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4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-10 7:50 PM (#557873)
Subject: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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So I have a very solid 57 New Yorker 4dr Sedan that no one seems to want to give me $1500 for. I have a very rusty 58 Desoto Firedome 4dr hardtop that I want to save. Anyone ever done a 4dr Sedan to 4dr hardtop conversion, what does it entail? How different are the frames between these 2 cars? Thanks.
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-12 1:45 PM (#557966 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Nobody? Am I that insane?
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2018-02-12 1:48 PM (#557969 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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Just takes time.
Do it!
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wizard
Posted 2018-02-12 2:54 PM (#557978 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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The frame should be the same, but you need to switch the complete roof and the B-pillar - nothing to it really, just a load of work
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1960fury
Posted 2018-02-12 3:19 PM (#557980 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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i would do it i guess, 4 d hts are in my book, along with 2d hts, the best looking cars and im not a big friend of the 57-59 turtle backs.
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-12 7:29 PM (#557998 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Thanks guys. What's involved with changing the B pillar? If anyone here has done one or even a 2dr conversion please let me know. The 58 Desoto needs (take a deep breath) outer rockers, inner rockers, parts of the door sills, front floors, patches or likely replacement of rear floors, most if not all floor braces and bracketry, complete quarters including dog leg and outer and inner wheel well both sides, full trunk floor, inner quarters, and corners of the cowl behind the fender. Certainly changing a roof has got to be less work than that, right?!
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-12 7:31 PM (#557999 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Pics



(1958 Desoto Firedome 4dr ht.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 1958 Desoto Firedome 4dr ht.jpg (163KB - 20 downloads)
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-02-12 9:23 PM (#558006 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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this is an insane amount of work...

where is the 4 door Chrysler? take it to Carlisle, youd sell for 2500$-3000, you cant sell it to us guys already have and who only want HT and converts

Need to expand your prospective customers

put it on craigslist. where are the pics of the 57?

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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-12 9:53 PM (#558007 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Somewhere here I have a thread I'll have to up date it with pics. It has no motor of course. I would think a roof swap on a solid car would be easier than doing everything that I mentioned to the 58?
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Space Trukin Wagon
Posted 2018-02-12 11:17 PM (#558011 - in reply to #557998)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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FINS! - 2018-02-12 7:29 PM

Thanks guys. What's involved with changing the B pillar? If anyone here has done one or even a 2dr conversion please let me know. The 58 Desoto needs (take a deep breath) outer rockers, inner rockers, parts of the door sills, front floors, patches or likely replacement of rear floors, most if not all floor braces and bracketry, complete quarters including dog leg and outer and inner wheel well both sides, full trunk floor, inner quarters, and corners of the cowl behind the fender. Certainly changing a roof has got to be less work than that, right?! :)


There is No upper B-pillar on a hardtop that’s why it’s completely open when all the windows are rolled down.
The body frame and door openings should be the same length / dimensions for each car. It’s the upper window frame that changes
Easy way to determine if it will work, remove the front door on both cars and swap them to check for fit of the hardtop door onto the sedan. You will eventually have to cut the upper part of the B-pillar on the sedan for the glass to fit properly. But this should give an idea of how much work is required or if the lower portion of B-pillar has to be moved.


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Space Trukin Wagon
Posted 2018-02-12 11:47 PM (#558015 - in reply to #558011)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Of course if you haven’t already take measurements of the front and rear doors on both cars to check if the length / dimensions are the same.

That and swap the hardtop doors over then many more measurements you may find that the upper roofrail could be modified to fit the door glass with out replacing the entire roof. It’s the rear section of the roof that would need the most attention but once that small stationary quarter glass is removed would give a much better idea.
Replacing a roof is actually not that difficult just takes a lot of time and careful planning on where to cut and then weld back into place.
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wizard
Posted 2018-02-13 12:47 AM (#558016 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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The B-pillar must be fully removed from the rocker and the floor and exchanged with the 4 DHT B-pillar.
The lenght of the doors are the same.

All eventual rust in the turtleback 4D sedan must be repaired prior to removal of the roof. Frame must be supported and levelled, body must be supported from the Concrete floor and up to various Points on the body.

