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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Hood revival

The hood is 7 years old and showing signs of fading.
Renovo do a range of products which will revive and reweatherproof double duck hoods but they come at a price.
Has anyone any recommendations for alternative products?
Jeremy Tickle

Yeah new hood from donhoods is a good alternative product ;)
Take their best premium quality vinyl an add the rear zip out window.
Better than ever

Onno K

My hood is vinyl and I smartened it up using Cherry Blossom boot-shine (in a tube with a sponge applicator). Looks good but my hood is almost never up.

Saw this though for double duck. It gets a pretty good write up elsewhere, but this site is offering it at a good discount.
RS Hughes

Cheers Onno but that's a bit drastic! I'm looking to clean, recolour and then waterproof it as it's in good condition; just a bit faded in places. But it's about £60 for that lot so looking for something cheaper?
Jeremy Tickle

Id look closely at the stitching, if it shows signs of tired and weakness like it could start comming apart or has in places... then id take Onnos advice... using good money after bad can be a real time killer

Prop and the Blackhole Midget


I have used water reproofing solution for canvas on double duck softops. Mix it up with water and paint on. Can buy at outdoor shops, camping shops and caravan shops (awnings). I used a Nikwax product - think it was 'Cotton Proof'. Maybe a bit cheaper than classic car stuff.

All the above only applies to cotton canvas based tops, not vinyl.

M Wood

How about using the stuff used to re-waterproof a barbour? ;).
Lawrence Slater

I've just looked at the prices of Don's hoods. I thought they were more expensive than that.

Heavy Duty Vinyl (HD), 1967-74 No Zip £116.00, With Zip. £131.00

Premium Quality Vinyl (PQ), 67/74 No Zip @160.00. With Zip, £175.

I hope the one I just bought from Sussex is as as good. It was 206 quid. -- Without the option to replace the rear window :(.

Does Donshoods sell the replacement zip out rear windows Onno? For those that have that option of course.

Lawrence Slater

Not sure Lawrence.
To me the zip out rear window is a plus because it is nice in really hot or warm but rainy weather.
Never thought about replacing the window seperatley
Onno K

Every hood I've ever had, has become scrap, just because of a shagged rear window. Being able to replace it would be very useful. Much cheaper than the whole hood.
Lawrence Slater

If Nigel was currently posting he would tell you that your shagged back window was cause by it being folded wrong, and I must say that I've seen cars for sale and at shows with the hood just pushed back and down mangling the windows.

If I were to replace my hood I'd go for the zip out window and it would be from Don, but as the present one is quite servicable and only leaks under extreme conditions, I'd rather spend my money on something else for the car. Or beer.
Bernie Higginson

Its the rear quarterlight windows which get mangled worst by the scissor action of the hood mechanism if not folded properly. I did sew in a replacement one on one car that I had. Quite easy to do; just a bit time consuming, but it worked well.

I went for the zipped rear window option because it makes it easy to carry large / long items in the car when its raining. You can easily carry 3m lengths of copper pipe which won't easily fit in a standard tin top.
Guy W

No it's not folding or mangling that f*cks the rear window. It's the clouding over that makes it opaque. What causes that?

It's not just the surface either, so it can't be cleaned off or polished out with the "restorers".

My most recently purchased hood was an ebay bargain. It came with a frame too, all for 65 quid. It had been fitted to the frame, but obviously not used. The window was crystal clear, -- at first. But it's become completely useless. It's seems to have been a reaction to the sun. Each summer makes it worse.

Maybe it's the grade of plastic used for the windows?

The roof material isn't really a problem. Some are stiffer than others, but that doesn't bother me.
Lawrence Slater

That's true as well Lawrence.
One hood I had, appeared to have the rear window made of two thin layers of plastic. They weren't bonded together in any way either so when the damp seeped in it got between the layers and made odd refraction patterns! There were clearly, though not very clear, vinyl hoods being made at one time!

Regarding the zip -out windows: both the ones I have had only zipped along the top and sides so the window would roll/ fold down. I suppose if the zip extended right round then it would be fully removable and could be replaced.
Guy W

I rang Don's hoods today, but left it too late. They closed at 3:30pm according to the recorded message.(Friday).

I'll ring them next week and ask about a completely removable rear window. If they do one, I'll get a hood from them for my Sprite, and used the one I bought from Sussex, to sell with the midget.

According to their blurb, they sell to all the major suppliers. I wonder if they supply Sussex?

