Carriage top, aka vinyl roof

Jaskim06

Member
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Have any of you had luck with repairing small cracks like a mad tom cat clawed the top on your lincoln or other cars? I have little cracks all over the top, not the sides but just the top. I dont want to redo the whole top as the rest is perfect. Its raining today and I have the cover on it. When it's nicer I will post pics. Thank you for any suggestions and info.
 

Jaskim06

Member
68
27
18
Believe it or not, I used clear flex seal on mine. Works great.
Did you spray it or paint or roll it? I'll get a picture when the weather is better, snowy n crappy in Pa but it has lil .25 long scratches. Looks like a pocket knife was stabbed through the top in many places. Or a cat got up and clawed the crap out of it. I saw a few videos of people using products like that. I used 3m clear silicone to just seal it up and get through the spring and fix it in summer. Since it has a texture I was thinking of doing just that with a roller. The sides are perfect and was done at a upholstery shop. I really don't want to tear it off. It's not faded, weathered just these pita little tears. Thank you. I may just do that!!
 

Jaskim06

Member
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Holy shit that looks awsome!! I'm doing the same. We have the same car. Mines in Cashmere with a dark red/black top. How much did it take? I'll order it asap. I was going to get a quart. Any extra I can use im sure. I have a 99 Auburn red Cartier I need to semi restore. It has a half top in red. I've saw some ppl do campers and other tops and looked ok. Yours looks amazing.
 

Jaskim06

Member
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I called a local shop that did my great uncles in the late 90s. He told me it's just delaying the inevitable but flex seal can last 30 years by my research. I'll be 71 then so that's OK with me. He quoted me 1500.00 for the whole top. Sides and top. Its supposed to be sunny tomorrow I'll get you a pic of mine. Its not faded, sun burnt or anything just tiny tears from no protection or not enough and Pa winters and summers. I cleaned with a brush, 99% around the tears and then used 3m silicone but it'll look way better smooth like yours. Beautiful car!!
 

jkeaton

Well-known member
1,350
584
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Winston Salem, NC
How big of a can did it take? Guessing a quart, pint seems to little to do entire roof. But mine has Moon roof too so maybe a pint. Thank you so much. You don't know how much this pic of yours helps me. Hard to really see what it's gonna look like. How many coats?
32 oz can. Did two coats.
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jkeaton

Well-known member
1,350
584
113
Winston Salem, NC
Here's some before and after. Works for me and like you said, saved me about $2000. It was particularly bad when it got wet, the top was porous, so it would wrinkle real bad and take a couple days to dry out, so this was 50% looks, 50% protection of the metal underneath to prevent (further0 rusting of the roof. I imagine I'll get rid of the car before this stuff wears out. Next Lincoln will not have a vinyl roof.


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Jaskim06

Member
68
27
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Here's some before and after. Works for me and like you said, saved me about $2000. It was particularly bad when it got wet, the top was porous, so it would wrinkle real bad and take a couple days to dry out, so this was 50% looks, 50% protection of the metal underneath to prevent (further0 rusting of the roof. I imagine I'll get rid of the car before this stuff wears out. Next Lincoln will not have a vinyl roof.


View attachment 10105
Thank you so much. I can't believe how good it looks!! WOW!! Amazing! I went to local Walmart and their selection left alot to be desired. Had it but not in clear. Only spray in clear. I dont think this is a spray job after seeing this!! This can last up to 30 years. Idk but it's way cheaper in time and money to do what you did. If all else fails in the future I'll take it off. Maybe do a 2 tone like in the 50s. Think that would look neat. I took pics of mine but they turned out crap. Im gonna have wife do it on her new phone. Pics are great.
 

Jaskim06

Member
68
27
18
Here's some before and after. Works for me and like you said, saved me about $2000. It was particularly bad when it got wet, the top was porous, so it would wrinkle real bad and take a couple days to dry out, so this was 50% looks, 50% protection of the metal underneath to prevent (further0 rusting of the roof. I imagine I'll get rid of the car before this stuff wears out. Next Lincoln will not have a vinyl roof.


