BionicTigerShark New Reader
3/6/20 12:19 p.m.

I have a 79 camaro with t tops, no not those ones, I have the hurst hatches and they suck.  There has been a roof for sale local to me for $50, so what do you guys think? Something an average guy with a welder can handle or forget it and look for a different car?  I mean if someone on here can put a lumina van body on a grand am chassis how hard can this be?


Patrick MegaDork
3/6/20 12:48 p.m.

People go the other way all the time.  You need to go to the factory seams and spot welds.  It's probably documented on

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
3/6/20 1:58 p.m.

I see a lot of roof swaps on Trans Am's as well. Check the Trans Am forums like and Trans Am Country as well as It's a daunting task, but it's well documented.

Gearheadotaku UltimaDork
3/7/20 7:01 a.m.

Unless you are an expert body tech, I wouldn't try it. Maybe make patch panels and graft them in? The $50 roof would make perfect doner peices. For some reason this feels like it might be less risky. What condition is the car it?

Recon1342 HalfDork
3/7/20 7:30 a.m.

You'll never know if you don't try...


BionicTigerShark New Reader
3/7/20 12:14 p.m.

I have read the posts on it over at, looks like he cut clear down into the cowl panel at the a pillar.  I'd kind of like to avoid that if possible, maybe cut it at the top of the a pillar.  Or use the roof skin and cut patches for the inner structure.  Anyway I messaged about it, if he gets back to me today I'll go check it out.

I think the cars in fair condition, not a show car just a driver. Pic from about 2 years ago

Patrick MegaDork
3/7/20 12:57 p.m.

I don't think you're going to be happy welding in patches on a roof.  The whole skin is the only right way to do it.  I think you can go right at the top of the windshield up front and in back the seam is from top of door opening to top of back glass opening.  I would be leary of doing it without getting the car straight on stands and welding in frame connectors first.  I think you're devaluing the car honestly, people want t tops.  Seal them up with something?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/7/20 2:36 p.m.

I'm not a fan of T tops,  so if you're a competent welder I'd say go for it but replace the whole thing at the seams rather than trying to put in patch panels - there will be a lot less chance of warping the thing beyond repair.


Having said that you should be able to get reproduction seals for the Hurst tops, and that would hopefully get rid of leaks.  Ames Performance is one place that sells seal kits for them.

rdcyclist Reader
3/7/20 7:49 p.m.

That is a very nice lookin' Z. Unless you manage to do a VERY good job at the seams it will never look as good. You could patch them in with about 47 hours of fitting followed by another 36 hours of hammer-welding. Otherwise you're gonna hafta grow your Mullet back to fit in with the car's look...

And I'm with you on the suckage of the T-Tops. They look stoopid as well as reduce the relative stiffness (a word to be used lightly with these cars) of the chassis.

BionicTigerShark New Reader
3/7/20 11:47 p.m.

Sorry I'm not thinking of patching the roof skin.  What I was considering was taking the outer skin off my car and donor roof.  Then cutting patches for the inner structure from donor  and welding  into my roof. Then using the outer skin from the donor roof on my car.  Not sure if it's a good idea or not yet. I think it would be better to just use the whole outer skin and inner structure from a donor.

I really dont think that the car is worth much any way other than sentimental since I've had it since the late 90s , it's not a z28  just a base model sport coupe originally a 305/th350 car.   I'd be surprised if it was worth 5k since it's not original anymore.  I have subframe connectors and a t56 in the garage I'm hoping to get in before summer.

I have tried the repo weatherstrip and still have leaks. If I keep owning a 2nd gen camaro it wont have t tops, whether I convert this car or decide to buy another. Ideally id like a 70 t0 73 shell and just swap my drivetrain and suspension into it but they have gotten too expensive.

I appreciate the information, I know there's alot of people smarter than me on here. Anyone who wants to talk me into or out of this is or out of it keep it coming.  I'm still undecided.

So I did go buy that roof today for $40. I 5hink I'm going to see where the factory seams are on it and decide if I want to continue  or not. 

Sorry for the long confusing post,  I'm tired and may have had a couple drinks.

3/8/20 6:42 a.m.

Did you buy the panel?

This would be more intimidating than difficult. 

I would harvest the new panel from the backside, minimizing the holes in the roof panel so you can put them where you want.

Buy a spotweld cutter like this: Not the hole-saw kind.


Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/8/20 8:15 a.m.

I think replacing the entire roof might be the easiest.  Trying to patch in the sub structure will be tough to get the top of the window opening accurate.  Also, tough job to take the roof panel off the structure without sacrificing one of them.  Can you use the structure from the donor, and buy a repro roof panel?  

Or... Were the Hurst roofs cut into a stock roof?  If that's the case, splicing in bits of the donor structure might be easy.

Except, you would need to remove the inner structure along the windshield and back window...

Tough job no matter how you look at it.  Find a solid roof 74 and put your bumpers on it... The aluminum bumper cars are still a bit cheaper.

91camarosrs New Reader
1/14/22 5:18 a.m.

actually, there was a third gen in hotrod a few years back. red in color, ls powered, jericho trans.


i followed him on a third gen page. it has a cage, that they cut the top of the car off to put the cage in, and put a hardtop on it. it was a t-top car. 

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