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Oct
26

Convertibles – Ingenuity Applied

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.

 

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 October 26th, 2006  
 Will  
 Stuff with a Motor  
   
 5 Comments

5 Responses to Convertibles – Ingenuity Applied

  1. You say “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. ”  Chrysler made the LeBaron in 1982, according to these guys: http://www.allpar.com/model/superk.html

  2. You say “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. ”  Chrysler made the LeBaron in 1982, according to these guys: http://www.allpar.com/model/superk.html

  3. Yeah, I had thought of the LeBaron, but like I didn’t consider a K-car a “real” option 😉 Thanks for the pointer to the site, Bryan, I had never found that one before.

  4. Yeah, I had thought of the LeBaron, but like I didn’t consider a K-car a “real” option 😉

    Thanks for the pointer to the site, Bryan, I had never found that one before.

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