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Steve Edwards

Steve has now retired from the motor industry and will no longer be taking on any new projects.
Some content will remain available on here for information only.
Steve can be contacted on

These fitting instructions should be followed in gallery order and not rushed.

The assembly procedure has been specifically simplified for the new Malaysian Hardtop and should be very straightforward to DIY assemble for anyone with basic tools and understanding of safe working practices. The user is responsible for their own health and safety and no liability is accepted for any loss or injury. Remember to take all adequate precations when using hand and power tools. Wear eye and face protection when grinding and sanding fibreglass, and wear disposable gloves when using sealant.

The instructions are broken down into individual galleries to show the various stages of installation, and these galleries should be followed one at a time, and in picture order - from left to right.
Most of the pictures are self-explanatory but full descriptions are also added to provide more information. 

Many of the pictures in the galleries have annotations, as well as other descriptive details added, so they need to be fully studied before completing each task.

These picture instructions can be used alongside the Youtube installation videos -



Additional fitting help and advice is available if needed, either by phone or email.


Before any work is started, it is essential that any door or window misalignment issues are corrected first, however, as the hardtop will become tailored the individual car it can be made to fit around any slight inaccuracies which are typical of a handbuilt car.
Every Chimaera is individual and will differ in terms of panel fit and alignment from the factory, but it's worth spending a little time at this stage to ensure that the following areas detailed below are within tolerance to ensure the best possible weatherproof fit of the hardtop.
As with ‘all things TVR’ - when stripping the car extra fixings may be found in areas that were not expected, and some may be missing or different to those normally found. These fitting instructions and the description of the work that needs to be carried out is based on experience from a range of Chimaera’s of differing ages, and although these instructions are intended to be as thorough guide as possible, they may not be precisely accurate to all cars. Any feedback regarding the accuracy of these instructions or details of differences found on individual cars is welcome.

Areas to check include:

1. Windscreen and rubber surround –
Ensure the windscreen rubber is fitting properly up to the windscreen glass and that the rubber runs around the windscreen neatly without any bulges or unevenness which may prevent the Targa roof panel from sitting neatly forward in its fitted position.
Check also that the windscreen rubber is a neat fit where it extends down each side of the windscreen next to the polished aluminium door frame – Any tightness in this region will prevent the doors from being adjusted forwards (if needed) and make the door harder to close. If the fit of this rubber is fine then it's best not to disturb it.

2. Door alignment –
Make sure the door alignment with the rear wings is acceptable and make sure the doors are not fouling any other part of the bodywork or rear soft top frame/header when being opened or closed with the windows fully raised. The doors should close flush and neatly without excessive force, and when closed, the top of the door glass must be in contact with the Targa roof seal with even pressure along its length. (See section 4 regarding window height). Ensure that the door hinges are not loose and the doors do not drop when opened. Pay particular attention to the rearmost top corner of the door glass when in the fully raised position and note if it's been fouling the canvas.

Readjust the hinges if necessary to get the door alignment correct, and readjust the door striker (bolted to the back of the door) to get the closure of the door as needed.
However, remember that if a door is too tightly adjusted on its striker and requires slamming to shut, it may also cause the door glass to be a tight fit against the header rubber.
Due to the newness of the new header rubber supplied with the hardtop, any tight fit may put extra drag on the door glass and window motor when the glass is raised and lowered.
The new header rubber supplied with the hardtop can be lubricated periodically with silicone spray, trim sheen or furniture polish to reduce the 'grab' of the rubber and allow the door glass to glide over it smoothly.

3. Polished aluminium door frame –
Check the fit of the door glass to the Targa roof seal at the very front top corner next to the aluminium door frame when the glass is fully raised. It is common to find the door glass protrudes slightly higher than the top of the polished aluminium frame so that the door glass can contact the Targa seal properly, but this can sometimes create a tiny triangular gap at the very front corner between the glass, the Targa seal, and the top corner of the frame which may be the source of any wind noise or the odd water drip down the inside of the glass.
Adjusting the window height, and optimal positioning of the new targa seals in the hardtop kit can vertually eliminate this gap.

