Convertible Tops at 1A Auto
Convertible Top Basics
There are few things that are more appealing than having the wind in your hair, the warm, shining sun at your back, and crisp, fresh air all around you while you drive the open road in a convertible with the top down. Convertible automobiles allow those fortunate enough to own one to experience and enjoy a unique feeling of freedom and oneness with nature’s wonders. However, while a convertible can be an absolute pleasure to drive with the top down, it can be the complete opposite if the top has not been taken care of properly or if it has been damaged.
Since the top functions as the convertible car’s roof, it keeps your vehicle's interior – and you as well - protected from the rain, snow, dust and other possible external elements. If your convertible top has torn, you may find yourself cold and / or wet and your interior soggy during a rain or snowstorm. Of course, as convertible car owners already know, it’s not just about the functional benefits when it comes to convertible tops, but the aesthetic ones as well. A worn-out, faded convertible top can be an eyesore, ruining the overall appearance of your beautiful convertible.
Need a Convertible Top Replacement?
Well, guess what? You don’t have to live with a torn, leaky, worn-out or faded convertible top any longer! You can transform your ride with a stylish and durable convertible top replacement from 1A Auto. Our aftermarket convertible tops are designed to duplicate as closely as possible the fit and finish of your original, and our manufacturer is renowned throughout the industry for their unique patterns and attention to detail on each and every convertible top. Whether you're topping-off the restoration project on your classic Mustang or Chevy, or reviving the look of your Miata, 1A Auto has the convertible top replacement you need.
Shopping for an aftermarket convertible top replacement for your car is also easy to do at 1A Auto - we're here to help you select the right part for your vehicle! Call our ASE certified customer service representatives toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our new, ready-to-install tops, warranty, fit, or to purchase, or you can buy online confidently right here at 1aauto.com. If you have any further questions about our convertible car tops or convertible car tops in general, please see our FAQ section below.
Frequently Asked Questions About Convertible Tops:
- 1. Why should I buy a convertible top from 1A Auto?
- 2. How can I be sure the top will fit my vehicle?
- 3. What specifications will you need?
- 4. What comes in a convertible top kit?
- 5. What colors are available for my vehicle?
- 6. What materials are available?
- 7. How do you know what color is correct for my vehicle?
- 8. What else should I replace with the top?
- 9. Should I get a glass or plastic rear window?
- 10. I have my original glass window, can I reuse it?
- 11. How hard are the tops to install and do the tops come with instructions?
- 12. How long will it take to receive my top?
- 13. What happens if the top does not fit?
- 14. What is the warranty on your convertible tops?
- 15. I've received my top now what should I do?
- 16. Do you have any tips for convertible top care?
Don't see the right Question? Click here to email us.
1. Why should I buy a convertible top from 1A Auto?
In summary, we can answer your questions, we want you to be happy, and our manufacturer will step in to help if we need them to. Our Customer Service and Management team has over 150 years of combined automotive experience. Admittedly, not every one of us has replaced a convertible top but most of us have owned or owns a convertible and some of us have replaced convertible tops ourselves. Those of us that have replaced them have trained the rest of us, extensively, so we all know what we are talking about. We all have experience buying and installing parts for our vehicles, and we know about good and bad experiences. We know that in order for you to come back to 1A Auto and recommend 1A Auto you need to have a good experience. We are determined to provide that good experience. We combine our automotive experience with that of our manufacturer, Acme Auto Headlining in Long Beach, CA, which has been in business over 50 years. We've researched all the manufacturers and found that most of them, including Acme, use Hartz Raw materials. Acme is committed to producing their products JUST LIKE the original UNLESS they can improve on the original design. If you have a problem with one of our convertible tops that we don't have an answer for, we will put you in touch with the manufacturer directly. By purchasing a new convertible top replacement from 1A Auto, you receive the most knowledgeable customer service and reliable aftermarket parts available in addition to Acme Auto Headlining's decades of experience.
