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I stapled the piece of rolled beading material to the rear body base tack strip. It's purpose is to the cover up the sheet metal screws in the body, and give the whole rear edge a nice finished look. I had one set of instructions that said to put this piece underneath the canvas (like I did), and one that said to put in on top of the canvas. I'm still not sure which is best. This piece does not require many staples as it does not bear any load or tension. I just used enough to hang it.

The window frame is installed, the padding material was glued and stapled to the inner ring of the frame, and I just cut into the headliner...  I've been doing this part in stages - mostly because I haven't had much time lately (an hour here and an hour there) - but it's also given the glue time to set up nicely.   I am using staples here, too.  I don't want that headliner material coming loose, sliding, or shifting at all.  So, the glue OR the staples alone may do the job, but I don't want any surprises later. At this point, the headliner has been secured to the bottom and top of the frame. The corners will be a little more challenging, but it won't be too difficult with the clamps.

So, I had the problem with the seals not fitting properly. The top frame, over the quarter windows, was too close to the top of the windows to allow for the heavy rubber seal. I examined the inside of the quarter window mechanism in hopes of finding some sort of adjustment for it. Specifically, to lower it by about 1/2". The red arrow shows the regulator mount bolts. They are not adjustable in any direction. The green arrow shows the window lower guide mount bolt. This seems to adjust the guide track in and out.


Underneath these plastic caps are two bolts (red arrow) that serve as an adjustment for the quarter window. However, it pretty much only adjusts the front edge's angle in relation to the front door window. If you loosen the bolts, you can raise or lower the front of the quarter window by approx. 1/2", but it does not change the overall height. If you lower it, the front edge of the quarter window wants to lean more towards the front of the car - the edges of the two windows can actually overlap enough that you can't close the door. If you raise the window from there, the front edge will tilt backwards again, and most likely line up with the rear edge of the front door window - straight up and down. So, unless I am missing something, there does not appear to be a vertical adjustment for the quarter windows. At this point, I can only speculate as to why the frame is too close to the top of the quarter windows. The gap is fine above the front door windows, and behind the rear of the quarter windows - just too tight over the top of them. Since I can't find any adjustment to remedy the situation, I wonder if the parts themselves are not true anymore. Maybe after almost 42 years of operation, the top frame has sagged or the regulator mechanism has gotten slightly tweaked. Hard to tell.


Anyway, I mounted the rear quarter window seals to the outer facing pieces, and used a generic type of auto weatherstripping for the rest. It's 3/4" wide, 7/16" thick, and made of black weatherstripping-type foam rubber. I feel bad that the VW seals didn't fit - I've tried hard to make everything fit like it did originally during this whole project. I just did not see foresee this problem, and couldn't figure a way around it. However, this seems like an OK solution. The seals fit the gap well, and still compress nicely to accommodate the smaller gap over the quarter windows.


I considered briefly modifying the window regulator/mechanism...like removing it, and cutting and welding until I gained 1/2" vertically. Or trying to bend the convertible top frame upward in that one area. But, both of those options would've resulted in my own personal version of monster garage, and that did not sound appealing. I suppose a person could try something like that...but it would have to be before the car and frame were painted. Enough.

I hope the account of my installation has helped somebody out there in VW land... it's certainly not a job for the impatient soul - more for the detail-oriented folks who don't mind getting their hands gluey and risking expensive fabric just to say, "I did it myself!" I am proof that it can be done. And, I am writing this blurb in 2016. The top is still as it was the day I finished. Tight and snug and secure. No popping of seams. No rusting of fasteners. No rotting of wood. No material coming unglued. I must have done something right, huh?


Good luck to whomever gives this job a try. Just be patient and measure twice before cutting! : )

My dome light switch is mounted under the dash, just to the left of the steering column. I think that's where it is supposed to be, but I'm not 100% sure. It is a 3-position toggle switch. When the convertible top is UP, the circuit is active and can be controlled by this switch. See the picture for the different positions. I'll probably leave the switch in the middle (off) position unless I'm driving at night. Then, I'll flip it to the "front" (automatic) position.


I got the old junky top-down switch looking good again...painted the bracket gloss black, polished up the face plate, and mounted it in the car. The bracket has 4 holes - 2 offset diagonally on top and 2 on the bottom. There are two little factory holes in the car just below the rear body base tack strip that the lower holes match up with. I used sheet metal screws for those, then fastened the top with wood screws into the bow. When the convertible top is DOWN, it depresses the button on the switch which closes the dome light circuit. Makes sense. At this point, the toggle switch up front does nothing. The wiring harness I got from Wolfsburg West was worth the money. Here again, the wires were in the correct place and were the correct length. Nice. 