I estimate that the roof change would take a full working day, max 2.
The B-pillar change need approximately the same time.
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mstrug
Posted 2018-02-13 6:32 PM (#558057 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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This crash sheet may help:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1957-1958-PLYMOUTH-FURY-SAVOY-PLAZA-BODY-PA...

And this collision parts book might help:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1958-PLYMOUTH-CHRYSLER-DODGE-COLLISION-PART...

Marc.
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-02-13 7:43 PM (#558061 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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its not 1 day at all. teardowns on both cars, cut offs on both cars, cleanups on both cars, final fitting and weld in, cleanup and put it back together... this is not just 1 or 2 days, not even close.
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wizard
Posted 2018-02-14 12:46 AM (#558085 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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That's why I indicated 4 days max. Skilled sheet metal guys even chops a car during exhibition shows, all work ex paint done in a day or two.

This requires a good planning and good tools of course.

I've done this type work a couple of times...............

And let's not forget the master of the game http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=44369&...

Top Chop http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=44369&...

Scroll down the pages, lot's of pictures
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firedome
Posted 2018-02-14 5:00 PM (#558106 - in reply to #558085)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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I'd sell the sedan (which might be easier to sell if it had an engine and ran, or sold as parts), part out the rusty Sportsman sedan, and buy what you want. I've had several 4 dr hardtops and they tended to leak even though they were built by the factory with body jigs. Seals and alignments are hyper-critical and tricky on 4 dr hardtops. IMO a homebuilt would end up being a leaky rattletrap with ill fitting doors and windows unless you're a master craftsman on the level of a Jan Fridberg, not to mention having little value even compared to a 4 dr sedan. Even FL post sedans are getting hard to find and will only get more so. Plus they are the tightest and most solid of all body styles, converts and 4 dr hardtops being the least.

Edited by firedome 2018-02-14 5:03 PM
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-15 12:17 PM (#558145 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Thanks guys. Wizard I may pick your brain more when it comes time to do this. Is the package tray area different on a Sedan?
I'm not sure how a 4dr hardtop has little value compared to a 4dr Sedan but regardless I'm not parting out a 58 Firedome 4dr hardtop that I can save. You can't hardly find 58 Desotos. I've never found hardtops to be leaky and almost all my cars are hardtops.
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LD3 Greg
Posted 2018-02-16 12:37 AM (#558185 - in reply to #557998)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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FINS! - 2018-02-12 7:29 PM

Thanks guys. What's involved with changing the B pillar? If anyone here has done one or even a 2dr conversion please let me know. The 58 Desoto needs (take a deep breath) outer rockers, inner rockers, parts of the door sills, front floors, patches or likely replacement of rear floors, most if not all floor braces and bracketry, complete quarters including dog leg and outer and inner wheel well both sides, full trunk floor, inner quarters, and corners of the cowl behind the fender. Certainly changing a roof has got to be less work than that, right?! :)


I've had experience with this. Years ago one of these roving parts guys showed up at my shop hoping to sell me a rust free 4dr HT, 57 Dodge body. Solid outer and inner rockers, perfect looking floors etc --- sure I'll buy it!

I only wanted it for rockers and floor pans and I thought it would be real easy to drill out the spot welds and release the B pillar! Guess what!! It was NOT easy. That sucker was welded to internal rocker gussets that I didn't even know were there! By the time I released the B pillar the parts I wanted needed major restoration!!

Anyway. Just thought you might like to know that there may be a hidden enemy!!

Greg
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-16 1:01 AM (#558186 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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You sure got better roving parts guys than I've ever seen Thank you for the info. There's probably not much holding the B pillar in place on the hardtop (not much for inner rockers) but that is something I will investigate on the Sedan next time I am at where they are stored.
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wizard
Posted 2018-02-16 1:05 AM (#558188 - in reply to #558145)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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FINS! - 2018-02-15 6:17 PM

Thanks guys. Wizard I may pick your brain more when it comes time to do this. Is the package tray area different on a Sedan?
I'm not sure how a 4dr hardtop has little value compared to a 4dr Sedan but regardless I'm not parting out a 58 Firedome 4dr hardtop that I can save. You can't hardly find 58 Desotos. I've never found hardtops to be leaky and almost all my cars are hardtops.


