Though it is possible to install a convertible top yourself in your garage or home shop, we hadn't done it before so we enlisted Emo's upholstery in Lakeland, Florida, for some professional assistance. Having an upholstery shop perform the work saves time since they have all the tools and equipment needed in house, and it can save money as well because the job will be performed correctly the first time. Convertible tops aren't that expensive, but having to replace one that you messed up installing yourself definitely costs more than paying a professional to do it right initially.

Fortunately, our top frame structure was pretty sound, though faded with some surface rust. To make it look its best, we had our top frame stripped and painted satin black while our car was at J.D.'s Paint and Body Shop getting a paint job. If you don't have access to a body shop, don't worry. This step can also be performed in your driveway with sandpaper and spray paint, though the results may not be as nice.

Overall, once our top frame was repaired and painted, it took less than a day to install the new hydraulic motor, lines, and cylinders; then it took the better part of a day for Emo's Upholstery to install the top, liner, and boot cover. Once finished, the difference was dramatic. The pieces from Paddock Parts were topnotch, constructed from heavy grade material that should stay looking good and last a long time. Even better, we can drive our car in the rain now without fear of getting soaked!