View attachment 10105
Hers the temp fix of mine and a sample of the tears I was talking about.
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Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
444
318
63
Northern Illinois
Have any of you had luck with repairing small cracks like a mad tom cat clawed the top on your lincoln or other cars? I have little cracks all over the top, not the sides but just the top. I dont want to redo the whole top as the rest is perfect. Its raining today and I have the cover on it. When it's nicer I will post pics. Thank you for any suggestions and info.

Hi, Jaskim06.

"While you're at it," you might try to get a quote on having the vinyl top removed and not replaced. Lincoln built zero cars on the last bodyshell/glider with factory vinyl tops. Every top you see was added by the selling dealer to "up-charge" the original purchaser.

While the vinyl tops do reduce cabin noise, particularly when it's raining, that just doesn't make up for the bother of caring for it.

It actually does require a body shop, or you having the same skills and facilities to remove a vinyl top correctly due to the combination of glues and screws used to put the top on. But once that dead vinyl is gone and replaced by welds, filler, and corrected paint, you don't have to mess with it again. For a given value of UV/other weather destructive qualities, painted steel usually holds up better and is easier to protect than vinyl.

@jkeaton's method of extending the roof life is as good as any I've seen, provided the underlying vinyl has enough "strength" to hold together under the new coating. This is especially true if you don't have garage space to keep the car in when you aren't driving it. If you do have a garage, and keep your TC in it, then I'd suggest spending the $1500 for the new top, if you prefer the vinyl look that much. Keeping the car garaged when not driving it will allow you to get at least as many years of service out of the replacement top as the "original," if not many more.

Good luck.
 

Jaskim06

Member
68
27
18
Hi, Jaskim06.

"While you're at it," you might try to get a quote on having the vinyl top removed and not replaced. Lincoln built zero cars on the last bodyshell/glider with factory vinyl tops. Every top you see was added by the selling dealer to "up-charge" the original purchaser.

While the vinyl tops do reduce cabin noise, particularly when it's raining, that just doesn't make up for the bother of caring for it.

It actually does require a body shop, or you having the same skills and facilities to remove a vinyl top correctly due to the combination of glues and screws used to put the top on. But once that dead vinyl is gone and replaced by welds, filler, and corrected paint, you don't have to mess with it again. For a given value of UV/other weather destructive qualities, painted steel usually holds up better and is easier to protect than vinyl.

@jkeaton's method of extending the roof life is as good as any I've seen, provided the underlying vinyl has enough "strength" to hold together under the new coating. This is especially true if you don't have garage space to keep the car in when you aren't driving it. If you do have a garage, and keep your TC in it, then I'd suggest spending the $1500 for the new top, if you prefer the vinyl look that much. Keeping the car garaged when not driving it will allow you to get at least as many years of service out of the replacement top as the "original," if not many more.

Good luck.
Thank you. I have a 6 layer car cover that does great but its one of those deals that the previous owner didn't protect it, now I have it and I'm very anal about my car and being protected, maintained and running properly. He was a older man and lost his driving abilities because of sight. He took car in to dealership for everything. I have the records of all the work done. His family took ownership and didn't do basic things to protect it. I'm a mechanic by trade so the job wouldn't be that hard, but finding a good quality top I think would be the most difficult part. We have all this new technology with materials, ceramic, graphene, and such that can extend and protect our beloved town cars like never before. Ive done these tops but its alot of time consuming detailed work. Especially if the roof is not pristine. It's alot of sanding, grinding, welding etc if not. I snuck a peek under it with a endoscope. Roof is fine. I think Mr Keatons TC top looks awesome. So flex seal it is. I will post pics when done. My pap worked for Ford in Ohio so he had a Lincoln or mercury every few years and they all had a vinyl top. So it's nostalgia for me. I think a new top coated with a hydrophobic, uv blocking etc type coating would make it last a lifetime with proper upkeep and a garage.
 