Just looked closer at their website. They do a replacement window service too.
Lawrence Slater

Thanks RS Hughes and Mike for your tips.
I went for a zip out window too and as others have said it's only the 3 sides which un zip, still you may be able to unpick the bottom and then sew in a relacement.
I wish I'd bought a decent quality vinyl rather than the double duck now.
Greygate plastic polish restores even the most opaque plastic window. I used it to clear a 37 year old rear window which had been lying around the garden for a few years as well. Came up perfectly.

Lawrence I'm from oop norf so a barbour is somewhere to go to get your hair cut :)
Jeremy Tickle

Jeremy thanks - that's a great tip about the Greygate polish. It gets some great feedback on various fora about soft-top cars. I'll be giving it a trial soon, cheers.
RS Hughes

I'll bet greygate polish can't restore my window. As I said, it's not just surface. It appears to be all the way through; although it does seem to have started on the outside, if that makes sense.

The polish would have to be pretty abrassive. It would have to remove quite a bit of the surface, to fix my window, and the several I had before that have ended up the same way.

I'll take a pic later and show you.
Lawrence Slater

According to this Jeep forum, it is the UV that does the damage.

"You see, the sunís ultraviolet rays (UV rays) are your soft topís worst enemy. Longterm exposure to UV causes the polymers in the window to break down and appear cloudy."

So I'm guessing, there must be better quality window plastics, as well as roof vinyls.

Lawrence Slater

Probably not Lawrence but I was gobsmacked by what it did to my old hood's rear window. An MGB owning friend asked if he could use it to make two replacement rear 1/4 windows so the original is still going strong. It was o/e so the quality is likely to have been better than aftermarket.
Jeremy Tickle

Just found this so may give it a try
Don't suppose anyone has any experience of their products?

Jeremy Tickle

This is what's happened to my rear window. It's pretty much what's happened to all of the roofs I've had over 35 years. This one only took a couple of years though. So I reckon there must be something about the quality of the plastics used.

Lawrence Slater

If I had to guess Lawrence I'd imagine your window is made of polypropylene. Same stuff pop bottles and that horrible cheapo blue rope is made from.

So I concur with you that it's to do with the quality of material.

UV light just eats polyprop.
RS Hughes

Looks like you're right RS. A cheap window in a cheap hood. But I've been reading loads of stuff, and even more expensive materials go the same way, and here's why.

Found this description on

"The rear window on your soft top is special, too. Many soft-top cars have rear windows made of a clear vinyl. This allows the window to fold. These clear vinyl rear windows will absorb a wide range of gasses and liquids, including water, acids and hydrocarbons. Because vinyl has the ability to absorb foreign materials, it will yellow over time if it is not properly maintained. Most often, the yellowing and discolouration are the results of ultraviolet (UV) light cross-linking. That is, the vinyl is not directly affected by the sun's UV rays, but what it absorbs can be."

If your convertible is new, no doubt you have experienced the frustration of polyvinyl fog. Polyvinyl fog is created by the evaporation of plasticisers (oily hydrocarbons) and other oils. Plasticisers are used in the manufacturing of vinyl to keep it flexible. They are also used in many car care conditioners to rejuvenate vinyl and plastic. Plasticisers remain liquid and evaporate with the heat of the sun."

What's the right way to maintain the plastic windows in my soft-top?

The material used for the 'plastic' windows in convertible tops, soft-tops, boat enclosures, etc. is a specialised type of vinyl called 'Pressed Polished Sheets', or 'pressed poly'. The material is actually two layers of non-coloured vinyl laminated together under intense pressure and high heat. This process squeezes out all the impurities and renders it perfectly clear.

This material is soft and easily scratched and is not made in rolls but in sheets, which are separated by paper. Also known as 'sheet goods', finished stock is always gently rolled and then stored and shipping standing vertically, never laid down. Pressed poly is known by its gauge - 20 gauge is made from two 10 gauge pieces, 40 gauge from two 20 gauge pieces, etc. On clear vinyl plasticise loss and UV exposure cause embrittlement, yellowing and failure. Like all vinyl, clear vinyl contains plasticisers (to keep it soft and pliable) and UV stabilisers (to retard UV degradation)

Clear vinyl loses its plasticisers much more rapidly than top-coated vinyl. An UV protection added in the manufacturing process is less effective each day. Consequently, if clear vinyl windows on a vinyl soft-top are not properly cared for, they can fail within 2-3 years while the vinyl top itself will last for years longer. "

You can use the restorers listed in earlier posts to get rid of the scratches, but you can't fix the UV damage. So I'm thinking, of two possible fixes for this.

