Get Familiar with Vinyl Landau Tops
Vinyl landau tops are a popular choice for vehicles with hard tops covered in vinyl. These stylish tops have a rich history, originating from the horse-drawn carriages with collapsible roofs. Over time, the term “landau” became associated with vehicles that had vinyl roofs or simulated convertibles. This trend continued in the 50s and 60s, with vinyl roofs being used to add a touch of luxury to certain car models. Today, vinyl roofs are primarily found on limousines and hearses.
Replacing Your Vinyl Landau Top
Like any other vinyl material, landau tops can wear out and show signs of age. Over time, you may notice worn areas, discoloration, and even rust around the metal trimming. If you spot rust, it’s a clear indication that you need to replace your vinyl top to prevent further damage.
To replace your vinyl landau top, it’s best to visit an automotive upholstery shop or a body shop. Typically, the top vinyl layer can be easily removed by taking off the moldings and clips that hold it in place. These moldings and clips can often be reused, but if any are damaged or lost, replacements are readily available. Additionally, some vehicles have a layer of closed-cell foam called Insolite underneath the vinyl. If this foam layer is in poor condition, it can also be replaced during the installation of the new vinyl top.
Different Types of Vinyl Landau Tops
When shopping for a replacement vinyl top, it’s important to determine the type of landau top your vehicle needs. Here are the various configurations to consider:
- Full Top: This type of vinyl top extends from the front windshield to the back trunk area. It closely resembles a convertible top.
- Half Top: The vinyl top starts at the middle pillar post (known as the B pillar) between the front and back seats and then extends to the trunk. It’s also referred to as an official landau top or a “brougham.”
- ¾ Top: The top starts in the mid-section of the driver’s side window, before where the “half top” would typically begin. It covers about three-quarters of the roof.
- Quarter Top: The vinyl top starts at the top, usually in line with the quarter panels at the back, and extends to the trunk. It’s also known as a carriage roof.
When selecting a replacement vinyl top, there are additional factors to consider, such as whether your vehicle is a two-door or four-door, the presence of pillar posts, different seam and stitching options, and the presence of a valance strip between the rear window and the trunk.
The Final Decision
After considering all the factors mentioned above, you’ll have a clear idea of which replacement landau top to choose. The last decision is whether to stick with the original color or opt for something more eye-catching. Since different vehicle models offer various combinations and options, it’s essential to look at model-specific content and diagrams to ensure you make the right choice. If you ever feel uncertain, our Customer Service team at Ratingperson will be more than happy to help you with your selections.
We believe that your vehicle’s landau top deserves to look its best. The TopsOnline team is here to support you in restoring your top to its former glory. Don’t hesitate to share your before and after photos with us so we can celebrate your new look together.
Blog post by Rachel Miller, TopsOnline, former proud owner of a 1985 Cadillac Coupe DeVille