- Barry (the Carguy) Thomas
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
June 19: Convertible or Hardtop?
Fantastic.........a hardtop that is actually a convertible!! These days having a hardtop that is a convertible is quite common and probably the norm, but in 1957 it was futuristic. Although not the first hide-away roof, there were a handful in the '30's, the 1957 Ford Skyliner was the first mass produced model.
Back in the '50's the sky was the limit as to what designers and engineers could do with a car (not always a good thing). Think about it.......there was no Japanese or Korean competition and only a handful of European cars being sold in North America, so even a slow selling model might hit a 100k in sales. One year the full size Chevrolet sold over a million cars. That doesn't happen anymore due to the market fragmentation and the competition. Actually, the Skyliner sold around 20k the first year, so after three years this costly toy was dropped.
This was a wildly technical feat at the time with a huge number of moving parts, wires and relays. Just ripe for problems. I imagine the little fella in this pic is wondering what would happen to his annoying sister if she was in the trunk...........
Note the little box in the trunk, which defines where your luggage could go when the top was down. I sold a new VW Eos recently which had the same sort of set up, although quite a bit smaller. Great idea, so that your valuables or a beloved pet doesn't get squashed when the roof goes down (who puts their pet in the trunk, anyway?).
Old photos are always interesting, so I've a included this production line shot.......
Surprising that the first Skyliner doesn't have whitewalls - salesperson must have forgotten to tick off that option.
So next time you see a new Benz SL or SLK or Mazda MX-5 or BMW Z4 or VW EOS or one of the many other hardtop convertibles, you should think back to how it got started. And also ask yourself why the new cars only come in silver.
Until next time........