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Author Topic: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop  (Read 1689 times)

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Offline Gadget

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Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« on: March 22, 2023, 04:03:42 PM »
Hello fellow Kappa Performance forum members. It has been a long time since i posted here, though i constantly lurk in the background.
I figured i would post this here for posterity as well as just in case any of y'all were interested in this odd piece of (possible) Solstice / Kappa history.. Maybe one of you can shed some historical light on this.

September last year, a forum member on the other forum posted a FB link to a person selling some odd looking vaguely Kappa specific hard top pieces. I had seen it posted before but it was all kinda whishy washy and vague.
Anywho, I ended up going down the rabbit hole and getting in touch with the FB poster. Here is some copy/paste from the other forum where i posted about this:
Let start with the information from the seller.
 -Seller's company (American Recycler) specializes in liquidating industrial warehouses when companies go bankrupt.
 -Around '08 or '09 they were contracted to liquidate 17 of the Collins and Aikman Factories. Two of those factories were known as Dura Convertible Top.
 -Dura apparently had a "North" and a "South" plant.
 -When they originally acquired this prototype two piece hard top it was on a functional mock up with electrical actuators that allowed it to be demonstrated as a functional hard top.

 Guessing here:
 I suppose Collins and Aikman being the softop manufacturer for GM for the convertible Kappa's make this not quite a genuine GM part, but I would assume a prototype they had put together to pitch to GM as an aftermarket option, or possibly an official GM option had it not all gone belly up with the loss of Pontiac and Saturn.
 One of the tings that makes this hard top unique is that it is the only one i have seen (outside of Nankoo's one off artistry ones) that allow you to open the trunk with the top still on.
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2023, 04:10:02 PM »
Here are some photos from the seller sent after our first conversation: [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ]
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2023, 04:11:21 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2023, 04:11:43 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2023, 04:12:12 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2023, 04:12:27 PM »
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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2023, 04:12:38 PM »
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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2023, 04:19:24 PM »
Long story short, it turns out the guy was like a 15 minutes drive from Norm's Fiberglass and Norm agreed to do the repair work on the top and pick it up.Apparently he scored a bunch of other GM stuff from that era while he visited but he said he has been to busy with work to really go through it all since he picked it up. I know there were a couple black soft tops and a whole pallet of rubber (that is the past he hasn't had time to go through) and possibly a couple Corvette things made by Collins back in that era.
So Norm ended up having to do a substantial amount of work to get the thing to actually fit and function on an actual car.Here are a couple photos of him setting it up "as is" to test fit it for real world use:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ]
« Last Edit: March 22, 2023, 04:33:42 PM by Gadget »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2023, 04:28:29 PM »
Near the end of December Norm let me know it was not quite right as is and had to go out to his aluminum guys to get the aluminum frame cut down and re-welded....
 From Norm:
 "Hello Gadget, well it's no wonder why this project didn't go well, those engineers should have gotten fired,lol. Got it to fit had to make a lot of adjustments and cutting. Even so had to remove the rear glass going to mount it on the inside as there was no way it was going to fit against the rear deck lid. The header bar was too far forward have it now right up against the windshield frame. Need to recut and reposition the inner pin locations by cutting and rewelding the aluminium pockets. Had to weld on the center hook to make it come more forward as there is no adjustment on the top. "
Work in progress at Norm's last December: [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ]
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2023, 04:30:01 PM »
A couple months later (Feb 2023) he had it done and in primer stage:
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2023, 04:30:16 PM »
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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2023, 04:30:31 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2023, 04:31:33 PM »
And now here in March we are in clear coat stage :)
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2023, 04:31:50 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2023, 04:32:08 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2023, 04:33:03 PM »
Anyways, love to hear any thoughts or ideas on the history of this piece past what i have found and posted...
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Offline Critterman

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2023, 04:33:14 PM »
That looks a bit complicated, but Norm should be able to figure it out. 
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2023, 05:00:42 PM »
Yes he sure did. The man is a trooper and an artist. Very much looking forward to seeing it on the car. It's an interesting piece of "what could have been" Kappa history. Norm did say it was "prototype heavy" and a finished production version would have most likely been significantly lighter. Apparently when American Recycler acquired it during the liquidation it was mounted to a fully operational plywood mock up but his boss dismanteled it and sold the actuators and assembly for more than i got the top for like 10 years ago. This had essentially been stuffed in a warehouse for over a decade.
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Offline agent008

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2023, 10:41:53 AM »
This is one of the best projects happening over at SF and now here on KP too. Great work on rescuing this piece of history Gadget! Kudos to Norm for understanding the importance of this and finding time to work on it.

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2023, 11:00:02 PM »
Agreed Norm has been a real trooper on this. I feel lucky he was able to make the time to work on it between all his other work on his own products.
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Offline cdflint

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2023, 10:41:47 AM »
I love to see different hard top threads. I managed to find a Smoothline Club Racer and the fit is good but the weather seal makes me have to go back to just soft top when raining. Plus it messed with the tulip flaps not opening right for the soft top now. I'd still consider this.

Is there any new progress on this? I love the look of the rear piece to keep the rear trunk lid. Kinda looks like the old Vipers or the mx-5 rf's. Norm, elongate the rear piece and make a two piece targa top. Both removable and keep the soft top in the trunk?

Still would like to see the end result here.
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To be or not to be hard, that is the question. I prefer my top off and still hard when I need it.

Offline cdflint

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Re: Two piece prototype Collins and Aikman Dura hardtop
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2023, 11:06:16 AM »
Sorry found it 
She's an 09 Brazen GXP.

Covered by Norms Fiberglass, DDM, WERKS, KappaSphere, Trifecta performance, Dejon performance, Solo performance, Magnaflow, Hahn, VDI, B&G, ASAP, WindRestrictor, Gravana, JPM, Santana, Madmod, HID pro, Second Skin Audio, mydipkit, Automotivetouchup.com and Smoothline.

To be or not to be hard, that is the question. I prefer my top off and still hard when I need it.

 

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