Convertible
Overview
A convertible is a type of automobile in which the roof can retract and fold away having windows which wind-down inside the doors, converting it from an enclosed to an open-air vehicle. Many different automobile body style
Car body style
Automobiles' body styles are highly variable. Some body styles remain in production, while others become less common or obsolete. They may or may not correlate to a car's price, size or intended market classification. The same car model might be available in multiple body styles comprising a...

s are manufactured and marketed in convertible form.

Open cars may have a folding roof but only detachable sidescreens which snap-on, they do not convert into a fully enclosed car with proper weather-protection.
Encyclopedia
A convertible is a type of automobile in which the roof can retract and fold away having windows which wind-down inside the doors, converting it from an enclosed to an open-air vehicle. Many different automobile body style
Car body style
Automobiles' body styles are highly variable. Some body styles remain in production, while others become less common or obsolete. They may or may not correlate to a car's price, size or intended market classification. The same car model might be available in multiple body styles comprising a...

s are manufactured and marketed in convertible form.

Open cars may have a folding roof but only detachable sidescreens which snap-on, they do not convert into a fully enclosed car with proper weather-protection. The wind-up windows make the distinction between an open car and an all-weather car now known as a convertible.

Convertibles are a luxury because they are more expensive to build than closed cars, the matching sedans or saloons. Open cars were significantly cheaper to build and very much lighter than sedans, saloons or convertibles and usually very flexible.

Open cars often have or had four doors but with the later emphasis on rigidity of construction four-door convertibles became extremely rare.

Flexible or rigid roofs

Roof designs vary widely, but a few characteristics are common to all convertibles. Roofs are affixed to the body of the vehicle and are usually not detachable. Instead the roof is hinged and folds away, either into a recess behind the rear seats or into the boot or trunk of the vehicle. The roof may operate either manually or automatically via hydraulic or electrical actuators; the roof itself may be constructed of soft or rigid material. Soft-tops are made of vinyl, canvas or other textile material; hard-top convertibles have roofs made from steel, aluminium, carbon fibre or plastic materials.

Descriptions

Contemporary convertibles are known and marketed under several different terms due to the convergence of body styles over the years. A convertible may be described as a drop-head coupé, a cabriolet or cabrio, an open 2-seater without wind-up windows as a spyder, or spider or roadster
Roadster
A roadster is a two-seat open car with emphasis on sporty handling and without a fixed roof or side weather protection. Strictly speaking a roadster with wind-up windows is a convertible but as true roadsters are no longer made the distinction is now irrelevant...

. Retractable rigid roof (or hard-top) cars are marketed as simply retractable hardtop and French versions as coupé cabriolet or coupé convertible.

Folding textile roof

The collapsible textile roof section (of cloth or vinyl) over an articulated folding frame may include linings such as a sound-deadening layer or interior cosmetic headliner (to hide the frame)  — or both — and may have electrical or electro-hydraulic mechanisms for raising the roof. The erected top secures to the windshield frame header with manual latches, semi-manual latches, or fully automatic latches. The folded convertible top is called the stack.

Cons

Convertibles offer the flexibility of an open top in trade for:
  • potentially reduced safety
  • poor break-in protection
  • deterioration and shrinkage of the sun-exposed textile fabric over time
  • diminished rear visibility, from a large roof structure, small rear window, or obstructed rear window — or all of these: e.g., Mini convertible.
  • generally poor structural rigidity
    Torsion (mechanics)
    In solid mechanics, torsion is the twisting of an object due to an applied torque. In sections perpendicular to the torque axis, the resultant shear stress in this section is perpendicular to the radius....

    . Contemporary engineering goes to great length to counteract the effects of removal of a car's roof. For example, a 2007 article in the New York Times, referring to the Volkswagen Eos
    Volkswagen Eos
    The Volkswagen Eos is a four-seat retractable hardtop coupe convertible, introduced in 2006 as the successor to the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet. The Eos is Volkswagen's first production coupe since the last Corrado in 1995....

    , reported:


  • specifically poor structural rigidity, such as pronounced scuttle shake
    Scuttle shake
    Scuttle shake is the term used for the phenomenon experienced in many convertible or open top automobiles where, due to lower structural rigidity caused by the lack of a roof, the middle section of the chassis flexes, causing the bulkhead in front of the passenger compartment to move and vibrate...

    , a characteristic whereby the structural design of the bulkhead between engine and passenger compartment of a convertible suffers sufficiently poor rigidity to negatively impact ride or handling — or allow noticeable vibration, shudder or chassis-flexing into the passenger compartment.
  • lesser handling qualities in sports models due to lower torsional stiffness - and therefore requiring harder suspensions to achieve the equivalent roadholding, but at the expense of worse ride quality.
  • higher curb weight due to mass of the automatic raising mechanism, as well as the extra structural reinforcement to compensate for lesser rigidity. This invariably means weaker performance than an equivalent coupe.
  • In most cases, less cargo space, with some models the "trunk
    Trunk (automobile)
    The trunk or boot of an automobile or car is the vehicle's main storage, luggage, or cargo compartment. Trunk is used in North American English and Jamaican English; boot is used elsewhere in the English speaking world. Trunk is also primarily used in many non-English speaking regions, such as...

     space is ridiculously skimpy" or almost none such as in the Volvo C70
    Volvo C70
    The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

     when the hard roof is stowed.

Tonneau covers

Folding textile convertible tops often do not hide completely the mechanism of the folded top or can expose the vulnerable underside of the folded top to sun exposure and fading — in which case tonneau covers of various designs snap or secure into place to protect the folded roof and hide the mechanicals. Detachable foldable, rigid or semi-rigid covers require space-consuming storage inside the vehicle — and sometimes complicated installation from outside the stationary vehicle. Foldable vinyl and cloth covers can be prone to shrinkage, further complicating installation.

Evolution of the tonneau cover

  • The tonneau of a car is the rear part of an open car, usually passenger seats, other times just a luggage well. A tonneau cover protects that area when its not in use. The tonneau cover may also extend over the folded roof and an unused front passenger seat and further extend over the entire passenger compartment particularly for an open car without side-weather-protection (windows sliding down into the doors). It then provides complete weather protection for the entire passenger compartment and some sense of security to the owner.

