One of the joys of convertible ownership is that top-down driving experience, wind-in-your-hair (or scalp, as the case may be), enjoying nice weather. Of course, that experience comes at a price – Even a well designed factory ragtop will, over time, succumb to the ravages of wind and weather, and water leaks, wind noise, and a general ratty appearance can take the fun out of driving an older drop-top.
Fortunately for owners of 4th generation (1986-1996) Corvette Convertibles, Corvette Central has both the parts and know how, as was recently posted on their CC Tech website, to get your ‘vert back into shape without spending unreasonable time or money in the process. Half the struggle in projects like this is the little tips and tricks you only figure out once you’ve done the job before, and article author Chris Petris of Petris Enterprises rates replacing tops on 86-up cars a “1” on the difficulty scale, if the fiendishly unpleasant process for an early Corvette is a “10.”
Petris also points out that 86-93 C4 convertibles can be retrofitted to the later-style glass window tops with a kit, also available from Corvette Central. He estimates 1-2 hours spent removing the old top, as much time as you care to spend cleaning things up and removing the old adhesive, then another 6-8 hours spent on the new top installation. While it’s not exactly “oil change” quick and easy, putting new cloth on your old convertible is one of the best ways to freshen your car and get ready for sunny summer days ahead.