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Old 11-17-2017, 11:56 AM   #1
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My New Top -- '99 with Glass Window

Just got it installed. Used a GAHH/Sierra/AutoTopsDirect with the glass window option. First impressions are:

1) Looks good overall.

2) That said, looks a little odd since the rear window is half the normal height. I don't know that anyone not familiar with 1st gen Boxsters would notice. On the one hand, does help make the car look much more "new", but also adds a bit of an "odd" look. Thus I'm a bit mixed on the look, but happy overall.

3) Top seemed to fit well. My experienced installer didn't have anything negative to say about it and was happy that it did have the glass option.

4) It is quieter even though I didn't get the acoustical fabric. Just plain less noise.

5) The rear window is very tough to see anything with the rearview mirror. It is short/low enough that I can see the grill and bumper of someone fairly close to me, but I wouldn't be able to see a police lightbar or if someone was flippin' me off! Really requires good use of the side mirrors. That said, at least the view through the window is very clear since it is now glass.

Thus, after a few days, my overall feeling is that I am happy with it. It does make the car look and sound better. There are compromises, but I guess that's part of owning a 1st gen model. If I wanted to spend $35k, I could upgrade to a 981. So this is definitely a lot less money!

Hope this helps anyone else considering a new top.


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Old 11-17-2017, 12:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by neilw View Post
Just got it installed. Used a GAHH/Sierra/AutoTopsDirect with the glass window option. First impressions are:

1) Looks good overall.

2) That said, looks a little odd since the rear window is half the normal height. I don't know that anyone not familiar with 1st gen Boxsters would notice. On the one hand, does help make the car look much more "new", but also adds a bit of an "odd" look. Thus I'm a bit mixed on the look, but happy overall.

3) Top seemed to fit well. My experienced installer didn't have anything negative to say about it and was happy that it did have the glass option.

4) It is quieter even though I didn't get the acoustical fabric. Just plain less noise.

5) The rear window is very tough to see anything with the rearview mirror. It is short/low enough that I can see the grill and bumper of someone fairly close to me, but I wouldn't be able to see a police lightbar or if someone was flippin' me off! Really requires good use of the side mirrors. That said, at least the view through the window is very clear since it is now glass.

Thus, after a few days, my overall feeling is that I am happy with it. It does make the car look and sound better. There are compromises, but I guess that's part of owning a 1st gen model. If I wanted to spend $35k, I could upgrade to a 981. So this is definitely a lot less money!

Hope this helps anyone else considering a new top.


I think it looks great!

If you don't mind the inquiry, how much out the door, lock/stock/barrel parts and labor?
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:26 PM   #3
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Think it was about $500+ for the top, then $650 labor for a really great/experienced shop.
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:48 PM   #4
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Think it was about $500+ for the top, then $650 labor for a really great/experienced shop.
Looks very clean. Sophisticated.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:23 PM   #5
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I think it looks great
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:32 PM   #6
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I love my glass window top. Its my favorite upgrade as the glass holds up great and the car looks newer. I agree that the rear view is partially blocked but I don't care as most of my driving is top down anyway.

I installed my own...It wasn't nearly as tough as I though it might be and the fit was great, with absolutely no issues.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dghii View Post
I love my glass window top. Its my favorite upgrade as the glass holds up great and the car looks newer. I agree that the rear view is partially blocked but I don't care as most of my driving is top down anyway.

I installed my own...It wasn't nearly as tough as I though it might be and the fit was great, with absolutely no issues.
Any how to videos?
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:10 AM   #8
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That top looks really great! I just picked up a 2000 S and it came with a new glass window top. Any idea how to get the glass window to miss the roll bars in order to access the engine?
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:18 AM   #9
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Did you have to buy a replacement frame? I thought if you want to install a top on a 3-ribbed framed car, you need to purchase a 4-ribbed frame?
'Appreciate the clarification!
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:54 AM   #10
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No, the retrofit tops with the glass window fit the normal 97+ frame. That said, the compromise is that the window is about half the height of the plastic window (since the plastic window folds in half).

The other option is to find a frame from a newer Boxster where they were using a glass window from the factory (2003 or 4, I think). I thought about that, but that is a fairly pricy option compared to putting the top on the existing frame. At about $1200 installed for mine, that's a lot less than trying to retrofit the entire newer frame plus getting a new top itself. Having read some of the threads on those frame changes, I could see it involved labor and possibly some parts that I didn't want to do.

There is the looks issue also. The newer frames added a bow so that the top looks a little better with the glass window. If you look at the newer ones, you can see (I think) 4 bows, so the smaller glass window doesn't look so obvious. And it may also be that the glass window is slightly larger, although I don't know for sure.

