The Dark Side of the Moon
… ROOF, THAT IS
... Roof, that is
As far as one can remember, lowriders and sunroofs/moonroofs have always gone hand in hand—whether you’re hitting hydro switches or hitting back the moonroof switch. There's just no denying that they've always been the next best thing to enjoying an open-air driving experience when compared to being in a convertible. And to achieve that maximum airflow and sky view, bigger is definitely better. That’s why the 42- and 44-inch sunroof/moonroof is treasured and sought after by the hard-core lowrider, especially now that they have been long discontinued and extremely hard to come across.
As most of us know by now, the sunroof was invented in Germany. Although after being informed, what's less known is that one of the earliest manual/power sliding panel designs that is cable driven was invented by a company named Golde. Golde's sunroof units were first introduced to the U.S. domestic auto market with the '60 Ford Thunderbird as factory-installed
optioned units. Unfortunately only lasting a year, the auto market would have to wait for a second sunroof resurgence, and the man behind that movement was none other than Heinz C. Prechter of American Sunroof Corp. Heinz had a passion for sunroofs and wanted to bring the option to the masses. He was already a U.S. distributor for the Golde product line, and after heading to the Motor City he was awarded contracts to produce factory-installed units for the Big Three. ASC would later improve on the Golde design and even help invent the glass panel sunroof, which is more widely known as the moonroof.
Much like Heinz, a sunroof enthusiast from Chicago by the name of Hector Terrazas had a similar passion. From the early days of looking through Lowrider magazines and coming out to California for the car shows, he always dug the look of the 42and 44-inch moonroof styles on lowriders. Although he couldn't find anyone in the Midwest who was capable of installing one correctly, he reached out to one of the most well known and best roof installers in the business. Yes, he contacted Cruz at Sunroof Performers in Southgate, and after many dealings they struck up a business relationship. Terrazas made a few more visits to become trained in the sunroof/moonroof installation before he headed back to Chicago on a mission to set up his own operation. Throughout the years of installing moonroofs, and, more importantly, stockpiling inventory, OG Moonroofs is undoubtedly the only sunroof establishment that is currently fully stocked with complete 42- and 44-inch moonroof kits in the nation. When asked where the name come from, he mentioned that it's a homage to the classic Golde/ ASC design and the way of installing them, as well as the true OGs from the defunct American Sunroof Corporation from the La Cienega Boulevard/West L.A. location that paved the way since the ’70s. Terrazas has had the opportunity to get to know them and has even worked alongside some of them. Now follow along as he opens up the roof on this Riviera to enjoy a 44-inch open skyline view.
"GOLDE'S SUNROOF UNITS WERE FIRST INTRODUCED TO THE U.S. DOMESTIC AUTO MARKET WITH THE '60 FORD THUNDERBIRD AS FACTORY-INSTALLED OPTIONED UNITS."
To achieve that OG factory look, flanging rings were clamped to the roof's opening. These allow the roof to be formed and finished properly without damage.
The flanges were further formed and straightened in preparation to receive the inner mounting ring.
Once the inner mounting ring is fitted in, the back flange receives the 180-degree bend.
The 90-degree bends start to take shape during the hammering process.
After the cut template is laid out and squared up, it's outlined with a grease pencil.
The primary and secondary cuts were made in two stages with electric shears.
With a section cut out, the double-layer roof is exposed. Additional trimming was made to get full access to the top layer.
Terrazas begins the point of no return by cutting a pilot hole into the roof.
Using a steady hand, the roof was trimmed along the template's cutout line.
Before installation, every assembly from OG Moonroofs is fully disassembled, refurbished, and reassembled for reliability and longevity.
The 44-inch assembly was prepped to receive reinforcement brackets. These are vital in keeping the assembly stable once installed.
Using an air chisel, Terrazas started cutting into the inner/ secondary layer.
Here's a look at the roofline before being altered.
Check out Terrazas’ OG Moonroof lineup and inventory. If you want that “dark side of the moon” view,contact OG Moon Roofs (708) 638-9307.
As if the Boat Tail Rivi's roofline wasn't already unique and luxurious enough by itself, the addition of this 44-inch moonroof opening has just stepped it up a notch in sophistication and class.
A series of holes were drilled to allow rivets to be attached or spot-welds to be made, depending on the final finish that is desired.
The panel is test cycled back and forth to confirm operation and that there aren't any fitment or binding issues to be addressed.
The glass is carefully placed in the opening with a set of extra hands and bolted in place.
Once the assembly is bolted and bracketed up, it’s now ready to receive its 44-inch glass panel.
To appreciate the size of the 44-inch opening, one must sit inside and enjoy the view.