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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 1 Post By 1ntCobra
  • 1 Post By LMH
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-05-2020, 07:04 PM
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Default soft top for KMS 289 car

Apologies if this ground has already been plowed. I would like to have a soft top assembly for my KMS Cobra; my car is a 'hybrid' with a 289 body style but 427 frame with coilover suspension. I don't think KMS make a soft top for these cars, although they are very helpful in other ways this doesn't seem to be something that interests them.

There is a very good trim shop in my area (Annapolis, MD) who are able to fit all this to the car, but I need to find a source for the top bows, and whatever other hardware is required. There are several sources for the fabric parts, but I have not been able to find anyone who sells the top bow assembly, etc.

Thanks in advance to all for any help you can provide. I love the car, I have over five thousand miles on it, would have more if I wasn't kept to sunny days only with it...
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Old 11-05-2020, 08:20 PM
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You're going to need the clips and hooks for the sides of the windshield, along with bows and whatever you call the things the bows go in to. Nick Acton, whose site has been down for a while sells some of it. I would also call ERA and see if they'll sell you the bows and hardware. Between the two of them, you should be able to get what you need.
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Old 11-06-2020, 06:23 AM
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I would go direct to KMS or even Robins as they would be the best source.
Also, closer to the MFG source and reputable reputation as well.
As a third option ERA, they would certainly have everything you need and Peter is great!

Last edited by 1985 CCX; 11-06-2020 at 06:25 AM..
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:02 AM
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I suspect that David Wagner might be able to help.
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:36 PM
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Robbins is the top manufacturer for original cars and I’m sure will fit KMS cars as well. Everflex is the material you’ll be looking for. I’m not sure if they also have the bows but you can ask. https://robbinsautotop.com/
I think all Kirkhams come with the bow holders though the chrome insert may need to be added. Not sure on that.
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Old 11-06-2020, 05:41 PM
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The bows that ERA sell are very nice because they are adjustable both for width and height. They can also supply the header bows that attach to your windshield frame.
I recently purchased a top from ERA and it is a very nice quality. Pretty sure that Robbins actually produces the top but I don't know about the bows and hardware.
After receiving mine, I had a good Marine upholstery shop do the fitting, which will be necessary for the specific car. 'taint cheap, but very nice.
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Old 11-06-2020, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Bebout View Post
I recently purchased a top from ERA and it is a very nice quality. Pretty sure that Robbins actually produces the top but I don't know about the bows and hardware.
After receiving mine, I had a good Marine upholstery shop do the fitting, which will be necessary for the specific car. 'taint cheap, but very nice.
Fitting a soft top to one of these cars, so that it fits right, is a very rare skill. I wouldn't even dream of tackling it myself. I would sooner install the engine, trans and rear with a blindfold on.
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Old 11-07-2020, 12:09 AM
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Try Hillbank as well. The SPF Mk2 top might fit. They sell the top and side curtains together for around $1400.
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Old 11-07-2020, 01:38 AM
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www.europaspares.com and/or gerry@hawkcars.co.uk should be able to provide the top hardware. Robbins can provide the top.
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Old 11-07-2020, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSX2345 View Post
Try Hillbank as well. The SPF Mk2 top might fit. They sell the top and side curtains together for around $1400.
There are differences in the ferrules for the top frame, the SPF/current Shelby are located further outboard of the KMS which are welded to the birdcage as per AC supplied chassis.
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Old 11-07-2020, 09:57 PM
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Very helpful and thanks to all, I will follow up these leads.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:43 AM
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I have a top and hardware from an ERA 427 street version without roll bar. Unfortunately, it’s in Maine and I’m in Georgia for the Winter. It’s available if that helps.
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:37 PM
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Jim,
You should go to Brasscraft in the UK for the parts you need. They supply all the original AC owners with the parts you are looking for.

Hood Bows

Good luck with your project. You will need hood frames, hood bows and hood catches.

Bert Brown
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Old 11-14-2020, 04:45 PM
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The expensive part is the side curtains. You'll have to make sure the pins fit the door and everything is located correctly on any ones you find or have them made for the car. I'm assuming Kirkham copied the pin location from an original car but I don't know that for sure.
Have you checked with Kirkham to see if they can supply the entire top assembly?
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:26 PM
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Yes, I've asked them a few times. Unless things have changed recently, they basicallya re not interested in soft tops. They make a beautiful car and support it well, but they don't seem interested in soft tops. They do put the ferrules in for the side curtains and top bows, but they don't supply any of that stuff. I appreciate all the elp in this thread- I'm following up these leads.

I think the reason more people don't want the top is that frankly the soft tops I've seen in photos of original Cobras were not very attractive. They may be functional but they don't add to the looks of the car. I hope to come up with one that not only works decently but looks good and doesn't look like it came off a Model T, which, to be fair, WAS a Ford, but not the kind I want to copy the looks of.
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Old 11-16-2020, 07:07 AM
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Definitely AC wasn't interested in looks when they made the top!
I got lucky when I bought mine! It was the correct Robbins top, had never been installed and I got the bows, top, rivets and curtains all together. Right place at the right time sort of deal!

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Old 11-22-2020, 09:14 PM
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I have my own Cobra story. I had a 56 AC Bristol that i bought in California in December of 71. It was a painted car but not really complete. I was on my way home from Vietnam. I new about Cobras before I got drafted. I had seen the nose of an Original in Hollywood sticking out over a r5etaining wall at a used car lot across the street from the Play Boy club. It would have probably the been the best $6500 I would ever spent. But I did not have that much saved. My uncle found an add for a 56 Cobra so we went to look. I bought the car, left it with my uncle in LaHabra and returned to IOWA. I went back to California and drove the Bristol to Des Moines Iowa summer of 72. It had a soft top. I had not needed to use the soft top while in California but did need it on the way home and drove for a while in the rain before stopping at a truck weigh station. The soft made everything work for me as that car became an everyday driver once back in IOWA. Then I married and moved everything to Washington Soft top was on all winter. Could not have done it with out the soft top. I sold the 56 Bristol to Joe Campanolli and he still has it today.
I bought a 84 Everett-Morrison replica of a 65 427 SC at Hot August Nights in Reno in 1999. It did not have a soft top so I ordered a soft top and side curtain kits from EM while they were in Florida. The Original builder "Tim King" in Reno had laid the windshield back for aero effect. I put it off until last year and ended up having the windshield raised to the correct angle. The wind shield was at the correct angle but was 1 1/2" forward of original placement. Then the Original EM top was now too short and the Roll bar was another problem. The Shop I used took my car to Convertibles Only In Seattle. They made a great soft top that fit the further forward windshield and the higher roll bar. They were more expensive than I had originally planned. And that did not include the new side curtains I now need. I did connect with EM (now in Texas) by phone through a fluke because of the Covid closure. I just happened to catch someone in the office to purchase a set on their SS ferrules. EM was great. If is said SS, it was SS. I now have an unused EM soft top and may soon have a set of side curtains for sell
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