The Hardtop Security Project part 1

This post is concluded in The Hardtop Security Project – part 2. Check it out for my final solution.

Whenever Sharka wears the hardtop, my thoughts always turn toward hardtop security. Like, how to make sure Sharka is still wearing his hardtop when I come back at the end of the day. It’s a conundrum. And as far as I can tell, NO ONE has a security method that’s up to snuff.

See, there’s an elephant in the room. That elephant is named Miata Door Locks Are Useless. I hate that elephant. I’m not gonna talk too much about him. We’re just gonna all agree that Miata door locks might as well not be there. Even with the hardtop installed.

We can’t rely on just the door locks to keep our hardtops on our Roadsters while we’re away.

The Toploc

The Toploc

There’s the TopLoc company out of California that makes a rather spiffy looking lock. The only problem is that it relies on the stock side latches. Those of us with rollbars can’t always use the stock side latches. In fact, we often CANNOT use them.

The other weakness of the TopLoc is that in relying upon the Miata’s stock bolts to hold the stock side latch onto the hardtop itself. While it wouldn’t be easy, I’m pretty sure that a determined thief could get those side latch bolts off without unlatching it. A few moments with a cordless drill to the corners of the latch handles are all it would take.

Beatrush hardtop latch with security bolt

Beatrush hardtop latch with security bolt

This is the kind of latch I run on Sharka, the Beatrush slim profile hardtop latch. This allows me to use my hardtop with my Hard Dog non-hardtop rollbar. And the latch has a nifty feature – a hole in the bottom that you can put some sort of lock through.

I’ve got a shiny bolt with a funny looking head going through that hole.

Security hardware detail

Security hardware detail

Security bolt detail

Security bolt closeup

My Beatrush latch is too close to my rollbar to use a traditional lock. The space between the bar and the latch is a little wider than the end of a wrench. But that’s enough space to put a flat speed nut. I don’t need a lot of strength here. I just need a nut that you can’t grab with a wrench.

On the other side is this spiffy tamper-resistant bolt. I’m leaving this pretty vague right now. I don’t want to publish the details far and wide. And I’m not done with this project yet.

As you see in the first shot, the hardtop side of the latch system (at the top) is still held in place with regular bolts. It’s proven exceedingly hard to find a security bolt in the right thread pitch for the stupid hardtop…

The key. I better not lose it.

The key. I better not lose it.

And here’s what the key looks like. Given the small size of the bolt and the tapered head, it should be pretty difficult to remove. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

That’s part 1 of my road to Miata hardtop security. I was planning on holding this until I found a good bolt solution for more than just the Beatrush latch, but thought I’d post this anyway. Share my progress and stuff.

What do you think? Post a comment and let me know. Or check out The Hardtop Security Project – part 2 to see the final solution.

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  • Bryan says:

    I guess those BR latches worked out well for you. I should have bought a set when I had Junior. Rolling in the winter with no side latches was always a bit of a pain, and it’d have been nice to have the thing more lashed down for long trips!

    • revlimiter says:

      As lame as this is, my fear was always having the top FLY OFF due to having the windows down on the freeway.

      Yeah. Unlikely to happen, but it was my fear. That’s why I got side latches. lol

  • David says:

    I like your approach. I’ve got Toplocs right now and they do a good job, but I’m probably going to install a rollbar in the next six months and they’ll be sold off. Please keep us posted if you find the proper bolt for the hardtop side of the latch.

  • Eli says:

    This is how you do it. I am buying a Beatrush to experiment myself but it seems that your locking bolt washer won’t much unless you weld the washer to the Beatrush bracket.

    I am ordering a Beatrush kit to come up with a solution.

    • revlimiter says:

      I agree that welding the washer on would be best, but as it is, there’s no way to remove it. The washer is flush against the side of the latch and there’s no way to grab it with a needle nose or anything.

      I need to get back to this project…

  • Ric says:

    Looking forward to them going on when your bits arrive!

  • Pete says:

    I think it’s great. It’s the best solution that I’ve seen so far. The thief would have to be an inside person to know what kind of key to have to take the bolt off as there’s many different head bolt patterns. Please let us know how things progress.

  • Hola thanks to you for this cool entry. That is mega cool.

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