  • The MKI (first generation) MGB
    MG MGB
    The MGB is a sports car launched by MG Cars in May 1962 to replace the MGA. Introduced as a four-cylinder roadster, a coupé with 2+2 seating was added in 1965...

     (1963) roadster
    Roadster
    A roadster is a two-seat open car with emphasis on sporty handling and without a fixed roof or side weather protection. Strictly speaking a roadster with wind-up windows is a convertible but as true roadsters are no longer made the distinction is now irrelevant...

     could be supplied with a foldable vinyl tonneau cover, often supported by a light detachable tube installed to span behind the seats, the cover being attached to the car with a series of twenty press fit snaps. The standard cover was a permanent vinyl or cloth roof or convertible top — fixed to a relatively complex manually erected convertible frame. Weather-proof erection required the use of those same snaps from outside the car if a tonneau cover had just been removed.

  • Convertibles such as the Chrysler LeBaron
    Chrysler LeBaron
    The Chrysler LeBaron was originally a classic luxury car of 1930s manufactured by Chrysler which competed with other luxury cars of the era such as Lincoln and Packard....

     (c. 1988) used sleeve and groove systems to anchor a foldable vinyl tonneau cover, again installed manually from outside the car. Later textile convertibles used semi-rigid plastic tonneau covers, e.g., the first generation Audi TT
    Audi TT
    The Audi TT is a two-door sports car manufactured by the German automaker and Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi since 1998.The Audi TT has been produced in two generations. Both generations have been available in two car body styles; as a 2+2 Coupé, or two-seater Roadster...

     and Cadillac Allanté
    Cadillac Allanté
    The Allanté was Cadillac's first venture into the ultra-luxury roadster market. The vehicle was sold from 1987 until 1993, with roughly 21,000 models built over its 7-year production run...

    .

  • Convertibles such as the fifth generation of the Cadillac Eldorado featured a detachable two-part, fully rigid, manually installed tonneau sufficiently strong to support a seated person — also known as a parade boot.

  • Convertibles such as the second generation Mercedes SL
    Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

     popularized the integral manually operated self-storing rigid tonneau cover—in its case accompanied by a separate removable hardtop. In either case, the design required manual operation from outside the stationary vehicle.

  • Convertibles such as first Porsche Boxster
    Porsche Boxster
    The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder....

    , Toyota MR2
    Toyota MR2
    The Toyota MR2 is a two-seat, mid-engined, rear wheel drive sports car produced by Central Motors, a part of Toyota, from 1984 until July 2007 when production stopped in Japan...

     and third generation Mazda MX5 (NC) featured Z-fold (aka zig-zag fold) tops, whereby the exterior of the neatly retracted fabric roof also protected the remaining roof from sun exposure — eliminating the aesthetic or protective need for a tonneau cover.

  • Convertibles such as the second generation Ford Thunderbird
    Ford Thunderbird
    The Thunderbird , is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955 through 2005...

     (1958) convertible and the fourth generation Mercedes SL
    Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

     popularized the complex electro-hydraulic roof mechanism that automatically secured the folded top under a rigid tonneau — button activated by a seated driver — and later more routinely available on convertibles such as the Volvo C70
    Volvo C70
    The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

    , Chrysler Sebring and Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
    Mitsubishi Eclipse
    The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a coupe that was in production since 1989 for left hand drive traffic markets. According to Mitsubishi, the car was named after an 18th century English racehorse which won 26 races, and has also been sold as the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser captive imports through...

    .

  • The contemporary retractable hardtop convertible such as the Chevrolet SSR
    Chevrolet SSR
    The Chevrolet SSR is a retractable hardtop convertible pickup truck manufactured by Chevrolet between 2003 and 2006....

     include tonneau covers that "self-store" the roof assembly.

Detachable hardtops

Convertibles such as both the first and eleventh generation of the Ford Thunderbird
Ford Thunderbird
The Thunderbird , is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955 through 2005...

 and the second and third generations of the Mercedes SL
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

 featured as standard or optional equipment fully rigid, manually installable hardtops — later examples including heatable rear windows. These hardtops provided acoustic insulation but also required space-consuming off-season storage — and a cumbersome two-person installation. The optional aluminum (i.e., lightweight) detachable hardtop for a Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder....

 weighed 51 lb (23 kg). Two current-day examples of vehicles with a detachable hardtop available are the Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a subcompact four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle and an off-road vehicle manufactured by American automaker Chrysler, under its Jeep marque – and now in its fourth generation. It is a successor to the famous World War II 'Jeep' vehicle by way of the Willys civilian...

, and the Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
The MX-5, also known as Miata in North America and Eunos Roadster in Japan, is a lightweight two-seater roadster, of front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan. The model was introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show...

.

Convertible windows

Side windows non-existent in open cars which may have detachable side screens, are manually or power operated glass side windows as in a saloon or sedan. Rear-windows have evolved similarly, with plastic rear-windows appearing as late as the first generation Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder....

. Contemporary convertibles and retractable hardtops feature heatable glass
Heatable Glass
Electrically heatable glass and windows are relatively new products, which help solve problems in the design of buildings and vehicles.The idea of heating glass is based on the use of energy-efficient low-emissive glass, which is generally simple silicate glass with a special metallic oxides...

 rear windows to maximize visibility — though rear windows often can compromise visibility by their size, as with the case of the very small rear window and restricted visibility of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider
Mitsubishi Eclipse
The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a coupe that was in production since 1989 for left hand drive traffic markets. According to Mitsubishi, the car was named after an 18th century English racehorse which won 26 races, and has also been sold as the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser captive imports through...

. Plastic windows can degrade, fade, yellow and crack over time, diminishing visibility.

Windblockers

Windblockers or wind deflectors minimize noise and rushing air reaching the occupants — specifically cold air (and the noise that comes with it) rushing from behind the passengers having been forced over the windshield then returning to the natural lower-pressure zone where the passengers sit.

