The editorial Rover 3500 has been fitted with rather novel Skyport glass sunshine roof to enable the Editor to savour once again at least some of the joys of fondly-remembered open-air motoring. We were curious to learn how such major surgery is carried out and watched the Rover go through the 2½-hour process at one of London’s main sun-roof fitting specialists, Jack Kent Ltd., 89/99 The Arches, Wood Lane, London W12 (01-743 4582).
These Skyport roofs are imported from America by Skyport Sunroofs (UK) Ltd., a franchise set up by Robert Clay, who also runs Bodyshield rustproofing. One advantage over conventional sunroofs is that they brighten the car interior all the year round; a disadvantage is that the car has to be stopped to remove and stow the glass. Two types are available, one with a single pane, the other a double-opening twin-top. W. B. chose the latter, in the largest 20 in. x 37.5 in. size. This cost £216 plus VAT, inclusive of fitting, with an extra £9 for a stowage bag. Each side of the twin-top can be removed or tilted individually – or both together. The wide-opening tilt position is easily achieved with one hand, but complete removal and re-fitting via hooks at the front and pins through the two rear clasps is a fiddly business. The tilt facility gives excellent, well-nigh draught free ventilation in all weathers at the expense of some wind roar. Another welcome feature of the twin-top is a large courtesy light mounted on its centre-strut.
These roofs are made from reinforced, titanium-coated, “solar cool” bronze (in the Rover’s case) or silver-tinted glass, which reflects away most of the sun’s heat and passes UK safety strength tests. The polished lustre finish metal frame is claimed to add rigidity to a car’s roof. It appears to be thief proof, which fabric roofs are certainly not, and so far has proved completely weatherproof, except when the Editor tilted the glass when rain had collected on the outside…. The roof suits the Rover’s design and gives it a distinctive appearance.
Clay has appointed 40 franchises throughout the UK. Details can be obtained from Skyport at Crown House, Number 7, Ashville Trading Estate, Abingdon, Oxon. (0235 27798). – C. R.
Mille Miglia 1986
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