By John Phillips Last October Mike Billotte sent me a message, “John – I noticed a picture of your six in the latest newsletter with a cover that fits over the top and windscreen. My six leaks in a windy rainstorm. Someone here said that you have access to those covers. Are they available and how much are they? I think I would like to have one to “tuck” my car in at night when I think it will rain. Let me know. Thanks.”
So I replied, “I highly recommend it but unfortunately I made the thing and no one that I know makes anything nearly as terrific. Don Carter said I should patent it but lucky for you I didn’t.
It took me about 3 hours to figure it out and cut and tape it. The tarp is a cheapy from Lowes. The tape is high dollar good stuff, not duct tape. It has snaps at the door handles and the front and back tuck in under the bonnet and boot lids. Won’t blow off, won’t leak.
So in my typical timely fashion, it being only 4 ½ months since his request, here it is.
Step one – Buy a small tarp in material of your choice. I bought one at Lowes and it did not cost very much. Buy a roll of two inch tape in the best possible quality you can find, not duct tape. Do this right and this cover will last a long time and do a good job.
Step three – Start folding the corners to shape the cap. The excess material should end up on the inside of the cap. When you have a good fit, apply tape on the fold to establish the first corner then do the same on the other three corners. Stand back and see how it fits. If you don’t like it, remove as much tape as is necessary and reshape until you are happy with it.
When the outside is finished, turn the cap over and cut off the excess material left over from the folding process. Apply tape to the inside corners as you did the outside corners.
Step four – Find some cutting shears (scissors) and start planning your cuts. I suggest the sides be cut along the body line near the top of the door, jogging as necessary to clear the side mirror(s). Be sure to not cut the tarp over the door handle as material will be needed here to make the flaps that hold the sides down. Cut the sides such that the cut ends at the corners of the boot and bonnet or trunk and hood if you prefer.
Step five – To cut the front and back to get the most functionality from the cap you must roll up a good amount of tarp that forms a roll just small enough to fit in space between the bonnet/boot seal and the body sheet metal. The cap should not fall over the seal unless you want water in your engine/boot compartment. When the roll is the correct size, tape it in place so as to keep it rolled up. Remember, you do not want the rolled up material to be pulled from under the bonnet/boot by the wind.
Step six – I wanted to reinforce the tarp material over the door handles since this was an obvious stress point when the wind might be blowing. As you can see in the picture several strips of tape were used on the outside and inside of the flap to add strength. Two snaps were installed to provide a way to fasten the flaps around the handle. Velcro would probably work too if you prefer.
That is pretty much it. The thing works like a charm. I made it after a very wet trip to Carthage one year. Wow, talk about rain. I had about two inches of water in my car. The next year we were somewhere in Texas for the regional convention and there was a surprise rainstorm. Some of the folks had even left their tops down that night but I was curious whether or not the Rain Cap would work so I put it on. The wind blew, the rain fell and the Pumkin was dry, unlike lots of other cars that year.
If you get water in your car, the Rain Cap will stop it. Water cannot get in unless perhaps your fuzzy door seals are bad or missing. But let me say one more time, go to some effort to find and buy the best tape available. If there is a secret to making a good cap that is it. If you do not want to tackle it alone, I will help you make one.
By the way, they fold up nicely and stow well in the boot with all your other covers. When you start trying to figure out how to get into your car the next morning, start by opening the boot (trunk), then the door handles, then you can open the door to get to the hood latch. See it even helps with security, unless the bad guy has a knife.