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Discussion Starter #1
I was just stunned by a local top/upholstery shop quoting me $1400 to install a new top and rear window in my '66. $1400! :crazy:

My son and I took off the old one yesterday. Some parts seem simple and logical, but I know getting the fit and tightness is critical. have any of you done this yourself?
 

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Yes, but going slow is critical. DO NOT THROW OUT your old top, it can be used as a pattern of sorts. You need to find year specific instructions for the clearest instructions ad templates (for top bar placement when tacking down the top). If you have done any upholstery work, you can handle this with patience. Although a professional can do it in a day, expect a week and when things seem a little tight, back off. Also, remember, if you DO screw up, you can buy another top and try again still far under his quote.
 

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Yes! Did my '68 Mustang and '56 Sunliner. Takes time to get it right.

If you figure the top, rear window, pads, tack strips, hold down cables etc. total $400. That leaves $1000 labor. At $50/hr that's 20 hours.
 
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You'll need a pneumatic staple gun and several sizes of staples. Some 3M super weatherstrip adhesive in a can and a good pair or side cutters for removing staples! (yes, you will have to remove and reinstall staples to get the top fitted right, nobody gets it right on the first try).

Also, get that convertible top manual that the vendor's sell, it will be nice to use as a reference.

There are 2 critical areas of convertible top installation. The first is making sure all the tacking strips are useable and repairing what isnt. This may require riveting a new strip across the front bow or filling the rear box with 2 part epoxy. The second most critical area is the placement of the rear curtain. It has to be an exact measurement. If the rear curtain is off, the rest of the top is thrown out of whack and you'll have a hard time getting it to fit and look right.

Use advanced search here on VMF and you'll find a ton of info on installing tops.
 

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That quote isn't far off from what I went thru. Two years ago it cost me approx $1200. to do top, split glass rear window & recover rear seats only. Note I had no old top to look at. This shop had a very good rep & did a very good job.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all of you. Another critical question here: my car came to me with a folding glass rear window. I really do like it but it's either original (which I doubt since the top was replaced at some point) or at the least, very old. In fact, the center seam of the window is coming apart. Given the extra $200-250+ for another glass window I think I'll go back to the plastic style. That means sending back my new top and getting the correct kit, but so what?!

Question: I have conflicting info from several cources about the glass back windows. Were they actually available in 1966 or not?

Question: the top I received actually matches my parchment interior rahter than being white. Wasn't the original top color really "white" white?
 
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'67 was first year for rear glass windows.

The correct top color for 65/66 was usually referred to as "Ford White" which is an off-white.
 

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Here is an instrution sheet that came with my top.I found it very helpful. It took me 8 hours and came out great. The spelling errors are not mine. Hope this can be of help.

Installation Instructions for 1965-1972 Ford Mustang Convertible Top

THE INSTALLATION OF THIS CONVERTIBLE TOP IS NOT DIFFICULT. IT IS DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED WITH SPECIAL OVAL PUNCH-OUTS AT THE BOTTOM OP THE REAR WINDOW AND REAR SECTION OF THE TOP. THESE PUNCH-OUTS ARE GUIDE MARKS FOR POSITIONING THE MATERIAL TO THE CAR. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR REMOVING THE OLD TOP AND INSTALLING THE NEW TOP STEP BY STEP, AND YOU WILL HAVE A NEAT APPEARING TROUBLE FREE INSTALLATION.