Mazda pioneered the windblocker with its Mazda RX7 convertible featuring an integral rigid opaque panel that folded up from behind the two seats. Current convertibles feature windblockers of various designs including detachable fold-up designs (e.g.,Toyota Solara
Toyota Camry Solara
This page is about the automobile manufactured by Toyota. For other uses, see Solara The Toyota Camry Solara, also more commonly known as the Toyota Solara, is a mid-size coupe/convertible designed and engineered by Toyota...

), vertically retractable glass (e.g.,Audi TT
Audi TT
The Audi TT is a two-door sports car manufactured by the German automaker and Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi since 1998.The Audi TT has been produced in two generations. Both generations have been available in two car body styles; as a 2+2 Coupé, or two-seater Roadster...

), carefully designed minimal flaps (e.g.,Mazda Miata) — or other integrated wind controlling systems.

Mercedes and Audi currently offer a feature that routes a heating duct to the neck area of the seat on SLK
Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
The SLK is a compact roadster manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in three generations; R170 launched in 1996, the R171 in 2004 and R172 in 2011....

, SL
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

 and A5
Audi A5
The Audi A5 is a coupé produced by the German automobile manufacturer Audi since 2007. It is the coupé, cabriolet, and five-door fastback versions of the fourth generation Audi A4 saloon and estate models....

/S5 models, marketed as the "Air Scarf".

According to the chief engineer for the 2008 Chrysler Sebring, Jim Issner, the windblocker for the Sebring reduces "wind noise by approximately 11 to 12 decibels".

Safety

Contemporary convertible design may include such features as electrically heated glass rear window (for improved visibility), seat belt pre-tensioners, boron steel reinforced A-pillars, front and side airbags, safety cage construction — a horseshoe like structure around the passenger compartment — and roll over protection structures or (ROPS)
Roll over protection structure
Roll Over Protection Structure refers to operator compartment structures intended to protect equipment operators from injuries caused by vehicle overturns or rollovers.Commonly found on heavy equipment Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) refers to operator compartment structures (usually cabs...

 with pyrotechnically charged
Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

 roll hoops hidden behind the rear seats that deploy under roll-over conditions whether the roof is retracted or not.

Notably, the Volvo C70
Volvo C70
The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

 retractable hardtop includes a door-mounted side impact protection inflatable curtain which inflates upward from the interior belt-line — vs. downward like the typical curtain airbag. The curtain has an extra stiff construction with double rows of slats that are slightly offset from each other. This allows them to remain upright and offer effective head protection even an open window. The curtain also deflates slowly to provide protection should the car roll over.

Variations

Convertibles have offered numerous iterations that fall between the first mechanically simple but attention-demanding fabric tops to highly complex modern retractable hardtops:

Roadster: A roadster
Roadster
A roadster is a two-seat open car with emphasis on sporty handling and without a fixed roof or side weather protection. Strictly speaking a roadster with wind-up windows is a convertible but as true roadsters are no longer made the distinction is now irrelevant...

 was an open two-seater possibly with a frame that required actual assembly (i.e., not retracting) and separately installable soft side "window" panels — offering little protection from inclement weather and often requiring time-consuming apparently complicated installation. Examples range from the very first cars to the vintage Porsche Speedster introduced in 1955, and the classic Jaguar XK120
Jaguar XK120
The Jaguar XK120 is a sports car which was manufactured by Jaguar between 1948 and 1954. It was Jaguar's first sports car since the SS 100, which ceased production in 1940.-History:...

 Roadster unveiled in 1948 right up to the most recent Porsche Spyders. For most in the U.S. a contemporary roadster is now just a two-seater convertible like the Audi TT
Audi TT
The Audi TT is a two-door sports car manufactured by the German automaker and Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi since 1998.The Audi TT has been produced in two generations. Both generations have been available in two car body styles; as a 2+2 Coupé, or two-seater Roadster...

, the modern classic BMW Z8
BMW Z8
The BMW Z8 was a roadster car produced by German automaker BMW from 1999-2003. It was given the E52 BMW model code.The Z8 was the production variant of the 1997 Z07 concept car, which was designed by Henrik Fisker at BMW's DesignworksUSA in Southern California. The Z07 originally was designed as a...

, and Pontiac Solstice
Pontiac Solstice
The Pontiac Solstice is a small sports car from the Pontiac division of General Motors. Introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, the Solstice roadster began production in Wilmington, Delaware, starting in mid-2005 for the 2006 model year. The exterior styling of the...

.

Landau & Rigid Door: Citroën
Citroën
Citroën is a major French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.Founded in 1919 by French industrialist André-Gustave Citroën , Citroën was the first mass-production car company outside the USA and pioneered the modern concept of creating a sales and services network that...

's 1948 Citroën 2CV
Citroën 2CV
The Citroën 2CV |tax horsepower]]”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer...

 featured a sunroof that rolled back on itself, and extended to the rear bumper in place of a separate boot/trunk lid. This was for loading versatility that pre-dated hatchback
Hatchback
A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

s. Later models had a boot/trunk lid or an optional hatchback, and an internally opening sunroof, with a secured 'half-open' position. It had rigid body sides framing two doors on each side — followed in concept by such cars as the 1950 Nash
Nash Motors
Also see: Kelvinator and American Motors CorporationNash Motors was an automobile manufacturer based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States from 1916 to 1938. From 1938 to 1954, Nash was the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation...

 Rambler Convertible Coupe.

Citroën currently markets the C3 Pluriel
Citroën C3
The Citroën C3 is a supermini car equipped with a range of inline-four engines that has been produced by the French automaker Citroën since 2002. It was designed by Donato Coco and Jean-Pierre Ploué, previously known for designing the first generation Renault Twingo; the former has been the head of...

 (Pluriel is a cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 with the English plural), which can be configured into five iterations, hence the name:
  • a hatchback with a multi-layer insulated top.
  • a full-length "landau" sedan, operable partially or to the back window or any stage in between, with a buffet-minimizing wind deflector over the windshield.
  • a semi-convertible, with the roof open to the back window, the roof assembly folds into a well in the trunk floor.
  • a full convertible, whereby roof side rails are unlatched and removed.
  • a roadster pick-up, where the back seats fold to a pickup-like bed with a drop-down tailgate.