2. How can I be sure the top will fit my vehicle?
This is very simple. Our manufacturer actually patterns their convertible car top to fit an original automobile. Our manufacturer installs their tops as well as manufactures them. When they decide to make a new top for a new vehicle, they purchase the vehicle. They bring the vehicle in to their shop and disassemble the original convertible top. They pattern the new top to be sewn, trimmed and attached just like the original. They then test fit the top to make sure their pattern is correct. This insures that all of their replacement convertible tops, when installed correctly and ordered in the original material, will look exactly like the originals. This ensures that you get your money's worth on a brand new convertible top that fits and looks like the original.
3. What specifications will you need?
- Color: Obviously this is very important. Please see some of our other frequently asked questions
about color matching.
- Material: We offer several OEM and custom options. Prices vary; generally the price quoted on the
site is for the material closest to your vehicles OEM style.
- Vehicle Information: Year, Make, Model.
- Rear Window Style: On many vehicles this is very straight forward but on other vehicles there are
options for glass or plastic window, and/or with or without a zippered rear curtain. Call us toll free at
888-844-3393 with your vehicle details and we can help you if you are unsure about this. If your
online order does not contain all the specifications we need we will gladly email you and ask for the
additional information we require to make the correct convertible top for you.
4. What comes in a convertible top kit?
This depends on what you order. In general our convertible top kits will include the same items as an original top. Most convertible tops will include the sewn top fabric only. The metal frame is never included with our tops. In many vehicles, especially U.S. made cars, the rear window and curtain is separate from the top itself. On these cars, the rear window (also known as the rear curtain) must be ordered separately. On many sports cars and smaller cars the window is sewn or sealed to the top, and in these cases the windows do attach to the top as original. Please call us toll free at 888-844-3393 for details.
5. What colors are available for my vehicle?
Color selection depends on the material you want the convertible top made in. Our website lists the material your convertible top was originally made in and all the colors that material is available in. If you would like the top made in a different material than the original, such as vinyl instead of cloth, it can be done. If you would prefer a color other than black please contact us with your name, address, vehicle information, and material choice and we can send you some color samples. There may be extra charges when making tops in materials other than the original.
6. What materials are available?
All of the raw materials that our manufacturer uses for their convertible tops come from Hartz. Hartz is THE name in canvas and vinyl raw materials. GM, Ford, Chrysler, European and Japanese manufacturer's all use Hartz material to produce the OEM tops. Most listings will specify what material they are made in, but here is a list for reference:
- Single Texture Pinpoint Vinyl: This is a good, durable vinyl that matches the grain of many original
convertible tops from the 1940's to the 1980's. This material weighs 36 ounces per square yard. The
outside is a pinpoint vinyl while the inside is lined with cloth. Standard inside cloth color is black. A tan
interior cloth is available with select vinyl colors at an extra cost. Less expensive convertibles have
been known to use this material. MOST aftermarket convertible top seller's tout single texture vinyl
as "the material the original OEM manufacturer used," when in fact most used double texture. To the
untrained eye and hand it looks and may feel the same, but most cars that had a pinpoint vinyl top,
built from the 1940's to the 1990's, used the double texture vinyl (Listed below). Although not the
same, single texture vinyl is still a magnificent replacement. It looks and feels nearly identical, will
last almost as long, and for many restored vehicles that are garaged and covered, a single texture
top could last 20 years or more if cared for properly. For a more economically priced top, single
textured vinyl is a great buy for your money. Any of our convertible tops can be made in single
texture pinpoint vinyl.
- Double Texture Pinpoint Vinyl: Sometimes called Euro vinyl, 80% of Muscle cars and 1940's to early
1990's convertibles used double texture vinyl as the OEM material. The outside is a pinpoint vinyl
while the inside is lined with cloth. The standard interior color is black; tan cloth is also available with
some colors at an extra cost. Double texture vinyl weighs 38 ounces per square yard. The texture is a
pinpoint texture nearly identical to single texture pinpoint vinyl. Double texture pinpoint costs a little
more than the single texture pinpoint, however it is a more durable top and will last a few years
- Single Texture Sailcloth Vinyl: Many 1990's convertibles such as Sebrings and Mustangs started using
sailcloth vinyl in place of pinpoint vinyl due to the fantastic texture. Standard interior color is black;
gray interior cloth is available with some colors at an extra cost. The weight of sailcloth vinyl is 36
ounces per square yard. Sailcloth vinyl material has a woven texture that resembles a "richer" cloth
top. Color choices in sailcloth vinyl are more limited than those in pinpoint vinyl.
