Mac's Auto Upholstery repairs and replaces convertible car tops, Jeep convertible tops, car covers, roll bar pads and bras. Our convertible top installers are the best in town! They're specially trained to repair tears, repair convertible top rear windows, and install new back windows for convertibles.
Insurance Claims & Estimates Welcome!
Seattle's Convertible Top Experts Since 1948
We install convertible tops. We also repair convertible tops, leaking tops and damaged rear windows on convertibles. We'll patch your top for free when you file an insurance claim or purchase a replacement convertible top from Mac's.
Before ordering a replacement top, it's important to appreciate the difference between trained convertible top technicians and cut-rate installers.
Cut-rate outfits quote low prices, but those prices don't include the often substantial cost of repairing the damage they do. Take a look at pictures of these clumsy discount installations (above left). The discount installers botched them so badly, the car owners were forced to toss the tops, buy new ones and start all over. The discount jobs ended up costing a lot more than a professional, warranty-backed installation. Don't roll the dice on something as complicated as installing a new convertible top.
Do NOT Wash Your Convertible in a Drive-Through Car Wash
Car wash operators will tell you it's okay, but based on our experience a drive through car wash damages a convertible top, especially if it has a plastic window in back. You may not notice it after a couple of passes, but the heavy equipment inside the washing tunnel stretches the top's fabric. It also scratches, yellows and delaminates plastic windows. It's better to wash it at home or use one of those self-serve car washes.
Convertible Top Rain Gutters
A rain gutter is a ridge of fabric sewn into a convertible top just above the window. Rain gutters are a clever, unobtrusive means of channeling water away from an open door. With rain gutters, you don't have to worry about getting drenched when exiting a car in a downpour — accumulated water drains away from the open door.
Top Without Rain Gutter
Top With Rain Gutter
Many replacement tops are available with rain gutters. They cost a little more than standard tops and take a bit longer to manufacture, but in our climate they make sense. Ask us about rain gutters when it's time for a replacement top.
Soft Top Rear Window Replacement
Do you need a new glass or plastic back window for your convertible? Is your back window cracked? Maybe the plastic is so foggy you can't see through it anymore. Many times we can save you money by replacing a plastic back window instead of installing a brand new top. We saved the owner of this Porsche Boxster Top (below) a ton of money by sewing in a replacement window instead of replacing the top. Stop by one of our shops and let us examine your top or window. We'll suggest convertible top window repair or rear window replacement options.
Damaged Boxster Top
Cracked Plastic Rear Window
Convertible Top Repair
Frame & Motor Convertible Top Repair
Mac's also repairs convertible top mechanisms: convertible top motors (electric and hydraulic), cylinders, hoses, switches, frames, weather stripping, boots and more. If your convertible top won't open or it's stuck, give us a call. Many times it's a simple fix.
Convertible Top Motor Repair
Repair Convertible Top Motor
Fix Broken Convertible Top
New Convertible Top Fabrics & Colors
Replacement tops for most convertibles come in a range of colors, textures, window styles and prices. Sonnenland®, Twillfast®, Stayfast®, Grain Vinyl & Sailcloth Vinyl — each fabric and window style has advantages. You'll find examples in the charts below. Drop by our Ballard showroom to view samples and discover which top is best for your car.
Sonnenland® A5 Convertible Tops
Sonnenland® A5 tops are high-end composite fabric tops. They're the "original German top" found on Porsches and Mercedes Benz convertibles. The fabric is a three-ply laminate made of an acrylic or polyester twill weave outer fabric, rubber inner layer and a polyester or cotton dobby backing. In addition to Porsche and Mercedes tops, Sonnenland® is often used in the manufacture of original Saab convertible tops, Volvo and Jaguar soft tops. Sonnenland® A5 aftermarket tops are available for many deluxe convertibles. They come in a range of styles, acoustic characteristics and colors, including:
Sonnenland® tops cost more than standard tops, but most agree they're worth the extra expense. These premium tops look better, fit better and perform longer than standard vinyl tops.
Twillfast® Convertible Tops
Twillfast® fabric is used to manufacture original tops for high performance convertibles including: Aston Martin, Corvette, Audi 80 Cabriolet, BMW 3 Series Cabriolet, Jaguar XK8, Opel Astra, BMW Roadster and Dodge Viper. Twillfast® tops come in three-ply and five-ply styles. They feature attractive polyester or cotton blend backings. Weave characteristics and weight are adjusted for acoustic performance.
These tops are rated "superior" for their U.V. resistance, weatherability and durability. Most of all, they look great. A Twillfast® top is perfect if you're looking to upgrade from vinyl to something more sophisticated. The fabric's rich textures add a touch of elegance to any car.