View: Citroën C3 Pluriel diagram


The Four Door: A four door convertible is a phaeton in the U.S., elsewhere any convertible may be a cabriolet.
The Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Continental
The Lincoln Continental is an automobile which was produced by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from 1939 to 1948 and again from 1956 to 2002...

 was available as a 4-door convertible in model years 1961 to 1967. A current example of a 4-door convertible is the Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a subcompact four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle and an off-road vehicle manufactured by American automaker Chrysler, under its Jeep marque – and now in its fourth generation. It is a successor to the famous World War II 'Jeep' vehicle by way of the Willys civilian...

 Unlimited.

Peugeot presented the a concept
Concept car
A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

 four-door retractable hardtop convertible, the Peugeot 407 Macarena in 2006. Produced by French coachbuilding specialist Heuliez
Heuliez
Heuliez is a French company that works as a production and design unit for various automakers. It specializes in producing short series for niche markets, such as convertibles or station-wagons....

, the Macarena's top can be folded in 60 seconds, with a steel reinforcing beam behind the front seats incorporating LCD screens for the rear passengers into the crossmember.
View: Peugeot 407 Macarena, in action.


Drophead Coupe, Coupé Cabriolet or Coupé Cabrio:
A type of convertible with only two doors, and thereby recalling the cabriolet carriage
Cabriolet (carriage)
A cabriolet is a light horse-drawn vehicle, with two wheels and a single horse. The carriage has a folding hood that can cover its two occupants, one of whom is the driver. It has a large rigid apron, gracefully upward-curving shafts, and usually a rear platform between the C springs for a groom...

. With its Mazda RX7 convertible, Mazda introduced a two-seater convertible with a removable rigid section over the passengers, removable independently of power operated textile section behind with heatable glass rear window. During the 1980s, Jaguar produced an XJ-SC with two removable panels over the front seats and a partial fold-down convertible section in the back. It retained the rear side windows of the coupe and had fixed cant rails above these and the door glass. This allowed an almost full convertible with roll-over safety. Going back in Jaguar history, during the 1950s the XK 120 Drophead Coupe (DHC) and later variants, provided open-air motoring with quite civilized fully lined insulated tops with the weather-protection of the hardtop models.

History in the United States

Until the 1910 introduction by Cadillac of the United States' first closed-body car, the convertible was the primary body style. US automakers manufactured a broad range of models during the 1950s and 1960s — from economical compact-sized models such as the Rambler American
Rambler American
The Rambler American is an automobile manufactured by the American Motors Corporation between 1958 and 1969. The American was the second incarnation of AMC's forerunner Nash Motors second-generation Rambler compact that was sold under the Nash and Hudson Motors marques from 1954 and 1955.The...

 and the Studebaker Lark
Studebaker Lark
The Studebaker Lark is a "compact car" which was produced by Studebaker from 1959 to 1966.From its introduction in early 1959 until 1962, the Lark was a product of the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. In mid-1962, the company dropped "Packard" from its name and reverted to its pre-1954 name, the...

 to the more expensive models such as the Packard Caribbean
Packard Caribbean
The Packard Caribbean was a "halo" vehicle produced by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan during model years 1953 through 1956. Some of the Caribbean's styling was derived from the Pan American Packard show car of the previous year...

, Oldsmobile 98
Oldsmobile 98
The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

, and Imperial
Imperial (automobile)
Imperial was the Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand between 1955 and 1975, with a brief reappearance in 1981 to 1983.The Imperial name had been used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. In 1955, the company decided to spin it off as its own make...

 by Chrysler.

Threatened rollover safety regulations in the mid-1970s led to diminished popularity by the 1970s. In 1976 Cadillac marketed the Eldorado
Cadillac Eldorado
The 1953 Eldorado was a special-bodied, low-production convertible . It was the production version of the 1952 El Dorado "Golden Anniversary" concept car, and borrowed bumper bullets from the 1951 GM Le Sabre show car...

 as "The last convertible in America". During this period of very low convertible production, T-top
T-top
An automotive T-top is an automobile roof with removable panels on either side of a rigid bar running from the center of one structural bar between pillars to the center of the next structural bar, the panels of a traditional T-top are usually made of auto grade safety glass.The T-top was patented...

s became a popular alternative.

Elsewhere globally, convertible production continued throughout this era with models such as the Mercedes SL, the VW Beetle Cabriolet
Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003...

, the VW Golf Cabriolet, and the Jaguar E-type
Jaguar E-type
The Jaguar E-Type or XK-E is a British automobile, manufactured by Jaguar between 1961 and 1975. Its combination of good looks, high performance, and competitive pricing established the marque as an icon of 1960s motoring...

.

In the 1980s convertibles such as the Chrysler LeBaron
Chrysler LeBaron
The Chrysler LeBaron was originally a classic luxury car of 1930s manufactured by Chrysler which competed with other luxury cars of the era such as Lincoln and Packard....

 and Saab 900
Saab 900
The Saab 900 was a car produced by Saab Automobile from 1978 until 1998 in two generations. The first generation from 1978 to 1993 is known as the "classic"; the generation from 1994 to 1998 is known as the "new generation" ....

 revived the body style in the United States — followed by models such as the Mazda Miata, Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder....

, Audi TT
Audi TT
The Audi TT is a two-door sports car manufactured by the German automaker and Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi since 1998.The Audi TT has been produced in two generations. Both generations have been available in two car body styles; as a 2+2 Coupé, or two-seater Roadster...

 and later retractable hardtop models.

Retractable hardtop roof

A retractable hardtop, also known as coupé convertible or coupé cabriolet, is a type of convertible that forgoes a folding textile roof in favor of an automatically operated, multi-part, self-storing hardtop
Hardtop
A hardtop is a term for a rigid, rather than canvas, automobile roof. It has been used in several contexts: detachable hardtops, retractable hardtop roofs, and the so-called pillarless hardtop body style....

 where the rigid roof sections are opaque, translucent or independently operable.