The package tray should be the same as the space in the rea is the same, as well as the rear seat.
As for comfort, this is my list;

1 - 4DS
2 - 4DHT
3 - 2DHT
4 - Convertible

The 4DHT does not have any real leaking issues, but the early generation was sloppy adjusted which might cause some problems.
When a 4DHT has been adjusted properly in door and window alignment and has good weatherstrip it will be almost as comfortable as a 4DS.

Most of the work will be to change the "B-pillars" and align them correctly. If they're not welded in correctley it will be VERY difficult to align them.
I fixed a '57 Chevy 4DHT that had the rockers and floor repaired without supporting the body properly - the rear door overlapped the rear fenders by half an inch and the doors leaned inwards in the body.

After having supported the frame and body properly I was able to straighten up the B-pillars with a torch and a porto-power until the doors finally fitted nicely.

The roof is actually the easiest part, but care must be taken to maintain the window openings to the correct measurements.

The key to success is good planning and to measure and document all and supporting the frame and body before the first cut is made

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springsweptwing
Posted 2018-02-16 9:24 AM (#558198 - in reply to #558188)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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Hi Garrett,

This is quite a straight forward job to do, try to go to original joints if you can , just check the distance between the trunk lid and rear glass channel if they measure the same package tray will be ok but you will have to alter the rear glass channel as the window wraps around to the sides , also the 4dr hardtop has gusset inside the rockers to strengthen them , the b pillar also has a extra body mount that will need to be used
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Mopar1
Posted 2018-02-16 11:26 AM (#558211 - in reply to #558185)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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LD3 Greg - 2018-02-15 11:37 PM


I only wanted it for rockers and floor pans and I thought it would be real easy to drill out the spot welds and release the B pillar! Guess what!! It was NOT easy. That sucker was welded to internal rocker gussets that I didn't even know were there! By the time I released the B pillar the parts I wanted needed major restoration!!


Greg
In a thread elsewhere a guy was showing a 4 dr to 2 dr conversion on a '60 Plym & he said that the pillar on it was just spot welded, not even structural as one would expect.
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firedome
Posted 2018-02-16 6:01 PM (#558231 - in reply to #558211)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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A lot of them DID leak right from the factory, because they were poorly adjusted right from the start. Mopar even put out a special service manual devoted strictly to door adjustments on the very sloppily assembled '57s, I had it. Besides leaks, dust and dirt intrusion was also a problem.

Real 4dr hardtops are certainly worth more than sedans, partly because survival was lower, Neil (RIP) had a post especially devoted to that very subject once. My point as to value is that a "real" sedan is likely to be worth more than a "fake" 4 dr hdtp, and that's OK , but it would be an unusual scenario to not have to sell at some point, for most mortals. IMO 4 dr sedans deserve respect too, and a '57 NYer sedan is a wonderful car in and of itself, ultimately they may be rarer than all models of hardtops, given their attrition rate, and more importantly one might hope that real FL fans would have moved past sacrificing sedans for other models by now, at least that's my feeling, the "more door" 4 door post aversion will hopefully come to an end before all the remaining sedans have been sacrificed... YYMV.

Edited by firedome 2018-02-16 6:22 PM
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-20 9:17 PM (#558534 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Thanks guys. That Chevy sounds like a nightmare, don't want that... How do you suggest supporting the body? The New Yorker is still bolted to the frame. The rear window channel lower part is the only area that concerns me as I'm sure that's different. Any suggestions on where to cut and weld that. Can you describe those gussets better? They are inside the rockers?
On and this is not a fake 4dr hardtop. You don't understand what I am doing. I am using the Sedan as the "base" as the Desoto itself is SO rotted. a 58 Desoto 4dr ht is rarer than a 57 New Yorker Sedan.
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wizard
Posted 2018-02-21 12:22 AM (#558541 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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I would jack up the car and support the frame with jack stands in 4 to 6 places and make sure that the frame is good levelled. Then I would simply cut pieces of 2 by 4 wooden beams between the Concrete floor and the body for good support.