- Cabriolet Vinyl: This is the correct vinyl for Mazda Miata’s and also some VW applications. Cabriolet
vinyl has a leather grain and the back is finished with black cloth. Cabriolet vinyl is 36 ounces per
square yard. This material is only available in a few colors.
- Stayfast Cloth: Stayfast is a tightly woven cloth canvas. The yarn is solution dyed BEFORE it is woven,
creating a uniform color throughout. Domestic made or converted vehicles that came with a cloth
convertible top most likely used stayfast cloth. Stayfast holds strong in both extremely hot and cold
climates. Due to its richer look, stayfast cloth can be more expensive. Stayfast color choices are
limited and the white is unavailable. The interior side of stayfast is black cloth standard and selected
colors can be purchased with a tan interior cloth at an extra cost.
- Sonnendeck Cloth: Sonnedeck cloth is a high quality, American made reproduction of the German
cloth material. Although it is a reproduction of the German cloth it was and still is used as the original
material on some German and European cars. The Sonnedeck cloth material is finished on the inside
with a printed or textured tan cloth like the original material.
- German Cloth: German cloth is the premier Hartz material. German cloth is actually produced in
Germany and imported by our manufacturer. This is a very dense cloth canvas material. It is finished
on the inside with a printed or textured tan cloth like the original material.
7. How do you know what color is correct for my vehicle?
To determine the exact color to suit your vehicle, we will send you samples. Obviously in all materials there is only one black; however other colors have subtle differences. In many materials there is only one choice of a particular color, such as tan. We highly recommend you call us toll free at 888-844-3393 and speak to us in person if you are looking for a color other than black. We want to make certain you get the exact color you want for your new replacement convertible top.
8. What else should I replace with the top?
Cables, pads and windows should be inspected and replaced as necessary. All convertible tops use cables to pull the sides tight. We provide these cables for most applications. Many times these cables appear alright, but they often break during removal of the old top. Most vehicles use pads between the side mechanisms and the tops. You should replace these pads when installing your new top. Generally, they only cost $30-$40 and are important as they prevent the mechanism from wearing through and damaging your top. However, some vehicles DO NOT use pads. Many rear windows and curtains are separate from the top itself; if your window is sewn or sealed to the top itself then it is included with the top. To replace a separate rear window and curtain you'll have to detach the convertible top from the back of the car and the rear bow. Therefore, when replacing your convertible top it makes sense to replace the window and curtain at the same time.
9. Should I get a glass or plastic rear window?
Many tops allow you to choose between a glass or plastic rear window. If you are unsure if you have a choice, please call us toll free 888-844-3393. Which one you choose depends on several factors:
- Originality: If your car originally had plastic, you may want to stay with that if you are concerned with
maintaining its stock look.
- Cost: Plastic windows are $50-$80 while glass is $130-$500. Also, glass adds to shipping and
handling fees. If you are looking to save money in the short term, then plastic might be right for you.
- Longevity and Maintenance: Glass is nearly maintenance free and should last as long as your
convertible car top, while plastic will deteriorate and scratches easily without proper care. Plastic
windows are NOT under warranty. Plastic windows can be kept clear with correct maintenance - see our
tips for convertible top maintenance.
10. I have my original glass window, can I reuse it?
This is not recommended. Glass windows are bonded or heat sealed into the vinyl or cloth surrounding them. It is very difficult to install just the glass into a vinyl curtain and it will cost you about as much to have this done as it is for a brand new window and curtain. If your window and the attached fabric are in good condition, you can re-use them, but the vinyl may not match the new convertible car top. If you're installing the new top while using your existing window and curtain, the fabric around the window can let go. You'll then have to re-install 70% of the top again in order to replace the window and curtain. Unless you're prepared to deal with this situation, it's more convenient to purchase a brand new window and curtain. If you have any questions, please call the friendly 1A Auto customer service representatives.