1). Replace the rear window with glass. There are quite a few companies that do this for a number of more modern convertibles. Maybe they'd do a Spridget on request. Folding would then be out of course, so it would have to just lay flat when down. The MK2/3 Sprite MK1/2 Midgets could all be kept flat stored in the boot.

2). Make a soft clip over cover, that completely blocks the UV from the window, when it's parked up in the summer with the roof up.

Lawrence Slater

Hmmmmmmmmmmm interesting.

Started fitting a Don Trimming hood yesterday to my 1500.

It's replacing one we fitted about 25 years ago that came from Brown and Gammons. The rear/side windows are still lovely and clear but the rest of the hood has now shrunk really badly and has splits at the rear. plus alot of the poppers have broken over the years.

The new one looks good so far, good quality and all new fixings provided, though I've had to borrow a proper tool for assembling the poppers.

Had this one, which is a premium quality vinyl one since christmas, just been waiting for the weather to warm up!
SR Smith 1

Interesting post Lawrence.

If I read it correctly the clear vinyl loses it's plasticisers by evaporation, no doubt exacerbated by strong sunlight.

That loss then renders the material vulnerable to further degradation by UV light, resulting in the familiar yellowing, and ultimately embrittlment and possible cracking.

So I imagine that a good surface dressing to "seal" the surface, arresting the initial loss of the hydrocarbons and protecting the soft surface from scratching would go a long way to preserving it, supposing it was good quality vinyl in the first place and not polypropylene.

I dont see why you couldn't use a glass rear window if it was a zipout type. You could unzip it around three sides and let it drop down behind the seats before folding the hood I would think.

My hood is at least 8 years old and the windows are fine, unlike the spray hood of my boat which is why I'm going to try the Greygate polish that Jeremy posted about. But my hood is almost never up. I pull it up loosely in the garage to keep the neighbours cats from sleeping in the car so it's not exposed to UV. And John the PO kept it in a garage also. But I do intend to get a surface dressing "preserver" for them.

BTW I had no idea my rear window was a zipout until yesterday when I had a look after reading this thread!
RS Hughes

If the rear window has delaminated, then it seems you're knac#ered. If it's lost its plasticiers then a treatment such as Greygate may just work. It's £6-7 for a small bottle and maybe worth a try before buying a new hood/replacement window. Apparently it was developed for unfogging Spitfire canopies and no not the Triumph variety.
Whenever the window looks a little hazy, I use it and it restores the clarity.
Jeremy Tickle

Thanks Jeremy.
Your info very valuable.
It seems it's more about prevention than cure, if it's used from day one......

So i should use it to protect my hood windows *before* they degrade.

Totally agree that it's worth a try at the price.

Makes sense to me.

RS Hughes

"It seems it's more about prevention than cure, if it's used from day one..."

Yup, seems that way. But in the summer i can't always be bothered to put the car in the garage. And now as I have a Sprite and a Midget, there's only room for one anyway. And the sun blasts my drive from sun up to sundown. So I reckon as well as some of the protector in a bottle, I'll make a cover too.

Pity the windows aren't made with this stuff.
Lawrence Slater

This is primarliy about boat windows, but I'm sure it applies to car windows too, to a large extent.

"PS tester Drew Frye recently had to replace his hard-top dodgerís forward and side Strataglass windows for the second time. (Each time they lasted seven years.) Yet the dodgerís original, 16-year-old skylights were still like-new, clear and supple. So why the difference? The skylights had spent most of their lives under Sunbrella covers, shaded from harmful UV rays."

Lawrence Slater

Not sure you need to use it from day one RS - I tend to use it only when the screen appears to require it but I may well be wrong and it may be beneficial to use it more frequently.
If your plastic is fogged it will restore it - provided the plastic hasn't delaminated, it's not that miraculous!
Jeremy Tickle

So much for Donshoods. Some ignorant f*ck answered the phone, and got stroppy with me when I asked a few questions. If that's the level of customer service, I don't want one of their hoods.

I asked if I the rear window zipped out all the way around. Yes it does he said.

Could I buy a replacement rear window for the zip out window? No he said.

