow 3-4 weeks for the parts to be made and pre-assembled.