Datsun Roadster Parts from Rallye Enterprises, Ltd.


In short; the front bow of the 68-70's was an extremely weak design and almost all the ones we see have at least SOME degree of damage, which eventually leads to much more serious damage.

Even tops on cars the people think are "fine"; if you run your hand over the forward flat area of the front bow you can usually feel the tell-tale ripple or "dent" that is a dead-bang giveway. Most people don't realize this and usually won't strip off a good top to fix something that is working at the MOMENT. I see many such frames; and have purchased many such frames from people advertising them as "Good Frames". Whether it is out of ignorance or dishonesty or sloppy laziness I don't know. We do not do this; even though the pictures and long descriptions of frames we sell can be off-putting.

Much better I think to know what's going on; to reinforce the bow BEFORE spending $$$ to have top material installed and have it literally break apart later (which they do).

It is extremely unusual to see a used top frame that does not need some kind of work done to the front bow, either minor or major. A number of reasons have contributed to eventual problems with the front softop bow on the 1968-70s. Primarily the front bow was a weak design, like a big long hollow soda can. If it had been made of a heavier guage metal it would have survived much better. A secondary problem is that a lot of owners never figured out the way to put the top up with minimal strain on the front bow. Stress is generated in the middle of the bow, eventually causing it to collapse and or crack from fatigue. See "How to Put Your Frame Up". Not using a center latch spacer (#4 above) also increases stress on the middle of the front bow. Symptoms of this condition start with a mild dent and progress to a major dent, flattening, tearing of the metal and eventually the bow breaks completely in half. On top of this water condenses under the top and/or leaks in and rust begins, both on the surface of the bow and inside further weakening the structure. Even moisture from fog or morning dew is enough to surface rust the front bow since it lives under the top material or the bow inner vinyl covering.

Any frame that shows even the slightest dent or crack in it should be taken apart by a body shop and a some bracing installed. Then you would have a long lasting solution. Even with a softop installed on a frame it is eassy to run your fingers over the curved but generally flat area above the windshield and feel waves or "dents" which is the signal that failure is coming. Actually EVERY frame; undamaged or not will face this unless of course it is your top and you know the frame has not been stressed improperly during the raising of the top. The frames that already have more damage need to be brought back to health by a body shop or metalworker. Sometimes they need to use the car as a guide as to how the curve should be. The curve can change during the repair process so on any repaired one you still may need to redo the curve of the bow to match your windshield. Are you using the factory spacer under the middle clamp? If not it will NEVER seal no matter what you do and will be under increased stress. The spacers are hard to find but pretty easy to make.

The rear hoops are typically in useable condition as they are. If there is something unusual, i.e heavier than typical surface rust, or a gleaming pristine surface, it will be noted in the descriptions. Most of the frames tend to have surface rust from condensation under the two snap flaps on the center rear bar.

With ANY frame; you may encounter stripped threads in a hole; or some other similar problem. Broken off screws/bolts we can usually see and note; but we'd have to actually restore one of these frames and install it and a top on a car to be sure exactly WHAT the condition is. All kinds of junk has been sold by others (usually individuals; as "OK" or "GOOD") with none of the above information forthcoming.

Click on any blue part number to see picture(s) and sometimes additional information on the particular used frame. Hit the "BACK TO USED TOPS" link below.


Any of the "68-70" frames can be put on a 68-70 car and will work just fine. There are differences between a 68 frame and a 69-70 frame which comes into play when ordering a top or trying to mate up a separate front bow with separate rear hoops. See the discussion on top gutter styles and frame shape here if interested.

The softop frame is just that, the bare frame, order new top material from the TOPS & TONNEAU'S page.

The top frame includes the front bow and the rear hoops. The front bow is a big black hollow sheet metal piece. The frame also includes the rear hoops.

The frame does not include any items but those two.


Many other parts are involved with the softop. In some cases frames may be pictured with and/or described with some of these items. If not mentioned or pictured the frame DOES NOT INCLUDE THEM.

Three Latches to go on Front Bow (pic #3)

Three Latch Receivers to go on W/shld frame; which also hold visors and mirror. They are most likely on your car.

Side Top Supports (pic #5)

"Twistys and Postys" (pic #6) There should be 6 twistys on the back and side of the car and 10 postys on the sides including the two up by the vent window for the tonneau cover. These are only available new; on the softop page in the NEW PARTS sections. The kit is #999-97. Individual pieces are also listed on that page.

Softop Weatherstrip #977-02 listed on the W/strip page in the NEW PARTS section.

And of course the top material itself; with the windows heat-sunk in. The softop material comes with the necessary grommets for a professional auto upholsterer to install to fit the top perfectly; but not the aforementioned rear bar.

Optional but nice to have are the side cables and the knife blade attachment (pic #1) on the end of the cable and the mating receiver for the cable-spring "knife blade" (#2). (info below)

Spacer that goes behind center top latch on front bow. (#4) If ordering a top frame that already has latches on it; or listing says latches are included HAS THIS PIECE ALREADY.

Some of these items can usually be purchased separately or with the frame as needed as a new or used part. (see numbered pics below and info in the text) We have pictured some of them below. There are three front bow to windshield frame latches (#3). Shown is the front and back of the center latch, which has the rectangular locating peg that projects out the right center side of the picture. The side latches do not have this peg. (Some hardtops were designed to use these same latches, so check your hardtop, you may be able to swap them instead of purchasing more if they look like the ones below.)

On each side of your car body behind the seats, only a few inches from your seat tilt latches are part #2 and #5. The #5 part is what holds your softop frame side support bars, the main posts that hold up the frame. These mounts are also used to hold most hardtops on the car. The #2 part is the receptacle that the #1 part slides into. The #1 part is the softop cable end bracket. The cars originally came with cables (actually a long small diameter spring) that was inside the top material around the side windows. The spring cable acts like an elastic band, designed to keep the top tighter against the window glass. These cables were not available as a separate part; except UGLY used ones if purchased with a frame. On one end of the cable was a sheet metal "eye" that attached to a screw on the sides of the front bow. On the other end was #1, a knife-blade like bracket that you hand push into the #2 clamp bracket. You pull down on part #1 as hard as possible then shove it into the clamping portion of part #2 to keep the cable tight. Universal cable is sometimes available at upholstery supply houses. The part shown as #4 is a spacer that goes behind the center top latch. This isn't in the original parts book, it may have been a solution Nissan came up with to lessen stresses on the front bow after the cars were sold; to help align the front bow properly. These can be hard to find but you can have a workable replacement fabricated fairly easily.




There are a couple of other items that do not come with a used frame. One is a curved and tapered bar that is sewn into the rear of the top; kind of like a narrow yardstick. This bar is what slides under the "chrome teardrop" receivers that just forward of the front edge of the trunk lid. It would be tough to correctly reproduce this bar as it is curved in two directions, one of which is so it acts like a spring to hold the top's shape between the two teardrops. An acceptable look can be achieved however by using a "homemade" bar or using two shorter ones, one on each side. This is what is normally done when you get a tonneau cover or top boot. Used originals are sometimes available.

Also not included is the padded cover that you normally see sitting in the car. If we don't have this piece for sale separately you will have to have an upholsterer cover the bow.

The other item is a very light piece of sheet metal, cut into a curved pattern to screw on to the front bow after the top is glued over the front edge. It helps keep the top material fastened to the front bow. Most of these have been so beat up or rusted that there isn't much of the metal left. These can be easily duplicated by trimming some light metal like that which is used in household heating ducts. It doesn't need to be one piece it can be made out of a number of separate pieces.


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