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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, May 21, 2013

May 21: Where did it go?


What a beautiful car. The Mercedes-Benz SL, with its retractable hardtop, is a great looking car with "just right" proportions. But where did its top go? For years, even very attractive cars like this Jaguar had an unsightly lump on their back ends when their top was down..........


Then someone had a better idea  -  hide the roof in the trunk. Companies have now been retracting hardtops off and on for years with mixed results. The idea is great, you have a retractable roof that gives you the security of a hardtop with the sportiness of a convertible ("cabrio" if you really want to be snooty). Who came up with this idea first? Take a trip back to 1957........


Ya man, the 1957 Ford Skyliner was the first car to make this style of roof popular. Now popularity is a relative term, as they only sold this for three years and then dropped it. No one else followed for years, probably due to the highly complex workings of all the motors Ford used to hid the roof.

Interesting footnote..........a Ford first? Not really. Let's go back even further to this 1938 Peugeot 402........


This was the first example of this great idea that I could find. But there are downsides to innovation, as you can see from this Ford pic......


All that metal had to go somewhere and you can see from the Skyliner's enormous rear end, where it all went. This is a problem that has plagued most retractable hardtop designs to this day. It was years after Ford discontinued theirs before another manufacturer tried it again (might have been Benz), but the results have been hit and miss. Even Ferrari missed the design boat when dropping the roof of their California.....


Great show when you drop the top in front of the patrons at your favorite sidewalk cafe', but the bulbous rear end is not attractive, even when you are spending $300k+ large. The little Mazda MX5 is also design challenged......


A much prettier car when it had a fabric top. And you only have room for a toothbrush (buy the toothpaste at each stop).

The retractable hardtop is a very good idea, but not always successful from a design point of view. Think of the cars that still have a fabric roof   -  BMW on some models, Corvette, Aston Martin and the list goes on. So when you wonder, where did it go, take a look at the back end. You know where it went, but was the design successful when it got there?

Until next time.....

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