Could I buy two windows at the time if I bought a new zipped hood? No he said. Why not I asked. Because I wouldn't be able to fit it he said. Why not I asked. Because it doesn't come out he said. Huh? But you just said it did. No it's stitched to the hood, and just flaps down he said. So it doesn't zip out completely then I said. Yes it does he said, but it's only flaps down.

So having established that it doesn't come out entirely, I asked how much to buy a new spare window and stitch it in myself. You can't do that he said, as it has to be stitched in, and anyway we do replacement windows.

Ok I said, so how much for you to replace the window then? I don't know he said. Maybe about 40 quid, and why are you asking all these awkward questions.

What? I said.

Then he said, that all the replacement windows are stitched in, even if it was welded in the first place.

So I asked, how it is waterproofed? We don't use anything to waterproof it he said. So again I asked how it was waterproofed. I don't know he said, "it just is", then he got stroppy and hung up.

So I rang back. He claimed we were disconnected. I asked if he was the person who made the hoods. No he said, he just took the orders. Can I speak to someone "technical", who actually makes the hoods, I asked. No he said, there's nobody here.

Clearly he didn't have a clue, but he sells the stuff.

I'll send an email and see if I can get a sensible reply. Otherwise, f*ck donshoods. lol.

Lawrence Slater

I have a completely different experiance with them.
Helpfull in answering my questions with technical detailed info.
It might be because I emailed so the sales person had the time to check with the people who make the tops.
But nothing but praise from me for Donhoods
Onno K


It sounds like you got the oily rag on the phone rather than someone who had even a clue what they were talking about OR had the intelligence to be able to communicate the two thoughts milling around in what passes for his brain. Not all human life is intelligent!

He is correct in that their hoods have an optional zip-out rear window that allows the window flap to be dropped, but the black vinyl strip along the bottom of the window remains attached to the rest of the hood. Logical if you have seen one, but Mastermind couldn't explain this in terms that you could understand.

Just be thankful: In the past they would have awarded him a degree from Luton University and there would be no limit in the damage potential ..........
dominic clancy

and now the complete post...


It sounds like you got the oily rag on the phone rather than someone who had even a clue what they were talking about OR had the intelligence to be able to communicate the two thoughts milling around in what passes for his brain. Not all human life is intelligent!

He is correct in that their hoods have an optional zip-out rear window that allows the window flap to be dropped, but the black vinyl strip along the bottom of the window remains attached to the rest of the hood. Logical if you have seen one, but Brain of Britain (note to self ------ wait a minute, brother won that show ...... replace with Mastermind ) couldn't explain this in terms that you (or he) could understand. He'd probably have difficulty chewing gum and farting at the same time.

Just be thankful: In the past they would have awarded him a degree from Luton University and there would be no limit in the damage potential ..........

My brother (before he seeks me out and beats me up) is a genuinely clever guy, and did win a hugely hideous trophy (and enough money to pay off his student debts) and would have been able to explain everything in eloquent detail.....
dominic clancy

My rear window is as described - the zip extends around the two side and the top edge of the window, but not along the bottom. But I am pretty sure that the zipped rear window isn't made up as a separate item and then zipped in. It looks as though the process is to make the hood up with a fully sewn in rear window and only then to slit the fabric and add the zip.

This could explain why they are not made as fully removable windows, and therefore also why you cannot buy a "spare"
Guy W

"He'd probably have difficulty chewing gum and farting at the same time." heh heh. :).

I don't think he'd have known what an oily rag is either Dominic. lol.

Ah well then, so a spare rear window for self fit, is a non-starter.

I'll stick to trying to prevent the yellow peril with a cover then. It didn't matter when the new tops were around 65 quid, but at 200 quid, and being as my pockets have very small entrance holes, and aren't very deep, it's not so acceptable. ;).

You'd have thought by now that flexible plastic window material would be available impervious to UV. I guess that's why most new soft tops have glass rear windows.

Still out of interest. How does the zipped section remain waterproof? What kind of zip is it?
Lawrence Slater

AFAIK the zip isn't exposed to the elements. There is a vinyl flap covering it.

MGFs do have a replaceable rear window, which can also be upgraded to glass.
Dave O'Neill 2

. Maybe I should buy an F then.
Lawrence Slater

I did :0)
G Lazarus

I got my mohair hood from PJM, and am very pleased with it!
It also has the zip out rear window.


They also made me a full toneau, a perfect fit!
This was made of vinyl.


Great service!

Lawrence, its also the place I got my midget centre consoll from.


