Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Rapid City SD, Black Hills of South Dakota
Top guys tell me that the durability of vinyl and the cloth tops is about the same. If you're around a lot of tree sap or other sticky stuff, then vinyl may prove more easily cleaned. The cloth tops look a heck of a lot nicer, though.
The biggest enemy of any convertible top is ultraviolet. Sitting out in the sun constantly kills 'em. Always store the car (even overnight) with the top UP. If you've ever installed a top yourself, or paid the big $$ to have one installed, you'll do everything practical to extend it's life. Well cared for, and garaged, any top will last a heck of a long time.
The other part of ultraviolet exposure is when the top is down and the sun is beating down on the underside of the front part of the top. That material will eventually break-down and fade as well. Hence, the importance of having a top boot. It's not just for looks . . . it extends the life of the top as well.