Jaskim06

Member
68
27
18
Thank you. I have a 6 layer car cover that does great but its one of those deals that the previous owner didn't protect it, now I have it and I'm very anal about my car and being protected, maintained and running properly. He was a older man and lost his driving abilities because of sight. He took car in to dealership for everything. I have the records of all the work done. His family took ownership and didn't do basic things to protect it. I'm a mechanic by trade so the job wouldn't be that hard, but finding a good quality top I think would be the most difficult part. We have all this new technology with materials, ceramic, graphene, and such that can extend and protect our beloved town cars like never before. Ive done these tops but its alot of time consuming detailed work. Especially if the roof is not pristine. It's alot of sanding, grinding, welding etc if not. I snuck a peek under it with a endoscope. Roof is fine. I think Mr Keatons TC top looks awesome. So flex seal it is. I will post pics when done. My pap worked for Ford in Ohio so he had a Lincoln or mercury every few years and they all had a vinyl top. So it's nostalgia for me. I think a new top coated with a hydrophobic, uv blocking etc type coating would make it last a lifetime with proper upkeep and a garage.
I did some searching last night, we can get a new factory style fabric vinyl roof from a company called newstalgia. 499.99 pre sewed, just a straight swap. Old off new on. If I decide to do this in future I will post it. But flexseal is 20.00 bucks. That's so much less work and money. If and when I do a new top I will pay the 82.00 for the protectant that we all have saw on TV and in adds of it bring used on cars, trucks, gloves, shoes, anything. Its called Nasiol. It's amazing!! Well worth 80.00 or so it costs. Check it out if you got a minute. Go to their website. They make all kinds of products. A new top coated in this would last a long time.
 

Jaskim06

Member
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What year is yours? They don't make one for my 04.
It's called Newstaliga parts. If you Google 2004 Lincoln town car vinyl top it's the 3rd one down on Google. 03-10 is year range.price is 499.00. So 500 with the nasiol hydrophobic, uv blocking stain resistant spray. If you do work yourself. It's not bad. Just takes time. It's pre cut and ready to install. As long as tops not rusty etc It's not bad. I've done them on earlier cars so I don't thinks it's all that much different. Idk I love those tops. Some ppl don't. I've grew up with them and they give it a unique look that other autos don't have anymore. I didnt know they wasn't installed at factory until Brian J Patterson told me on here It's only a dealer item to charge a lil more cash. It don't say on my $50. Marti Report about the top. Just that 738 was made with my paint and options. Idk guess he knows what's up he has all the info. I was hoping to get a lil bit more detail on it but that's what I got. I'm happy with that.
 
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Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
444
318
63
Northern Illinois
It's called Newstaliga parts. If you Google 2004 Lincoln town car vinyl top it's the 3rd one down on Google. 03-10 is year range.price is 499.00. So 500 with the nasiol hydrophobic, uv blocking stain resistant spray. If you do work yourself. It's not bad. Just takes time. It's pre cut and ready to install. As long as tops not rusty etc It's not bad. I've done them on earlier cars so I don't thinks it's all that much different. Idk I love those tops. Some ppl don't. I've grew up with them and they give it a unique look that other autos don't have anymore. I didnt know they wasn't installed at factory until Brian J Patterson told me on here It's only a dealer item to charge a lil more cash. It don't say on my $50. Marti Report about the top. Just that 738 was made with my paint and options. Idk guess he knows what's up he has all the info. I was hoping to get a lil bit more detail on it but that's what I got. I'm happy with that.

Hi, Jaskim08 and all.

As for factory fitment on vinyl tops for the later Town Cars, I have been wrong in the past and will probably be wrong again. I'm trying to find references on this, but haven't been fully successful one way or another.

The first "reference" to prove one way or another, which I haven't gathered yet due to cost but others here probably have would be the Lincoln printed dealership brochures for each year. If a vinyl top was available from the factory, at least one car in the brochure for that year will have one.

