Sunday, December 15, 2019

Replacement Convertible Tops - Material Options & Fabric Types

With so many options and styles to choose from, making your selection on a replacement convertible top can quite daunting. We are here to break down the details on each, allowing you to make a more informed purchasing decision. At Auto Tops Direct, we supply only the best and most durable products. The Haartz Corporation is known for being the best in the business when it comes to creating fabric for OEM soft-top convertibles.

As shown in the image to the right, the superior Haartz cloth-topping materials are thoughtfully constructed using a multilayer "three-ply" method. Each top is composed of:

  • Facing material - acrylic or polyester, found on the outside of the vehicle
  • Backing material - cloth fabric, found on the interior lining within the vehicle
  • Elastomeric core – an insulating elastic-type of material that provides water resistance, insulation and stretch; increasing the thickness of the rubber film will reduce the amount of noise in the vehicle interior.


Facing Material
The exterior facing side of your top is woven with square or twill weave and comes coupled with either polyester, polyester/cotton or cotton.

Backing Material
The backing material is typically only available in black. When combined with the twill facing material, it will come with a dobby crosshatch pattern, just as shown in the image above. The Stayfast material comes with a plain black cotton or polyester blend backing fabric.

With certain older Mercedes models, you will find the German canvas tops come with a tan-colored interior backing fabric.


Twillfast II fabric comes with an acrylic facing material on the exterior and a blend of polyester and cotton for the interior backing. The interior backing is black with a dobby crosshatch pattern. With select facing material colors, you will also be given the option of a tan interior backing.

Twillfast RPC is ideal for when you are looking for a bit of built-in soundproofing. This option is considered to be an acoustic topping, created to reduce noise. It comes complete with an acrylic face and polyester backing that is black with a dobby crosshatch pattern.

Sonnenland German Classic fabric is composed of a polyester and acrylic facing material with polyester and cotton backing that is black with a dobby crosshatch pattern. Select colors have the option of tan interior backing.

German A5 is considered an acoustic topping and reduces noise. It has an acrylic face and polyester backing. The backing is black and has a dobby (crosshatch) pattern.

German A5 Acoustic provides the most superior option in exterior noise reduction. It is a superior-quality and expertly crafted acoustic material composed of an acrylic face on the exterior and polyester interior backing that is black with a dobby crosshatch pattern.

Stayfast is composed of an acrylic exterior facing material and a smooth, soft cotton interior backing fabric that is black with the option of tan when coupled with select exterior face colors. This fabric will have a square exterior facing weave instead of a twill weave.

In order to provide the best, most expertly crafted replacement tops, many things must come together properly for superior fit. We pride ourselves on accuracy and consistency with our production methods, quality and fabrics, and we have a team of experts who are happy to help guide you through making your selection.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Highlighting Design Changes for 1990-1994 Mercedes SL Convertible Tops

Since its first appearance in 1954 as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, nicknamed the Gullwing, the Mercedes SL Class has proven to be one of the company's most popular series of automobiles. Still in production to this day, the SL Class has been produced through six generations and marketed under an array of monikers:
300 SL Gullwing – 1954-1957
300 SL Roadster – 1957-1953
190 SL – 1955-1963
230 SL – 1963-1967
250 SL – 1966-1968
280 SL – 1967-1971
350 SL – 1971-1972
450 SL – 1973-1980
280 SL – 1974-1985
380 SL – 1980-1988
500 SL – 1980-1986

The list continues on, with Mercedes-Benz using numerous other designations for its wide variety of SL models. Some SL designations, such as the 280 SL, are reused for new models. Others, such as the SL 55 AMG, SL 60 AMG and SL 70 AMG, were limited production models, of which few were produced. Only a total of about 300 SL Class models were customized by AMG before 2002.

Mercedes SL Convertible Tops

Many Mercedes-Benz SL models came with a choice of hard top, convertible top or both. Convertible tops that were installed during manufacture on 1990-1994 300 SL, 500 SL and 600 SL models had a design flaw that eventually required repair or replacement of the top. A buckle that's part of the window section and uses elastic and a screw to attach to the frame causes damage to the top. In 1995, the company changed its design, getting rid of the buckle and replacing it with a canvas/elastic attachment system.

The SL convertible tops we sell, including those for the 1990-1994 model years, utilize this improved design feature. These tops fit SL model years 1990-2002 and, in addition to use on 300 SL, 500 SL and 600 SL models, are also appropriate for SL 280, SL 320, SL 500 and SL 600 models utilizing the 129 chassis.

Our convertible tops are made from high-quality canvas and vinyl, using OEM materials. They feature plastic windows that are expertly sewn in, hand-rolled bindings and strong polyester color-matched stitching. Made in the U.S., these tops look and feel just as good as the top originally installed on your vehicle at the factory. They provide a perfect fit, guaranteed.

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