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Discussion Starter #1
I just thought I would share this little project in case anyone was interested.
A little background first. The project car I did the install on was a POS I picked up last year and have been slowly fixing up. No major projects yet, just more or less clean up and sort out. My purpose when I bought it was to tear out everything non-essential and reduce weight as much as possible. I had done pretty well getting down to just over 2000 lbs. I had ditched the soft-top for a hard top I bought from another CR member. I had shipped the hardtop up from SoCal and the hardtop suffered major damage in shipping, cracked the shell and broke the window. At the time I decided to keep with the low-weight theme and fixed the fiberglass and ran without a rear window (I had no side windows anyway).
Fast forward to this October. On the way to work I wrecked my 4-Runner, I made the decision that I didn't want to buy a new vehicle so I decided to throw doors and a rear window into the Miata and drive it. Well doors weren't bad but dear god is the glass for a hardtop expensive. I decided to make a rear-windshield from Lexan, I figured it would be cheaper and lighter and would fit with my "Minimalist Roadster" theme. I chose 1/16" Lexan which came to $80 (would have been cheaper but I had them cut the windshield pattern from a template I supplied). I then used a heat-gun to form the Lexan to the frame. The straight center portions of the windshield were fixed with brushed aluminum runners and the curved side portions with bolts and washers (all hardware in stainless). I used a flexible clear silicon sealer to seal it all up but I plan to take it all apart this summer and do more finish work (and perhaps a total vehicle repaint). At that time I'll weigh it to see just how much I saved.
Here are a few pictures from the project.







 

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Discussion Starter #5
VERY nice, any scratches?
Some, but not very noticeable. It will be interesting to see how it holds up and if it does get scratchy, whether I can use plastic polish to keep it acceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
wow thats awesome man. do you still have the template?
Leatherface24-Yes, i kept it just in case. My only mistake is that I didn't account for losing a little length as the flat Lexan was bent. This caused the edges to shorten a little, and you can see in the last picture that the Lexan doesn't extend fully to the edge where the original weatherstripping would be. If I make a new one, I'lll make it a little long. And if anyone wants a copy of the template I could arrange to trace it on paper and ship a copy.

cool little project. and 80$ for the lexan doesnt seem too bad. I wonder how much total weight you saved. Is there any wind noise?
PcolasNA-The original windshield was HEAVY, I'm guessing around 10lbs (just a wild-ass guess though). And I didn't drive it today so I haven't really had a chance to evaluate wind-noise. Later I'll update the thread with weight and wind noise info.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What size rivets did you use? Or are those bolts?
Slutz4-They are actually small stainless steel hex-head cap bolts. Those cost almost as much as the Lexan. Could easily be riveted in or attached with cheaper hardware. Also, I didn't mention in the original post but once I formed the windshield I was halfwat tempted to order new molding and simply install it as a replacement for the glass. I think if it were formed oversize (possibly heating and molding it against the original glass) it could then be trimmed and fit into th original molding. My molding was shot so I didn't go this route.
 

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aka Panda
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WOW! considering that you can buy an aftermarket hardtop without the glass for $500, this could make a really affordable alternative to a used one.
 

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brontosaurus
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Fab shop on eBay sells them from florida, cpfabrication... Cffabrication... Something like that is the sellers name. Haha. Doesn't make sense to make one livable for the street. A track car that doesn't need windows or seals would be perfect. Top only weighs 12lbs iirc.

I was quoted $200 shipping to CA. Say $80 for materials to make the lexan window, The seals are expensive as ****, then it still doesn't have paint. It works out to be cheaper to just get a used top.

Here's a price list from miataroadster I found on this forum for the seals. It might be out dated now though. A member said he paid almost $400 in hardtop seals. Pretty nuts.

 

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Awesome stuff! Out of curiosity, is there any other way than fixing it with rivets/bolts? I'm about to do the same but I'm chasing a minimalistic OEM flush look..
 
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