HOW TO DETERMINE IF YOU HAVE A
OR SEDAN BODY STYLE
Picture this; its late at night and your about to order an interior for your classic muscle car online and the parts are shown to fit either a Hardtop or Sedan Body style. Are you positive which one you have?
It’s a frequently asked question and depending on the parts your ordering for your muscle car project, its important that you understand which body style your car is.
Certain part types such as weatherstrip and headliners are body type specific and not knowing which you have greatly increases the likelihood of ordering the wrong parts for your muscle car or truck project.
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE PILLARS!
To understand body styles, it helps to understand the structural pillars that make up the roof and glass support of a car.
Figure 1:Pillar locations shown on 1962 Impala Sedan
Simply put, the pillars of a car are the near vertical structural supports of a vehicles window areas and are referred to by letters starting from the front of the vehicle. The “A” pillar is the first pillar from the front of the vehicle and gives structural rigidity to the windshield area. The “B” pillar is the mid pillar found on Sedans (but not hardtops or convertibles) and is a steel structure that extends from the vehicle’s rocker panel (as part of the rear quarter panel) up to the roof. The “C” pillar is the rear most pillar and provides support at the back of the roof and back window area. Note that when there is not a “B” pillar present (hardtops), the letter is skipped and the rear most panel is still called a “C” pillar.
A hardtop is a car that does NOT have a pillar post (“B” pillar) or framework that is part of the door that surrounds the door glass. Visibility from the side of a hardtop is considered better when the window are up because there is no metal beam or structure obscuring the view and for many years, hardtops were considered the “sportier” body style.
Another way to understand this is if the front and rear windows were rolled down and you were sitting in the driver’s seat with your arm sticking out the window, you would be able to sweep your arm back and forth toward the back of the car and not hit a post (or “B” pillar) with the back of your arm.
Figure 2: 1955 Chevy Hardtop Shown – A hard top has an “A” pillar & “C’ pillar but no “B” pillar
A Sedan is a car that DOES have a “B” pillar post or framework present and separates the front and rear side windows with a steel structure. Visibility from the side of a sedan can be reduced by the blind spot the “B” pillar can create when a driver turns his head to look out the side window.
Figure 3:1956 Chevy Sedan shown- Sedan’s have the “A”, “B” & “C” pillar
Hardtop and Sedan body styles are both cool but can have different needs when purchasing interiors, weatherstrip, glass and sheet metal parts for your car. Knowing up front what you have before buying your parts will save you time, frustration and money.
To order high-quality restoration parts for your 1960-80’s GM muscle car or truck, go to First Place Auto Parts easy to use website (fpautoparts.com) or speak to one of our parts experts (1-877-797-1969). We are enthusiasts just like yourself and want to help you make you dream car or truck become a reality.