Tops fabricated from Twillfast® fabric generally cost less than premium Sonnenland® A5 convertible tops. At the same time, they're usually more expensive than tops manufactured from Stayfast® material.
Stayfast® Convertible Tops
Stayfast® is an acrylic-based fabric. Durable and attractive, this three-ply laminated fabric has an acrylic square weave face, rubber inner-layer, and filament polyester back. It's usually fused to black or tan cotton backing. Because the outer fabric maintains its color so well, Stayfast® has become well accepted in the demanding antique car restoration field.
If you need to replace a convertible top, Stayfast® is an excellent, mid-priced choice. You can order a Firebird top, a Sebring top or just about any soft top in Stayfast®.
RC Grain Vinyl & Sailcloth Vinyl Convertible Tops
RC Grain and Sailcloth are both textured vinyls with polyester/cotton backings. A lot of Mustang and Sebring tops are originally manufactured in Sailcloth. Volkswagen and Miata OEM tops are usually made from RC Grain. Vinyl tops are available for most convertibles in a full range of colors, including:
Give us a call or drop by Mac's Upholstery; we'll help you find the top that's best for your car and the type of driving you do.
Replacing Spray-Painted Top
We don't recommend it, but it's possible to change the color of your convertible top using spray ink or spray paint. It's a tricky DIY procedure since you have to use several coats of the correct dye and tape everything just right to avoid a mess. What's more, it's nearly impossible to succesfully spray a light color over a dark top.
Here's an example of somebody who did it the right way. He sprayed black dye on a white top. You can see the original color in the bottom two pics. It made the old top look brand new for a short time, but it didn't extend its life. All tops eventually break down.
Removing Old Cobra Top
Rusted Header Bow
Spray Painted Convertible Top
Torn Well Liner
When it was time to replace the old top we discovered a few small rips along the rear well liner and a rusty header bow in front. This is typical wear and tear; none of the damage appeared to be the result of the color change procedure.
Before installing the replacement top we repaired the header bow. Some shops would simply paint the header and call it good. We do it the right way; we grind the rust off, fix what needs to be fixed, then repaint it.
With the header bow spick-and-span, we installed the new replacement top -- a black one; no color change necessary.
T-Bird Top Slashed
At first glance, this looks like a garden variety slash-n-grab — some jackass rips the top, snatches valuables in the back and speeds off. Sadly, this is not the first time this top's been knifed. It's not even the second time. This Thunderbird convertible has been slashed a grand total of three times during the past few months. This is serial vandalism, plain and simple.
Vandalized T-Bird Top
New Thunderbird Convertible Top
Replacement Thunderbird Top Installed
Vandalism is always a risk when you own a ragtop. We work directly with insurance companies on this sort of thing all the time. Comprehensive policies usually cover repairs. So, if this ever happens to you, be sure to check your insurance before calling us. We'll take it from there.
Replacing Shredded Convertible Top
This VW Cabrio raised a few eyebrows when it pulled into our parking lot. Was it a stunt car from an old Freddy Krueger flick or a car share for a coven of werewolves? More to the point, does a convertible top this badly shredded even qualify as a top? Needless to say, this mess was beyond repair. Even if we could've fixed it, the repair would've cost more than the car. The only thing worth salvaging was the rear window.
Rear Window Still Good
Before Removing Old Top
Old Top Removed
New Top Before Window Installation
New Top With Old Window
With the glass still in good shape, we recommended a Robbins top specifically engineered to fit the OEM window. Robbins is a leading manufacturer of premium convertible tops, but they also carry a line of budget-priced vinyl tops ideal for this Cabrio. The owner switched from white to black to better hide road grime. The replacement top was perfect. Better yet, the window from the old top fit like a glove.
Patching Jeep Top
If your convertible top is damaged we'll patch it free of charge when you order a replacement top. The temporary patch is designed to keep you dry until the new top arrives; patches are rarely an acceptable long term fix. But, rarely does not mean never. A patch turned out to be the best way to repair this Jeep's ragtop.
Jeep With Damaged Top
Cigarette Burn In Top
We suggested a patch instead of a new top for several reasons. Aside from the damage — a small cigarette burn — the top was still in good shape. The damage was limited to a flat section of fabric where a small patch would not wear out. What's more, the owner wasn't concerned that a patch might look cheesy.
Prepping Damaged Section
Cementing Patch To Top
To minimize strain on the patch, we rounded the corners and applied it from the inside. Stitching isn't necessary; the heavy duty rubber cement we use is strong enough to anchor it. A silicon dressing waterproofs the repair from the outside.