For me, the bottom line is that my plastic window that had been replaced by the previous owner many years ago looked bad, was getting close to leaking and I didn't want to spend too much for a "budget" car. The new top looks very clean and new. The glass window makes it look more contemporary. And to most people who don't know Boxsters, they think the car is a lot newer than it is. Plus it won't leak now that we're getting into the rainy season here.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:55 AM   #11
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Did you have to buy a replacement frame? I thought if you want to install a top on a 3-ribbed framed car, you need to purchase a 4-ribbed frame?
'Appreciate the clarification!
I'm not sure what the OP did but it looks like he chose one of the few aftermarket options now available that have glass windows that go directly on the 3 ribbed frames of the 1997-2002 cars that originally had plastic rear windows. The glass window is a bit smaller than the original plastic window and some say the access to the engine compartment through the top is a bit more difficult, others say it's fine.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:57 AM   #12
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As the owner of a 2003 with a glass window and the extra top bow, I'd like to say that the original top with one less bow looks better to me, whether the rear window is the original plastic or aftermarket glass.
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Old 11-20-2017, 02:47 PM   #13
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Glad to hear the aftermarket glass top is working for you!
When my plastic window breaks I will be installing the same type of replacement top. I wonder if you could post a picture of what the view out the smaller window is like? I'm curious how much worse the rear visibility is?

To clarify some of the top confusion in this thread, here is some info:
When Porsche redesigned the top with a glass window in '03-'04 they added an extra bow (4 bows) to accommodate the glass window design. The previous top '97-'02 only had 3 bows. The '03-'04 top and frame can be retrofitted on '00-'02 Boxsters as a direct bolt on replacement. The '03-'04 top and frame can also be bolted on to '97-'99 Boxsters but the top transmission and cables must also be replaced. The top transmission and cable retrofit can get complicated which is why these aftermarket glass window tops are a great option for '97-'99 Boxsters. Plus, finding a top with a frame is difficult and expensive, especially if your top is in an uncommon color.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:41 PM   #14
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When my plastic window breaks I will be installing the same type of replacement top. I wonder if you could post a picture of what the view out the smaller window is like? I'm curious how much worse the rear visibility is?
I'm not that tall, but sitting normally and looking out the rearview mirror, you can only see the grill and bumpers of cars that are within 3-4 car lengths back. Can't see their windshield, etc. If I lean down/sideways, I can see higher than that. But effectively with the smaller window, pretty well have to use the side mirrors to keep track of traffic behind.

That said, it's not all that bad, but just takes some getting used to. Years ago I had a new Lotus Europa, and anyone familiar with that car will know that the rearview mirror was for show only! Plus it was back about even with your ear!
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:49 PM   #15
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For those not familiar with the Lotus Europa, I saw one a few weeks ago at a local Brit car show. Back in the 70's, rated as the best handling car in the world. And it was kind of a predecessor to the Boxster as a compact, lower priced mid-engine.

While it had a gun-slot rear window, the rearview mirror was hardly in front of you. More alongside your head, so not of great use!

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Old 11-20-2017, 04:39 PM   #16
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For those not familiar with the Lotus Europa, I saw one a few weeks ago at a local Brit car show. Back in the 70's, rated as the best handling car in the world. And it was kind of a predecessor to the Boxster as a compact, lower priced mid-engine.

While it had a gun-slot rear window, the rearview mirror was hardly in front of you. More alongside your head, so not of great use!
914 deserves honorary mentioning here, as a closer predecessor...

I'm debating glass vs original plastic myself... Just fitted hardtop for winter driving and love clarity through glass top, but I like overall profile and more retro looking with plastic window on soft top. For non-winter seasons, my top stays down 97% of time unless it is raining or below 50F, so I guess visibility or looks won't matter anyway. One downside with plastic may be that I can't put top down whenever I want to, even it is 40F, without fear of or actually cracking it.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:24 PM   #17
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I drove a Lotus Europa twin cam like that one a long time ago. I was like getting into a coffin for 2! The orange car next to it looks like an Elva Courier or a Turner. Six degrees of separation, Elva also brought us the Elva Porsche. Ok, now back to convertible tops.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:34 PM   #18
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Sierra glass window on a '98 986 much better than plastic window.

As mentioned above, there is an issue of getting a clear view of the following traffic in your rear view mirror with the top up. I have the same Sierra top as the OP and have to lower the seat an inch or so from what is normal for top down driving to get a clear view out the back window. It's not a big deal and the sound deadening and overall look of the new top is a huge improvement.

As for access to the engine, it's about he same as with the plastic window original top, so not an issue for me.

The Sierra top comes with DIY instruction and a hotline for questions that are very helpful. If you take it slowly, it is a pretty straightforward installation.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:39 PM   #19
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UPDATE: Did my first freeway long drive last week (including gridlock in LA) and did notice a marked improvement in sound levels. No funny little rattles, strange noises, and much less wind. I should point out that my installer had said whoever removed the top years ago and stitched in a new plastic rear window had done a very poor job, so I'm sure getting this one in right has also helped the sound levels. But even so, this new top with glass window was simply a lot more quiet than before. Very pleased.
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Last edited by neilw; 11-27-2017 at 03:02 PM.
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