December 2015 – Convertible top replaced

People might recall that my canvas top got ripped when I put the top down for the first time — two five-inch rips radiating from the rear corner of the door windows. Clearly, I had done something wrong in the initial installation, and so I did some problem solving and discovered the issue. In essence two things happened:

  • I didn’t pay enough attention to the physics of the matter, since the metal frame and the “bows” fold in a certain way. That moved two points apart in a manner that my gluing job on the top was strained until it failed — in effect removing the stress by ripping the material apart.
  • I misinterpreted the way that tabs on the canvas top were to be used. I figured they were tabs for gluing onto the frames above the door windows, but that was wrong. The gluing actually fixed the two points on each side of the canvas top that the frame moved farther apart when it was folded down. The gluing set the ends of the stress that the folding brought about.

Here’s a video that shows the action of the frame — and why the top tore. Note the way that the top end of the rear-most window frame piece separates from the rear end of the piece over the window. There is a short piece that bridges these pieces of the frame around the window. Initially that short piece separates the parts I glued by about four inches, but when the frame is put down, those pieces set about a foot apart.

Here’s a picture of the fateful tab on the torn canvas top, labelled as “The tab I glued, but shouldn’t have.” I really don’t know why the manufacturer of the canvas top would have included a tab at that position, since it quite obviously fit the frame piece above the window, and it seemed designed to be attached. On the retorn_canvas-151229placement (vinyl) top I got, the area above the window frame was reinforced with a vinyl piece about the size of the tab I had fatefully glued, so it could be that the manufacturer of the canvas top wanted the tab just tucked back as a floating protection for the top above the window.

In any case, there was no arguing with the physics of the thing. It tore. The video and the picture should tell the story.

While I was investigating the reason for the failure of the canvas top, I revisited “andyzaks” instructions that I found on E-type Lovers ( These are good instructions, and I followed them through again — in dry run fashion — to see where I might have diverged and made my error. I came to the conclusion that I was misled by the “fateful tab” that apparently didn’t even appear on andyzaks’ top when he was putting his on. Key thing to note is that the tops on the Series 1 cars are fastened at the front, back, and at the rear of the window frame, where the chrome finisher sits.

I decided to do a video of the process, and it came out pretty well, though I realized after going through the whole exercise that doing a video is harder than writing up a blog post! If you listen closely you’ll probably hear Christmas music in the background at times. That’s a dead give-away for when this top was installed!

The car is going on the market in late January 2016, very likely. I have been planning for this, and I’m getting to a point where I think I have a realistic plan in mind. I do wonder about selling it when I take it on my little drives around Rougemont, but I think I want a new project to sink my teeth into.

Oh, I think I’ll do a few more videos as time goes on.  Videos are an interesting medium, even though they are a little more tedious to put together.