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MG MGA - Fiberglass hard top


Has anyone ever stripped the vinyl from the fiberglass hard top ? How does it look underneath and is it possible to strip it, and paint the underlying without putting vinyl on top again ?


Koen Ackermans

I have a fiberglass hard top and the vinyl was actually molded into the fiberglass, it was in fact not vinyl but painted to look like vinyl. Cleaning and sanding the top and then re-painting it has made the top look like new.

JP Jim


Do you have pictures of it ?

Koen Ackermans

My UL top is definitely covered with a layer of vinyl, it's not moulded - when stripped down you could see the notches made in the vinyl when fitting it.

I think it would require some major refinishing if you stripped the vinyl, as the glue would probably mostly stay behind, if not a significant part of the baking material. I have really no idea, just a strong suspicion.

dominic clancy


I have the same experience as Dominic. I have a UL vinyl top that has seen better days, and stripping the vinyl left a mess. Replacing the vinyl appears to be the best option. Then there are the seals and mounting hardware issues ...

It's enough to make me wish I had gone this route:

Chuck Mosher

Koen, The fibreglass top on my car, (winter only) see photo, is covered with vinyl and was simply glued on about 20 years ago. I reckon I could remove it by heating with a hair dryer and slowly rolling it back. The surface could then be sanded until smooth enough to be recovered.

BM Gannon

Koen and Chuck,

I notice that you are both members of the website for owners of the original Universal Laminations MGA fiberglass hardtop.

Another member is currently stripping off his vinyl. You may be able to share ideas.

M F Anderson

I did - the photo's are now on Barney's site. The hard part is getting the new top on and the worst part is the aluminum trim to the back window!


Ian Pearl


Thanks for your help. I think I will leave it on for a few more years, looks like a lot of work.

Koen Ackermans

I have a hard top that came with the car, I'am glad to say it's inside a duvet cover on a big shelf and I HOPE IT STOPS THERE LOL.
sorry, couldnt help it, Vin
Vin Rafter

No one has mentioned actually driving with a hardtop on the car, is it as noisy as driving with the soft top up or quieter?
I used to have a fhc and from memory I dont recall it being so noisy inside as my roadster is now with the soft top up. ( There is nothing to beat driving an mga with the top down well, almost!)
The fhc was MUCH hotter inside though.
I suppose I am wondering whether it is worth buying a hard top to extend the driving season a little by keeping my wifes ears a bit warmer in the winter.
Or is it best to buy her some better head wear and keep the soft top down!
cheers all
PS sorry if this is veering off thread a little
colyn firth

I restored a UL(Universal Laminations) hardtop this winter. It was a fiddley job, especially the fit of the aft end. I doubt they ever did fit well from the factory.(they were the 'official' top after the aluminum top was discontined) Todd Clarke has many of the fittings. It was worth it--not quiet, but great in cool weather with alittle attention to side curtain fit, Bob Prentice
rsa prentice

Hi Colin,

Driving with the hardtop on the car is less noisy, a bit warmer in freezing temperatures but as you said, nothing beats driving an MG A with the top down.

Koen Ackermans

Hi Bob
As you have clearly had some hands-on experience of making a UL fit to the car, I would love to pick your brains some time! Mine is a nicely restored one but it never looks to be fitting as it should to the car. As you say, particularly at the rear end. It has a rubber skirt all round the bottom edge which I never can decide whether it should be tucked in or out, and the bottom edge then appears to need to sit down onto the two "tear drop" chrome pieces (which attach to the bar in the soft top, when used). The latter situation could damage the finish of the "tear drops" - sorry don't know the technical name for these bits!
All in all, not clear how to make a nice fit all round. Do you have any good photos or instructions? Or speak off-line?
Bruce Mayo

Bruce, I ended up cutting the fibreglass, including notching for the teardrops. Even then the mid aft end was not low enough to form a seal with the body. Bought a black garage door bottom seal and fastened a piece of it between the interior trim and the fibreglass (glue and tiny screws)--all VERY fiddley. Finally, I glued (using LePage's WATER based contact cement --great stuff) black felt strips to all the contact points(most of the aft end)to protect the body paint. The extremes we go to for these silly little cars is numbing. Bob Prentice
rsa prentice

I ditched the "correct" plain rear seal and went for the mgb top seal at the rear instead. Not only does it seal much better, it looks much better too, and was a great deal easier to mount on the top. I made J bolts from very long bolts by just bending them in a vice and cutting the heads off, much cheaper and indistinguishable from the "real thing" from the suppliers, and a huge amount cheaper. Door seals came from a modern car and work great (can't remember what it was). Rear window came from Bob West. I don't use it a lot, it's quite strange driving with a roof and a light interior. It is noisier than without a roof, but quieter than with the hood.

Over the windscreen I have a square tube of compressible rubber to form a better seal and prevent water ingress- I think it came from an MGB bonnet seal.
dominic clancy

This thread was discussed between 04/09/2009 and 12/09/2009

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