Car Rag Top

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The type of material used for the car rag tops of every major automobile manufacturer differ according to the preferences of the manufacturer. BMW and other German companies, for example, may use some form of Sonnenland canvas, which is a tight canvas stretched over a butyl rubber core. Other manufacturers, however, may choose to use vinyl for the car rag tops that they produce.

Original Sonnenland canvas, manufactured in Germany, was the canvas of choice for classic BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes convertibles. It has a high wear-resistance rating, most of which is due to the strength of the outer canvas. The interior of the top is covered in a cotton weave called a "dobby" weave, which has come to characterize many German automobiles.

A similar kind of canvas is used in Alfa Romeos and other British convertibles and roadsters. The original fabric used in many Alfas was a blend of cotton and rayon, but many replacement car rag tops now use a canvas substitute. Most are made of butyl rubber under canvas, though the specifics of the interior and exterior weaves may be different.

Vinyl Car Rag Tops

Pinpoint vinyl and Sailcloth vinyl are popular among American automakers such as Ford and Chrysler. Certain British manufacturers also use vinyl, though many opt for a rich-looking crushed grain design. Volkswagen Cabrios that date from the mid-1980s use pigskin-textured vinyl.


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