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Discussion Starter #1
I have a '74 blue over burgundy spider, with a very cloudy and cracked rear window. I am hesitant to buy and pay to install a whole new top, which is in fine condition, just to get a clear rear window. I am considering keeping the top for now, and getting a decent used hardtop. So, here's the question. Spider replacement convertible tops appear to be interchangeable from '71 to '95. Does that mean hard tops are also interchangeable across series 2, 3 and 4 spiders?

Thanks,
Richard
 

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That's my understanding, yes.

FWIW, you can get 'visor polish' from the local motorcycle shop and with patience and manual by hand elbow grease buff the soft top window til it clears up again.
I know the stuff exists and works, but I'm cheap so use brasso without shaking the can on a soft cloth in circular patterns and it works quite well so I know the plastic windows can indeed be 'recovered'.
 

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Italian Car drivers don't care what's behind them, only in front. Try also using Headlight Polish that's used to clear foggy head lights. It work too!
 

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For function the cloudiness is the issue, so try to polish it out.
By cracks I'm guessing that they will need to be dealed with some good quality (3M) clear tape.
I'm talking agricultural repairs here, but if the rest of the top is good, why fork over the dough?
The best option is to drive a Spider with the top down at all times.
 

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For function the cloudiness is the issue, so try to polish it out. By cracks I'm guessing that they will need to be dealed with some good quality (3M) clear tape. I'm talking agricultural repairs here, but if the rest of the top is good, why fork over the dough?.
If your plastic window has cracks, there's isn't much sense in trying to polish or tape it. Tape won't hold for long - sunlight and the vibration of the top flapping will work it loose pretty quickly.

If the rest of the top is good, an upholstery shop can cut out the old window and stitch in a new one. The only hitch is that the top has to come off the car so they can get it into the sewing machine. Disconnecting the top from the body at the rear is pretty easy. However, taking it off the frame - without destroying it - is hard.

A clever upholstery shop could probably remove the whole top frame + top from the car, and have an assistant hold the frame while the maestro stitches in the new window. Most upholstery shops aren't that innovative, however - they're rather sell you a new top. Still, you could try suggesting it. This sort of a repair would be a whole lot cheaper than buying a hardtop.
 

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Although not a direct answer to your question, if you are considering the expense and inconvenience of a hard top, my vote is to spend the same money (or less) replacing your soft top. I have the hard top for the '88 and it does offer some advantages in cold weather, particularly the rear window defroster. But, compared to the original soft top, it is only a little quieter, typically requires two people to install and remove, and uses quite a bit of dry storage space when it is not on the car. For me, a big attraction to the Spiders is the fun factor of an open car. The hard top really doesn't bring much to the table in that respect.

Ditto Tifosi regarding interchangeability although I have not actually tried the hard top on the '77. By the way, I have had good results with Meguiar's PlastX on the rear window of the soft top.
 

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I know this thread started with a question on the interchangability of hard tops and we have all chimed in on not doing the hard top and wither fix or replace your soft top. I concur with them. One factor I would say to you about having a hard top is there are plenty of times while driving my car the weather started out beautiful and then started to rain and I was thankful I had a working soft top to put up right away. It is nice to go out that day and know if it rains I can put the roof on easily!
 

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You've got some pretty good feedback on Hard top versus soft, so I'll just add that the Hardtop solution comes with its own set of nigglies. I acquired a hard top and use it on these spring days that are windy cold and occasional rain. Summer, I pretty much go topless but its nice to pull the soft top up. As for the Hard top, and it's complications, it is a two person lift, and eats up storage, not to mention the rubber is nearly impossible to find. I am still looking for new window gaskets which impossible to find and are very difficult to adjust such that the glass slides into the groove.

If you are mulling where to put your money, go with a new soft top. Installation is do'able by most amatuers, I did mine!

KKKKFL
 

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That actually looks pretty darn good clean, keeps the lines, and looks like it belongs.
 