The first retractable hardtop was from France when in 1934 Peugeot introduced the 601 Éclipse, designed by Georges Paulin.

The retractable hardtop solves some issues with the soft-top convertible, but has its own compromises, namely mechanical complexity, expense and more often than not, reduced luggage capacity.

A 2006 New York Times article suggested the retractable hardtop may herald the demise of the textile-roofed convertible, and a 2007 Wall Street Journal article suggested "more and more convertibles are eschewing soft cloth tops in favor of sophisticated folding metal roofs, making them practical in all climates, year-round."

Construction

Retractable hardtops can vary in material (steel, plastic or aluminum), can vary from two to five in the number of rigid sections and often rely on complex dual-hinged trunk (British: boot) lids that enable the trunk lid to both receive the retracting top from the front and also receive parcels or luggage from the rear — along with complex trunk divider mechanisms to prevent loading of luggage that would conflict with the operation of the hardtop.

Construction variations

  • The Volkswagen Eos
    Volkswagen Eos
    The Volkswagen Eos is a four-seat retractable hardtop coupe convertible, introduced in 2006 as the successor to the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet. The Eos is Volkswagen's first production coupe since the last Corrado in 1995....

     features a five-segment retractable roof where one section is itself an independently sliding transparent sunroof.
  • The Cadillac XLR
    Cadillac XLR
    The XLR was a retractable hardtop convertible marketed by the Cadillac division of General Motors, assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Intended to be Cadillac's flagship sports car, the XLR was based on the Chevrolet Corvette's Y platform...

     features a retractable aluminum hardtop requiring 6'-10½" of vertical clearance during retraction, and manufactured by a supplier joint venture between Mercedes-Benz
    Mercedes-Benz
    Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

     and Porsche
    Porsche
    Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

    .
  • The Mercedes SL
    Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

     hardtop features a glass section that rotates during retraction to provide a more compact "stack."
  • The Mazda MX-5
    Mazda MX-5
    The MX-5, also known as Miata in North America and Eunos Roadster in Japan, is a lightweight two-seater roadster, of front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan. The model was introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show...

     has been available since the 2006 model year with an optional power retractable hardtop, in lieu of the standard folding-textile soft-top. The cost of the retractable hardtop is actually less than the price premium charged to a separate hardtop. Compared to the regular soft-top, the hardtop weighs 77 lb (34.9 kg) more yet has no reduction in cargo capacity. The MX-5 is one of the few cars offering both hardtop and soft-top convertible choices, so it is possible to make a direct performance comparison; the hardtop has slower acceleration but a higher top speed. The hardtop roof is constructed of polycarbonate and manufactured by the German firm Webasto.
  • Daihatsu marketed the Copen
    Daihatsu Copen
    The Daihatsu Copen is a 2-door roadster with an aluminium retractable hardtop built by the Japanese car company Daihatsu. It first debuted at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, as the Daihatsu Copen concept...

     in the ultra-compact Japanese Kei
    Kei car
    Kei cars, K-cars, or , are a Japanese category of small vehicles, including passenger cars, vans, and pickup trucks. They are designed to comply with Japanese government tax and insurance regulations, and in most rural areas are exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is...

     class.
  • The Chrysler Sebring
    Chrysler Sebring
    The Chrysler Sebring is a line of mid-size cars that was sold by Chrysler from 1995 to 2010.The Sebring came in three generations. The first, from 1995 to 2000, was available first only as a coupe and starting in 1996 as a convertible. The two body designs did not share many components nor any...

    's (and its successor the Chrysler 200
    Chrysler 200
    The Chrysler 200 is a mid-size sedan and convertible produced by Chrysler, being introduced for the 2011 model year. The Chrysler 200 is an update and new nameplate for the outgoing 2010 Chrysler Sebring....

    's) retractable hardtop also is marketed alongside a soft-top. According to development engineer Dave Lauzun, during construction, the Karmann-made
    Karmann
    Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, commonly known simply as Karmann, in Osnabrück, Germany was until 2009 the largest independent motor vehicle manufacturing company in Germany...

     tops are dropped into a body that is largely identical: both soft-top and retractable feature the same automatic tonneau cover, luggage divider and luggage space. The retractable does feature an underbody cross-brace not included in the softtop.
  • The Volvo C70
    Volvo C70
    The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

    , its retractable hardtop manufactured by Webasto includes a global window switch that allows simultaneous raising or lowering of all windows, and a button to power-activate the raising of the folded top stack within the trunk to access cargo below.
  • The Vauxhaul/Opel Astra TwinTop, its three-piece retractable hardtop manufactured by Webasto includes a global window switch that allows simultaneous raising or lowering of all windows and a button to power-activate the raising of the folded top stack within the trunk to access cargo below.
View: Photo of Cadillac XLR roof during retraction

Pros and cons

The retractable hardtop convertible trades higher initial cost, mechanical complexity and, with rare exception, diminished trunk space — for increased acoustic insulation, durability and break-in protection similar to that of a fixed roof coupe.

Pro: The retractable hardtop's advantages are:
  • more practical in all climates year-round, compared to soft-tops which are more prone to leakage in heavy rain or winter. In addition, hardtops minimize wind noise and are more secure (the cloth of certain soft-tops can be slashed by a knife).
  • increased structural rigidity
    Torsion (mechanics)
    In solid mechanics, torsion is the twisting of an object due to an applied torque. In sections perpendicular to the torque axis, the resultant shear stress in this section is perpendicular to the radius....

     over a soft-top.
  • eliminates the need for a storage-consuming, manually-from-outside-the-vehicle-installable, separate or integral, rigid or foldable, tonneau cover to conceal the mechanicals of a folded textile top.
  • eliminates the need to protect the vulnerable underside of a folded textile top from UV fading.
  • eliminates the need for a separate rigid hardtop requiring space-consuming off-season storage and a cumbersome twice-yearly, two-person manual installation and removal — a system popularized, for example, by the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

     of 1963 to 1989.
  • may enable consolidation/simplification of a manufacturer's car lineup; for instance the current BMW Z4
    BMW Z4
    The BMW Z4 is a rear-wheel drive sports car by the German car maker BMW. It follows a line of past BMW roadsters such as the BMW Z1, BMW 507, BMW Z8, and the BMW Z3. The Z4 replaces the Z3. First generation production started in 2002 at BMW USA's Greer, South Carolina plant, with production of both...

