It is important what look and feel you are trying to achieve when it comes to which material you choose for your new soft top convertible. There are 4 main type of replacement hood materials available Standard Vinyl, Original Equipment Vinyl, Double Duck and Mohair. The cost of these materials increases from the Standard Vinyl to Mohair and an approximation of costs is shown at the bottom of this article for an MGB hood. Fitting a new hood is not necessary a professional fitting exercise and fitting one yourself is task that can be easily achieved DIY in two to three house with a logical approach.
This is a high value, very durable material and is a very popular choice for replacement hood as this is the cheapest and most cost effective material. It is a thinner vinyl than the OE Vinyl which make it easier to work with in both fitting the hood and also in use. This material is usually only available in black but with contrasting piping if required.
OE Quality Vinyl
This is a thick Vinyl which was used on most British soft top sports cars as standard fitment from the factory and is still a very popular choice for a replacement hood. Being a slightly thicker material it is slightly harder to work with (especially if the temperature is low). There is usually a wider choice of colours available such as black, navy, red, green, tan, white and beige again with contrasting piping colours.
This is a cotton woven material with a central rubberised layer. The material is dyed and provides a rich black and waterproof finish. By fabric roof standards it is relatively cheap, not as colourfast as mohair and is only available in black although again with contrasting piping if required.
This is usually used on luxury sports cars and is a tightly woven fabric external layer, a central waterproof membrane and an attractive contrasting inner lining. The Mohair hood is a natural woven fibre is easy to work with and is more colorfast than Double Duck. Although this is the most expensive of the soft top materials it is actually one of the easiest to fit because it is a cross woven natural fabric it will stretch when wet and shrinks when drying and so will also adjust its fit to match that of your frame. A good colour choice is available such as black, navy, green, red and beige but it must be noted that red is less colour fast than the other colours and beige is much harder to keep clean.
The list below will give an idea to the differences in cost between the soft top materials, these are based on an MGB and the prices are from the MG Owners Club.
OE quality Vinyl Hood
Double Duck Hood
As can be seen the prices for the Vinyl hoods is quite similar where the Double Duck and Mohair hoods are approximately double that of the Vinyl hoods and on most British sports cars MG's, Triumphs etc the original factory fitment was vinyl.
Also you need to consider the look of your car, even if you are keeping the colour the same the Double Duck and Mohair hoods do look different from their vinyl counterparts so if you are trying to keep the car as original as possible then you might have to go for a vinyl roof.
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