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Folding Frame or stow-away frame?

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travla Avatar
travla Kursat Sezai
Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia   AUS
1969 MG MGB MkII "Adriana"
Hi all,
Thanks for the honest assessment of both options. After reading through very many posts on this topic, and considering the merits of both options, I remain undecided. I thought I'd ask other members for an opinion based on my own circumstances.

I live in Melbourne, Australia, where the weather is unpredictable to some degree (especially when it comes to forecasting rain). It doesn't often rain heavily without some kind of warning, but it has been known to happen. I'm hoping to drive my car 30 - 40 days in a year, usually on weekends, and occasionally to work when good weather is forecast. I'll be honest, I'm attracted to how the car looks without the foldaway in place, but I'm equally lured by the practicality of unfolding a hood on short notice should the need arise. If I do go for a foldaway, I will most likely be going for the grey scissor frame (I know, inferior to Micholetti), which I understand to fold a little flatter than the later folding frame. I'd appreciate any thoughts to sway me one way or another.

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MGB567 Avatar
MGB567 Gold Member Barrie Braxton
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia   AUS
1966 MG MGB MkI "Money Guzzler"
1979 MG MGB GT V8 Conversion "Darkside"
Welcome. First question - where are the sash mounts for your seat belts? If they're on the inner wheel arches you can push the folding Black frame into the area behind the seats such that it's all but hidden except for the part that mounts to the deck. IDK how flat you can get the Grey frame. Some folks, it seems, have gotten quite adept at attaching the packaway bows and getting the hood out of the boot and erected but it's not as fast as the foldaway Black. I've got both but I've gone back to my packaway because the foldaway interferes with my roll bar - if that wasn't the case then I'd stay with my foldaway through ease/speed of erection. Unfortunately the Black foldaway screws to the top of the B pillar as does the Gray whereas the packaway whilst using the same holes sits in a bracket so it's easy to remove. They all use the same header rail but it attaches differently to the frames than it does to the packaway. That info may have been covered in the topic already - I didn't read the earlier replies. If your seat belts were mounted on the deck I'd take some convincing to use a foldaway.



Convertible: CKD 11/66 first registered 8/5/67. Owned since 3/77. 90% original sheet metal. 18GB +40 balanced with almost all new internals. Peter Burgess big valve fast road head. Piper 285. Fidanza FW. Basil's followers and pushrods. TR7clutch. TT exhaust. ARP everywhere. 123 ign. Needham 4synchro c/r box.. Stock rebuilt/replaced suspension. Superpro bushes. New brakes all round including all pipes in SS flex. Interior redone. CAMS approved roll bar and side bars. Lots more. Hybrid of o/e and show/fast road car. Not for sale - it's my toy!

GT: UK car built/sold December '78. Stripped back to bare shell (with extensive bodywork to come). Powered by 'worked' Rover 5 litre V8 (ex TVR Chimera) with efi. T5 box. FC IFS. CC rear attached to Ford FG ute axle. And a whole lot more to yet to come. Stealth is the word.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-13 08:10 AM by MGB567.

travla Avatar
travla Kursat Sezai
Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia   AUS
1969 MG MGB MkII "Adriana"
In reply to # 3591149 by MGB567 Welcome. First question - where are the sash mounts for your seat belts? If they're on the inner wheel arches you can push the folding Black frame into the area behind the seats such that it's all but hidden except for the part that mounts to the deck. IDK how flat you can get the Grey frame. Some folks, it seems, have gotten quite adept at attaching the packaway bows and getting the hood out of the boot and erected but it's not as fast as the foldaway Black. I've got both but I've gone back to my packaway because the foldaway interferes with my roll bar - if that wasn't the case then I'd stay with my foldaway through ease/speed of erection. Unfortunately the Black foldaway screws to the top of the B pillar as does the Gray whereas the packaway whilst using the same holes sits in a bracket so it's easy to remove. They all use the same header rail but it attaches differently to the frames than it does to the packaway. That info may have been covered in the topic already - I didn't read the earlier replies. If your seat belts were mounted on the deck I'd take some convincing to use a foldaway.

Thanks for the response, and welcome, Barry.

