For most of the 70s and 80s, if you wanted a car without a roof you’re only real option was a hacksaw and a lot of elbow grease. The Miata ushered in the latest generation of convertibles some 17 years ago and car manufacturers have gone hog-wild ever since. Apparently, there are now over 50 convertible models available in the US. As rumor has it, we’re likely to even have a four-door convertible relatively shortly with sneak peeks of a convertible Mercedes S-Class vehicle roaming the net.
More recently, hardtop convertibles have been in vogue. While you give up a load of trunk space for this luxury, you get a quiet ride with the security of sheet metal over your head in return. While other manufacturers have been producing rigid roofed convertibles for a few years (Mercedes SL, SLK; Lexus SC, Pontiac G6; VW Eos; Volvo C70; Cadillac XLR,; Chevrolet SSR), BMW has decided to join the fray with a convertible hardtop version of the new 3-series. The dance this roof makes to fold itself into the trunk is simply amazing. I wonder what the MTBF for this mechanism is.
The credit for the original hardtop convertible goes to . . . Ford. Yup, that’s right. No fancy European or Japanese engineering at work. Just good ol’ American know-how. Ford introduced the Skyliner with a hardtop that tucked away into the trunk all the way back in 1957. It turns out that it was much easier when cars were a full 22 feet long, as can be seen in the video below.
Hey Luceeeee, I’m home.