Convertible automobiles: All you need to know

Convertible automobiles are very popular these days. But people doesn’t know what exactly it is.

In this article I’m going to cover, every thing you need to know about convertible automobiles.

What is a convertible automobile?

“A convertible automobile or Cabriolet is a passenger automobile that can be driven with or without roof in place”

This roof controlling techniques are vary between manufactures and models. A convertible automobiles allows an open air driving experience.

Also in other times it can provide a roof when necessary.

Nowadays some people instigate to convert their current automobile into convertible one.

Convertible automobiles - benz

Most of convertible roofs are made from cloth. Because cloths are light weight and easy to retract.  But bad side is, this cloth roofs can be damaged easily.

Other types of convertible roofs are retractable hardtops and detachable hardtops.

This retractable hardtops are constructed frm metal or plastic and detachable hardtops also made of plastic or metal but this roof should remove manually

and often stored in the trunk.

Also there are some other terms for these convertibles and they are :

  • Cabriolet / Cabrio
  • Drop Top
  • Open Two Seater
  • Open Top
  • Rag Top
  • Soft Top
  • Spider / Spyder

These terms are currently using rarely and this “cabriolet” word came from “A simple, including folding top, two seater”.

However the convertible is the main term that used to describe every other convertible automobiles these days.

History of convertible automobiles

In past most automobiles were roof less vehicles. When automobile engines became more powerful by the end of the 19th century, the roofs began to appear on automobiles.

Convertible automobiles - old

In 1939, an manufacture named “Plymouth” introduced the first mechanically operated convertible roof.

As a result of world war 2, these convertible automobiles became popular. Because of the lack of roadster cars in united States.

During the 70’s due to travel speed, noise and crash safety standards,

An air conditioning systems and fixed tops were popular by reducing the demand for convertible automobiles.

But in this time, famous automobile manufacture “MAZDA” released their convertible called “Miata” which has become the best selling convertible with over one million cars sold.

Mazda MX-5

After the Mazda revolution, most of leading automotive companies released their convertibles to the world.

However this retractable / foldable hardtop convertible automobiles has become increasingly popular in the 21st century.

Convertible automobile types

There are few types of convertibles on the market. These types mainly depend on made material of roof and its removing or folding mechanism.

1.Soft top


A soft top is made from cloth based materials. The main reason to use textile materials to build this tops, because cloth-based material has several advantages like, light weight, stretchable, shock absorbing and noise reduction.

After an years later automobile manufactures used polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for many convertible automobile tops. Because PVC can use for water proofing.

After collapsing this textile or cloth based roof, is called as the “Stack”

2.Detachable hard top

Detachable hard-top

Because of design, weather proofing, sound proofing and durability compared to the cloth-based soft tops, this detachable hard top become popular.

In 1950’s and 1960’s , detachable hard tops were used for some sports car models.

After a years later this detachable hard tops less common in part because of extra expensiveness, cannot store in the automobile when not in use and need a garage or something to store it.

3.Retractable hard top

Retractable hard top
Retractable hard-top

A retractable hardtop automobile also known as “Coupe Convertible“ or “Coupe Cabriolet”.

This convertible automobile top can operate automatically and storing itself. Engineers use motors and servos to do this part.

The main advantage  of this roof is it’s safer than soft top roofs.

Safety of convertible automobiles

A hard top automobile keep your head inside the vehicle in a crash.But in a convertible automobile, it may be a problem.

Don’t worry here’s a good news, The risk of a roll-over accident in a convertible is minimal, because of most convertible cars, center of gravity point is low.

In modern  convertible automobiles include rollover protection structures (ROPS) with roll hoops hidden behind the rear seats that deploy when accident.

Rollover protection
Rollover protection

Also include side air bags, safety cages and strong metal frame.

Cheap convertible automobiles

  • FIAT 500C
  • Mini Cooper Convertible
  • Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Chevolet Camaro Convertible

Final Words

Convertible automobiles are definitely fun and thrilling, most people loves it and dreams to afford one.

I hope this article may help you to get some knowledge about convertible automobiles. Thank you.

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