A- HOW TO REMOVE THE OLD TOP FROM YOUR CAR

STEP 1
LOWER ALL WINDOWS ON YOUR CAR AND LOWER TOP INTO REAR WELL COMPARTMENT. ACROSS FRONT BOW, NOTE CORDWELT, METAL RETAINER AND RUBBER WEATHER STRIP. THE CORDWELT IS A ROUND BEADED MATERIAL THAT IS TACKED IN PLACE UNDERNEATH THE METAL RETAINER. REMOVE PHILLIPS SCREWS FROM VETAL RETAINER AND PHILLIPS SCREWS FROM END OF RUBBER WEATHER STRIP. REMOVE METAL RETAINER BUT BE CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE ENDS OF RUBBER WEATHERSTRIP. THIS WEATHERSTRIP CAN HANG LOOSELY DURING THE ENTIRE INSTALLATION. CAREFULLY PRY OFF CORDWELT AS IT WILL BE RECOVERED WITH MATCHING MATERIAL SAME AS NEW TOP AND USED AGAIN AFTER NEW TOP HAS BEEN INSTALLED. NOW PRY OFF TOP FROM FRONT BOW TACKING STRIP AND REMOVE MOST OF THE TACKS OR STAPLES.

STEP 2
RAISE TOP HALF WAY AND CUT LOOSE FROM FLAP AT SIDE OF FRONT BOW. BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT PAD MATERIAL. CLOSE TOP TO WINDSHIELD BUT PUT A SUPPORT ABOUT 5" THICK BETWEEN FRONT BOW AND WINDSHIELD. THIS WILL KEEP TENSION FROM THE REST OF THE TOP AND REAR WINDOW.

STEP 3
REMOVE RIGHT AND LEFT WEATHERSTRIP FROM CURVED PART OF FRAME WHERE SIDE WINDOW FITS WHEN YOU CLOSE SIDE WINDOW. THIS WEATHERSTRIP IS PART OF THE CAR FRAME AND IS DISASSEMBLED FROM FRAME BY REMOVING THREE NUTS AND WASHERS ON INSIDE OF CAR AT CURVED SECTION OF FRAME. REMOVE NUTS AND PULL WEATHERSTRIPPING AWAY FROM CURVED FRAME. RELEASE FLAP FROM FRAME THAT IS CEMENTEDTO CURVED SECTION.

STEP 4
ALSO ON INSIDE OF CAR AT REAR WELL COMPARTMENT (WHERE TOP NESTS WHEN FOLDED) REMOVE FLAT HEAD PHILLIPS SCREWS IN BACK OF REAR CUSHION. AT SIDE OF REAR WELL COMPARTMENT REMOVE THREE FLAT HEAD PHILLIPS SCREWS AND ONE FLAT HEAD PHILLIPS SCREW ATTACHED TO LOWER FLAP. LIFT UP WELL COMPARTMENT AND REMOVE ALL HEX-HEAD MACHINE BOLTS FROM REAR AND SIDES OF CAR BODY. ALSO REMOVE THE TWO END PHILLIPS SCREWS . YOU CAN NOW RELEASE THE ENTIRE REAR SECTION OF OLD TOP AND CURTAIN FROM CAR BODY.

STEP 5
COVER THE REAR TRUND AREA WITH A BLANKET TO PREVENT SCRATCHING ANY PAINT SURFACE OF YOUR CAR. LIFT OUT REAR SECTION THAT WAS BOLTED TO THE CAR, AND PLACE IT ON THE BLANKET. CAREFULLY PRY OFF OLD TOP MATERIAL FROM EDGE OF WELL COMPARTMENT SECTION. NOTE THAT WELL COMPARTMENT MATERIAL AND OLD TOP MATERIAL ARE TACKED TO A CURVED FORM CALLED "TRIM STICKS". WHEN REMOVING OLD TOP FROM TRIM STICKS, BE CAREFUL NOT TO TEAR WELL COMPARTMENT MATERIAL AS THIS SECTION IN NOT REMOVED FROM TRIM STICKS WHEN OLD TOP IS RELEASED FROM TRIM STICKS.

NOW PRY OFF TOP SHORT THEM STICKS. BE SURE TO MARK EACH STICK AS TO WHICH END FACES FORWARD BECAUSE IT IS A CURVED STICK AND MUST BE REPLACED IN THE SAME MANNER WHEN YOU TACK IT TO THE NEW TOP. REMOVE METAL TIPS AND OLD WELT ACROSS REAR BOW. ALSO PRY OFF TOP FROM REAR BOW. LIFT UP SIDE QUARTER MATERIAL AT REAR OF CAR AND RELEASE WIRE CABLE FROM SIDES OF OLD TOP. PULL OUT WIRE CABLE FROM FRONT OF TOP.