In most cases, patching a convertible top is a bad idea. In this case it worked out fine. The patch not only sealed the damage, it saved the owner a ton of money.
Some Rear Windows Can't Be Replaced
In many cases you can replace a convertible top's rear window without replacing the entire top. This approach is especially handy if a window's been vandalized, but the rest of the top is still in good shape. Window replacement is possible on many domestic convertibles; their tops often come in two pieces, the main section and the rear curtain.
While it's possible for many domestic cars, it's not an option for most European convertibles.
2003 VW Convertible
Delaminated Rear Window
New Top With Rear Window
Today's Volkswagen convertibles, for example, are manufactured with one piece tops. When the rear window on this 2003 Bug delaminated, the owner wondered if it was possible to simply reattach the glass. Unfortunately, properly "relaminating" the rear window of a convertible isn't possible. You simply can't duplicate the manufacturing process. What's more, when a rear window delaminates it's only a matter of time before the rest of the top goes bad. The best thing to do is replace the top.
Replace Glass With Glass
Most convertibles are manufactured with either a glass rear window or a plastic one. It's one or the other; you don't get a choice. Mustangs and Miatas are different. If the plastic window in your Miata cracks, you can usually upgrade to glass or vice versa.
As a general rule, we discourage customers from the "vice versa" option. Plastic windows may be cheaper, but they're a poor substitute for glass. Plastic cracks, scratches and often fogs after a few years — not to mention how difficult it can be to defrost a plastic rear window.
Broken Rear Mustang Window
Replace Broken Rear Window
The owner of this Mustang pulled into our shop with a shattered rear window. He could've opted for a plastic replacement, but he made the right choice. He kept it glass. Replacing glass with a low performance plastic window would've diminished the value of his car and made driving a little less enjoyable. And in case you're wondering, it's been our experience that plastic is much easier than glass to vandalize.
Back To The Original Color
Often times a car owner doesn't realize how badly their convertible top has deteriorated until the replacement top goes on.
Here's a great example. Check out the first two pics. They show a VW Bug on the day it arrived at Mac's. The owner wanted a new top because the old one was ripped in places. Fortunately, the damage was the result of normal wear, not vandalism. The owner selected an OEM style top that matched the original. When the replacement top arrived (bottom pics), the color seemed a little off. Actually, the color seemed a lot off. Then we looked closer at the old top.
Old VW Convertible Top
Torn Side and Rear Panels
New VW Convertible Top
The old top was so badly stained from years of road grime, it was unrecognizable. In addition to being torn, the top had effectively turned a different color. The color change was dramatic, but incremental, so the owner never noticed it. The replacement top is the way it's supposed to look — clean and bright. It's amazing how much better a convertible looks with a brand new top.
Repair Hidden Convertible Top Damage
Damaged Header Bow On 2001 Ford Mustang Convertible
Often times when a convertible top goes bad, it needs more than new fabric. The frame, rain rail, water seals and dozens of other parts need just as much attention. Here's an example of wear and tear commonly found on older tops, such as this 2001 Mustang.
The header bow is the primary component that joins the convertible top to the windshield. It's usually manufactured from something called "pot metal" — an inexpensive die cast aluminum-zinc alloy. While pot metal doesn't rust, it can oxidize if the paint peels off.
There's also a tack strip on the flip side of the header bow where you fasten the convertible top fabric. The tack strip tends to crack over time, which can compromise the fit of the top.
Before installing the new top, we repaired the hidden damage on the header bow. We prepped, primed and painted the pot metal, then fixed the tack strip with a handful of pop rivets. These are the sort of minor repairs which improve the fit and performance of your new convertible top.
Header Bow Repainted
New Pop Rivets Secure Tack Strip
Repaired Header Bow
New Top For Classic Fiat
At first glance, this mid-sixties ragtop is a dead ringer for the tiny Sunbeam in the old TV series "Get Smart". But, as Maxwell Smart might say, "Missed it by that much." This is not Agent 86's Sunbeam Tiger equipped to battle the evil forces of KAOS; it's a mild mannered Fiat Cabriolet. Easy to mistake the two. Both were manufactured at roughly the same time. Both are about the same size. And both are now collector cars.
1965 Fiat Cabriolet
New Top For Fiat Cabriolet
Tight As A Drum
Even a carefully maintained covertible top on a collector car eventually wears out. Fortunately, a well-crafted replacement top for this popular model is still available. In addition to the new top, we installed a brand new carpet set. The owner drove away from the shop in a vintage sports car that looked brand new.