4. Window height / Targa roof seal –
Considering the points mentioned above, the windows should create a good fit up to the Targa roof seal. A good way of testing to see if the tightness of the seal is even along the top of the glass is to trap a piece of paper between the raised door glass and the Targa roof seal and then try and slide the paper from side to side along the top of the glass. Any tight or slack spots as the paper is slid from side to side will indicate where the rubber isn’t fitting as tight as it could, and can indicate the likely point of any possible water ingress down the inside of the glass.

The original TVR targa roof seal is a push-in fit into a ‘U’ shaped aluminium channel (sometimes also held with spots of superglue to prevent it accidentally being pulled out from its channel) and can be adjusted to fit evenly without gaps by adding or removing tiny washers/spacers under the self tapping screws that secure the channel at various intervals along its length to the underside of the Targa panel. This can be a very time consming task, so the seals used on the hardtops employ a different mounting method which is much easier.

Carefully adjusting the targa seals and channels for perfect fit requires patience but will pay off with a very weather tight cabin.
The stop position that the door glass rises to can be adjusted by turning the adjuster screw with a flat-head screwdriver – found by looking down into the door with the glass fully lowered beyond the weather seal/bristles about half way along the top edge of the door panel. Care must be taken to not force this screw as it may already be at the limit of its adjustment or can often be seized. Another way of adjusting the fully raised position of the glass is to remove the door interior trim panel to get access to the main bolts securing the complete door winder mechanism to the inner door assembly and move the whole winder mechanism upwards/downwards slightly in its elongated holes. If no window height adjustment can be made within the door, the only remaining way is to adjust the Targa roof seal to suit.

5. Door window movement -
The door windows should travel freely when raised and lowered. Any tightness or ‘slow spots’, or instances of the motor struggling to raise the glass will be exaggerated when the windows are raised and come into contact with the new header rubber fitted to the rear hardtop. The newness of the rubber will create extra drag, particularly if the rear hardtop is a tighter, more snug, weather-proof seal compared to the original worn rubber. The new header rubber can be routinely lubricated with trim sheen or silicone spray to keep the rubber flexible, weather resistant, and lubricated.
If all the above areas are satisfactory, and the alignment and movement of the doors and windows are good, then these areas must be kept in their current adjustment/positions and left alone.




Disconnect the interior lamp wiring from inside the passenger side rear wing – access to this area is gained through the removable carpet flap (secured with Velcro) just above the seat belt reel. There may be a wiring connector which can simply be unplugged, or the wires may be joined by bullet/spade connectors inside the inner wing. When disconnected, the wiring can be pulled out from its hole in the inner rear wing through the carpet.
Remove the boot internal carpeted trim from above the fuel tank to gain access to the rear bulkhead. The carpeted boot trim may be secured by a couple of fixings into brackets on the rear bulkhead as well as the trim panel simply being wedged up behind the GRP boot aperture / rain channel.
Unbolt the aluminium roof struts from the underside of the soft top header (13mm domed nuts).
Remove the fixings securing the rear of the soft top to the rear deck – vertical bolts protruding into the boot compartment on pre 1995 cars (10mm nuts/bolts), or horizontal hex/allen key fixings (10mm nuts inside boot) on cars from 1995 onwards. Remember to remove any additional fixings if fitted (usually self tapping screws) at each end of the rear soft top lower support panel near the Velcro.
Remove the large hex bolt / pivot fixing from each side of the rear header.
The folding rear soft top section should now lift away from the car. Check for any additional missed fixings if not.




On pre-1995 cars, where the soft top is bolted down onto the top of the rear deck, the bolt holes become visible and will need filling in and smoothing flush to the bodywork. Following this, a neat border can be masked out and sprayed matt or satin black around the top edge of the deck. The hardtop will sit onto this border, so won't be visible when the hardtop is fitted to the car.
Regardless of the year of manufacture, this border can also be used to disguise any previous masking edges on the top of the rear wings that may become exposed now that the soft top has been removed. Using a black border eliminates the need to have the rear wings re-painted to hide any visible masking edges.

The top edge of the carpet inside the body tub needs approximately 25mm cutting away from the top edge, and the fibreglass surface underneath will need cleaning up to remove any traces of old glue.

Slice the top off the rubber section that is rivetted to the body tub, down to the rivet heads. This allows enough clearance for the deck trim panel to sit in place.

In this example, the Velcro has been fully removed as there is no intention to swap between hard and soft tops in the future. If preferred however, the Velcro can be left in place (to allow future re-fitting of the soft top) and the deck edge rubber fitted up to it.