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(the hard top).. does offer some advantages in cold weather, particularly the rear window defroster. But, compared to the original soft top, it is only a little quieter, typically requires two people to install and remove, and uses quite a bit of dry storage space when it is not on the car. For me, a big attraction to the Spiders is the fun factor of an open car. The hard top really doesn't bring much to the table in that respect.
FrancosAlfa said:
As for the Hard top, and it's complications, it is a two person lift, and eats up storage, not to mention the rubber is nearly impossible to find. I am still looking for new window gaskets which impossible to find and are very difficult to adjust such that the glass slides into the groove.
I agree with these two replies. Owned a Fiat 124 spider with a hardtop many years ago. Thought it would be a neat feature, but all of the above problems just made it a nuiscance. Storing the *&^% thing was a huge hassle. And, those rare, delicate side window seals would tend to get broken while trying to lift the thing off and on the car.

Of course, it doesn't get very cold here in California, so warmth in the winter didn't offset all of the hassles. I ended up just giving the silly thing to some other sucker who didn't anticipate all these problems.
 

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If your big concern is money. I don't know how your going to purchase a functional hard top for leass than the cost of a nice soft top.
 

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The only thing a hardtop is good for is getting by the rules of no soft tops allowed on track. :D

I gutted mine out and spayed bedliner on the inside of it. Made a very noticable difference in weight.

Always thought the rear window weighed a ton but I was surprised to find out it's actually pretty lite. I was going to replace it with a piece of lexon but after it was out and saw how lite it was I put the dang thing back in.
 

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Murray,

If you want to save weight - paint your car RED. Red paint weighs less than black paint (ask Ferrari). Of course that makes red Alfas faster than black Alfas:D:D.;)
 

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How about this idea....

I am soon gonna buy a new "soft" top for my car. I have seen other cars with a zipper/removable plastic window in back. I am considering buying a new top, having the shop mod my top to make the back window removable. I saw this in an older Porsche, when the window was installed/zipped you couldn't even tell it was help in place by a zipper. Removing the window when the top is down will keep it in much better condition. If the window finally yellows or cracks, you only have to replace the window:)
 

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Murray,

If you want to save weight - paint your car RED. Red paint weighs less than black paint (ask Ferrari). Of course that makes red Alfas faster than black Alfas:D:D.;)
Never!!! people would think I was getting ready to sell it. :D:D:D

Black is the fastest color...........without a doubt!!!
 

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I am soon gonna buy a new "soft" top for my car. I have seen other cars with a zipper/removable plastic window in back. I am considering buying a new top, having the shop mod my top to make the back window removable. I saw this in an older Porsche, when the window was installed/zipped you couldn't even tell it was help in place by a zipper. Removing the window when the top is down will keep it in much better condition. If the window finally yellows or cracks, you only have to replace the window:)
You are right about having to ask a shop to make a window removable... The commercially available Alfa tops that allow the back window to unzip are not removable. The plastic window unzips on the two sides and at the top, and then it simply drapes down, but the bottom side is still attached to the convertible top. If you move forward with this plan, please consider posting pictures of the finished product. I think more than one of us would be interested in this mod.

Best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #19
thanks

Wow, thanks for all the comments. I just tried Plexus brand plastic cleaner. It worked a bit, but much of the "cloud" remains. I will try the other ideas, like the Meguiar's Plastx or brasso, before dropping money on a replacement window or a new top. I just threw out the idea of a hard top because the first top I went to, which I trust, mentioned they have to take off the top to replace the window.

At that point, it's not much more money to just replace the whole top. They quoted me $500 for replacement window sewed in versus $800 for an entire new top installed. I would like a hard top eventually, and just thought I would ping the group about compatibility, in case I came across a good deal on one.

BTW, I love the look of your spider with the Quad top, JohnD. Very slick.

- richard
 

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I replaced mine with a canvas top about 3 years ago and it cost about $400 for me to do it myself. It did take about a day (glue drying, replacing the vinyl where the handle goes, etc). There is a thread with directions that were REALLY helpful if you choose to do it yourself.
 
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