Soft Top Recommendations

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todd lorber
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Soft Top Recommendations

Post by todd lorber »

In the 30 years that I've owned my '69, I have never had a top for it. I'm in the final stages of completing metal work, after which I will pull the drivetrain/dash and glass and send the car out for final body and paint. However, prior to that, I'd like to fit a top so that I know everything works instead of scratching up new paint. I have a good top frame, so my questions for you folks are the following:

-Benefits of canvass vs. vinyl?
-Removable rear window vs. stationary?
-Are cable tensioners necessary?
-Are there some tops that are less prone to wrinkles in the top and windows?
-Do top covers (for when folded down) typically come with these?
-Do many of you use tonneau covers?
-Any specific recommendations on the posties and twisties?

For those of you that don't put the tops up, do you even keep the tops on the car, or do you remove them and store them somewhere?

I was hoping to see different versions in Solvang earlier this year but as you know that was cancelled. Most people tend to have their tops down anyway, but it would have been the best aggregation of cars in California.
Thank you for any input you can provide.
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by DAC21 »

todd lorber wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:58 am In the 30 years that I've owned my '69, I have never had a top for it. I'm in the final stages of completing metal work, after which I will pull the drivetrain/dash and glass and send the car out for final body and paint. However, prior to that, I'd like to fit a top so that I know everything works instead of scratching up new paint. I have a good top frame, so my questions for you folks are the following:

-Benefits of canvass vs. vinyl? Canvas was used through 1967, vinyl thereafter. Canvass looks classier especially if a nice tight install like on my Buddy's Boxter. Of course add a few hundred more for canvas
-Removable rear window vs. stationary? Poor mans AC vs not
-Are cable tensioners necessary? Many go without them apparently to no detriment
-Are there some tops that are less prone to wrinkles in the top and windows?
-Do top covers (for when folded down) typically come with these? No the boots are extra. $210-350 or so, low end vinyl, high end canvas
-Do many of you use tonneau covers?
-Any specific recommendations on the posties and twisties? Still available from Nissan Twisties,97754-12900
Posties- 97758-12900. OEM are threaded posts / washer & nuts not sheet metal threads with speed nuts (my 40 year old NOS Posties have a nylon washer as well which I believe is for paint protection) I can't attest if Nissan Twisties are worth the $6-7 a pop. vs aftermarket, others can give you an opinion.


For those of you that don't put the tops up, do you even keep the tops on the car, or do you remove them and store them somewhere?

I was hoping to see different versions in Solvang earlier this year but as you know that was cancelled. Most people tend to have their tops down anyway, but it would have been the best aggregation of cars in California.
Thank you for any input you can provide.
I filled in a couple blanks
1967 1600 in waiting SPL311-09002 / R-28178
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theunz
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by theunz »

I bought my stayfast (Canvas) from Stan—-http://www.fairladyproducts.com—- and am very happy with it. I’m sure there are others just as good. I installed mine about 3 years ago and after the test fit it didn’t go up again until a couple of weeks ago on my way home from LGGPR because there was a good threat of thunderstorms and I didn’t want to struggle with putting it up in the rain. That being said, it was more difficult to put up this time and in spite of carefully folding it the last time it was up I had a few pretty good wrinkles in the windows. It would be best to just leave it off the car when not in use, but in my case I only have it so I’m covered if I get caught in a sudden storm, so leaving it at home kind of defeats the purpose. I think it shipped with the twistiest and posties , as I’m positive they weren’t my originals. I have yet to install the cables and it seems to be doing just fine. I recommend the zip out window for those days when you can’t decide to have it up or down. As for the boot, I prefer the looks with them on, it just gives it a more finished look. I feel that long term the stayfast will hold up better than the vinyl, but the windows will probably go before either.
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Alvin
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Alvin »

The canvas tops IMHO look great and feel like much thicker material. They don't look as "taut" or shrink wrapped around the frame as vinyl tops. Not shiny. Here are a few pictures:

Pinpoint Vinyl(?)
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Canvas
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The boot cover is a must to keep things tidy, they are not sold with the soft top from what I've seen.
top just folded down with no boot cover:
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With boot on:
vinyl
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canvas
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todd lorber wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:58 am I'm in the final stages of completing metal work, after which I will pull the drivetrain/dash and glass and send the car out for final body and paint. However, prior to that, I'd like to fit a top so that I know everything works instead of scratching up new paint.
I don't think there is much you can do to the frame/tensioners to avoid paint damage. In my experience the worst offenders are the frame mounts and overhead bar. Those exposed exposed frame mounts have really scraped my body by accident a few times while installing or removing from the car.
Nothing PDR can't save, but be careful! The overhead bar can interfere with a roll bar, depending on location/height.
todd lorber wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:58 am
For those of you that don't put the tops up, do you even keep the tops on the car, or do you remove them and store them somewhere?
I have always kept the soft top in storage, never on the car folded down. Now that I have a hardtop I have not used the soft top since a trip to the Mt. Shasta Meet in 2006. I still keep it because one day I want to do a cross country road trip, and actually use the soft top/boot!