The next job is to neatly glue the 'L' section deck rubber over the top edge of the deck as shown. Good quality, waterproof Cyanoacrylate super glue is being used. Remember to just work in short lengths at a time, keeping the rubber neat along it's length.




Place the fibreglass deck trim into position and temporarily hold it up to the deck edge using strips of tape.
Get an idea for how this panel will fix to the car. It will be bolted through into the rear body tub and can be cut and sanded to shape if necessary to be flush to the top of the deck edge.
This panel is deliberately laminated with extra thickness to be ground down to suit the individual car. Dont be afraid to make whatever adjustments are necessary to the shape, although it should be 99% accurate as supplied.

Get an assistant to hold the panel steady whilst the fixing holes are being drilled into the rear deck.

Mark and drill the desired positions of the horizontal fixings that go through into the rear deck (dimples in the fibreglass surface show suggested positions, but make sure these dont correspond with, or clash with, existing fixing holes for the original soft top) – The fixings should be spaced at even/symmetrical intervals along the width of the Deck Panel
Drill through both the Deck Panel and the rear bulkhead - Make sure there is no stereo, speaker, alarm pin-switch or other wiring hiding up in the cavity before drilling through.

Next, re-drill these holes in the bulkhead to the size of the Rivnuts.

Install the Rivnuts into the rear deck and test fit the new deck trim panel.

The large countersunk holes for the side fixings are pre-drilled into the new rear deck panel and correspond with the original TVR pivot points - these side fixings are bolted into the existing threaded bobbins in the Chimaeras rear tub.

Now that the new deck panel is bolted in place with the Rivnuts fitted into the bodytub, future removal/refitting will be much simpler and quicker without needing to get an assistant with a spanner on the hidden side.  

The diagram illustrates the cavity and the clearance needed, as well as the final fitted positions of the Deck Panel and Deck Rubber on the top edge:




Now the Deck Panel and Deck Rubber are fitted, the next job is to place the hardtop panels on the car and check how they fit to the rear deck, and up to the windscreen.

Ensure that the short sections of sealing rubber for the lower edge of the hardtop, and Header Rubber (main flange) are fitted at intervals along their lengths.
These short sections of rubber are just temporary, and will be discared later before the full length versions are fitted on final assembly.
These sections of sealing rubber are a simple push-fit onto the flanges.

Offer the hardtop panels onto the car - the Targa panel fits up to the windscreen in the normal way. Taping the Targa to the windscreen can help prevent it shifting whilst test-fitting the panels to the car.
Next, place the rear section onto the car and engage it properly to the targa panel. Tape the two sections together to prevent movement.




Study the pictures in the gallery below to see how the panels should sit on the car.

It's perfectly normal to have to push the 'C' pillars downwards to make contact with the bodywork. This also ensures that the thin strip of window aperture running across the rear deck conforms evenly to the rear deck shape. 

Apply firm downwards, and forwards pressure to the rear hardtop and it should sit neatly down onto the bodywork.




The gallery pictures show exactly how the catches need to be placed to ensure correct tension.

It is ESSENTIAL that an assistant is holding the hardtop downwards firmly onto the rear wing, and pushing forwards firmly up to the targa panel whilst the side catches are being fitted.
Try and maintain this downwards and forwards pressure until the catch positions have been properly marked otherwise it could cause the hardtop to be a slack fit on the bodywork - although this can be adjusted out afterwards as the hook plates fitted the the 'B' pillars are mounted in elongated holes to allow fine adjustment of the catch tension.
Pressure needs to be maintained by pressing downwards in the quarter light aperture, and pushing fowards at the same time. Ensure that both the 'B' pillar, and 'C' pillar are in firm contact with the bodywork at the same time.

Fitting the side catches is pretty self-explanatory, but DO ensure that the lever is open at 45 degrees when marking the fixing holes - this creates the correct amount of tension when the hardtop is latched down to the car (further fine adjustment is available afterwards but try and ensure that the catches are well positioned at this stage to avoid running out of available adjustment later).

Additionally, the side catches DON'T hang down at true vertical - they're positioned at 90 degrees to the top of the rear wing - therefore, the lower end of each side latch is actually angled slightly towards the rear of the car. Also ensure that their fixing holes dont clash with the large stainless steel fixing bolt.