The little buttons on the front door jambs work pretty much the same as the cars today. When the toggle switch is in the "front" position, the dome light automatically comes on when a door opens. When the door is shut again, it depresses the little button which shuts off the light. Simple enough, but clever.


The dome light itself also has a switch. This one happens to be an aftermarket unit that was made to look like the original. It basically has two positions...ON and OFF.  Leaving it the ON position enables the circuit and all the other switches to turn it OFF and ON as necessary. 

Honestly, I was unsure about this whole circuit until now - wasn't sure if I had it hooked up correctly and had no easy way to test it until the top-down switch got installed.  I'm a little surprised and relieved that it all works....


The Convertible Top, Continued


​Teardown, restoration, installation, and information.

After ruining my finger tips and straining a couple of muscles from pulling the fabric, the thing was all secure... a little strip of finishing material came with my order that goes over the final row of staples to make for a completed look. Lift up the flaps and insert the screw in between them. When the screw is fastened, the flaps will close shut again and hide the screws. I used small brass wood screws every five inches or so (maybe more in the corners) to secure it, then added those little chrome end pieces to finish off each side. I also used a screw and finishing washer to hold the side flaps down a bit - they are anchored into the bottom of the outer facing pieces. You can just see them in the picture below - above the boot snap in the car.

As the cables do not come assembled and cut to the correct length, it is best to pre-fit them before installing them in the top. I used my electrical wire crimpers to secure the little aluminum crimps onto the cables.  Feeding them through the channel in the top also requires some type of tool... my wall fish worked great. As far as what is the correct tension (how tight to make them), I do not know. I assembled mine so that when completely installed, they increased the spring's size by about 15-20% - seems to be a good tolerance.  The top's edges are nice and taught.  The first picture above is without the cable hooked up (note: at this point, the canvas top is not secured at all - just pulled over the header bow), and the second is after it is. Big difference obviously.

The top will be mounted next.

The two pads/material did not quite meet in the center. That's not a problem, but because I wanted to add just a little more padding to the top and bottom of the window, I added a center piece of material. Those clamps I bought for $1 apiece have been invaluable during this job. I've used them many times already.

I wasn't sure what to do with the rolled beading as it met up with the finished piping on the sides of the top...and am still not sure what the best thing to do here is. I actually sewed the two pieces together (green arrow), attempting to create a continuous seam. It looks OK in the picture, but I'm really not happy with it. I'll probably look for some tiny decorative clasp to cover it. I would do this differently if I had it to do over again.

It's difficult to the see the contours of the pads here, but this is what I did. The yellow outlines the sewn-in quarter pads. The red outlines the additional padding that I put in.  The green line shows the edge of the two-layer material which I cut a slit in above and below the window (the stuff inside the window will be cut out obviously).  So, I basically created small horizontal pockets on both sides of the window in the black quarter pad material that I inserted the extra padding into. Again, the red outlines the new padding. I thought it made a nicer, uniform look to the padding - rather that have padding only on the sides and not in the middle.

After I had the entire pad assembly glued together, I took care to center the whole thing then stapled it off the rear bow. Up until this point, the pad assembly was anchored to the header bow and nothing else. So, you can pull it tight from the rear while centering it from left to right. Using your third hand, grab the staple gun. When it's secure, trim off the excess material in the front and rear.

Then apply glue to the other side, including the top of the material from the other side that just got glued down... because they will overlap by a good bit. It should be nice and smooth on top when finished.

The pad blanket got centered and stapled across the header bow. (Never having done this before, I wasn't 100% sure which was front and back, top and bottom. It wouldn't kill these manufacturer's to label them, would it?)

The extra material up front got stretched tight and glued to the header bow.

The rearview mirror has two different positions.  Flip it up when the top is down.  Flip it back down when the top is up.  Simple, but clever.

I then pulled the top material down tightly and stapled it to the rear body base tack strip over the top of the rolled beading. After that, I continued to pull tightly while stapling around to either side, a little bit at a time. Securing the side portions of the canvas top was really quite awful. (if you don't do this out under the sun or have a professional steamer wand, you won't have a chance.) I don't know why they don't extend the side length of the canvas tops by about 1/2"...it would make it so much easier. Maybe the original type vinyl is easier to work with.?

The material was glued down quite securely, but I added a few staples along the underside of the bow just for good measure. I ordered this plastic facing piece from M&amp;T Manufacturing to cover this area and make it look nice, but it presented a couple new problems... I had aligned the whole top with the latches mounted directly against the metal flange. The facing piece was designed to fit <i>underneath</i> the latches, and would've skewed the closing measurements by about 1/8th inch. It doesn't sound like much, but I don't think I had that much to play with. It was closing nearly perfectly the way it was, so I didn't want to mess around with it. I ended up cutting off the ends of the plastic facing, so it's edges were just in line with the metal flange on both sides. It was also too tall vertically. So after tracing the curve of the header bow and trimming the piece accordingly, I covered it with headliner material and mounted it to the bow - red arrows were my pilot holes...

