Vinyl top

Hey guys. I was looking at west coast cougars checking the prices of their vinyl tops. They are actually quite a bit cheaper than I thought for the materials. Does anyone have an opinion of the economy kit over the concourse resto kit. My car is not a show car. But if you get what you pay for I’m willing to wait and spend more later. Also has anyone installed their own? It doesn’t sound too difficult but I’ve never used the material and maybe it’s a lot tougher than I think. Is it something better left to a professional?

Caleb try this video from WCCC’s. It has good information.

I had not watched that video, thanks for posting it. My vinyl is yet to be done, and I am checking out local shops for it.

Even the pro in the vid has trouble lining everything up once that glue starts setting and he is pulling it tight, the side seam gets a bit crooked.

I have seen Andrew’s in person, and it doesn’t look too bad, but I can imagine myself screwing it up much more.

There are different tops available. I’ve used the economy kit that’s sold by many of the Cougar vendors and I’ve used a top from SMS.

The economy kit has more padding and thinner vinyl, IIRC.

The SMS kit has less padding, thicker vinyl, and takes more effort to stretch into place. However, it is more like the factory tops, with the seams all in the correct places. It’s also more expensive, SMS is not as easy as WCCC to work with, and the lead time is longer.

Kee Auto Top does something similar to SMS, but the A-pillar seam that the factory used isn’t designed into their top so it’s not quite as correct as the SMS top. On the plus side, they’re friendly and have a short lead time. For B3Cat, I’m going to get the top from Kee and have the trim shop create the seam to make it look factory correct.

I’m not familiar with WCCC’s concours top, so I can’t comment on that but it would be worth it to call them and have someone explain the difference if it’s not already spelled out on the website or in the video.

Yeah, that crooked line bugs the crap out of me. I noticed pretty soon after it happened, but it was already too late for him to pull it back up and adjust it. Lots of glue. It’s not that bad, but of course I’ll always notice it. Oh well!

For what it’s worth, my top is from SMS, and that’s what WCCC now sells as “concours.” We try to keep one in stock at all times to compensate for their lead time. As you saw in the video, when you hold it up to the economy version, you realize how cheezy the economy one is.
We did order a Kee top to check it out, and it was kind of in between the other two in terms of quality. Better than the economy version, but still not nearly as nice as the SMS. Also, the one we received from Kee appeared to be cut wrong; the A-pillars were splayed out too wide and it didn’t look like it would fit right.

Also, about the seams, not all Cougars had a seam at the A-pillar. I’ve seen a couple 67’s with original tops and no seam on the A-pillar. XR7-G’s were that way too, weren’t they? I actually like that look better and kinda wish mine came without the A-pillar seams. They were just a way for the factory to save a bunch of material / money.

I took comparison pictures back when we were researching which manufacturer was best, and forgot to do anything with them. This seems like a good time to share those! Here’s an original top:

Now, the SMS “concours” / “premium” top I put on my car:

Followed by the Kee, which I’ll call “Mid-Grade” (shown loose, not installed on a car):

And finally the “Economy” version, again not installed on a car:

You might notice that the two cheaper ones are quite shiny. All the above shots were taken with flash, so the sheen is pretty clear. I like the more natural look of the SMS. However, you’ll also notice that the texture of the SMS doesn’t exactly match the original, but none of them do, and it’s definitely the most detailed of the repros. When you compare them from a distance, I think it’s obvious that the SMS looks the closest to the original. That said, if you aren’t super picky and just want something new to replace a tattered old one, it’s nice to have cheaper options.

Oh, and here’s the problem I was talking about with the Kee top. Here it is sitting on my car. Notice the angle of the A pillar.

And for comparison, here’s the economy version on top of the Kee. Clearly the angle is different.