The sash mounts are on the inner wheel arches. I didn't consider the potential for interference to be honest, but sounds like it's not a problem unless mounted on the deck. I have ready many posts on this topic, and do realise that the foldaway frames are screwed in to the B pillar. Thanks for again for your thoughts, much appreciated.

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Donthuis Avatar
Donthuis Don van Riet
Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands   NLD
Not correct, I have the Michelotti frame with the vinyl MGB top "Triumphstyle", so with the zip-out window already for many years

If you are in a hurry stowaway gets you wet fast, while the Michelotti is up in a jiffy. It saved my day both in the South Of France with a sudden thunderstrom and in often wet Salzburg
However, in very dry environments this is of lesser concern (some Lotus, the Shelby and Donkervoort models do completely without a top, you just drive on in the rain.......) grinning smiley

In reply to # 2239431 by SURFIT Went from fold-away to stow-away (lived in SoCal at the time and never used the top).
Now, I use it in the mid-West. I still like the idea of being able to completely remove the top
from the car. Plus, I have a zip-out rear window which I believe is only available in the
stow-away version (a nice top-feature to have).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-13 09:27 AM by Donthuis.

barrybarnes Avatar
barrybarnes Silver Member Barry Barnes
Reno, Nevada, USA   USA
1978 MG MGB "ZoooomB"
I have owned MGBs with all three types of top frames.

I ruined my Upholstery and got some rust on my floor pans once by hitting a horrible sudden thunderstorm in Texas that filled my floor up to the sills, drenched me, and soakesoaked into the leather and the foams of the seats before I was able to get the fold away top on. I loved the car but I found that top to be a total pain in an area that had frequent sudden thunderstorms.

The scissors type on the mid-year cars was an improvement but a good way to cut off fingers and put holes in your car despite careful handling.

The later black or Michelotti style top frame is really easy to use and, in the case of a quick rain, can simply be brought up by reaching back pulling forward and latching in place without getting out of the seat. I know that for fact as I've done it many times.

You have to understand, though, that the actual top for the Michelotti is a different one than for the earlier cars. It sits lower down, has a less high bulge, and is slightly different in the front shape.



CARS: Restored highly-modified 78 MGB, 70 MGB, three 50 Fords, and 68 Mustang; just starting a 73 MGB. COLLECTOR: Antique carpentry tools, auto & woodworking tools, automobilia, license plates, birdhouses; books; pictures (barns, cars, planes); miniature carved animals, small lamps; Indian items; 1890s-1960s cameras, 1930s-50s radios, 50’s & 60’s memorabilia, more. SCALE MODELS: Cars, pickups, trucks, buildings, airplanes, ships, trains. CRAFTSMAN: Creative fabricator, woodworking. DO-IT-YOURSELFER: Current major home remodel; doubled size of another; added rooms to several houses; built home; 4 large irrigation systems, 3 huge landscaping projects. ENERGY: Built off-grid solar & wind system for small farm; currently have on-grid photovoltaic system (100% of electrical needs); built energy-efficient pool system; installed solar pool heating system. READING: Historical fiction, mysteries. WRITING: Essays, blogs, social networking. LEARNING: Alternative energy, anthropology, archeology, autos, behavioral typology, climatology, comparative religion, economics, history, human migrations, geology, linguistics, politics, psychology, sociology, systemics, values analysis, world-view thinking. KNOWLEDGE: Respect facts, logic, thinking; research, devalue opinions. GROWTH: Value self-monitoring, setting limits, self-discipline, accountability, philosophical thinking.

Jim63 Avatar
Jim63 Gold Member Jim S
Bartlesville, Oklahoma, USA   USA
1963 MG MGB MkI "Iris"
I rarely drive my car with a top. I love my setup without the top and would never change. Even though I am lucky enough to have a garage for storage, I always store it with the top attached. When I purchased a new top I was told to never store it without the top and you will never have a problem with the top shrinking. I once was in a hurry and did not want to attach the frame and top for just one night. It was cool that night and the next day I could not stretch my top to fit. I finally laid it in the sun for a few hours and was able to get it snapped in place. From then on it never sits overnight without the top.
I do agree with the others about the time it takes to assemble in a hurry. In Oklahoma we also can have quick build up of storms that produce a large amount of rain in just a couple of minutes. If you really want the stowaway top, then prepare to stop and assemble the top when you see even a small grey cloud in the sky.