Your parts supplier listing a "factory" top available for the 2003-2010 model years would strongly suggest that Lincoln had brought them "back" for a few years due to "popular demand." If that's the case, but you still want a "factory vinyl" roof for your 1998, then there is still some hope for you.

And "dealer-installed" does not necessarily equal garbage or even undesirable. After all, if nobody wanted vinyl tops, then the dealerships wouldn't dream of putting them on their cars. They want to sell the cars, after all, and won't do anything to them to make the harder to sell.

In the end, unless you are actually trying to maintain or restore your Town Car to concours standards, it doesn't matter all that much. The dealership tops were common enough that you shouldn't lose points for having one installed if it's in good condition. And a true factory vinyl top, with provenance, will be even better. So, vinyl or steel if you want too, just keep the car itself what a luxury car should be.

This controversy can run both ways. The 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III came with a vinyl top as standard equipment. However, there was a "vinyl top delete" option that wasn't free, that a little over 700 customers paid for and had delivered. So, if you have the provenance, you can win full points at the concours with your painted roof Mark III.

As a final comment, my 2001 Town Car has a "fabric texture" vinyl top. The top is intact, and looks nice, whether it was installed at Wixom or a dealer body shop in Michigan, where the car was delivered to its first owner. Removing said top isn't at the top of my maintenance list, or even on the first page.

Cheers!
 

Jaskim06

Member
68
27
18
Hi, Jaskim08 and all.

As for factory fitment on vinyl tops for the later Town Cars, I have been wrong in the past and will probably be wrong again. I'm trying to find references on this, but haven't been fully successful one way or another.

The first "reference" to prove one way or another, which I haven't gathered yet due to cost but others here probably have would be the Lincoln printed dealership brochures for each year. If a vinyl top was available from the factory, at least one car in the brochure for that year will have one.

Your parts supplier listing a "factory" top available for the 2003-2010 model years would strongly suggest that Lincoln had brought them "back" for a few years due to "popular demand." If that's the case, but you still want a "factory vinyl" roof for your 1998, then there is still some hope for you.

And "dealer-installed" does not necessarily equal garbage or even undesirable. After all, if nobody wanted vinyl tops, then the dealerships wouldn't dream of putting them on their cars. They want to sell the cars, after all, and won't do anything to them to make the harder to sell.

In the end, unless you are actually trying to maintain or restore your Town Car to concours standards, it doesn't matter all that much. The dealership tops were common enough that you shouldn't lose points for having one installed if it's in good condition. And a true factory vinyl top, with provenance, will be even better. So, vinyl or steel if you want too, just keep the car itself what a luxury car should be.

This controversy can run both ways. The 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III came with a vinyl top as standard equipment. However, there was a "vinyl top delete" option that wasn't free, that a little over 700 customers paid for and had delivered. So, if you have the provenance, you can win full points at the concours with your painted roof Mark III.

As a final comment, my 2001 Town Car has a "fabric texture" vinyl top. The top is intact, and looks nice, whether it was installed at Wixom or a dealer body shop in Michigan, where the car was delivered to its first owner. Removing said top isn't at the top of my maintenance list, or even on the first page.

Cheers!
I wish my Marti Report had this info but it does not. I thought for sure it would. As far as I know the kid I got this car from uncle bought this car brand new. I have all the service records starting with the first oil change at 3000 miles. I remember seeing a shipment of lincolns being unloaded at my local Ford dealership around 2008 while coming home from Marine Corps boot camp, none with a vinyl top and thought that was odd. Growing up they was on every other lincoln, caddy, hell alot of cars. I hope you didn't read that I typed you should know and have the info Brian J Patterson. I was referring to the Marti Report another guy got for his car like mine and myself. He has all the info on all Ford cars ever built since 67??. I had no idea what this was until another member of this fine forum gave me the 411 on Marti Reports. I thought since this is a pretty pricey option that it'd be on the Report but not so. If I put you on the spot or made it sound like you are the holder of all info on tops I am sorry. That was not my intention. I wish that the Report came with all the options pertaining to my Town car since they only made the Designer series for a couple years. Semper Fi
 
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