Here you can see the whole facing plate finished. In the first picture, the red arrows point to the edge of the plastic facing. The facing stops there, but the headliner material continues underneath the latches and is cut to fit the corners and glued down to the metal plate. The facing piece is mounted only by those 5 screws...4 for the handles and 1 in the center. I was able to polish up the original handles nicely, and, after a good cleaning, the original latches still had a good shine to them, also. 

The headliner has been completely attached to the window frame. I've also added some material over the extra foam padding in the center above and below the window. Using the good, strong glue, I stuck it down on one side and then pulled it tight and across the padding horizontally. The intent here was to contain the extra padding within two layers of material, and alleviate any bulging that may occur. Now the padding is uniform and flat.

I've got the top padding blanket resting on top waiting for my next session in the garage...

Disclaimer: It really goes without saying, but I wanted to put this in anyway... The convertible top installation is a difficult task. I am NOT a professional. This is my FIRST attempt at a complete installation. Although I will be following instructions written by professionals from several different sources, my application may differ from yours. This job will be specific to an early 1964 model and may not work with other years. I sincerely hope the information and pictures that I will post during this installation will help somebody out there, but just realize, anything you attempt to duplicate will be 100% at your own risk. I claim no responsibility for the accuracy of information, technique, or application. That goes for anything else on the site, too, but this job in particular. Cool? Cool.

Once secured to the header bow, I got it roughly lined up. The outer edges of the vinyl runners in the blanket pretty much matched up with the outer edge of the top frame. At this point, centering the rest of the blanket isn't overly important.

So, the thing is pretty much finished...the only thing left to do now is finish installing the window rubber that goes between the top of the windows and the convertible top frame. I started into that the other day thinking it would be an easy job. Wrong. I've got the rear quarter window seals installed, but that's it. The rest of the gap between the tops of the windows and the frame was not uniform. I guess this is a fairly common problem among early 'verts... for some reason. I'm going to research the problem a little bit more before I continue. Even with this little bit of work left, I'm calling it done and will start driving and enjoying it.

I used chalk to outline the window frame, cut the canvas, and stapled it off to the insert. By the way, for this entire project, I've used stainless steel 3/8" staples. I would consider using 1/2", but only if I had an electric or an air powered staple gun. (I've been doing this all with a regular hand gun.) The rear window was just about as difficult as the front one was. Installing that chrome trim is tedious work, and putting the window in is no easy task. I had the spousal unit apply pressure from the outside while I worked on the inside...took us about 30 minutes or so, but we got it done and it looks nice.

The side tensioning cables get hooked to the springs (2nd picture) that rest inside the frame on the top left and right. From there, they are routed to the outside of the frame through the factory-made hole (3rd picture), through the pre-sewn channel in the top material, and stretched tightly to fit over a screw in the rear. You may have to cut your own hole in the top channel depending on where your cable will enter it. The screw in the rear is fastened to the outer facing through a factory-made hole in the frame (4th picture). The screw needs be sticking up some, so the cable end loop can get slipped over it. I then slipped a small grommet over the screw and tightened it down some - to hold the cable in place when the top is folded down and the tension is released. (oh, spend the $1.25 and get a pair of new springs.)

The canvas top got slipped over the header bow dry to check the fit. I added a little more of the thin padding for a smoother look. I then glued the inside pocket of the top over the header bow - mostly just in the center. It's important to get the front seam as even as possible across the nose. Once it was secure and straight, I made cuts along the frame edge in the corners so the material would lay flat against the bow AND against the frame.

Thanks to the extra padding I added to the bow up front, I got a pretty nice looking nose to the top. Here, the front area is completely installed. Note: Among my parts, there was an approx. 3/8th inch piece of rubber that was supposed to get glued underneath the front part of the header bow where it meets the top of the window frame - to act as a seal/cushion.  But this piece, too, was rather thick, and did not compress very much either. As I looked to install it, it just didn't seem right...the top wouldn't close far enough to meet the latches without jumping up and down on it. So, it got left out. The fit I've got between the bow and the window frame is really nice and tight, but we'll see what the wind does when I get it out on the road... I may have to add a thin strip of rubber there later if it turns out not to be air-tight.

.........Some time has passed, and here it is again. I cut some small pieces of sheet metal, glued some excess canvas top to them, shaped them into a 'C' shape, and crimped them securely over the seam. My wife came up with this idea - a pretty good one. I am satisfied with it. But again, I would do this differently if I had it to do over again - just don't know what exactly.

I used wooden hinge covers. They also sell plastic.