     (E89
    BMW E89
    BMW E89 is the chassis code of the second generation of BMW Z4. It now has a retractable hardtop like the Mercedes SLK replacing the previous roadster and coupé versions for the 2009 model year. There are exclusively six-cylinder engines on this generation...

    ) is offering only as a coupé-convertible (hardtop), compared to the preceding E85
    BMW E85
    The first-generation of BMW Z4 was designed by Danish BMW-designer Anders Warming for Silas Acosta by request. The Z4 was introduced at the Paris Auto Show in 2002, and went on sale in November of the same year for the 2003 model year. It is a physically larger, completely redesigned successor to...

     generation that had separate coupé and cabriolet (soft-top) variants.
  • part of a popular trend that automakers have been following in the late 2000s. Hardtops are nicknamed "metal origami" and top-up they are considered more attractive than soft-tops. A 2006 New York Times article suggested the retractable hardtop may herald the demise of the textile-roofed convertible, and a 2007 Wall Street Journal article suggested "more and more convertibles are eschewing soft cloth tops in favor of sophisticated folding metal roofs".
  • Soft-top convertibles are often considered by the automotive press to not be in the "same league" as more complex hardtops.


Con:
In addition to higher initial cost, increased mechanical complexity — and thereby potentially higher repair cost, hardtops have the general disadvatages of:
  • Diminished passenger and trunk space compared to a soft-top convertible. Indeed some hardtops have a nearly unusable trunk once the roof is down. Even some soft-top models use the trunk for storage of top.
  • Hardtops typically have a higher weight and center of gravity which reduces handling dynamics, so the Audi R8 Spyder, Porsche Boxster and 911 Cabriolet have retained soft-tops. Audi has yet to produce a hardtop convertible as of 2011, since they include quattro as standard equipment in their convertibles (after the discontinuation of the 2007 Audi A4 2.0T cabriolet) which already adds extra weight.
  • decreased structural rigidity
    Torsion (mechanics)
    In solid mechanics, torsion is the twisting of an object due to an applied torque. In sections perpendicular to the torque axis, the resultant shear stress in this section is perpendicular to the radius....

     compared to a fixed-roof coupe. The 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible tries to solve this problem with a folding steel roof, however this adds considerable mass to the vehicle.
  • The retractable hardtop may lift the articulating sections of the roof during retraction, requiring increased vertical clearance. For example, the Volvo C70
    Volvo C70
    The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

     requires 6.5 feet (2 m) of clearance during operation. The Cadillac XLR
    Cadillac XLR
    The XLR was a retractable hardtop convertible marketed by the Cadillac division of General Motors, assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Intended to be Cadillac's flagship sports car, the XLR was based on the Chevrolet Corvette's Y platform...

     requires 6'-10½" of vertical clearance.
  • The retractable hardtop may, such as in the case of the Mercedes SLK, require additional rear clearance behind the car during operation of the top, the trunklid extending rearward while retracting or raising the top.
  • The retractable hardtop relies on battery power, and in the event of battery failure, can leave a retracted roof vulnerable to a downpour. Volvo includes an emergency roof cover with each Volvo C70
    Volvo C70
    The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

    . The Cadillac XLR owners manual contains seven pages of detailed instructions on how to manually raise the top. This problem is not unique to retractable hardtops since some soft-tops rely on battery power as well.
  • With numerous articulated sections, each joint or seal is an opportunity for water leakage.
  • Failure of hydraulics or electrical systems may result in substantial repair bills, though some models of ragtops have similar setbacks when they employ a powered top-down sequence.

History

1922 Ben P. Ellerbeck conceived the first practical retractable hardtop system in 1922 — a manually operated system on a Hudson
Hudson Motor Car Company
The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors. The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was dropped.- Company strategy...

 coupe that allowed unimpeded use of the rumble seat
Rumble seat
A rumble seat, dicky seat, dickie seat or dickey seat is an upholstered exterior seat which hinges or otherwise opens out from the rear deck of a pre-World War II automobile, and seats one or more passengers. An 1899 Century Dictionary describes a rumble as " A seat for servants in the rear of a...

 even with the top down. — but never saw production.
1935 Peugeot
Peugeot
Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810, and manufactured coffee mills and bicycles. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion...

 introduced the first production, power-operated retractable hardtop in 1935, the 402 Éclipse Décapotable
Peugeot 402
The Peugeot 402 is a family car produced in Sochaux, France from 1935 to 1942 by Peugeot. It was unveiled in Paris Motor Show in 1935, replacing the Peugeot 401....

, designed and patented by Georges Paulin
Georges Paulin
Georges Paulin was a dentist, part-time automobile designer and hero of the French Resistance during the Second World War. He was born 1902 in a working class section of Paris....

. The French coachbuilder, Marcel Pourtout, custom-built other examples of Paulins designs on a larger Peugeot chassis as well. The first Eclipse 402s offered a power-retractable top, but in 1936 was replaced by a manually operated version on a stretched chassis, built in limited numbers until World War II.

1941 Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 presents the retractable hardtop concept car
Concept car
A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

, the Chrysler Thunderbolt.

1953 Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 spent an estimated US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

2 million (US$ in dollars) to engineer a Continental Mark II
Continental Mark II
The Continental Mark II was a personal luxury car produced by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company in 1956 through 1957. Many aficionados of the automobile consider the Continental Mark II one of the classics of the postwar period.-History:...

 with a servo-operated retractable roof. The project was headed by Ben Smith, a 30-year-old draftsman. The concept was rejected for cost and marketing reasons.

1955 Brothers Ed and Jim Gaylord showed their first prototype at the 1955 Paris motor show, but the car failed to reach production.