Jim

jimb Avatar
jimb Jim Brown
San Francisco Bay Area, USA   USA
1967 MG MGB
If you leave the back of the top hooked up and just fold it down, then certainly the folding top will go up much faster.
If you fold and roll up your fold up top like the owner's manual shows (and like I did with my '78), then it takes about twice as long to put up a stow away top. You still end up getting out of the car, unfolding the top, and snapping the lift-a-dot connectors, etc.. There's no way I'd go back to using up that lovely space behind the seats with a folding top, especially when it just uses up the space most of the year where I live.

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barrybarnes Avatar
barrybarnes Silver Member Barry Barnes
Reno, Nevada, USA   USA
1978 MG MGB "ZoooomB"
Later models were available with zip down window. Many top manufacturers have a wide variety of top options for all years. Check Prestige AutoTrim, Kee, and many more.

Eds green 74B Avatar
Eds green 74B Edmund Schultz
Newcastle, Maine, USA   USA
I've owned 2 67Bs and now have a 74. Both 67s had stow away tops and the 74 has a fold away..the first 67 I had was on NorCal (Moffett Field). For the better part of the spring/summer/fall the stow away was just fine. We didn't have sudden downpours so if it looked like rain, we usually had plenty of time to get the top up. The second 67B I had was in Jacksonville, Fl. Now there you get thunderstorms but even then you knew they usually came in the afternoon so they were somewhat predictable. The 74 has a fold away. I'm usually a 'fair weather' driver with this car so the top fold away/stow away issue is somewhat moot......at least until this weekend. Attended a car show in Camden, Maine this weekend. Weather was forecasted to be nice but one good sized squall decided to come to the show. Was amazed at how fast we all got our tops up. Rain lasted 20 minutes and out came the sun. Anyway that being said I like the stow away better than the fold away as it made the car 'cleaner'. With the fold away, I went out and found a bar and a half tonneau to hide the fold away and it does make the car cleaner.

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Fairfield, CA, USA   USA
I have a fold away, canvas not vinyl. I need help removing and reinstalling it after and before the rainy season. All summer long it sits folded up in a shed. I do not like having it all wadded up in back of the seats.

In California you are very seldom caught in a summer rainstorm. As is has never happened to me in 50 years of living here. Hail, yes...one time on a Mountain pass. (ouch). But not rain.

I am preparing a pack away to take it's place this winter. Simply a matter of getting my act in gear.

I expect to be able to stash the thing in the boot and should I go to Nevada where it rains now and then, I'll be covered...at least 5 minutes later.<G> And I can do it myself...no unscrfwewing an awkward frame on both sides that tends to tear up the rear quarter panels.

My complete folding top, frame, clamps, zip out window, and excellent canvas top is still for sale. No install required, Bolt on.<G>



1973 Pale Primrose Roadster. A nice 10-footer!
SUs, Datsun 5-speed

barrybarnes Avatar
barrybarnes Silver Member Barry Barnes
Reno, Nevada, USA   USA
1978 MG MGB "ZoooomB"
I lived for several decades in the South Bay area and the Sierra Nevada Foothills. You're right, it does seldom rain in the summer. The Grass Valley area got tons of rain - sometimes coming down so hard it was sideways - but rarely rained anytime between June 1st and November 1st.

Up until a couple of years ago, the same was true for Reno, Nevada where I now live. For various reasons, things have changed. We've had pretty heavy rain every afternoon for the last two weeks now and have had more rain this year than in recorded history. Normally, we get virtually none between late May and November (when it starts to snow).

In reply to # 3591567 by mac townsend In California you are very seldom caught in a summer rainstorm...

... and should I go to Nevada where it rains now and then, I'll be covered...

Donthuis Avatar
Donthuis Don van Riet
Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands   NLD
One item for consideration: originally the MGB Tourers just had rubber mats and sill covers, only the gearbox tunnel was in carpet. All in order to have a car that even fully open in rain, would survive such a treatment and dry up relatively fast. I've since long converted to carpet on the sills inners and carpet floormats, originally even because the rubber sill covers were n.a. at the time.

