This DIY Convertible Top Fix Looks Like Mary Poppins Died In A Mercedes

The thing about this fix is that I can almost see how it seemed like a good idea at the time. This person’s ratty old ‘80s-era Mercedes-Benz SL must have had a big hole in the convertible top, so the owner thought ‘what keeps out rain?’ An umbrella! Problem solved! Well, not really.

The resulting fix looks like something between an attempt to add an observatory dome to the back of a Benz and the aftermath of Mary Poppins’ uncontrolled fall from 1,500 feet up. The umbrella is sort of just stuck on the back there, like a wire-and-fabric tumor.


The inner skeletal structure of the umbrella is the real problem here. It’s a classic case of over-engineering. A simple section of tarp, cut to size and taped on, would have done the job better and easier.

I don’t want to rag on this person too much—it’s not always easy keeping an old car going, and sometimes you have to improvise—but I’d implore them to try again with a cheap shower curtain. If they get a clear one, they can even retain the use of the rear window!


And, a shower curtain fix may be able to be folded down! This car is in San Diego, so it’s going to be nice enough for top-down driving soon.

The umbrella, though, that’s, uh, well, a nice try.

(Thanks for the pics, Dave!)

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Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)