For all I know, Kee may have already corrected this problem, but this is what I found and thought it was worth mentioning. Hope this was helpful! Oh yeah and here are links to the relevant vinyl tops at WCCC:

Premium / Concours Vinyl Top (Black) - 67-68
Economy Vinyl Top (Black) - 67-68

(And yes we have other colors and years but I’m too lazy to paste all the links)

Andrew, that was an awesome post and it won WCCC some immediate business. I didn’t know that you had the SMS tops, but I just ordered one from Javier for B3Cat. I also forwarded a link to this thread to my trim shop guy. Nice work!

Woohoo! Thanks Bill! I figured this was worth taking the time to illustrate. This is a question that will continue to come up in the future. Post some pics when you get yours installed!

BBCat has the SMS vinyl top on it. For anyone who wants to see more of it (no close-ups, unfortunately) you can see it on my website at

We are so lucky to have WCCC and Andrew / Blitz documenting this stuff.

I thought the video link I posted had great information from Andrew’s car and then he adds these great photos. Well done Andrew and WCCC’s. :thumbup: Wonder information, keep up the great work guys.

Thanks for all the replies that was great information

I would recommend not using the economy vinyl top. When I got my cougar, someone had put one on it. It’s the one with the soft white backing. I found out a few years later that the white backing material was acting like a sponge around the edges, and the entire roof was soaked under the vinyl. I started noticing bumps appearing, which turned out to be rust flakes.

Thanks for posting the video. That will really help out when i do my replacement.
Has anyone done an early '67 vinyl roof and put on the correct riveted retainers with silicone caulk? I’d like to see how those finishing details are done. I can do a good job of caulking, but I’m thinking it’s kind of an awkward shape and location, and might be difficult to get a quality job.

G Dub

Thanks for the kind words guys, glad to be of help!

I can back up this statement… my vinyl top had been replaced at some point in the car’s life, with this same type of cheap top with the white fuzzy backing. If you saw my roof replacement video, or some of my pictures below, you can see how nice that cheap top was to my roof…

(It probably didn’t help that someone thought that a thick coat of bondo would be a good way to smooth out the roof. That’s what the flakes are.)

Ahh, good times. Anyway not to thread jack, but this is what can happen with a cheap vinyl top that isn’t watertight, especially when the car lives outside. Such was the case with mine for its whole life, but I have no record of when the vinyl top was last replaced.

That reminds me, I wanted to try a simple water-tightness test by making little “bowls” of the different vinyl top materials and fill them with water to see what happens.

As far as the side retainer strips, I don’t have those anymore, and am wondering the same thing as you, G68. I don’t plan on using them (mainly due to scarcity and difficulty of installation) but I do wonder what the proper thing to do is in the drip rails to keep the edges down & sealed. Any opinions? Seems like I’ve seen black silicone caulking, etc. Is it needed if you can get the drip rail trim over the edge of the vinyl?

I want to take the advice of people with more experience/ knowledge than me. I’m still tempted to try the econo kit myself though. My cat won’t see water again while I own it and I think it might be easier to install the cheaper stretchy vinyl. I might just be an idiot though. Haha. I’m going to get a quote to have the good kit installed and then I’ll see what I do.

Buy nice or buy twice. Cheaper products are cheaper for a reason, they often do not hold up, or actually can damage the car more as Andrew has shown.

What about the next person who has the car, will they know it shouldn’t be in the rain or the roof may rot?

To a prospective buyer of the car who has the info set out here, you may as well have not done it at all, as they would want it done right. Cheap repairs are worthless on resale.

I was thinking that a coat of bedliner before putting on new vinyl would prevent the rust from reoccuring, or at least a good double coat of primer.

There was something black painted on the roof under my replacement top. That’s the only reason the roof didn’t end of looking like Andrews. It was starting to go though. You can see the water and some rust in the photo.

Imo, I don’t think there would be much chance of totally sealing up the edges of a cheap top with the fuzzy back to keep the water from soaking under it.
Here’s the proper thing to do with the drip rails according to the manual. The silicone was apparently only for the early '67 models. It doesn’t say not to use it on later models, it just says it’s not required.
One interesting thing is that they drill holes and hammer in nails to hold the replacement vinyl along the top edge of the front and rear glass.

G Dub