todd lorber wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:58 am I was hoping to see different versions in Solvang earlier this year but as you know that was cancelled. Most people tend to have their tops down anyway, but it would have been the best aggregation of cars in California.
In 2015 it rained at Solvang. It was fun to see everyone erect their soft tops, or EZ-Ups! That would have been the best time to see the different types of soft tops :lol:
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Solex68 »

I love my canvas top look and I do not use the tensioners. I have the 5th Car (Solex68) in this great gallery of Alvin photos.
My 2 cents...if you want to put it up and down a lot, I would go vinyl, as I would not baby mine so much if it was vinyl. That may be based on the vinyls being so cheap at one time. Maybe not so much any more.
I don't have a zipper window but I have on other cars and I really wish I had it today.
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Kurt
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Kurt »

I recently installed a low windshield vinyl top. I have more recently installed a canvass top on a high windshield. The vinyl tops shrink even over short periods of time. Problem being, closing the top up now, -not 3 hours from now after softening it up in the sun! I suspect the trade-off with shrinkage of vinyl will be keeping the canvass clean. Which is worse/best TBD...but I think those are key points. Canvass looks good, I agree.

My vinyl top has a zipper window. When it's hot and you unzip the window it creates convection. Not recommended at high temps. I opted for no zipper canvass.
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Kurt
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Kurt »

I did not install tensioners on either of the tops. One of the replaced tops had them and they are a paint chip accident waiting to happen. They are not necessary IMHO.
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Bwk2000
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Bwk2000 »

Yes, there will inevitably be some small paint chips with use of the tensioners. That being said, at Hwy speeds with the side windows open and back zippered closed, mine tends to develop a noticeable ‘flutter’ if the tensioners are not installed. I find that a little disconcerting on a button-down convertible top; always the possibility of a tear developing in the vinyl or popping a twisty. Some will have better results - ‘Try it and see’ would seem a reasonable approach.

P.S. I would like to get a black boot cover at some point as well, just for the ‘clean’ look.
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Pjackb »

I have both Vinyl and canvas tops and in my opinion both looks equally good but with a slight edge to the vinyl when up and canvas when down and covered with the boot cover. However the zip window on the canvas is great.

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Vinyl is easy maintenance but with the right products canvas is relatively easy to maintain also
The big drawback on the vinyl is that they shrink over time so if possible it's better to store the car with the top up when not using it for long periods

When they do shrink it is sometime possible with careful progressive stretching and heat application to bring them back
this a boot cover that had sat for 15+ years and had shrunk about 2 inches
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This is after careful stretching over a few days
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Finally i'm not sure what the weather is like for you but if it gets cool the best recommendation I have is a tonneau cover it will help on a surprise storm and it is incredible how much it keep things warm in the cabin.

I just had this one custom made with Stayfast material at a local upholstery shop and on long drive i plan to put this up instead of the boot cover
Image
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by funkaholik »

Pjackb wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:32 am "the best recommendation I have is a tonneau cover it will help on a surprise storm and it is incredible how much it keep things warm in the cabin.
100% agree with this. When I was daily driving my roadster in the 90s, I only put the soft top up when it was raining or REALLY cold. The rest of the time I had the tonneau cover on, and just unzipped 1 or 2 front sections depending on if I had a passenger or not. With just the driver's part unzipped, and the heater on (and a warm hat), it's remarkable how warm and comfortable I was.
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by C.Costine »

When I was driving my 67.5 everyday from 1969 into 1972, I had a canvas top. I now have vinyl. I find that a big difference is how much better the canvas will go up when the temperature is below 70 degrees and no sun.
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todd lorber
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by todd lorber »

Thank you all for this information. It is exactly what I was hoping to learn, and there is a lot to consider. Regarding the tonneau covers, do the seats need to be in a specific position for them to fit, or are they loose enough to be flexible?
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by Pjackb »

todd lorber wrote: Tue Oct 26, 2021 12:53 pm Regarding the tonneau covers, do the seats need to be in a specific position for them to fit, or are they loose enough to be flexible?
Mine was done with stock cover as a sewing pattern but I have an aftermarket steering wheel and Miata seats and it fits no issues. It also fits both my low and high windshields cars
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Re: Soft Top Recommendations

Post by spl310 »

This brings up a good question, what is the difference between a high windshield and low windshield tonneau company? I have never compared them so I do not know.
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