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Publication numberUS3385629 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 28, 1968
Filing dateJan 18, 1967
Priority dateJan 18, 1967
Publication numberUS 3385629 A, US 3385629A, US-A-3385629, US3385629 A, US3385629A
InventorsPodolan Edward G
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Folding top structure
US 3385629 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 28, 1968 E. G. PODOLAN' FOLDING TOP STRUCTURE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 18, 1967 AT TORNEY y 23, 1968 E. G. PODOLAN FOLDING TOP STRUCTURE 2 Sheets-Shegt 2 Filed Jan. 13, 1967 ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,385,629 FOLDING TOP STRUCTUR Edward G. Podolan, Utica, MICIL, assignor to General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Mich, a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 18, 1967, Ser. No. 610,121 4 Claims. (Cl. 296-146) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Folding top structure for an automotive vehicle includes foldable side rails mounting a rear bow member supporting a top cover provided with a backlite opening closable by a substantially rigid glass backlite movable between open and closed positions relative to the cover. Cables are connected between the backlite and the side rails and supported on the rear bow member in a manner to operate in tension to move the backlite from open to closed position as the side rail structure moves from lowered to raised position.

In my earlier Patent 3,236,557 issued Feb. 22, 1966 and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, there is discolsed vehicle folding top structure wherein a substantially rigid glass backlite closure member is mounted on the body by means independent of the folding top structure proper for movement between open and closed positions in response to folding top movement between lowered and raised positions. The present invention provides further improvement in this type of folding top structure in that the rigid backlite closure member is mounted directly on the folding top structure proper and is moved between open and closed position by closure control means integrated within the folding top structure in a manner eliminating the need for the added costly independent closure mounting means of that prior structure.

One feature of this invention is that it provides a new and improved automotive vehicle folding top structure including a substantially rigid backlite closure of maximum size mounted directly on the folding top proper for movement between open and closed positions either simultaneously with movement of the folding top proper between raised and lowered positions, or independently thereof.

Another feature of this invention is that it provides a folding top including side rail structure foldable between raised and lowered positions and mounting a rear bow member supporting a top cover having a backlite opening therein, with a backlite closure member being provided to move into closed position over the backlite opening by the operation of closure control means connected between the closure member and the side rail structure remote from the rear bow member.

Another feature of this invention is that the closure control means is operatively associated with or guided by the rear bow member so that the closure member assumes proper disposition relative thereto in closed position.

These and other features and advantages of the invention will be readily apparent from the following description and from the drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary partially broken away elevational view of a convertible vehicle body including folding top structure according to this invention and showing the backlite closure member in closed and open positions in solid and broken lines respectively;

FIGURE 2 is a view similar to FIGURE 1 showing the folding top structure in lowered position;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG- URE 1;


FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken generally along the plane indicated by lines 4-4 of FIGURE 3; and

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken generally along the plane indicated by lines 55 of FIGURE 3.

Referring now particularly to FIGURE 1 of the drawings, there is shown the rear quarter area of a convertible vehicle body 10 including a rear quarter portion 12 and an opposite rear quarter portion 14, the two quarter portions partially defining a rear folding top storage compartment as shown. A folding top structure 16 according to this invention is mounted on body 10 for movement between raised position as shown and a lowered position within the storage well, FIGURE 2. The folding top proper is of generally conventional construction and includes foldable side rails 18 adjacent either rear quarter portion 12 and 14 having rear side rail sections pivoted on the rear quarter portions as at 20. The forward side rail sections are not shown as they are of conventional configuration and form no part of the invention. Folding top 16 further includes a generally conventional U-shaped rear bow member 22 having opposite end portions pivotally mounted on the side rails 18 as at 24, and including an intermediate transverse portion 26. A like center bow member 28 extends between the side rails at a location forwardly of the rear bow and has a similar transverse portion 30. The center bow may be either movably mounted by linkage at each end to the side rails 18 in known manner for controlled stabilized movement as the folding top moves between raised and lowered position, or may be rigidly attached to each side rail. Additional forward bow members, not shown, may also be mounted transversely of the side rails. The center and rear bows 22 and 28 serve to support a top cover member 32 of fabric or like flexible construction, the rearward portions of the cover being secured about the folding top opening in the body 10 in the storage well area by a tacking strip 34. A tacking strip 35 in transverse portion 26 of the rear bow secures the cover to the folding top frame, as do similar tacking strips in the forward bow or header members.

