Richard – Hi, it has been a few years since I did this on my new tonneau cover for my Tiger so I’ll try to jog my memory a bit. You mention you have a GT so you don’t have a soft top nor soft cover like a Series V to help dictate the stud locations – this gives you a bit of flexibility.
The June Rootes Review has Jim Lindner’s draft of the Alpine Concours Judging Guide which provides some useful information. Years ago someone told me (and it may have been Rick McLeod from whom I bought the tonneau cover) that there was never a standard pattern established by the factory for installing the studs. So, the tonneau cover comes without the snaps installed so that the cover can be exactly fit to the individual car and its stud positions. The photos that can be of help in the placement of the studs are: Pg 19 – Rear Cowl, Pg 21 & 22 – B Pillar, Pg 31 – B Pillar and Rear Cowl, and Pg 79 Dashboard. For the dashboaard I would suggest using the studs that thread into the holes at the ends of the defroster vents, otherwise I think you would have to remove the windshield to have the correct angle to drill the holes for the self-tapping studs that would go in the top of the dashboard.
The position of the tonneau’s perimeter will also help determine the position of the studs. The trick is to find the compromise between having the tonneau snug when it is snapped into place and the effort required to pull on it to get it snapped. I would suggest letting the cover sit in the sun and warm up a bit first, and then be careful not to pull it too tight as you set the position of the studs – if it’s too tight it will be a real bear to snap it on in cooler temperatures. As I’m typing this I’m thinking you have the option of setting the snaps in the tonneau cover first and then positioning the studs on the car – this would make it easier to positon the snaps symmetrically on the tonneau cover. However I worked with studs already installed and don’t recall it being too difficult to achieve the symmetry.
The installation of the snaps on the tonneau cover requires only a couple tools, but a whole lot of bravery. The tools are simply a hollow punch (which I would suggest buying new so you know it is sharp), a hammer, and a couple blocks of wood. The hole only needs to be a bit larger than the stud to allow the stud to pass through – you want to leave as much material as you can to minimize the chance that the snap will rip off. Once you determine where you want a hole then you perform Brave Task #1. With a block of wood (soft – like a pine 2X4) under the tonneau position the punch to create the hole and then strike the punch with the hammer decisively enough to drive the punch through the tonneau material to create the hole. Having a scrap tonneau cover or soft top to practice on would be of great benefit! It’s actually not too bad once you’ve done it a few times. The comes Brave Task #2 – installing the snap itself, which has 4 tangs which must be driven through the tonneau material. You position the new snap on top of the cover over the hole you’ve just punched, with the tangs pointed down and with the block of soft wood underneath it. Then you place another block of soft wood on top of the snap and strike the block with the hammer firmly enough to drive the tangs through the material but not so hard as to cut the material with the sharp edge of the perimeter of the snap. This is actually the more difficult task of the two as you can mess up the hole a bit and the snap will cover it, whereas any imperfections in mounting the snap will be in the open. I used a block of wood on top of the snap to ensure the hammer wouldn’t mar the surface. Another important detail to check is to make sure the tangs are vertical to ensure they will go straight through the tonneau cover, rather than bending over. Then you complete the installation by placing the snap backing plate over the exposed tangs and folding the tangs over to secure the plate.
In regards to the order in which to install the studs I would suggest starting at the dashboard, then set the studs at the back of the car, and then set the studs in between. A couple extra pairs of hands and eyes at this point is very helpful to ensure the snugness is correct and the symmetry is maintained. There are probably some YouTube videos as well that could give you some ideas.
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
St. Lawrence Region Rep