Convertible Top Replacement For Classic Corvettes
Few American cars are more revered than a mid-sixties Corvette Stingray. General Motors hit a home run when it redesigned and re-engineered the Corvette in 1963. Now half a century old, the '63 Corvette Stingray remains a favorite of car collectors worldwide. One of them asked us to restore the top for his cherry red '63 convertible.
Convertible car tops on these Corvettes operate manually. The cloth top and rear plastic curtain are attached to a sturdy accordion frame. To drop the top you simply fold the top frame assembly into a compartment behind the seats.
1963 Corvette Sans Top
Powder-Coated Top Frame
Convertible Top Repairs
This Corvette's top frame needed work. Before doing anything else, we removed the top frame assembly and applied a glossy, protective powder coating. Then we installed new seals and fastners. Once the frame assembly was back in place, our convertible top guys went to work installing a brand new cloth top from Gahh Automotive.
Convertible Top Installation
Corvette Convertible Top
Convertible Top Replacement
The cloth top on a Stingray is smaller than many convertibles. You might think a small top would be easier than a large one to install. In fact, the opposite is often true. Every car has quirks, especially older models. Accommodating these differences requires that each cloth or vinyl top be hand-fitted; a process that requires the fabric be steamed or stretched into place. There's less fabric in a small top so there's not as much "give".
With the top installed, we test and tweak the frame to make sure the assembly folds smoothly when the top is down. Tops manufactured by industry leader Gahh are guaranteed for a minimum of three years. Count on this one to last a lot longer...
New Convertible Top For Corvette
Replacement Convertible Top
CRC Corvette With New Convertible Top
...and in case you're wondering what the Corvette looked like before it was redesigned, check out the pics above. This black CRC Corvette replica was patterned after the classic 1962 model, the final year of the four-eyed 'Vette. As you can see, the replacement convertible top we installed fits like a glove.
A "New Car" For Pennies On The Dollar
When a car's interior is trashed and the convertible top damaged, it's tempting to buy a brand new car. But, what if the odometer reads eighty thousand miles or less and the car still runs fine? For the cost of a few car payments, the convertible top installers at Mac's Upholstery will put on a brand new replacement top, recover the auto upholstery and add seat heaters.
This 1999 Miata Convertible illustrates how it works.
Damaged Car Upholstery
Repaired Seat With Heating Pad
Mazda Convertible Top
New Covers & Heater Controls
The car owner selected a state-of-the-art vinyl convertible top manufactured by industry leader Robbins Tops. Mac's Upholstery is a preferred installer for Robbins Convertible Tops, so we were able to get him the best price and guarantee convertible top installation. Before installing a Katzkin interior kit to replace the old auto upholstery, the seats needed repair. Most of the foam was still in good shape, so we saved money by limiting foam restoration to a section of the driver's side seat.
We were then able to save the customer an addition $150 by installing two seat heaters before putting on the car seat covers. There were additional savings because -- in this car -- we could place the heater control button in the center console at no additonal charge.
A new Miata can easily cost more than $25,000. This "almost new Miati" costs a fraction of that.
Replace Convertible Back Window & Save Money
Sometimes when a convertible leaks water, the top is not the problem. For example, water pooling in the rear compartment of this Mustang (below) had nothing to do with the top. After running a series of diagnostic tests, we discovered that a seam had detached from the glass curtain assembly. The rear window was to blame, not the top.
If the damage is limited, a temporary convertible top patch may work for a while. In most cases, it's necessary to replace the entire convertible glass window curtain assembly to protect the frame and automotive upholstery.
Glass Rear Window
Detached Window Seam
Hole In Seam
Back Window Assembly
Rear Glass Window Assembly
Properly Sealed Corner
Rear Window Replacement
Replacing the rear window is almost as time-consuming as replacing the entire top. To begin with, it's not just the window you're replacing. The entire rear assembly needs to be removed from the convertible frame one step at a time. This is a tricky, labor-intensive process. When installing the new curtain assembly, it's important to precisely attach and seal all the components. If it's not done just right, there's a danger of new water leaks.
In the end, we saved the customer hundreds of dollars by replacing the rear window assembly instead of the entire convertible top.
Free Convertible Top Patch With Order
If your top is torn and you order a new one from Mac's, we'll temporarily patch the damage free of charge while we wait for the replacement top to arrive.
Torn Convertible Top Sewn Together
Convertible Top Patch
The patch is not designed to last forever, but it's much more than a strip of duct tape. Our technicians take time to carefully sew together the damaged area, cover it with durable Gorilla Tape®, then heat seal the whole thing so you can be on your way until the top arrives.