>>Subject: RE: What kind of top do you recommend?
I think Jeff explained it pretty well. It used to be that the material
matter much in terms of durability as the plastic window tended to turn
yellowish and crack with age. As a long time user of tops, I found that
plastic windows would lose clarity and start splitting in about five
One point to note on David's comment is that after many years of seeing
different tops it appears that the windows of cloth tops last a lot
longer than those in vinyl tops. The reason appears to be that the vinyl
top windows are welded in, whereas the cloth top windows are sewn in.
The welded windows do seem to yellow faster. This does give an extra
edge for recommending cloth over vinyl for longevity.
Another thing to remember is that top material has changed dramatically
over the years as chemical and manufacturing requirements alter. The
vinyl and cloth used in tops today is nothing like that used originally
on the cars. Think of the changes required by paint manufacturers and
you can understand how similar changes were required in the manufacture
of plastics. Every time there is a material change the top manufacturers
have to revise the top patterns to account for differences in stretch.
It's pretty fascinating learning about what it takes to design and fit
tops correctly. With Robbins Auto Top being just down the road, I get to
see a lot of re-design and fitting and currently have a couple of
development tops on my own cars.