1999 Mustang Convertible Top: Repair or Replace?

Hey all, I drive a '99 Mustang convertible (V6) and the convertible top is not entirely connected to the rear window. The entire seam along the top of the window has been secured with gorilla tape for the past two years because I didn’t have money to drop on repairs. Sadly, the tape recently popped off; there’s about a two-inch gap between the window and the canvas top, and whatever adhesive secures the window at the bottom is also cracking a little. Does it make sense to continue to do home fixes myself, take it to a top shop, or get a new top altogether? Other than the gap at the rear window, the top has never leaked and is generally reliable, but the material has shrunk after sitting outside for two winters. I’ve waited until the end of winter to conduct repairs.

On the other hand, how much could I reasonably sell the car for given the disfigurement? It’s got 125k miles on it and I’m going to be moving to a city soon, so I may not need the car at all. Does it make sense to fix up the roof and sell the car for around $4000/could I get more? I don’t want to just pass the problem on to someone else. I’ve had the car for five years and it’s been fun and runs well, but now I’m 22 and my next car is probably going to be a Honda.

I vote for replacement.
All of the remaining fabric is just a worn out and fragile as the edges that let go of the seam. Any attempted repair will just be a losing battle against brittle , continually re-tearing , old fabric.

When I was a kid, we did a father/ sons weekend project and put a J.C.Whitney rag top on our '63 VW beetle. Some of the corners didn’t exactly fit but it went on good enough to keep cramming in eight mid schoolers and a baratone horn.

Check Edmunds and kelly blue book ( kbb.com ) and see the relative value of your car in perfect condition…about 4600 pefect to 3400 fair…then subtract the amount of a top replacement and any other issues it may have to get an un-repaired sale price.

J.C.Whitney has tops from $164 to $463 ( Kee Auto Top brand ) depending on fabric and color.
You can buy the cheapest and do it yourself to maximise the selling value of the car.

Replace the top. If you sell the car, the buyer will want the cost of the top plus some extra money for his trouble. If you get it fixed, you control the cost. A buyer may want a top at twice the price you would pay. Once the top is fixed, you can either keep it or sell it.

Replace the top. I would attempt the repair at home. Replacing a top can be a little tricky but it’s not difficult at all.

Once it starts going, I would replace the top. Try Rockauto.com. They just took on a line of tops according to their newsletter and you can try to do it yourself.

Agree, replace it. I would think there are instructions and videos on the web, check out several, get familiar with what’s needed, decide if you can do it yourself. But even if you have a shop do it (check around for prices) I think you’ll get more than the cost of the job when it comes to selling the car with a good top than a bad one.

Selling a convertible with a damaged top is like trying to sell any vehicle with a bashed in fender. It devalues the vehicle.

But if you can live with the top as it is I’d do that. Then if you decide to sell the vehicle replace the top. Then you can advertise the vehicle, “99 Mustang Convertible WITH BRAND NEW TOP.”


Before you decide, consider the overall condition of the car, ie, body, paint, glass, interior, engine, maintenance history, etc. If the car is pristine or nearly so, then a new top is a no brainer - do it. If I had a car like this which was an 8+ or better, I’d pay a pro to do the top to preserve the value of the car. If it’s a notch below that, I’d do the top myself figuring my first time might not look as good as the rest of the car.

But if the car is ok but not great, less than perfect body and interior, minimal mechanical issues, then it’s a close call, and the DIY approach is what it deserves, and that’s how you’ll get the most bang for your buck. If it’s already a beater, with a few dings, dirty or ripped interior, a crack in a window, some strange engine noises and an oil leak, it’s probably not worth the repair at all, but a new roll of gorilla tape might be justifiable.

Part of the decision is based on this being a Ford Mustang, and not a Ford Fiesta.


I say bring the car to a good upholstery shop and let them hook you up with a new top.

Then have the car detailed and it will bring in more money when it’s time to sell.