IMPORTANT: TO REMOVE OLD TOP FROM CENTER BOWS, CAREFULLY PEEL OLD TOP FROM MATERIAL THAT IS ATTACHED TO CENTER BOWS. YOU CAN RE-USE THESE BOW COVERS IF THEY ARE IN GOOD CONDITION. NEW BOW MATERIAL IS SUPPLIED WITH NEW TOP AND CAN BE USED IF NEEDED. REMOVE OLD TOP FROM CAR FRAME.

STEP 6
MARK POSITION ON REAR BOW AND TRIM STICK OF REAR QUARTER WEBBING. CAREFULLY UNTACK WEBBING AS IT WILL BE REINSTALLED AFTER NEW CURTAIN HAS BEEN TACKED TO TRIM STICK. PRY OFF CURTAIN FROM REAR BOW AND REMOVE CURTAIN AND WELL COMPARTMENT FROM CAR. ON A TABLE, PRY OFF REAR CURTAIN FROM TRIM STICK.


B. HOW TO INSTALL THE NEW REAR CURTAIN

STEP 1
ON A TABLE, PLACE NEW CURTAIN OVER WELL COMPARTMENT. BE SURE ZIPPER TAB FACES DOWNWARD SO THAT YOU CAN OPERATE THE ZIPPER FROM THE INSIDE OF THE CAR. START WITH THE CENTER PUNCH-OUTS ON THE CURTAIN AND MATCH TO THE CENTER PUNCH-OUTS ON THE TRIM STICK. TACK SECURELY ON EACH SIDE OF THE PUNCH OUTS. STRETCH MATERIAL TO NEXT PUNCH CUTS SO THAT THERE ARE NO WRINKLES IN THE FLEXIBLE PLASTIC AND TACK ON EACH SIDE OF THE PUNCH-OUTS. A PIECE OF METAL CAN BE HELD UNDERNEATH THE TRIM STICK FOR EASIER TACKING.
COMPLETE ONE HALF FIRST AND THEN THE OTHER HALF IN SAME MANNER. TACK QUARTER WEBBING TO TRIM STICK BETWEEN MARKS PREVIOUSLY MADE. TACK CURTAIN TO TRIM STICKS BETWEEN EACH PUNCH-OUTS.

STEP 2
PLACE CURTAIN AND WELL COMPARTMENT ASSEMBLY ON INSIDE OF CAR. SPOT TACK TOP OF CURTAIN TO REAR BOW WITH A FEW TACKS . THIS IS M3RELY TO HOLD CURTAIN TEMPORARILY AND PREVENT SCRATCHES. THESE TACKS WILL BE REMOVED AFTER ASSEMBLY HAS BEEN BOLTED TO THE CAR. ON INSIDE OF CAR, UNDERNEATH WELL COMPARTMENT ATTACH THE END PHILLIPS SCREW FIRST. WITH POINTED TOOL, LOCATE HOLE IN CAR BODY TO FIND POSITION. THIS WILL CENTER THE TRIM STICK TO BODY OF CAR. ON OPPOSITE SIDE ATTACH THE LAST HEX-HEAD MACHINE BOLT. WITH
POINTED TOOL FIND EXACT LOCATION ON CAR BODY. THIS WILL PULL TRIM STICK INTO POSITION SO THAT THE END PHILLIPS SCREW CAN BE INSTALLED. IT IS ADVISABLE TO PUT IN ALL THE HEX-HEAD MACHINE BOLTS THAT HOLD WELL COMPARTMENT ASSEMBLY AND REAR CURTAIN TO CAR BODY. WHEN COMPLETELY MADE SURE THAT FRONT BOW IS LOCKED TO WINDSHIELD.