DO NOT OVER ADJUST THE STRUTS - They only need the same amount of pressure as used with the original soft top to keep the targa panel seated nicely up to the windscreen.

With the 'B' pillar latches engaged, the strut pressure can be adjusted by moving the stainless steel 'J' brackets in their elongated slots - slacken the 13mm Nyloc securing nut which is accessed through the rectangular hole for the LED interior light unit.

Set the strut pressure so they only require the same amount of force to put them into their locked-out positions as was necessary with the original soft top to keep the targa panel nicely seated up to the windscreen.

When the correct forwards pressure is achieved on the roof struts, get an assistant to press downwards firmly on the 'C' pillar so the lower edge of the hardtop is in good contact with the bodywork.
Now line up the rear catches with their hook plates. Mark and drill the hook plates into position on the rear deck panel. 
When fitting the rear hook plates to the Rear Deck Panel remember to space the hook plate away with a rubberised washer (roofing washer).
Use a nyloc nut and washer on the reverse side.

The 'C' pillar latches are sprung versions, and should be placed with the handle open at roughly 75 degrees from its body - this creates the correct amount of latch tension when the latch is engaged.
These current spec sprung latches maintain constant tension which pulls backwards on the aluminium roof struts, keeping them in their locked-out position and ensuring they stay rattle free, as well as maintaining positive location of the hardtop on the car.
The rear latches can be adjusted by slackening the two Philips screws and shifting the latch on its elongated slots on the 'C' pillar mounting.

With the aluminium struts into their locked-out position check the operation of all the latches. They should all be comparable in terms of the effort needed to engage them. If any are slack, reposition them slightly in their elongated mounting slots and re-test the catch tension.

A little trial and error will get the tension comparable between both rear latches, and both side latches, with the hardtop now sitting nice and solidly on the car. 




This is perhaps the most important stage and shouldn't be rushed.

It MUST be done on the car will involve grinding away the fibreglass flange which will create dust. Wear eye, face, and ear protection, and mask out the vehicle to protect the interior from dust and fibres.

The hardtop MUST be properly clamped to the car as detailed earlier, with all catches engaged and the aluminium roof stuts locked-out.

The first job is to mark the slight overhang above the door aperture. This needs trimming back to line up with the door aperture. As shown in the picture, mark a pencil line to show where the hardtop needs trimming back to. The hardtop needs removing from the car to do this to avoid damaging the rear wing.

Now with the hardtop properly re-fitted, close the doors fully, with the windows fully raised, and draw a pencil line straight down the flange following the back edge of the glass.

Measure forwards 20mm from this first pencil line and draw a second line parallel to the first. The excess fibreglass on the flange needs cutting back to this line in order to allow the header rubber to sit in the correct position parallel to the edge of the glass.  

Remove the hardtop from the car to an area where the flanges can be safely cut back to their marked lines using a thin cutting disc on an angle grinder.. 

The next stage of the flange grinding process requires the hardtop to be securely attached to the car again.

Engage all catches and roof struts.

Mask out the vehicle interior as shown.

These side flanges are deliberately laminated with extra thickness in this area to be ground down to suit the car.
The material thickness of the flange needs grinding away, uniformly up and down its full height, until the test-pieces of header rubber fit nicely and, when the doors are closed, contact the glass with the correct amount of pressure compressing the rubber.
NOTE - If not enough material is ground away from the outer face of the flange then the header rubber will be pushing too tightly onto the window, possibly requiring the doors to be slammed shut, and increasing the drag on the windows as they are raised and lowered, as well as possibly snagging the rubber which may cause it to tear.

Push a section of test-fit header rubber over the flange. (It will be a tight fit until the flange is gound down to suit).
The fibreglass will need grinding away on the outer face to relieve the pressure on the rubber and get the compression about half way on the rubber bulb.
When grinding the flange, it also needs to be ground so that it tapers inwards slightly towards the centre of the car as described in the diagram.

Remember that the door glass has a very slight curve from top to bottom and the flange needs grinding to follow this slight curvature.

When the flanges have been succesfully tailored to the car, unlatch the hardtop, shift it rearwards slightly, and draw a pencil line 10mm up from the level of the rear deck to allow enough clearance when the hardtop is slid rearward and avoids the flange fouling the rear deck panel as pictured.

