The Dark Side of the Moon

… ROOF, THAT IS

Low Rider - - CONTENTS - STORY BY HECTOR TERRAZAS & JOE RAY PHO­TOS BY JOE RAY

... 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.

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