Those of us lucky enough to have the FHC may know that the most common
sunroof was the larger webasto one that had a curverd leading edge and
just about filled the whole of the roof panel. But there were other
flavours too! There was the small glass version and also an equally
small webasto offering. Both of these are fairly rare. Rarer still is
the full-length but not as full-length as the others.
When TRisha was first restored (in 1993) I had problems refinishing
the sunroof because though it's full-length it isn't! The sunroof I
wanted isn't generally listed in any of the main parts suppliers lists.
Yet the Gaydon records show that I had a factory fit sunroof. In fact
the early FHC Factory fitted sunroof were usually farmed out to specialist
fitters. What this means really is that if you have an early full-length
sunroof you are jiggered - there's a couple of solutions available:
- Weld in a sheet of metal and go without
- Convert to a DHC
- Replace the whole roof with another one!
- Scour the web and track down the last remaining Webasto specialist
I know of at least one person who's taken the first option and this
was considered very briefly. Option 2 really is no option at all. The
third otion was considered and I believe 'Raider' (check the forums)
is persuing this route. Finally
we get to option 4 - I believe these 'specialist' are more widely in
existence in the USA but Europe has seen lots of take-overs and mergers,
I believe Germany may be the best off now.
The big problem for TRisha was that the wooden frame was rotten, which
had helped rot the actual roof itself. This meant that I'd need a new
wooden frame - which you can't buy!.
Well after the rear-deck hassle I was hoping all would be smooth now
but oh no. the searching for specialists was protracted - there's people
who can repair your webasto, and there's some who'll make you one. But
as soon as you say "it need's a new wooden frame." you start getting
chin scratches (you can hear them down the phone) and lots of sharp
intakes of breath... usually followed by "well I can't help you there."
In step RS Coachbuilts
(Blackheath, London, UK) who are, I believe, the last remaining Tudor
Webasto specialist in the UK.
The problem still existed that there was a lot of rot to cut out, and
replace - this would obviously take more hours (and after the rear deck
we were now watching these!). As the hole in the roof wasn't taking
the whole space we could theoretically increase the sunroof size - and
this is what I've done. The difference in cost of the sunroof is neglible...
the frame had to be handbuilt whatever so
there's no real cost in either time or materials. TRisha has now had
a bigger hole cut and the frame has been fitted - and removed again
to allow the car to be sprayed. I believe the new sunroof is the same
size as one that would be fitted to a Triumph GT6. Oh and if we're being
original we may as well ditch the vinyl and plump for Mohair - blue
Mohair to be precise. And as RS Coachbuilts are fitting the sunroof
they will also do the retrim of the roof lining, so we can opt for something
nicer than Vinyly there too!