The final picture in the gallery shows the face of the 'B' pillar (highlighted with red crosses). This is the face that the hardtop side window bonds to, however it is possible that this surface may also need grinding down slightly to create a suitable gap for the sealant and depending on the individual car. 
Test-fit the perspex window into the aperture and check the depth of the gap. This will vary from car to car depending on how the door and window alignment is set, but wants to be a minimum of 3mm, and ideally around 5mm. 
In any case, the quarter light window MUST NOT be bonded tight up to this 'B' pillar face - a cushioning bed of sealant is essential to allow for vibration, flexing, and expansion in differing temperatures and weather, therefore the face of this 'B' pillar must be inset from the glass level (measured from the INSIDE surface of the door glass NOT the outside) by around 3-5mm.









At this stage, the vast majority of the hard work is complete, and the hardtop will now be at it's final exact shape - tailored for the car, with no further grinding or invasive procedures to be done.

Preparations can now be made for paintwork, but first check the following areas to get the best results:

If the windscreen rubber isn't a perfect fit up to the targa panel, any slight gap can simply be filled in and the edge re-primed, or the screen rubber rebonded neatly to meet the leading edge of the targa panel.

Ensure the ground faces of the flanges and 'B' pillar are re-primed in 2-pack.

Ensure the rear window is masked in such a way as to avoid any overspray getting through the gap and onto the inside face of the window or internal trim carpeting.

Before painting, remove all sections of test rubber from the hardtop edges. 




After painting, and subsequent drying time, the full length section of sealing rubber can be simply pushed onto the flange, using gentle taps from a rubber mallet to ensure it's fully seated if necessary.




Give the rear deck panel a final check before preparing to trim in vinyl to match the door tops - make sure the shape is flush to the top of the deck. A little time spent sanding / filling and shaping if necessary will make a really neat fitting panel.

When covering the deck panel in vinyl, ignore the cut-out (above the side fixings) and stretch the material over to span the gap. The cut out is to allow the Rear Deck Panel to sit down in place properly without fouling the top of the cockpit aperture seal which is secured to the body tub in this location. The vinyl spanning the gap will stretch into position when the panel is fitted.

Fit the large elastic loops onto the rear deck panel as shown. The hidden side of the elastic loop must pass ABOVE/BEHIND the fixing bolt - this prevents it being pulled out in use.





New adjustable targa seals now fitted as standard.







The rubber simply pushes over the flange. Ensure it is full seated by gently tapping it home with a rubber mallet or similar. Leave enough excess rubber extending of the end of the flange to be trimmed to shape in the next stages.



Now with the hardtop placed on the car, and fully clamped down with all four latches properly engaged, and both aluminium roof struts fully extended in their locked-out positions, the lower edge of the rear window can be bonded with Polyurethane sealant (Sikaflex 295UV).
Apply a line of masking tape around the window - following the edge of the Perspex neatly, and another parallel line of masking on the hardtop to leave a neat sealant bead all around the circumference as shown in the pictures. In this example fine line masking tape has been used first (in green) which is easy to stretch around the corners and leaves a neat line, followed by a width of ordinary masking tape to catch any excess sealant that spreads out. Try and use continuous lines of tape rather than short pieces joined up as this will make the tape much easier to remove in one go afterwards.
Get a good bed of Sikaflex 295UV sealant along the full width of the gap on the lower edge of the window, but not so much that it would ouze out on the inside of the hardtop onto the trimmed surface.
The window has a degree of flex and can be lifted away from the aperture slightly to get the sealing nozzle into the gap, but dont strain it too far or risk over-stressing the window. Don't worry if the sealant bead cannot be made to perfectly join up with the existing sealant beads securing the sides of the window - a small interruption in the sealant beads at each lower corner (where there in no movement on the screen) is fine - it's more important that this sealant bead along the lower edge of the window is generous enough to fully bond the window to the flange (without oozing out on the inside as mentioned above).
The vital part of the window sealing procedure is the final neat bead around the full circumference that provides 100% of the weather sealing.
After applying the sealant, thumb-in the bead and make it neat all around the full window circumference.
If the odd tiny air bulge is visible in the final sealant bead after the sealant has cured over night, re-mask the area either side of the bubble to protect the Perspex and paintwork, and simply rub out the raised bubble with a piece of 400 grit emery paper, folded round the edge of a filler spreader. This may expose the air void in the sealant which can then be resealed and thumbed-in smooth again over the top and left to cure.



