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SunTop Update: November 2022

SunTop Update: November 2022

SunTop Update: November 2022

Another day another 6 months. That’s the saying, right? Well, that’s how long it’s been since we gave y’all an “official” update.

The TL;DR* of our last update in May 2022 is:

  • Had a shop we thought could assist in production but they bailed.
  • The search resets!
  • The top inner panels are now FORGED CARBON FIBER instead of plastic…because it’s better.
  • Bolts, sealant, and finishing components are sourced and ready.
  • Cannot find anyone to thermoform our acrylic (“glass”) top panel into the Targa roof shape.
  • Daddy chill…we’re working on it.

*That is Kent’s “synopsis” of the last update.

But now the NEW update…and SHE. IS. A. DOOZY.

We found a great partner in a thermoforming company that is just south of Kent in Denver (shoutout 303/720!). Anyway, they were awesome in the fact that they didn’t tell us “We don’t understand and aren’t interested thanks –“ *click* which is more than we can say for the other (about 20) businesses we contacted (in half as many states) about this.

While it’s great we found a shop about an hour from Kent’s estate…all of the top materials the shop needed to give us an accurate quote were safely at Brad’s house…7 hours away…in Nebraska. We needed to get the shop an OEM Targa top, a completed Ameripol top, a completed OldSols SunTop prototype, and all of the components of an unassembled top.

We looked into shipping it…and the cost is insane. So, Kent stole his wife’s car and came back to the “The Good Life” (now it’s “Save The Sols” though, thanks Nebraska Tourism office)! Selfishly, it was likely more motivated by Casey’s Pizza. If you’re not familiar, Casey’s is a Midwest pizza joint that also sells gas as like a side hustle we think?

Two days and 1,000 miles later he had been back to collect the goods, have an OldSols “executive summit” (in Brad’s basement), and then headed west like that country rodent. He met with the owner of the shop, explained what these tops even were, why they’re important to everyone, and asked if he could help. Since we came this far (both in time and literal miles) we wanted to see if we could make a design tweak.

It looks like the design change is going forward as well. With Ameripol tops they are completely flat across the top, losing the water channel that Honda put in the OEM roof. After working with their engineer and mold creator we’re happy to report that OldSols SunTops will, for the first time ever, have OEM-like water channels…but with glass!

Basically, this is a completely redesigned top with new features and utilizing modern production techniques. We have our entire SunTops story on the website if you want to start at the beginning of the sage. But the mold we were provided when we purchased Ameripol was damaged and worthless. They (Ameripol) also utilized a now outdated method of thermoforming, so even if the old mold was perfect, it would be worthless and we would have had to do this anyway.

We bring up the mold because it’s…a lot of Schrute Bucks and even more Stanley Nickels. Like way more money than we were expecting. Like, enough money that if we bailed on this project, we could just each get a real nice Del Sol VTEC instead. Like, If we understood how any of this truly worked we’d just quit our jobs and open a thermoforming shop and dive into our gold coin pool.

We’re not complaining (entirely). It is an incredibly difficult process to make a mold from scratch down to millimeters of the OEM fitment so it’s just like a stock top fit, but better in every conceivable way. It takes time, expertise, machines, and frankly skills that we do not possess so we’re just thankful they were willing to work with a small setup like ours.

The lead time for them to get the mold created and Q&A tested is 6-12 weeks and due to existing projects will likely not be able to start until the new year. That puts us at HOPEFULLY sending the first batch out to you all sometime before Spring!

To be extra clear. If we did not move forward with the ONE shop that agreed to take on our project despite not producing 1,000 tops…this would not be happening at all. We tell you alllllll of that because you all deserve it after sticking with us and being so incredibly patient. The prototype and mold costs were much higher than we anticipated which just means we will have a smaller first batch of tops than we anticipated.

As of now this is how it is looking for the first batch, but it could change:

  • The initial run of 25 SunTops in Spring 2023
    • 15 Black tops with Black Forged Carbon Fiber Inner Top
    • 5 Amber tops with Gold Forged Carbon Fiber Inner Top
    • 5 Blue tops with Blue Forged Carbon Fiber Inner Top

We do not have a final price yet. We know, it’s what everyone wants to know. There are a lot of variables to consider and we do not want to grossly misspeak either way. But new Ameripol tops were around $750 and some change nearly twenty years ago. We can say, with absolute certainty, that new OldSols SunTops will be more than that price. How much more, we don’t know. But we’re two guys with a dream and some credit cards our wives don’t know about…

We’re not a multi-million dollar manufacturing company (Ameripol also did glass Corvette Targa tops which made them much more money and are still in production). In fact, we’re not a manufacturing company. We just wanted some new tops and this was somehow the easiest thing we could think of.

What we can promise is that we’re not going to price gouge you. We won’t lose money on this, but OldSols has never been about the “business.” It’s a way we could share what we’re passionate about with other people who are passionate about it as well. They will be expensive and a luxury item for the Del Sol for sure. You do not need our top as a $50 junkyard special will keep the elements out just as well. But that’s lame…that’s why we buy cool stuff…because it’s cool.

But the minute we get the final price locked down, we’ll let you know. All OldSols SunTops will be (hand)made in America at every point in the process. All tops will be numbered and stamped with that as we’re proud to also get to support other small businesses. The first batch #1 – #25 will have a special numbering plate, which is likely how we will do the numbering, and we’re thinking of something cool to include with the first batch (it’s a pretty historic moment for us)!

But we will open the pre-orders up at a specific date and time. Because we’re selfish a-holes, we’re keeping SunTop #001, which will be black. But #2 – #25 will be numbered in the order they were pre-ordered. So that could be black, amber, amber, amber, black, blue, etc. Sounds weird, but we want to make sure that if you ordered a blue top as soon as we open, that YOU have SunTop #2 not #23 because that is where we labeled the five blue tops.

Again this may change, but right now it is looking like we will collect a $500 dollar, non-refundable deposit with your pre-order. The remainder of your balance will be due at the time of shipping your top to you. We understand that things come up between pre-orders and fulfillments (probably about 4-6 weeks). If that does happen, PLEASE communicate with us and we may be able to work out something so you do not lose your place in-line and your deposit.

Speaking of shipping, Brad and I have decided to make our final price to include free shipping within the continental United States. We will still absolutely ship anywhere that Fed Ex (legit by far cheaper than any other shipper) will go, there will just be an additional shipping charge for that. The tops come in boxes that are equivalent to boxes for 40” flatscreen TVs. Just to put that in perspective.

LONG update, if you stuck with it this far then again, THANK YOU. We love you guys and gals and this community and the passion y’all have for this obscure little car is why we’ve been working on this for the last couple of years. We will update more as the mold gets done and will be at the thermoforming shop when the FIRST glass top rolls out of the Ferrari of thermoforming molds!

Questions, comments, concerns? Reach out on our forums, Discord, or social media channels!

Thanks!

Kent & Brad

There are 2 comments

  1. Azteo 2 weeks ago

    Take my money lol black carbon plz and thank you

  2. steve lentz 2 weeks ago

    I am not 100% sure if they could help you out. I live in PA and we have a local plant that makes all kinds of thermo form plastic products. the company name is
    McClarin plastics hanover pa. maybe they can help with this process. they do all types of molds for boats and planes.

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