Imperial Home Page -> Repair ->Body -> Stainless Steel -> Inserts
Question from Clay (1960):
Has anyone ever attempted to reproduce the roof inserts that were an option on the '59 and '60 Imperials? It just so happens that the machine shop I work for has a fair selection of 303 and 304 stainless flat stock. It wouldn't be too hard to make a template and glue a couple of pieces to the roof. (I think). I have never actually seen the inserts in person on an Imperial, what type of finish do they have?
Although not difficult to do in your shop, the inserts were cut and then stamped into their curved form. Getting the curve right may take sometime. They have the rain-gutter shape molded into the long-edge, and this may take some time to get right - you'll want some originals as templates.
Doing this would probably neccesitate building a buck that you could use to pound the metal into the correct shape. The inserts are clamped onto the roof (no glue) by the curved upper trim and the lower edge goes under the rain-gutter edge and is held in place.
Done as OEM was, it should not make any movement if pressed upon once installed. This may take more time than cutting the shape and doing some bending to be pulled off correctly.
It is a brushed effect. I bought new in 1980, a Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue Limited Edition and it had a $2,200. roof, padded vinyl top, padded trunk and small backlight package. I sold the car about 10 or so years ago and my son saw one in a wrecking yard that was running just a few months earlier.
What I am leading to is he bought for the future, unknown why right yet, to save this piece of brushed stainless. It is at his home here in Palm
Desert, Calif. On my '61 LeBaron is also the stainless inserts.
I helped a fellow IML member take the stainless off a '59 a few years ago. It seems to me that some stainless stock and a pair of tin snips or aircraft shears would be all that's necessary to make replacements. It's more like 1/32" thick, maybe less.
This is an option that would make any Imp of the appropriate vintage look better.
On the '59, the four door is a different shape than the two door.
Haven't seen the silvercrest top on a '59 or '60 but my '61 has them and they are brushed aluminum. You MIGHT be able to make a template and just lay it in place under the existing roof trim. The reason I say might is that the roof has a shape in 3 dimensions, slight fore and aft and some side to side. The only way to get this shape is on an english wheel (or press like the factory does). I could do the english wheel but any brush finish would have to be redone as the Ewheel would show up on the brush. Brush finish on stainless is easy. Gently wet sand with WD40 in straight front to rear strokes and you will have it.
Stainless is pretty hard to work.
The "brush finish" on stainless steel is simply controlled scratching. 3M makes a white pad specifically for this purpose...I have one somewhere if anyone needs some. Any commercial kitchen equipment dealer should have the pads.
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