Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Turk/Custom Caravan Top Build

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Turk/Custom Caravan Top Build

    In preparation for driving my 1953, 2 R 11 truck "Pilgrim" across northern Canada once the borders are reopened. I had planned to build a Caravan top for over the bed. This would allow me to do some quick easy camping wherever I might be. My gratitude goes out to Skip Lackie who provided a partial kit and Gary Ash whose website with drawings and pictures were helpful in forming my vision. I have two bows to work with where a 2 R 11 requires three for the longer bed. I have two of the canvas straightening bars, again too short but good for a form. The cost was close to $600 including fuel for two trips into L.A. for supplies. It took about 4 days including travel time to assemble the frame. Here is what I used:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	tilt1.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	48.2 KB ID:	1851121
    All pieces are 6061 aluminum

    Two original bows cold tool formed channel 1/8x3x101" Caravan hoops

    One flat bar 3/8x3x101 formed by a sheet roller into the third hoop

    Six 1/8x4"x8' bow top supports. The originals were 8 and 10 inches wide in three pieces but too expensive today.

    Two 3/8x3"x8' flat bar bottom supports

    Two 3/8x1 1/2"x8' flat bar as canvas stretchers

    Six 3/8x1 1/2" 10" curved bow supports that fit inside curve of bows and single flat bar

    Six 3/8x4x6" feet that still need to be cut once I have my truck back from the engine builder.

    Eight canvas stretching plates, six @ 1/16thx3 1/2x7 1/2 originals with ribs from Skip that make them 3/8 thick. Two more at 3/8x3 1/2x7 1/2 flat bar.

    I spent nearly a day going from shop to shop until I found a steel tube rolling fabricator. Doing phone work was challenging as no one could visualize what I was trying to create. I was able to get the slats to conform to the bows by alternating between tightening the attaching hardware and beating the slats with a rubber mallett. I was warned that the aluminum could crack but I had no issues.

    My next steps is to find a shop that can create a new canvas, probably Sunbrella material. I have the original short bed canvas but it is quickly deteriorating. Oddly it has windows at both ends? I guess whatever it was used for any privacy was not a consideration! I am considering added material at both ends. Up front so that pockets can be made to insert magnets to keep the front of the canvas from being loose. at the back end I am exploring the possibility of having the canvas extend out over the opened tail gate.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	tilt.jpeg Views:	56 Size:	60.9 KB ID:	1851129
    Last edited by 53 pilgrim; 08-16-2020, 10:20 PM.

  • #2
    I love the concept of the adventure and with our electronic connectivity capabilities these days...I hope you are able to stay connected and share the preparation and real-time experience as you plan the trip as it unfolds. As for the caravan top, if recreating a canvas cover turns out to be too expensive, or complicated, I wouldn't hesitate to have an aluminum frame welded up and/or use aluminum sheeting with front, side, and rear windows as I believe such toppers first appeared in the 1950s but I'm not sure on that.
    I don't know how long Studebaker kept offering the canvas-covered caravan tops, but I think somewhere in my literature for my 1955 truck it is listed as an available accessory.

    In your other post, you mentioned the "flare board" angle. Your picture in this post does not show that view. I hope the board does not follow the angle of the truck bed as it angles inward toward the bed. It seems to me that for a secure dry bed cover, the part that fits into the stake holes and traverses from front to rear on the sides should not follow that angle but be at least level with the very top of the outside radius of the bed. Otherwise, even with a seal, there's a chance in wet weather that water will be channeled into the inside of the truck bed. I could be wrong on the design, but if I am, I'm sure you (or someone) will clue me in.

    I was in an Air Force ground combat outfit in the 1960s and we had a fleet of canvas topped Jeeps, six-bys, and weapons carriers. I recall no problems with the tops, and we rarely fooled with them except for opening and closing the flaps for weather. Maintaining them fell to the motor pool and to the rest of us they were pretty much taken for granted. But, for my personal use, I would be concerned about keeping the fabric protected from buffeting against the wind and subsequent abraision. On the aluminum frame of the canvas top on my personal Jeep CJ5, I kept lots of foam insulation between the frame and the canvas. Those tops are plenty tough and the canvas seemed to hold up better than the stitching. I traded the Jeep for a tractor years ago, but, I think somewhere in my "Stuff"...I still have a spare top with the stitching repairs I did with a Leather Worker's Awl.