Thanks Arie.
Lawrence Slater

T4eZS5 Spot on with this write-up, I actually assume this website wants rather more consideration. I'll most likely be once more to learn far more, thanks for that info.
Daniel Nordstrom


"Not sure you need to use it from day one".

You're right of course, it was a poor choice of wording on my part. I meant more to use use it as a maintenance measure before the windows started going misty to prevent the loss of hydrocarbons that apparently start the process.

Thanks for your recommendation. I have now bought some and I'm about to polish my vinyl windows in the next couple of days. My quarterlights are slightly misted although my rear screen is very clear. But I'll polish them all and see what they look like.

I'll let you know. Have a great weekend All.
RS Hughes


that's how I use mine and although it's a small bottle, it lasts a long time.
Good luck with the polishing - some before and after pictures?
Jeremy Tickle

Hi Jeremy et al.

This evening I spent a happy half hour with the Midget and the Greygate polish.

First I cleaned the vinyl windows as recommended using a mild soap solution, then dried them thoroughly.

(Unfortunately I got nabbed red-handed using one of the Boss's tea-towels, but I digress....).

Then I used the polish as directed.

None of my windows were particularly bad, but there was some misting especially on the quarterlights. I don't know how well my cheap chinese phone camera will show them but for what it's worth here are a couple of happy-snaps.

Rear window "Before".

RS Hughes

......And "After".........

I thought the window was ok. Only after I cleaned and polished it did I realise how far past it's best it was!

Can't be ar*ed uploading photos of the quarterlights - it's such a faff with the app security I'm using - please take my word for it that the results were similar as for the rear window. ALL the mistiness has gone completely and the surface scratches are hugely improved.

Yep.....the stuff works all right. I'm impressed anyway.

RS Hughes

Very pleased it worked for you RS - your window looks like new.
If it's good enough for the RAF then it'll do me!
Jeremy Tickle

Cheers J!

If it's good enough for Her Majesty..........

RS Hughes

I wish my window looked as good as your before version. It looks near perfect to me. ;).
Lawrence Slater

Anybody know if the Greygate polish is available here in the States?

C R Huff


is this what you're looking for?

Jeremy Tickle

Thanks Jeremy,

Is that the stuff you were recommending to RS Hughes? That looks like it would be it. I was talking about the product that RS Hughes used for his before and after pics a few posts back.

I see that the price is in USD and they have a Virginia address in addition to their UK address. So, I suppose I could get it without paying too much for shipping.

C R Huff

Yep Charley - that's the very stuff I used. I used it today on the plastic headlight covers on the Boss's Ford. Holy Moly it's good stuff!
RS Hughes

Lawrence I looked again at the photo of your window and had a thought.

IF you could locate a source for the clear vinyl and a tube of Sikaflex I'd be willing to wager a man of your calibre could make a new window and fit it. Sikaflex sticks like the proverbial to a blanket, remains flexible and is totally weathertight.

Then all you need is some Greygate and you're set. Shouldn't cost you a lot, I bet it'd be way cheaper than a new cheap hood :-)
RS Hughes

If that glue is as good as you say RS, it would be easy enough to buy clear vinyl -- I've seen it advertised-- and stick it in as a replacement.

I'll have a look. But is it cost effective? I'm not sure if you can buy the clear vinyl in small quantities.
Lawrence Slater

Sikaflex is good all right. We use it on LifeBoats, but it's expensive. And to remove it you need a pretty nasty chemical. I think it's MEK, which might melt your hood.
I imagine there are many other adhesives just as suitable. Evostik works pretty well for example.
I haven't tried looking for small pieces of vinyl tho.
RS Hughes

While in the neighbourhood of hoods &c and not straying too far off-piste...

I have a full tonneau cover in perfect condition that came with the car. I can't use it because John the PO had an Aley rollover bar (which I really like) fitted and the tonneau takes no account of this.

Does anyone know of someone who can modify the tonneau to accomodate the Aley bar, if I supplied accurate offset measurements?

I'd use the tonneau if I could.

As always, any advice appreciated.

RS Hughes

Okay thanks. I've bookmarked the site with the Greygate polish.

RS, take a look at the photos Arie posted on May 28. It looks like PJM could modify your tonneau if they were willing.

C R Huff

sorry for the late response Charley but as RS has said, it's the same stuff but just appears to be used for other purposes.
Jeremy Tickle

Thx Charley. I'll call and ask.
Pip pip!
RS Hughes

This thread was discussed between 20/05/2015 and 02/06/2015

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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