A Guide to Convertible Tops
Your car was broken into, or your convertible top was cut for the loose change in the console, or (true story) a bear climbs into your Mercedes Benz because he smells the cantaloupe in the trunk and shreds the leather seats.
Things happen and sometimes insurance is the answer. For insurance claims, we can help make the insurance process as easy as possible. We will take the time to prepare the estimates and do all the leg work necessary. Most insurance agents and adjusters don’t know the auto upholstery and convertible top repair business, but they trust and rely on us to fully repair your vehicle and do the job right.
When you have an insurance claim, Sunroof Express can provide proper professional service and repair with quality parts. The job is done right the first time and completed as promised. In some cases you might not meet your insurance deductible or just choose to pay out of pocket. We can help you there. too. As always, you will receive the same great service and expected results, fast and professional.
CONVERTIBLE TOP FABRICS
Almost all manufacturers use Haartz fabrics. They may specify “heaviest weight” or “original replacement” in ways that seem reassuring. But they do not really tell the whole story. Please bear in mind that two things dominate, by far, the quality issue: (a) the manufacturing quality control in the factory that makes the top and (b) the care and thoroughness of the installation. There is a trade-off in weight: heavier is better for resisting tear through, but lighter is better for flexibility and abrasion from within that may arise from movement. Almost all our tops are a flexible medium density (36 oz.) fabric. Heavier is not better in most cases. Where it is, because of the top design, we will say so and the top will be made of the heavier vinyl.
We will be happy to quote you on a “true double texture vinyl” top. This is a pinpoint with a butyl rubber core, like our stayfast. Generally these tops are about 30 percent higher in price than the regular pinpoint version. Sonnenland® (View) is a German-made 3-ply topping made up of an acrylic twill-weave facing, a rubber inner-layer, and a polyester “dobby backing.” The dobby backing is a knit-like weave original to many high-end foreign cars. Customers who value originality over cost often pay top dollar for Sonnenland, just to have that authentic “dobby backing,” seen only when you look up at the roof of your convertible top from inside your car. Sonnenland canvas is a top-of-the-line material original to various Audi, BMW, and Jaguar convertibles, among others. Sonnenland Canvas can vary in terms of surface weave and/or weight for acoustic performance, but all Sonnenland Canvas promises elegance and long-lasting durability.
Twillfast® (View), also called Sonnendeck Canvas, is an American-made canvas – a cost-effective substitute for Sonnenland. Twillfast is usually a 3-ply topping (though some versions are 5-ply) with Polyester and/or Polyester/cotton backings. This material, original to certain Camaro, BMW, Mustang, and VW Beetle convertibles, among others, varies in terms of surface weave and/or weight for acoustic performance. Twillfast Canvas is identical to Sonnenland Canvas – elegant and durable – only it’s less expensive. This is a top-notch convertible top material, one we often recommend to savvy customers who like a good buy and a quality product.
Stayfast Canvas (View) is an elegant, durable canvas original to cars like the Mazda Miata and the Nissan 370Z. Stayfast is commonly used in replacement convertible tops. Stayfast canvas has an acrylic square weave facing, a rubber inner-layer, and a cotton backing. As with other canvases, the rubber core gives the fabric long-lasting durability. Stayfast canvas is a sleek, beautiful canvas, usually less expensive than Twillfast, but it does not have the dobby backing offered in Sonnenland and Twillfast (Sonnendeck). Stayfast is a popular upgrade to vinyl convertible tops, and as with any canvas, is richer looking and has a higher wear rating than convertible tops made of vinyl.
Haartz Pinpoint Vinyl (View) is the most popular fabric. This vinyl design is original to most American cars from the fifties to the nineties. Pinpoint refers to the little dots or pips that you see if you look closely at the vinyl surface. European cars, such as the old Beetles and others also used pinpoint vinyl as the topping fabric.
Chrysler Sailcloth (View) is featured on many late LeBarons, Sebrings, certain Mustangs and other cars. It is structurally (wear quality) equivalent to the Haartz Pinpoint but has a different surface grain. The grain was designed to imitate the look of canvas. As you can see from the scan of this fabric, it is an exceptionally rich looking material. It is sometimes chosen for replacing convertible tops that originally featured pinpoint vinyl.
Cabrio Grain (View) is also structurally equivalent to the pinpoint. It has a pigskin outer grain vinyl as original to Volkswagen Cabriolets from 1984 onward and to Mazda Miatas and Mercury Capris.
A5S German Canvas (Robbins) The 100% Acrylic Twill Weave Surface Cloth receives a special flame singing treatment to remove the fabric knap; and is laminated to Black 100% Polyester Dobby backing.
This is the original topping for Porsche Boxster and Cabrio convertible tops. 59 inches (150 cm) wide, made in Germany.
British Bison (also called Colonial Grain) (View) is the American made crush grain vinyl that imitates the much more expensive British Everflex vinyl original to many British convertibles. Color selection is limited. These are often referred to as ‘crush grain’ or ‘leather grain’ vinyls. They are structurally equivalent (wear rating) to the pinpoint, cabrio, and sailcloth vinyls.
British Everflex Vinyl (View) We are now pleased to offer British Everflex Vinyl for classic English tops. This is the original material used on British convertibles including Jaguar, Rolls Royce and many others. Imported from England, British Everflex vinyl is a supple vinyl with a rich appearance and is more durable than other vinyls. A good, less expensive alternative is Colonial grain vinyl. Colonial has the same texture but is less durable.
HV Denim (also called Twill Weave Vinyl) (View) is heavy duty sport material composed of a distinctive twill grain PVC outer layer and a polyester/cotton blend inside lining fabric.
Can I just replace my rear window only?
Replacing the window in your convertible top might seem like a good idea at the time but there is more to the process than meets the eye. The replacement window comes with a full replacement zipper – both halves. Your old convertible top must be removed from your Miata for the replacement zipper to be sewn to your old top. Once that is done the corresponding zipper is sewn on to the new window so they line up properly. Once done your old top, with the new window, is then reinstalled on your Miata. At the end of the process the labor for sewing in the new zipper and removing and reinstalling the old convertible top is more than the labor for installing a completely new convertible top. However, if your mind is set on replacing the window only, give us a call and we can special order it for you.
- Our car was broken into last week and the convertible top was sliced open. What can we expect the insurance company to do for us?
- If you have full coverage the insurance will pay to replace your convertible top, less your deductible.* However a convertible top is considered a wear item, meaning that every year older the top is, it is worth less (prorated). If your car is near new you should expect the full cost of the job be paid, less your deductible. If your top is nine or ten years old don’t expect much; it is considered at the end of its useful life.
* Please add total damages, stolen sound equipment, damaged dash, broken glass, personal content loss, and convertible top damage to the deductible equation.
- Does insurance cover my broken convertible top glass window?
- The answer is the same as with the above sliced convertible top, with a twist. If you have zero deductible glass coverage, the insurance company might pay in full to replace it, some will and some won’t. Call your insurance agent and ask.