Next step would be to remove the doors then the B-pillars

Check how Jan is doing the supports for the B-pillars in the link above - note that he chosed to cut out the rear shelf as well
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scottbit
Posted 2018-02-22 11:05 AM (#558615 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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One other problem to consider is the angle of the front A pillar is different between a sedan and the hardtop, hardtop lays back about 1/2 inch at the top. There is a vertical brace inside the rocker at the center line of the B pillar. The rockers on the DeSoto look so rusty that if you shine a light up there Iam sure you will see it or whats left of it.
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Lancer Mike
Posted 2018-02-22 2:40 PM (#558622 - in reply to #558615)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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In addition to the A pillar, there is also a problem between the windshields/front roof lines on a '57 sedan and a '58 hardtop. 

The '57 has a little bit of a "visor" element where the '58 hardtop does not.  That project sounds really, really tough! 

 

You might have better luck using the frame from the sedan and keeping the whole upper body of the De Soto.

It might be easier to cut out the lower part of the sedan (trunk/floor) and weld that to the upper part of the De Soto. 



Edited by Lancer Mike 2018-02-22 2:45 PM
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Space Trukin Wagon
Posted 2018-02-22 11:14 PM (#558655 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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In one of the replies there was mention of how many 1957 New Yorker sedans were produced

Here are the production numbers for both the Chrysler and Desoto as it might be helpful in determing what direction to take.

1957 Chrysler New Yorker
4 door sedan
Model C76 body code 165
Total production 12,639

1958 Desoto
4 door Sportsman (hardtop)
Model LS2-M
Total production 3,130
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FINS!
Posted 2018-02-25 7:29 PM (#558815 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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I planned to cut the windshield post at the base where it meets the cowl. The panel between the trunk and rear window is different from sedan to hardtop appears it would make sense to take that and weld it in all that as one unit along with the package tray I'm going to look at this project more this week now that it's warmer
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scottbit
Posted 2018-02-28 6:16 PM (#559016 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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Be aware that there is a bunch of inner reinforcement inside the cowl post junction.



(Webp.net-resizeimage (1).jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments Webp.net-resizeimage (1).jpg (230KB - 12 downloads)
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firedome
Posted 2018-03-02 3:59 PM (#559113 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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Production is not the same as survival, we have the "Std Catalog of American cars 1946-1975) so know all the production #s, I'm merely bemoaning the sacrifice of yet one more sedan that itself could be restored, as so many sedans have been hacked apart already. IMO this project involves more complication than appears on the surface and may yield dubious results. We were asked for opinions in post #1, and maybe it's not insane, but ill advised, unless the sedan is not save-able (is that a word?), that's just my $.02.
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springsweptwing
Posted 2018-03-03 7:05 AM (#559132 - in reply to #558815)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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FINS! - 2018-02-26 12:29 AM

I planned to cut the windshield post at the base where it meets the cowl. The panel between the trunk and rear window is different from sedan to hardtop appears it would make sense to take that and weld it in all that as one unit along with the package tray I'm going to look at this project more this week now that it's warmer



The front pillar can be cut, if you stagger the joints at different points it will give more strength, plus while the post is cut you can put a steel tube inside, drill holes down you're pillars and plug weld to the steel tube after, or unpick the bottom parts and join as factory, as said there is some inner strengthener in there that needs to be giggled about with,

The rear shelf area would be best cut along tops of rear fins and down near trunk lid, that way you can use the whole piece straight to trunk lid , and stop of rear wheel wells.



(20180303_124209-800x600.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 20180303_124209-800x600.jpg (113KB - 12 downloads)
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finsruskw
Posted 2018-03-03 8:48 AM (#559136 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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I have a very solid 4dr hdt Windsor that needs a rear clip if it will help.
Located in Iowa.
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FINS!
Posted 2018-03-29 10:05 PM (#560697 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: RE: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion


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Thanks for the pics and additional info. If I can get a solid 4dr hardtop body shell or partial shell that may be an easier route, at least less work.
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Powerflite
Posted 2018-03-29 10:30 PM (#560704 - in reply to #557873)
Subject: Re: 4dr Sedan to 4dr Hardtop Conversion



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That's really what I would recommend. Otherwise, you will be knee deep in work, only to see one pop up, and you are going to hit yourself for not waiting.
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