The cover 32 is provided with a backlite opening or cutout defined by marginal sewn edges in the cover as at 36 and 38. A substantially rigid backlite closure member 40 is provided to close the backlite opening and may be fabricated of tempered glass or like construction. Adjacent its lower or rearward edge, the closure 40 has c mented or otherwise suitably secured thereto one edge of a fabric or like flap 42 fixed by a tacking strip or otherwise to the vehicle body adjacent the top well opening. The flap permits the closure to nestle in lowered or open position at the bottom of the top storage well providing adequate room for retraction of the folding top structure thereinto;

For controlling movement of closure 40 between its positions, a pair of cables 44 are strung at either side of the folding top between the center how 28 and the closure, only one such cable adjacent rear quarter 14 being shown for convenience. At the center bow connection, the end of the cable 44 may be wrapped once or twice about the transverse portion 30 and welded, screwed or otherwise secured thereto. The other end of the cable is strung through aligned guidance apertures indicated at 46 in the flanges of the transverse portion 26 of rear bow 22 as shown in FIGURE 3. A hook 48 is secured on the end of the cable adjacent the rear bow.

Adjacent the upper edge of closure 40 at each side thereof is mounted by cement or otherwise a latch plate structure 50 having a pair of cars 52 carrying a pivot pin 54 which swingably mounts a latch actuating lever 56. Lever 56 swingably mounts the ends of a generally U- shaped latching member 58 receivable within the bight of hook 48. Latch lever 56 is swingable to move latching member 58 overcenter of pin 54 between an unlatching position indicated in broken lines in FIGURE 3, and a latching position in solid lines wherein the latching member engages a limit stop pin 60 fixed on latch plate 50. A conventional clasp 62 on the latch plate has the bolt portion 64 thereof receivable through an aperture in latch lever 56 and rotatable between an unlocking position indicated in FIGURE 3, and a locking position shown in FIGURE 5.

Marginal sewn edge 36 of cover 32 forming the upper edge of the backlite opening is preferably provided with a relatively rigid reinforcement strip 66, the fabric of cover 32 being looped over the strip and sewn, and with a compressible sealing strip placed thereover to provide a smooth sealing contact surface engageable by the upper surface of the closure 40. Under the tension of cables 44 hereinafter described, the closure engages such surface compressively to provide weather-tight closing of the backlite opening. Similar seal arrangements may be provided at the respective side edges of the backlite opening of the cover and adjacent the lower sewn edge 38. Should in some conditions it be found that this seal arrangement is not satisfactory, it may be preferable to provide a rearwardly opening channel-shaped seal strip on upper marginal edge 36 for receiving the edge of closure 40. Additional cables may be strung through rear bow 22 and the seal strip between center bow 28 and such closure edge to insure guidance of the closure into the seal strip.

In operation, and assuming the latching members 58 as being latched over hooks 48, upward movement of folding top 16 from lowered position proceeds in conventional manner with the main structure thereof including the side rails 18 undergoing some degree of upward movement before slack in the cables 44, indicated in FIGURE 2, is taken up to begin movement of closure 40. Continued upward movement tensions the cables to pull closure 40 and flap 42 upwardly and forwardly of the body. In the fully raised position of FIGURE 1, center bow 28 exerts sufiicient forward and slightly upward thrust through cables 44 to closure 40 as to tension flap 42 against cover 32 for sealing engagement of the closure 40 at the lower sewn edge 38. Additionally, the normal cloth tension experienced in cover 32 forward of rear bow 22 and between rear bow 22 and tacking strip 34 locates the rear bow firmly in the position shown, wherein the guidance apertures 46 therein serve to place additional upward thrust on the cables forcing the closure 40 sealingly against the cover.

