View Full Version : Golde History

03-12-2010, 02:43 AM
I got curious as to whether there could have been a 1958 TBird with a Golde sliding roof in 1958 (in other words, was it added later as a prototype for the actual 1960 efforts?).

I found the following out:

the Golde Company (which is originally European) had an office in Michigan as early as 1957. See http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/a/asc/asc.htm
the February 1958 issue of Popular Science talked about Golde offering sunroofs - both cloth and metal; mechanical and electric. See http://books.google.com/books?id=3CUDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA181&lpg=PA181&dq=%22golde+body+parts%22&source=bl&ots=gtdfdhJZRl&sig=vK4SkcLv4G-t945_CjP6dWrZPzg&hl=en&ei=lOeZS-_YH4T78AbKpf2wDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CB4Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%22golde%20body%20parts%22&f=falseSomeone might look at the photo in the article and decide if the Ford car modeling the sunroof has a windbar. I can't tell... **

So the Squarebird prototype was certainly possible. The one detail that required some real effort was the windbar, which has nothing to do with Golde, per se, and would require casting for production, although a prototype could have been hand made.

Lest anyone think Golde somehow pioneered the sunroof, they should know that the 1938-1942 Cadillac line offered sunroofs as an option (like the 1960 Squarebird, very few were chosen by customers - 1509 over the 4 year period). See http://www.car-nection.com/Yann/Dbas_txt/Factq-s.htm Sunroofs, both mechanical and electrical, were available in the 1950s as well.

The original patent in the US goes back to 1938 and a fellow named Emery Glenn Simpson . (see again http://www.car-nection.com/Yann/Dbas_txt/Factq-s.htm )

At some point, a 1960 Squarebird was located in a New Hampshire salvage yard that had an electric version, the only known example. It was eventually removed and shipped to Europe (to Rockin' Kev, see http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=1891 in this forum) and he in turn used it. The question at that time was: could this have been an original example or something done after the fact? Having read all that I have tonight, it would now seem entirely possible (which is not the same as saying it was guaranteed).

(I got interested in pursuing this tonight while watching an old episode of My Classic Car where the episode focused on a 1938 Caddie with a sunroof. In reading Alexander's original posts again, recently, in Squarebirds, I realized how fascinated he was with the Golde Tops, and felt he might appreciate some fresh information.)

** (later) I found a copy of that issue of Popular Science and bought it ($4) so I can look at the photo in a bit better form.

1958 Nonsunroof

Richard D. Hord
03-12-2010, 08:07 AM
Hey John,
You go man! Thanks for digging up all that information, very interesting!
Richard D. Hord

Dan Leavens
03-13-2010, 06:49 PM
John great stuff and it looks ( by the time you started the thread 1.37 am) that you are well into the investigation. Let us know how you make out and I like your sudo handle ( 1958 non-suunroof ) Priceless.

03-13-2010, 07:32 PM
Some new history today! Automotive milesposts has a relatively extensive discussion of Golde Top development, including testing of a prototype in January of 1959. This may be read at http://automotivemileposts.com/prod1960tbird.html and is most interesting stuff for those of you so inclined.

The story goes that Ford was approached by Golde and Company in 1957 regarding their sun roof feature. Golde had opened a new office in Detroit with the intention of having the American automobile manufacturers offer their sun roof. Ford was interested, and during the Fall of 1957 and Winter of 1958, Ford engineers adapted hardware for the sun roof that would work with the Thunderbird roof structure. Mockups were made and by January 1959 a working sun roof prototype unit had been fitted to a 1959 Thunderbird Hardtop. William Clay Ford, Product Planner Donald Petersen, and Thunderbird Stylist Bill Boyer met at the Dearborn Test Track on a frigid January day for a test drive in the prototype car

Thus there were 1958 Squarebirds at Ford with Golde tops, and perfectly possible that Golde would have photographed one for their own literature!

(I also remain puzzled as to why literature always refers to Golde as having patented the sunroof when there is documented evidence of an American patent in 1938 - E.G. Simpson -; perhaps the patent Golde had originated in Germany).

Unfortunately, Automotive Mileposts does not provide sources for it's article, making it hard to research further - common problem of the Internet.

Golde Top fans may enjoy the following TV commercial on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAhkrD2ha-0 .Not only is it in color but you get to watch the sliding roof in use from the inside! (you have to wait 4 minutes to get past another Ford commercial). Those of us who are dog lovers will enjoy the owner hopping in his TBird with his rather large canine companion in the passenger seat!


http://www.braatenclassics.com/60tbird/9.jpg (http://www.braatenclassics.com/60tbird/gallerypgp.htm)

Rockin Kev
03-13-2010, 11:51 PM
I have that Golde Brochure S C H I E B E D A C H E R which clearly shows a 1957/8 Ford Fairlane with the WINDBAR!!!
The windbar along the front of the crome surround around the windscreen is thin and held in place by a support each end.
The photo i have is a clear colour shot, but with no digi cam i cant post it on here for you to see at the moment.
Out of interest the roof serial number was model 39 all steel sliding roof.

You could order the all steel sliding roof with a plexiglas insert, as used on the 1960 Pontiac range but that another story!.

Hope this answer your question John

Rockin Kev
03-14-2010, 12:00 AM
Also i have the shots of the power options too, a nice original book showing the Pontiac with manual or power roof option.

03-14-2010, 12:22 AM
Thanks, Kev!

From any of your information, especially the power roof you got from New Hampshire, how was the power run to the motor?? That would have seem to have required some advance planning by Ford whereas the manual roofs were a self contained project.

Rockin Kev
03-14-2010, 07:56 PM
The power ran from the Inigtion barrel the power lead ran up the dogs leg of the windscreen, to a motor...that motor turned a fexi drive steel cable that turned a large cog.....this would push and pull worm style cables that ran each side of the roof.
A simple design, the motor was made by Bosch a German make.
The switch to open and close the roof was beside the windscreen washer switch on the dogs leg part of the screen so you used your index finger to open and close the roof without your hands leaving the steering wheel

03-14-2010, 09:31 PM
Interesting! and makes alot of sense.

Do you remember the switch? Was it a switch like they used for the power windows?

03-17-2010, 08:02 AM
Just receieved the Feb 1958 issue of Popular Science (no remarks about how slow the mail is my way .... )

On page 180 is a section "What's New" and announces the following:

If you like the sun and fresh air enough to spend $300-500, you can have a sliding roof installed in your car, station wagon or even cabin boat. Two styles, metal and fabric, are made by the Golde Body Parts and you can even have your choice of manual or automatic electric operation.

The accompanying photo is of a station wagon. It is still hard to tell if it has a windbar or not. I think it does. At any rate the above paragraph gives me a good sense of the origin of the windbar concept: boats!! Such hardware is common to boats and if Golde was marketing their product to that community as well, then adapting the idea to cars makes alot of sense and also may have provided an easy source for a prototype windbar, with appropriate modification to the curve of the TBird roof.


How things have changed: the magazine is a packed 288 pages for a mere 35 cents! Page 122 happens to have an article on the new Thunderbird: "T-Bird Now Totes 4" and discusses the design issues and compromises that went into the car.

Rockin Kev
04-02-2010, 02:56 AM
The switch was the same used in an Aston martin from 1960, Db3, the switch i had was so rusted out, it was usable but not good, it was a friend who said that the switch is the same used by aston martin for the cars power windows.....stroke of luck and 105.00 later i had one ($200!!!)