STEP 3
TACK CURTAIN TO REAR BOW. STRETCH OUT ALL WRINKLES AS YOU TACK. NOTE IT IS THE STRETCH FROM SIDE TO SIDE THAT SMOOTHS OUT THE FLEXIBLE PLASTIC AND NOT DIPECT UP-PULL. WHEN REAR CURTAIN IS FREE OF WRINKLES AND SECURELY TACKED TO REAR BOW, TRIM OFF EXCESS MATERIAL. STRETCH QUARTER WEBBING TAUT AND TACK TO REAR BOW BETWEEN MARKS PREVIOUSLY MADE. YOU ARE NOW READY TO INSTALL THE NEW TOP.

C. HOW TO INSTALL THE NEW TOP

STEP 1
REPLACE OLD BOW COVERS IF NECESSARY. TAKE OUT SCREWS FROM CENTER BOWS ON INSIDE OF CAR. REMOVE METAL BAR FROM SLEEVE AND INSERT INTO NEW BOW COVER. WITH POINTED TOOL, LOCATE HOLES AND RE-INSTALL BCW COVER ASSEMBLY TO CENTER BOWS.
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STEP 2
ON A TABLE, TACK SHORT TRIM STICKS TO LOWER SIDE QUARTER MATERIAL. MATCH PUNCH OUTS AND BE SURE FRONT OF TRIM STICK FACES FRONT OF TOP AS PREVIOUSLY MASKED. PLACE TOP OVER FRAME OF CAR, ADJUST AND CENTER TOP IN POSITION. PUSH WIRE CABLE THROUGH SLEEVE FROM FRONT OF SIDE QUARTER. BE SURE TO DO OTHER SIDE. RELEASE TOP FROM WINDSHIELD AND RAISE HALF WAY TO RELEASE TENSION. LIFT UP SIDE QUARTER MATERIAL REAR OF CAR AND ATTACH WIRE CABLE TO FRAME. TIGHTEN HEX-NUTS SECURELY. LOWER TOP TO WINDSHIELD AND PUT A SUPPORT ABOUT 5" THICK BETWEEN FRONT BOW AND WINDSHIELD.

STEP 3
AGAIN REMOVE THE BOLTS AND PHILLIPS SCREWS FROM TRIM STICK AND RELEASE CURTAIN AND WELL COMPARTMENT FROM CAR BODY. LIFT OUT ASSEMBLY SO THAT SIDE QUARTER MATERIAL CAN BE TACKED TO LONG TRIM STICK. MATCH PUNCH-OUT IN SIDE QUARTER MATERIAL TO PUNCH-OUT IN TRIM STICK AND TACK SECURELY. FOLLOW SAME ALIGNMENT OF SIDE QUARTER MATERIAL TOWARD REAR ON TRIM STICK AND TACK. NOT THAT MATERIAL ONLY COVERS HALF OF THE PUNCH-OUT.

STEP 4
PLACE ENTIRE SECTION OF CURTAIN, TOP AND WELL COMPARTMENT INTO REAR OF CAR. START WITH THE END PHILLIPS SCREW SO THAT TOP AND CURTAIN WILL BE CENTERED. ON CAR. FOLLOW SAME PROCEDURE AS REAR CURTAIN INSTALLATION. (STEP 2) BUT AS SOME ADJUSTMENT MAY BE NECESSARY BY SLIDING THE TRIM STICK FORWARD OR TO THE REAR.

STEP 5
LOCK FRONT BOW TO WINDSHIELD. ROLL UP THE DOOR WINDOWS. DO NOT ROLL UP SIDE QUARTER WINDOWS AT THIS TIME. STRETCH TOP FOPWARD AND SET IN PLACE OVER DOOR WINDOWS. PULL MATERIAL FORWARD AND DOWN SO THAT THE BINDING ON SIDE QUARTERS BARELY SKIMS TOP EDGE OF DOOR WINDOW WHEN YOU OPEN AND CLOSE THE DOORS. AS YOU STRETCH MATERIAL FORWARD AND INSERT A FEW THIN NAILS THROUGH MATERIAL AND UNDERNEATH FRONT BOW TO HOLD TOP IN PLACE TEMPORARILY.