11. How hard are the tops to install and do the tops come with instructions?
We recommend professional installation and the convertible tops DO NOT come with instructions. That being said, we have a few representatives at 1A Auto who are not professionals, but have installed their own tops. If you are patient, confident, and good with tools then you may be able to install your own top. DO NOT attempt installation without a good set of instructions. Instructions are located in the body service manuals for most cars. For your convenience, 1A Auto sells the shop manuals on CD ROM for many vehicles up to 1972. For later model vehicles, try asking your dealership to let you photocopy the procedure from their manual.
12. How long will it take to receive my top?
Most convertible car tops are manufactured to order. You should see your top in 1-2 weeks from the time of order confirmation.
13. What happens if the top does not fit?
Hopefully this will not happen, but accidents can occur that will cause you to either get the wrong or defective top. If this happens, we will put you in direct contact with the manufacturer. They will then help us with the issue; if necessary they can replace your convertible top.
14. What is the warranty on your convertible tops?
Our aftermarket convertible car tops are backed by a 5 year limited manufacturer's warranty. The warranty is limited to replacing the top only - no third party, installation, shipping, expediting, customs or any other expenses unrelated to the cost of the product itself will be re-reimbursed. We recommend you wait until you have the top in hand before scheduling an installation. If you are having it installed by a third party we recommend that you THOROUGHLY inspect your top BEFORE taking it to your installer. Also, go over the fit of the top with the installer and ask them to halt installation if they encounter a problem. We do not warranty installation, but if there is a problem we will be happy to have another replacement convertible top sent if necessary. Plastic windows ARE NOT under warranty. If you would like to inquire about further details of the warranty limits and exclusions, we can put you in contact with the manufacturer.
15. I've received my top now what should I do?
If you are taking your auto convertible top to a professional, inspect it carefully BEFORE having it installed. The convertible car tops are checked for quality before they leave the manufacturer. There should be no ink marks and all stitching should be tight and intact. Lay the top over your existing top; it should have the same general dimensions. Keep in mind there is a certain amount of stretching involved in the installation. If you are having it installed elsewhere, we suggest you have the installer inspect the top while you are present; lay it out on the car with him/her and look it over. If something is wrong, let the installer know they should please halt installation and inform you immediately. You can then let us know and we will rapidly address the problem. Once your top is installed on the vehicle, KEEP THE TOP UP FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS. Just like a good pair of jeans, the convertible top needs to do some stretching and forming in certain areas.
16. Do you have any tips for convertible top care?
A convertible tops' biggest enemies are sunlight and dirt. First priority is to keep you car and top clean and covered. Invest in a good quality cover to throw on when you have to park the car. 1A Auto also sells car covers for several different automobiles, so be sure check our cover section if you need this accessory. This investment will extend the life of your top, your weatherstrip, your interior and your paint. Next, do NOT leave your top down for an extended period or if it has gotten wet. The top can wrinkle and mold can grow, completely ruining your car. If you have a plastic window(s) be VERY careful when cleaning. Use highly diluted car wash to clean the window as well as a very soft sponge or cloth. Dry your plastic windows using a soft towel or chamois. A bristled brush is great for the vinyl on the convertible top, but will INSTANTLY scratch a plastic window. If possible, unzip the plastic window, put it down, and cover it with a damp towel. This will prevent scratches inflicted by the top when it is lowered. For cleaning your top, our associates have used Meguire's vinyl cleaner on our vinyl convertible tops and they like the results. DO NOT USE strong household detergents or cleaners as they can clean too deeply, causing the top to dry out and crack. DO NOT use Armor All unless you can keep the top covered from the sun. For cloth convertible tops, use mild soap and a medium bristled scrub brush. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations when working with any cleaning agent. Following these instructions will keep your new aftermarket convertible top from 1A Auto looking great for years to come.