I may renew this carpet set dating back to 1988 again, it is highly discolored and the mats damaged, but will again go for the full carpet treatment. Because of this I will certainly cherish my Michelotti top
I once investigated the packaway for making room for a child's seat in 1991, but did not go that way, because space proved too restricted soon and two children did not fit either. smiling bouncing smiley

Considering the above and the worldwide change to more variable weather will keep me in the foldaway top camp for the rest of my years .......

PS I wonder about the long tonneau fitment if the foldaway top and the associated supporting bar are not present at the back.
I never use the short tonneau and very frequently, almost at every stop the long one to guard against prying eyes and rain alike..

MGB567 Avatar
MGB567 Gold Member Barrie Braxton
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia   AUS
1966 MG MGB MkI "Money Guzzler"
1979 MG MGB GT V8 Conversion "Darkside"
If you haven't realised this topic now only needs to be read from #31 where Kursat notes the unpredictable weather; for those with a musical bent think Crowded House Four Seasons in One Day smiling smiley

"I may renew this carpet set dating back to 1988 again, it is highly discolored and the mats damaged, but will again go for the full carpet treatment."

Fortunately I picked upone of M-E's last sets of rubber sills. My seats and the tunnel carpet have been Scotchguarded. My floor carpets were one piece per side. I cut them in half under the seats as well as around the runners and then had them edged. That way if they ever get wet they can be removed without removing the seats. I use 3M Dual Lock to stop them moving about.



Convertible: CKD 11/66 first registered 8/5/67. Owned since 3/77. 90% original sheet metal. 18GB +40 balanced with almost all new internals. Peter Burgess big valve fast road head. Piper 285. Fidanza FW. Basil's followers and pushrods. TR7clutch. TT exhaust. ARP everywhere. 123 ign. Needham 4synchro c/r box.. Stock rebuilt/replaced suspension. Superpro bushes. New brakes all round including all pipes in SS flex. Interior redone. CAMS approved roll bar and side bars. Lots more. Hybrid of o/e and show/fast road car. Not for sale - it's my toy!

GT: UK car built/sold December '78. Stripped back to bare shell (with extensive bodywork to come). Powered by 'worked' Rover 5 litre V8 (ex TVR Chimera) with efi. T5 box. FC IFS. CC rear attached to Ford FG ute axle. And a whole lot more to yet to come. Stealth is the word.

travla Avatar
travla Kursat Sezai
Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia   AUS
1969 MG MGB MkII "Adriana"
Thanks all for the fresh responses. I am now swaying towards a stowaway, but have about a month before I need to decide. The merits are compelling for both foldaway and stowaway, and I guess to a large degree, personal preference will trump other factors in the decision making process. My OCD for neatness/tidyness will likely win out on the day. What is real pleasing is that there are multiple options, but it's a double edge sword for procrastinators like myself who just can't decide.

I found the comment made by Jim S regarding leaving the top always up overnight or in storage interesting, I hadn't read of others doing that before. Is that a common thing to do with vinyl tops?


In reply to # 3591656 by MGB567 If you haven't realised this topic now only needs to be read from #31 where Kursat notes the unpredictable weather; for those with a musical bent think Crowded House Four Seasons in One Day smiling smiley

"I may renew this carpet set dating back to 1988 again, it is highly discolored and the mats damaged, but will again go for the full carpet treatment."

Fortunately I picked upone of M-E's last sets of rubber sills. My seats and the tunnel carpet have been Scotchguarded. My floor carpets were one piece per side. I cut them in half under the seats as well as around the runners and then had them edged. That way if they ever get wet they can be removed without removing the seats. I use 3M Dual Lock to stop them moving about.

Jimmy N. Avatar
Small village, The actual midwest, USA   USA
I don't think it matters what kind of top you have, or don't have. It seems that anything over 40 mph keeps the rain from coming in anyway.
If it rains hard, or you have strong tail wind, just drive faster. Not that I usually need to be encouraged to do that no matter what.



All my vehicles are green. They run on recycled dinosaurs.

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