CHECK POSITION OF TOP ON REAR BOW. WELDED SEAM ON SIDE QUARTERS MUST FIT IN CENTER OF REAR BOW. IF NECESSARY, STRETCH TOP FORWARD AGAIN AND REPOSTION. TACK MATERIAL TO REAR BOW. ALSO TACK WELDED SEAM TO REAR BOW. BE SURE TO PLACE TACKS IN CENTER OF REAR BOW SO THAT THEY WILL BE COVERED WHEN YOU INSTALL THE WIRE ON TRIM.

WHEN TOP IS SMOOTH AND FREE OF WRINKLES, MARK A LINE ACROSS FRONT OF TOP ON EDGE OF FRONT BOW. YOU CAN FEEL THE EDGE THROUGH FABRIC AS YOU MARK TO THE OTHER SIDE.

STEP 6
RAISE TOP HALF WAY AND STAND ON INSIDE OF CAR. START IN CENTER AND PULL MATERIAL FOFWARD AT LEAST 1/2" SO THAT MARKED LINE IS 1/2" LOWER THAN THE FRONT EDGE OF FRONT BOW. THIS ADDITIONAL STRETCH WILL SET TOP MATERIAL SMOOTH. SPOT TACK MATERIAL APPROXIMATELY EVERY SIX INCHES. WHEN TACKED, LOWER TOP AND FASTEN TO WINDSHIELD. CHECK TO MAKE SURE THAT TOP FITS PROPERLY OVER DOOR WI NDOWS. IF NECESSARY UNTACK TO MAKE ANY NEEDED ADJUSTMENTS SUCH AS ADDITIONAL STRETCH FORWARD OR REPOSITIONING OVER DOOR WINDOWS. WHEN TACKED SECURELY, TRIM OFF EXCESS MATERIAL ONE INCH BELOW TACKS.

D HOW TO INSTALL AND COVER NEW CORDWELT WEATHERSTRIP

STEP 1
WITH SCISSORS CUT OFF FLAT LIP FROM OLD CORDWELT THAT WAS FIRST REMOVED FROM THE FRONT BOW. YOU NOW HAVE A LENGTH OF FOUND WELT THAT WILL BE COVERED WITH MATCHING MATERIAL SUPPLIED WITH THIS TOP.

STEP 2
FOLD ROUND LENGTH IN HALF AND MARK CENTER. ALSO FOLD MATCHING MATERIAL IN HALF AND MARK CENTER. PLACE CENTER MARK ON WELT TO CENTER MARK ON MATERIAL EQUALLY DIVIDED ON ALL SIDES. APPLY RUBBER CEMENT ON INSIDE OF MATCHING MATERIAL ON EACH SIEE OF ROUND WELT.

STEP 3
WHEN RUBBER CEMENT IS DRY OR TACKY, FOLD MATERIAL OVER ROUND LENGTH SO THAT ONE SIDE ADHERES TO THE OTHER. PRESS FIRMLY AGAINST CORD SO THAT MATERIAL HUGS CORD AND IS SMOOTH. WHEN BOTH SIDES ARE HELD TOGETHER, YOU CAN TACK NEW CORDWELT WEATHERSTRIP TO FRONT BOW.

STEP 4
RAISE TOP HALF WAY. PLACE CORDWELT AGAINST FRONT BOW AND CENTER IT ACROSS FRONT BOW. BE SUBE INNER EDGE OF ROUND BEADING IS EVEN WITH EDGE OF FRONT BOW. START IN THE CENTER AND HOLD CORDWELT IN PLACE AND TACK TO FRONT BOW. KEEP INNER EDGE OF ROUND BEADING FIRMLY AGAINST EDGE OF FRONT BOW AT ALL TIMES. ;

STEP 5
MATCHING MATERIAL IN LONGER THAN THE LENGTH OF FRONT BOW. FOLD THIS EXCESS OVER SO THAT IT IS EVEN WITH END OF FRONT BOW AND SECURE WITH A FEW TACKS. UNSCREW WEATHERS TRIPPING ALONG SIDE OF FRAME AND PULL OUT OLD FLAP MATERIAL THAT WAS CUT WHEN OLD TOP WAS RELEASED FROM FRONT BOW. ATTACH NEW FLAP UNDER WEATHERSTRIP AND REPLACE SCREW.