In top lowering movement, release of tension in cables 44 allows the closure 40 to settle neatly into the top storage well ahead of movement of the folding top proper thereinto. Should it be desired to raise and lower the closure 40 between open and closed positions relative to the cover 32 with the latter remaining in raised position, the latches on the closure are released so that the closure may be manually guided into and out of the storage well. In relatching the closure in its closed position, it is seen that the overcenter arrangement of the latching members 58 serves for convenient manual tensioning of the cables 44 to again locate the closure in sealing engagement with the cover 32. It will be appreciated that similar results may obtain with the use of elastic straps or cords in place of the cables 44.

It is seen that the rigid backlite closure arrangement of the folding top of this invention provides advantage in not requiring additional bulky body mounted guidance structure for the closure. Additionally, it is apparent that this arrangement provides advantage over Zipper or like mounted backlites integrated directly within the folding top cover rear portion in that the backlite herein is not limited to travel directly with the rear bow during top raising and lowering movement. Accordingly, the path geometry or sweep of the rear how does not alfect the size of the backlite, and the latter may be proportioned to maximum size.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:

1. In a vehicle folding top including foldable rail structure movable between raised and lowered positions, a rear bow member movable with said rail structure between said positions thereof, a top cover provided with a backlite opening therein having an upper edge adjacent said rear bow, and a substantially rigid backlite closure member movable relative to said cover between an open posilion and a closed position closing said opening, the improvement comprising closure control means connected to said closure member and to said rail structure at a point remote from said rear bow member, said control means being responsive to movement of said side rail structure from the lowered to the raised position thereof to move said closure member from the open to the closed position thereof, said control means being guided by said rear bow member for predetermined disposition of said closure member relative thereto in the closed position of said closure member.

2. A vehicle folding top as recited in claim 1 wherein said control means operates in tension during top raising movement of said rail structure.

3. A vehicle folding top as recited in claim 2 wherein said control means includes a cable extending between said rail structure and said closure member, said rear bow member having cable guiding means thereon.

4. A vehicle folding top as recited in claim 1 further including releasable means connecting said control means with said closure for movement of said closure member selectively either as a unit with said rail structure or independently thereof.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,252,731 5/1966 Brynn et al 296-145 3,236,557 2/1966 Podolan 296145 LEO FRIAGLIA, Primary Examiner.

R. SONG, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3236557 *Sep 8, 1964Feb 22, 1966Gen Motors CorpFolding top structure
US3252731 *Sep 28, 1964May 24, 1966Gen Motors CorpFolding top having bow connecting means
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4182468 *Oct 21, 1977Jan 8, 1980Hoerner Griffith LCombined closure and rumble seat for automobiles
US4693509 *Mar 28, 1986Sep 15, 1987General Motors CorporationConvertible top
US4784428 *Jul 27, 1987Nov 15, 1988General Motors CorporationApparatus and method of a convertible top with hard glass with bottom sealing
US6015181 *Nov 12, 1997Jan 18, 2000Exner; Anna L.Flush fit removable backlight
US6659533Sep 9, 2002Dec 9, 2003Asc IncorporatedVehicle convertible roof
US6789836Jul 14, 2003Sep 14, 2004Asc IncorporatedConvertible backlite control system
US6935677Jun 11, 2003Aug 30, 2005Edscha Roof Systems Inc.Backlite retention system
US7014246 *Sep 9, 2003Mar 21, 2006Wilhelm Karmann GmbhFoldable tops for convertible vehicles
US20040119315 *Sep 9, 2003Jun 24, 2004Wilhelm Karmann GmbhFoldable tops for convertible vehicles
US20040251713 *Jun 11, 2003Dec 16, 2004Edscha Roof Systems Inc.Backlite retention system
EP1329348A2 *Jan 7, 2003Jul 23, 2003Wilhelm Karmann GmbHFolding roof with rear window for a convertible vehicle
U.S. Classification296/146.14
International ClassificationB60J1/18
Cooperative ClassificationB60J1/1823
European ClassificationB60J1/18B2