It's Christmas .... for your Cabriolet

It's a time for giving back and for thinking of the needs of others. This should include your four-wheeled friends that have diligently served you all year long, no matter what the weather, the road conditions, or state of your head gasket. Your Cabriolet deserves a reward this holiday, so let's take a moment to review a few suitable gifts that will flatter your vehicle right down to its Sindelfingen core:

The windschott makes top-down driving dramatically quieter
A factory Windschott - This factory part makes top-down driving a pleasure. It snaps into place behind the front seats and gives the car a purposeful, well-engineered look to the nth. Wind screens like this were just coming into fashion in the mid-90s, so this was a fairly advanced detail back in the day. Keep in mind that it's delicate, so its mesh can be easily pierced. I've heard that the manufacturer (Oris) can replace the screen, but I would ask your neighborhood dealer if they could arrange this.

Finding this part isn't easy. There are aftermarket units available on ebay, but those don't have the nice fit of the factory part. On occasion, the factory part also appears for sale on ebay, so keep an eye out and expect to pay in the neighborhood of $600 for a decent example.

The California Car Duster - Whether or not a paraffin wax duster is a good idea for your paint is debatable (particularly if you have a black car), but its utility for keeping the front wheels clean from brake dust is without question. I give my front wheels a quick pass after each drive and keep the corrosive brake dust to a minimum. Just shake it out after each use. You'll find that the factory 8-slot alloy wheels are relatively flat and smooth, so there are very few crevices to trap dirt. They're the perfect wheels for this tool. And for $20, it's hard to argue with this choice. Find it at your neighborhood auto parts store. - The factory mats are one of the few original products that I find lacking. They are carpets placed upon carpets, so that never made sense to me. Plus the rubber backing breaks down over time into a powdery mess. And in a Cabriolet with a creme-beige interior,  the light-colored mats just invite dirt and staining. A cocomat should be made to not only take abuse, but to hide it. Dirt should be harder to detect, they should protect the carpets and not just cover them, and staining should be virtually impossible. This is a perfect description of the benefits of the mats at These tough, rubber-backed mats look like period cocomats, but are made to last. They won't fade, shrink, or harm your carpets. They're also cut to fit like a glove. (Although I should add that the back seat mats on mine weren't perfect, but they were acceptable.) Find them at and expect to pay about $200 for a full set. They take a couple of weeks to receive, but they are worth the wait and will last indefinitely.

Refinish your factory alloy wheels - By now, many Cabriolets have had their wheels refinished at least once, but if they were, they were likely painted silver. That's a shame, since most Cabriolets in the US were delivered with the 8-slot alloy wheels with a delicate "machine" finish. Unlike the 8-slot wheels when they were first introduced, the Cabriolet wheels were left in an unpainted machine finish, then covered in a delicate clear coat to resemble raw stainless steel. They're gorgeous. They're also far too delicate to last more than a few years. Today, wheels shops will powder coat to give a more durable finish. Not just any wheel shop will do, so shop around and find a good one with a sizeable lathe that can properly prep the finish. Do not use a mobile wheel shop that typically fixes curb scrapes and flaking paint. This calls for a real specialist with a real facility. Expect to pay roughly $125 per wheel. Wheels are one of those features that really make a car's appearance "pop," so you'll find yourself constantly rewarded by your decision to restore this one highly conspicuous detail.

Sheepskin Seat Covers - There's a side to me that immediately bristles when I see aftermarket parts on a certain kind of car. Those feelings are assuaged when I see the sheepskin seat covers on my Cabriolet. They fit perfectly, the color is a perfect match, and they are truly comfortable, particularly with the seat warmers turned on. Even my 10-year old son loves them. These are the optional seat covers for the W124 from the day. (Note the one-piece construction and the seams that follow the side bolsters perfectly). They are secured with two elastic bands that clip together underneath each seat bottom. You'll find them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They also stay cool in direct sunlight, particularly in beige. Today, you can find them on ebay for around $300 in beige, gray or blue. (Note that I chose not to install the headrest covers. To my eye, that seemed excessive.)

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holidays, I thank you for following this blog, and wish you and your Cabriolet the very best for 2016 and beyond.