Originally, I was only going to cover them halfway, then glue the rest down once they were mounted in the car - with the idea of hiding the screw holes. Like the inner facing pieces, I just couldn't see a way I was going to make them look nice using that method. So, I ended up covering them completely, mounting them in the car, and using plugs for the holes again. I don't feel too badly about it - they actually match the color scheme of the car pretty well.


After the covers were installed, I secured the headliner to the inner facing. There's an elastic strap inside the channel of the headliner. The end got folded over, and nailed diagonally to the bottom of the inner facing piece. (fuzzy picture)


Then, I pulled the strap tightly on the bottom end, and nailed it to the wheel well wood pieces that fit underneath the back seat stop posts. Make sure to nail (or staple) them low enough so that the carpet will hide them when it gets glued back down.


Finished upholstery tacks secure the upper part of the headliner to the inner facing. There was no need to pull tightly here - just gently taught is enough.


So, you can see the how the whole thing fits together here. The yellow line outlines the edges of the hinge covers, and the blue line shows where the elastic strap is run. The carpet then gets glued back down over the remaining headliner all across the back. As I glued back down the headliner and carpet from side to side, I had a hard time with wrinkles. I could not get them all out. Oh well, looks OK.

Those little plugs on the hinge covers were starting to bother me, so I painted them Pearl White. They blend in more nicely this way I think.

I messed around a little bit with the top boot today. The sucker fits on there pretty snugly. Plus, I kind of like the way it looks without it... I imagine I'll use it from time to time, though. It is tan stayfast canvas just like the top.

I used some thin padding material to cover the seam. It acts as kind of a "smoother" piece that hides some of the contours that exist between the top pad, the rear bow, and the rear window padding.  I also added a similar piece to the front header bow to create a smooth transition from the header bow to the top pad.

I didn't know quite how to go about this window installation... The rear window quarter pads that came with my order have the pads completely sewn in. Basically, each side is one piece of material folded over to make two, with the quarter pads incorporated between the two layers. That's fine, but it presented a problem. I had planned on mounting the window frame to the straps with glue to line it up first, but it seemed that the quarter pad material needed to go between the frame and the straps. And I couldn't staple in the quarter pad without having the window lined up...So, I decided to glue the pads to the window, then measure and center the window in the car by applying some glue to the back of the pad material and the straps, then staple it off to the rear bow and rear body base tack strip. The different sets of instructions I'm using all showed different methods for installing the rear window and padding.? So, I just had to go with what I thought would work. I kind of feel like I missed something here, but it seems to be turning out OK.

The pre-cut foam pad got glued to the blanket. It fits so that the front and rear edges meet up with, but do not overlap onto the bows. You can see as I'm pressing down on the pad, it makes a nice flat transition to the rear bow.

It took a while to figure out what the "proper" measurement was supposed to be from the back of the rear bow to the top of the rear body base tack strip. This is an important one because the window needs enough space vertically so that it can fold in on itself and close correctly. I think this measurement will be slightly different with the different years, however, the 64's seem to be OK with approx 22". I shot for 22", ended up with 21 1/2", and it works fine. The rear window size is also different depending on the year. The 64's should be approx 13.5" tall and 33" wide. The one measurement that seemed to be fairly constant among my different sets of instructions was the space between the bottom of the window and the rear body base tack strip - 3 1/2". Because of this, the window will sit just slightly off center on the low side, which is great. I think the later years have the window centered exactly from top to bottom, while the earlier years because of the smaller windows have it offset below center so you can actually see out the back while you're driving.

Start with one side. Apply the glue, wait a few minutes, then fold it over the top. Be sure to get it snugly tight...and without too many wrinkles.

The Dome Light Circuit


Once the entire pad is glued down, the rest of the blanket material gets folded up from each side and glued down.

I came VERY close to not installing the dome light at all. It was just another small thing that was going to take me an hour, and I was feeling impatient for a moment. Well, luckily that feeling passed, and I got it in. I already had my center marked on the top, so that helped a little. It got mounted to the front side of the rear bow with brass fasteners, a slit was cut from underneath into the headliner, the flaps were glued to the inside of the dome light frame (another situation where this industrial strength glue had no substitute), the light was installed from below, and the elec harness was wired up. Cool.

BTW, the mistake I made with the listing on the rear bow would have made the dome light installation impossible. The headliner would've been hanging far too low to make it work

Next, I'll be cutting and securing the padding material and headliner to the frame, followed by the top pad.

A few things need to be done yet:  the headliner material below the rear window needs to be installed, the hinge covers need to be covered and installed, the window seals need to be mounted to the top frame, I need to fabricate some brackets and mount the mud flaps, I want to move the oil temp gauge up to the cockpit..................and that pretty much does it for this restoration.  A week or two to go!!