1957 Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 introduced the Skyliner
Ford Skyliner
The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is a full-size two door automobile with a retractable hardtop which was produced by the Ford Motor Company in the United States for the model years 1957, 1958 and 1959. Part of the Ford Fairlane range, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of...

 in the United States. A total of 48,394 were built from 1957 to 1959. The retractable top was noted for its complexity and usually decent reliability in the pre-transistor era. Its mechanism contained 10 power relays, 10 limit switches, four lock motors, three drive motors, eight circuit breakers, as well as 610 feet (185.9 m) of electrical wire, and could raise the or lower the top in about 40 seconds. The Skyliner was a halo car with little luggage space (i.e., practicality), and cost twice that of a baseline Ford sedan.

1989 Toyota introduced a modern retractable hardtop, the MZ20 Soarer Aerocabin
Toyota Soarer
The Soarer made its first appearance at the 1980 Osaka International Motor Show with the name "EX-8", and the Z10 series Toyota Soarer was produced from February 1981 to December 1985, with 2.0L, 2.8L or 3.0L DOHC I-6 variants. The first generation Soarer debuted with a rear-wheel drive...

. The car featured an electric folding hardtop and was a marketed as a 2-seater with a cargo area behind the front seats. Production was 500 units.

1995 The Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder convertible by ASC was marketed in the U.S. The design was further popularized by such cars as the 1996 Mercedes-Benz SLK. and 2001 Peugeot 206 CC
Peugeot 206
The Peugeot 206 is a supermini car, manufactured by the French automaker Peugeot from 1998 to 2010.Even though the 206 has finished production in most markets as of 2010, in Europe since 2009, it is available the 206+, with a back and especially a front design that resembles the Peugeot 207.-The...

.

2006 Peugeot presented the a concept
Concept car
A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

 four-door retractable hardtop convertible, the Peugeot 407 Macarena. Produced by French coachbuilding specialist Heuliez
Heuliez
Heuliez is a French company that works as a production and design unit for various automakers. It specializes in producing short series for niche markets, such as convertibles or station-wagons....

, the Macarena's top can be folded in about 30 seconds. It has a reinforcing beam behind the front seats which incorporates LCD screens into the crossmember for the rear passengers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HL5TttgmzA&mode=related&search=View: 1957 TV ad for the Ford Skyliner featuring Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
Lucille Désirée Ball was an American comedian, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy...

 and Desi Arnaz
Desi Arnaz
Desi Arnaz was a Cuban-born American musician, actor and television producer. While he gained international renown for leading a Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, he is probably best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American TV series I Love Lucy, starring with Lucille Ball, to...

.]
View: Peugeot 407 Macarena, with top retracting.
View: Photographs of a 1938 Peugeot 402 Éclipse Décapotable
View: time lapse photograph of Mercedes SLK, with top retracting
View: Sales brochure of the 1995 Mitsubishi Spyder

Early models

  • Peugeot 402 Éclipse Décapotable
    Peugeot 402
    The Peugeot 402 is a family car produced in Sochaux, France from 1935 to 1942 by Peugeot. It was unveiled in Paris Motor Show in 1935, replacing the Peugeot 401....

     (1935)
  • Chrysler Thunderbolt concept car
    Concept car
    A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

     1941
  • Continental Mark II
    Continental Mark II
    The Continental Mark II was a personal luxury car produced by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company in 1956 through 1957. Many aficionados of the automobile consider the Continental Mark II one of the classics of the postwar period.-History:...

     concept car
    Concept car
    A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

     c.1953
  • Ford Skyliner
    Ford Skyliner
    The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is a full-size two door automobile with a retractable hardtop which was produced by the Ford Motor Company in the United States for the model years 1957, 1958 and 1959. Part of the Ford Fairlane range, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of...

     (1957–1959)
  • Gaylord (1956)

Later models

  • Toyota Soarer Aerocabin
    Toyota Soarer
    The Soarer made its first appearance at the 1980 Osaka International Motor Show with the name "EX-8", and the Z10 series Toyota Soarer was produced from February 1981 to December 1985, with 2.0L, 2.8L or 3.0L DOHC I-6 variants. The first generation Soarer debuted with a rear-wheel drive...

    (1989)
  • BMW Z4
    BMW Z4
    The BMW Z4 is a rear-wheel drive sports car by the German car maker BMW. It follows a line of past BMW roadsters such as the BMW Z1, BMW 507, BMW Z8, and the BMW Z3. The Z4 replaces the Z3. First generation production started in 2002 at BMW USA's Greer, South Carolina plant, with production of both...

     (2010)
  • BMW M3
    BMW M3
    The BMW M3 is a high-performance version of the BMW 3 Series, developed by BMW's in-house motorsport division, BMW M. M3 models have been derived from the E30, E36, E46 and E90/E92/E93 3-series, and sold with coupé, sedan and convertible body styles...

     (2008)
  • BMW 328i/335i Cabrio (2007)
  • Cadillac XLR
    Cadillac XLR
    The XLR was a retractable hardtop convertible marketed by the Cadillac division of General Motors, assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Intended to be Cadillac's flagship sports car, the XLR was based on the Chevrolet Corvette's Y platform...

     (2004)
  • Chevrolet SSR
    Chevrolet SSR
    The Chevrolet SSR is a retractable hardtop convertible pickup truck manufactured by Chevrolet between 2003 and 2006....

     (2003)
  • Chrysler Sebring (2008)
  • Chrysler 200
    Chrysler 200
    The Chrysler 200 is a mid-size sedan and convertible produced by Chrysler, being introduced for the 2011 model year. The Chrysler 200 is an update and new nameplate for the outgoing 2010 Chrysler Sebring....

     (2011)
  • Daihatsu Copen
    Daihatsu Copen
    The Daihatsu Copen is a 2-door roadster with an aluminium retractable hardtop built by the Japanese car company Daihatsu. It first debuted at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, as the Daihatsu Copen concept...

     (2002)
  • Ferrari California
    Ferrari California
    The Ferrari California is a grand touring sports car that was launched by Ferrari at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. It is a two door "2+2" hard top convertible. The California is powered by front-mid mounted gasoline direct injection V8 with...