    As I said, I am very interested in your project and I hope you keep up your enthusiasm and post pictures with your progress as you proceed.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the last pieces I need to create is the pockets for the canvas stretching plates. The two short bars I received from Skip have three pockets each. I will need four pockets each for the longer bar. I am contemplating removing the six riveted pockets and re-using them necessitating that I only need to manufacture two pockets. Saves a fair amount of time in fabricating. I had originally thought to offer up the originals with pockets to someone contemplating making their own Caravan top. Besides the hoops this part is probably the most challenging to create. Not sure if anyone w Click image for larger version

Name:	slat.jpeg
Views:	133
Size:	43.6 KB
ID:	1851140 ould be interested in these originals if it's all I have.
      The bottom stretching plate is original the top one is a piece I fabricated.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jclary View Post
        I love the concept of the adventure and with our electronic connectivity capabilities these days...I hope you are able to stay connected and share the preparation and real-time experience as you plan the trip as it unfolds. As for the caravan top, if recreating a canvas cover turns out to be too expensive, or complicated, I wouldn't hesitate to have an aluminum frame welded up and/or use aluminum sheeting with front, side, and rear windows as I believe such toppers first appeared in the 1950s but I'm not sure on that.
        I don't know how long Studebaker kept offering the canvas-covered caravan tops, but I think somewhere in my literature for my 1955 truck it is listed as an available accessory.

        In your other post, you mentioned the "flare board" angle. Your picture in this post does not show that view. I hope the board does not follow the angle of the truck bed as it angles inward toward the bed. It seems to me that for a secure dry bed cover, the part that fits into the stake holes and traverses from front to rear on the sides should not follow that angle but be at least level with the very top of the outside radius of the bed. Otherwise, even with a seal, there's a chance in wet weather that water will be channeled into the inside of the truck bed. I could be wrong on the design, but if I am, I'm sure you (or someone) will clue me in.

        I was in an Air Force ground combat outfit in the 1960s and we had a fleet of canvas topped Jeeps, six-bys, and weapons carriers. I recall no problems with the tops, and we rarely fooled with them except for opening and closing the flaps for weather. Maintaining them fell to the motor pool and to the rest of us they were pretty much taken for granted. But, for my personal use, I would be concerned about keeping the fabric protected from buffeting against the wind and subsequent abraision. On the aluminum frame of the canvas top on my personal Jeep CJ5, I kept lots of foam insulation between the frame and the canvas. Those tops are plenty tough and the canvas seemed to hold up better than the stitching. I traded the Jeep for a tractor years ago, but, I think somewhere in my "Stuff"...I still have a spare top with the stitching repairs I did with a Leather Worker's Awl.

        As I said, I am very interested in your project and I hope you keep up your enthusiasm and post pictures with your progress as you proceed.
        Not real fond of the idea of a "tin top". mostly because of the heat buildup inside for camping. I have a Sunbrella top on my VW pickup and I really like it,. It has held up well for six years now- taken off in winter. The feet attach to the Studebaker flare board and since I don't currently have the bed available I'm not able to attach the frame yet. The stake pockets are not part of the assembly. The flare board is. I haven't finished forming the feet just yet. 3/8x 6" tall x 4" wide I have some foam from laminate flooring installation that would work pretty good as padding for the canvas contact points.
        Last edited by 53 pilgrim; 08-16-2020, 10:29 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good work...can you share some photos of the bus too...it looks sweet! A neighbour down the street from me was driving a lowered 60's single cab onto a trailer last week, and then they both disappeared. Don't know what that was all about, but it sure was a cool truck. cheers, junior
          sigpic
          1954 C5 Hamilton car.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 53 pilgrim View Post
            My next steps is to find a shop that can create a new canvas, probably Sunbrella material.
            Lots of awning companies in the San Bernardino area to choose from. If they take a job that small. https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffnt&q=Awn...=v189-1&ia=web

            "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

            Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
            '33 Rockne 10,
            '51 Commander Starlight,
            '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
            '56 Sky Hawk

            Comment


            • #7
              Yep, lot's of need to stay out of 100 degree plus heat for the next two weeks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Click image for larger version  Name:	feet.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	48.6 KB ID:	1851232

                Here are the feet. I started to bend one so that you get the idear.
                Last edited by 53 pilgrim; 08-16-2020, 11:11 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by junior View Post
                  Good work...can you share some photos of the bus too...it looks sweet! A neighbour down the street from me was driving a lowered 60's single cab onto a trailer last week, and then they both disappeared. Don't know what that was all about, but it sure was a cool truck. cheers, junior
                  Click image for larger version

Name:	bus stop.jpg
Views:	74
Size:	45.3 KB
ID:	1851276
                  1957 Kombi

                  Click image for larger version

Name:	vwcaravan2.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	45.4 KB
ID:	1851279

                  Click image for larger version

Name:	vwcaravan1.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	34.6 KB
ID:	1851278
                  1962 Single Cab with "Caravan" Top



                  Attached Files

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X