REINSTALL METAL RETAINER AND RUBBER WEATHERSTRIP, TO FRONT BOW. WITH POINTED TOOL
FOLLOW HOLES IN METAL RETAINER AND PUNCH THROUGH MATERIAL SO THAT PHILLIPS SCREWS CAN EASILY BE INSTALLED. BE SURE TO INSTALL END SCREWS IN RUBBER WEATHERSTRIP AT END OF FRONT BOW. WHEN COMPLETED, LOWER TOP AND FASTEN TO WINDSHIELD.

E. FINISHING THE TOP

STEP 1
ATTACH SIDE QUARTER FLAPS. THEY- ARE ABOUT 3” WIDE AND 25” LONG, PART OF WHICH FITS ON THE INSIDE OF THE CAR. THEY ARE SEWN TO THE SIDES OF THE TOP AND FIT TO THE CURVED SECTION OF THE FRAME. APPLY RUBBER CEMENT TO INSIDE OF FLAP AND METAL FRAME. WHEN CEMENT IS DRY OR TACKY, ATTACH FLAPS TO METAL FRAME. YOU MAY HAVE TO MAKE A FEW SMALL CUTS ON THIS FLAP SO THAT IT WILL SHAPE ITSELF TO THE FRAME. PUNCH THROUGH ALIGNING HOLES SO THAT SCREWS IN WEATHERSTRIP CAN BE ATTACHED TO CURVED FRAME. REINSTALL ATTACHING NUTS ON INSIDE OF FRAME. ROLL UP SIDE QUARTER-WIHDOWS.

STEP 2
TACK WIRE ON WELT TRIM TO REAR BOW. START APPROXIMATELY 6” FROM FOLDED EDGE OF DECK SEAM AND TACK IT FLAT AGAINST REAR BOW SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THE WIRE AND SMALL ROUND BEADING FACTNG DOWNWARD. PLACE TACKS 1/4" ABOVE ROUND BEADING AND APPROXIMATELY 1" APART. ALLOW 6" OF WIRE ON WELT TO EXTEND BEYOND FOLDED EDGE OF DECK SEAM ON OTHER SIDE SO THAT BOTH SIDES APE EVEN. WHEN COMPLETELY TACKED FOLD LARGE FLAT BEADING OVER TACKS AND HAMMER LIGHTLY FOR SMOOTH APPEARANCE. ATTACH WIRE ON TIPS OVER ENDS OF WIRE ON WELT AND SECURE WITH PHILLIPS SCREWS. REINSTALL WELL COVER AND LOWER FLAP ON INSIDE OF CAR WITH FLAT HEAR PHILLIPS SCREWS.
 

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Pancho.... Which top vendor did the posted info come from?
 

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In my 1 ton of printed matter, I could not find the document. It was purchased years ago. I found it more helpful than the one in the Ford manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think I mught tackle this after all.

So...which kits do you like the best?

Hartz?

Robbins?

Other?
 

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Debating who to buy from as well, have heard that Robbins and Kee are the best on the market...
 

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The professional shop I used installed an Electron in NY as well. He said he'd install a Robbins if I insisted but his opinion was Electron was as good and bit cheaper. I'm happy with it.
 

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Any experience purchasing top for a 66 from M T Manufacturing (Convertible Top Guys)? Any suggestions for an installer in NC?
 

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I bought an EZ-ON top from NPD. The center lines were marked, as were the positions on the sail panels and lower rear window, where the tack strips should be stapled to the top. Made for an easier installation. It does take a lot of patience, and should be done in a warm environment, so you can make the top stretch the way you want.
I am very happy with the top and the color (white).
 

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Thanks. I am planning to install a blue canvas top instead of the standard vinyl currently on the car.
 
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