Kimnach's 1988 IROC-Z

T-top storage plus carputer/audio compartment

With the advent of of third generation of Camaros, the trunk was eliminated from the f-body.  It was nice to have a real trunk and a real spare in my 1979 Berlinetta.  In the thirdgen f-bodies, there is only the passenger compartment with a rear hatch area: this doesn't afford much security for storing "stuff."  So how to store/mount audio and other gear?

My original amplifiers, a 100Wrms x 2 Cruthfield amp and a small 30Wrms x2 Sony, were just placed in the rear hatch cavity and a dedicated pair (hot + return) of #10 twisted wires were run from the battery back to the amp.  When I purchased the car an Alpine head unit with cassette deck immediately replaced the factory Bose system, which I installed in a buddies Lebaron convertible.  The Alpine was replaced a few years later with a Sony CD HU, which was then replaced with the DEH-P7600MP in the 2000 time frame.  The Crutchfield amp died in 2003 after nearly 15 years.  I replaced it with a small Pioneer GM-X362.

When I decided in the summer of 2008 to install a carputer, I thought of placing it behind the dash next to the ECM: insufficient room.  Under the seat?  No way.  Just in the recess as with the amp?  Too theft-prone.  Fortunately, as I contemplated all of this (not on "The tree of Woe" as did Conan) the zipper pull on my t-top storage bag broke.  Well, now there has to be a better and faster way to store the t-tops and provide a mounting area for the carputer.

My solution--not yet complete--is below.

It's constructed from 1/2" MDF.  Poplar supports and a cross-member running the width on the bottom will keep it from sagging.  The storage top is framed with poplar and will have a locking lid on it.  The computer, haed units (sans faceplate, of course), the HD radio receiver, battery+UPS controller, etc will be mounted in here.  Fans will also be installed, and the enclosure painted and carpeted.

Construction Pictures

I'm not going to detail the process here.  If you have a saw (table, circular, or jigsaw), a router (or jigsaw and drill), glue and screws, then you can make this out of MDF or plywood.  I will mention, however, that I used clamps (turned around into expansion mode) to hold the t-tops in place when I determined where to route the slots.  also, instead of making the slots curved, I decided to just make them straight and will fashion nice plastic grommets with curved slots.  The base is cut to extend from the back or the rear seat all the way to the rear plastic cover, and the storage bin is built on top of this.



Routing is done with a number of successively deeper passes.  the following two (boring) videos are of  me routing one of the slots for the t-tops.



Although it does the job, I'm thinking of bending thin plywood to make a larger and more form-fitting enclosure which would blend well with the plastic trim.

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