This stage requires patience and shouldn't be rushed. Using a VERY sharp / brand new Stanley blade the flexible 'bulb' section of the header rubber needs to be carefully sliced away from the reinforced 'U' section on both ends where it extends off the hardtop flange. Start at the cut end, and work along the rubber right up to where the fibreglass flange starts, then using tin snips, wire cutters, or a fine cutting disc on a grinder, carefully chop off the excess length of the REINFORCED 'U' SECTION ONLY - leaving the tube-like 'bulb' section protruding off the end of the hardtop flange. Take care not to damage the remaining bulb section. This will need carefully shaping and cutting to the required length in the next section, along with being mated up to the canvas flaps that drop down into the inner door aperture to fully weatherproof the hardtop.

TIP: Practice on the short sections of test rubber first which are no longer needed.



The pictures in this gallery describe the way the ends of the rubber should be cut, and how the pieces of canvas can be folded and glued into the correct shape to sit neatly into the door aperture and divert water off the bottom of the hardtop.
These small canvas patches will need coating with Fabsil or similar to repel moisture and ensure no dampness creeps through.



Ensure the hardtop is clamped down to the car properly and the doors are closed with the windows fully raised.
Offer up the side windows into position and see how they fit in the aperture - the gap around the rearmost curved end should follow the hardtop profile neatly and leave a parallel gap for sealant. Now look at the leading edge of the hardtop window and see how it follows the door glass - this needs to be parallel to the door glass but it is highly unlikely that it will be perfectly parallel as supplied. This is because the doors, and glass adjustment, all vary slightly in terms of fit and alignment from the factory. The leading edge of the hardtop window can be trimmed to suit as shown. This is perfectly normal, and may mean that one window needs more adjustment to the shape than the other side, but would only be a few millimetres and isn't noticeable. It's more important that the leading edge of the hardtop window is sanded back if necessary to be nice and parallel to the door glass. 
The gallery shows green fine line tape being used to show where the edge of the Perspex needs sanding back to in order to be parallel to the door glass. A flap disc on a grinder was used to carefully remove the bulk of the excess Perspex (be very careful if using this method not to take too much away) before being finished off by hand using a flat sanding block. Finally the edge can also be sanded with a 400 disc on a sander to smooth it off and remove any burrs.

The final part of the test-fitting is to place small pieces of 3M VHB double-sided tape around the aperture as shown.
Study the text on the pictures and pay attention to the information about getting the window to curve slightly to mirror the curvature of the door glass.
As the picures show, this is done by spacing out the middle part of the 'B' pillar to flex the window outwards a little, whilst the top and bottom corners of the window are held inwards slightly by the 3m VHB double-sided tape. This creates the slight curvature necessary, but will vary from car to car and will require differening amounts of double-sided tape to creaate this effect. The tape can be doubled up to increase its thickness if required to get the windows sitting flush to the door glass.



In this next step, the gaps in between the tape pieces can be blobbed with black polyurethane sealant and the red plastic backing removed from all of the pieces of tape EXCEPT from half way up the 'B' pillar.
It is important that the plastic backing half way up the 'B' pillar is left in place as this allows the side window to be placed onto it without sticking, and then minor adjustment can be made to the positioning of the window before being fully pressed home onto the remaining pieces of double-sided tape. The tape is only necessay to hold the window in position until the sealant cures overnight.
Hold the window in place firmly onto the tape pieces for a couple of minutes to allow the tape to grab.
Then wipe away any excess sealant that oozes out from behind the window.
Leave to set overnight.



After an overnight cure, the side windows are now bonded in position. The circumference can be masked out and a final neat bead of polyurethane sealant applied all around the edge of the window. This final bead around the circumference provides 100% of the weather sealing so should be a continuous unbroken band around the full circumference. 
Remember also to neatly seal the joint between the lower corners of the hardtop and the canvas flaps that drop down into the door aperture to fully adhere the canvas to the fibreglass hardtop.

TIP : Plumbers foil tape adheres better to the canvas than normal masking tape and holds in position long enough for the joint to be sealed neatly.




Steve Edwards - YouTube



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