     (2009)
  • Ford Focus CC (2007)
  • Infiniti G
    Infiniti G
    The Infiniti G is a compact executive/entry-level luxury car produced by Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti. The first two generations of the Infiniti G were sedans based on the Nissan Primera. Beginning with its third generation , the Infiniti G have been rebadged versions of the Nissan Skyline line...

     Convertible (2009)
  • Lexus SC 430
    Lexus SC
    The Lexus SC is a personal luxury coupé that was retailed by Lexus, and built from 1991 through 2010. It features a front engine, rear-wheel drive design and seating for up to four passengers. The first generation SC debuted as the V8-powered SC 400 in 1991, and the I6-powered SC 300 was added in...

     / Toyota Soarer
    Toyota Soarer
    The Soarer made its first appearance at the 1980 Osaka International Motor Show with the name "EX-8", and the Z10 series Toyota Soarer was produced from February 1981 to December 1985, with 2.0L, 2.8L or 3.0L DOHC I-6 variants. The first generation Soarer debuted with a rear-wheel drive...

     (2001)
  • Lexus IS 250/350 C (2009)
  • Mazda MX-5
    Mazda MX-5
    The MX-5, also known as Miata in North America and Eunos Roadster in Japan, is a lightweight two-seater roadster, of front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan. The model was introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show...

     (2007–present)
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
    Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
    The SLK is a compact roadster manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in three generations; R170 launched in 1996, the R171 in 2004 and R172 in 2011....

      (1996)
  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
    The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL 'Gullwing' named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors.The term SL-Class refers to the...

      (2003–2009)

  • Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder Mk.2 (1995–1996)
  • Mitsubishi Colt CZC (2006)
  • Nissan Micra C+C (2005)
  • Nissan Silvia Varietta
    Nissan Silvia
    The S12 was produced from 1984 to 1988, with revisions to the exterior trim in 1987 . It was sold in three configurations—a coupe , a hatchback, and a widebody chassis called grandprix .A number of different engines were equipped in the S12 chassis, depending on production year and more...

     (2000)
  • Opel Astra TwinTop / Vauxhall Astra TwinTop
    Vauxhall Astra
    Astra is a model name which has been used by Vauxhall, the British subsidiary of General Motors , on their small family car ranges since 1979. Astras are technically essentially identical with similar vehicles offered by GM's German subsidiary Opel in most other European countries...

     (2006)
  • Opel Tigra TwinTop / Vauxhall Tigra TwinTop
    Opel Tigra
    The Opel Tigra name has been applied to two quite different cars engineered and produced by the German automaker Opel, both based on different iterations of the Corsa supermini, the first built in Spain, the second in France. The first Tigra was a small 2+2 coupé, produced from 1994 to 2000. The...

     (2005)
  • Peugeot 206 CC (2001)
  • Peugeot 307 CC (2003)
  • Peugeot 207 CC (2007)
  • Peugeot 308 CC (2008)
  • Pontiac G6
    Pontiac G6
    The Pontiac G6 was a mid-size car produced under the Pontiac brand of American automaker General Motors.It was introduced in the fall of 2004 to replace the Grand Am. The car was built on the GM Epsilon platform which it shared with the Chevrolet Malibu and Saab 9-3 along with other General Motors...

     (2006)
  • Renault Mégane CC Mk.2 (2003)
  • Renault Mégane CC Mk.3 (2010)
  • Toyota MR-S
    Toyota MR2
    The Toyota MR2 is a two-seat, mid-engined, rear wheel drive sports car produced by Central Motors, a part of Toyota, from 1984 until July 2007 when production stopped in Japan...

     (2000–2007)
  • Volvo C70
    Volvo C70
    The Volvo C70 is a luxury automobile manufactured by Volvo Cars in two generations: the first from model years 1997-2002 as coupé and from 1999 to 2006 as a softtop convertible...

     Mk.2 (2006)
  • Volkswagen Eos
    Volkswagen Eos
    The Volkswagen Eos is a four-seat retractable hardtop coupe convertible, introduced in 2006 as the successor to the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet. The Eos is Volkswagen's first production coupe since the last Corrado in 1995....

     (2006)

See also

  • Cabrio coach
    Cabrio coach
    A cabrio coach or semi-convertible is a type of car that has a retractable textile roof, and derives from Cabriolet. It is an inexpensive alternative to a full convertible, especially on cars with unibody designs since little or no redesign of the body is necessary.This type of roof was perhaps...

  • Car body style
    Car body style
    Automobiles' body styles are highly variable. Some body styles remain in production, while others become less common or obsolete. They may or may not correlate to a car's price, size or intended market classification. The same car model might be available in multiple body styles comprising a...

  • Carson top
    Carson top
    Carson top is a one-piece, padded, upholstered, removable top. The design was invented by Bob Houser in 1935 when he worked for Amos Carson at Carson Top Shop in Los Angeles, USA. The first carson top was probably made for a Ford Model A convertible and nowadays it is mostly used on hot rods and...

  • Roadster
    Roadster
    A roadster is a two-seat open car with emphasis on sporty handling and without a fixed roof or side weather protection. Strictly speaking a roadster with wind-up windows is a convertible but as true roadsters are no longer made the distinction is now irrelevant...

  • T-top
    T-top
    An automotive T-top is an automobile roof with removable panels on either side of a rigid bar running from the center of one structural bar between pillars to the center of the next structural bar, the panels of a traditional T-top are usually made of auto grade safety glass.The T-top was patented...

  • Targa top
    Targa top
    Targa top, targa for short, is a semi-convertible car body style with a removable roof section and a full width roll bar behind the seats. The term was first used on the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa, and it remains a registered trademark of Porsche AG....

  • NASCAR Convertible Division
    NASCAR Convertible Division
    The NASCAR Convertible Division was a division of convertible cars early in NASCAR's history.-History:NASCAR purchased SAFE 's all-convertible Circuit of Champions “All Stars” circuit late in 1955. Most drivers did not make the transition to NASCAR's sanction. NASCAR ran the division from 1956...


External links

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