Question of the Day: Who Wants a Convertible?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
question of the day who wants a convertible

While my old man was a died-in-the-wool hoon, there were certain cars he'd never buy. Convertibles were the big one. He must have lectured me 500 times, "Contrary to what people assume, the convertible is always going to be heavier and slower than the hard top." Cowl shake, too. Of course he's right, as anyone familiar a 3-Series drop top can attest to. However, little in life feels as right as driving with the top down. I mention this because I'm thinking about a Miata. My girlfriend's lame duck (to put it kindly) Ford Focus needs to be put out to pasture. We need a second car. And since my WRX already has 5 doors and there's only two of us, why not a convertible? I mean, hello, LA? If not here, where? Feel like talking me out of it? Better yet, talk me into it.

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  • BigOldChryslers BigOldChryslers on Jun 20, 2008

    Driving with the top down is quite an experience. Zero blind spots, infinite headroom, if you look up all you see is sky. I hardly drive my '66 Chrysler convertible though, so the novelty hasn't worn off for me. I don't know if it would if I had a 'vert for a daily driver. Downside? Sunscreen and sunglasses are mandatory for any trip worthy of putting the top down, hats that strap under your chin are preferred (so you may look kinda dorky), and there is zero privacy. If you sing along to the radio, everyone driving in your general vicinity will know. I have no experience riding in any new convertibles, although I've sat in a few. I'd say that the 2-place convertibles have limited their market to people of average or smaller build. I tried to squeeze my largish 6'3" frame into a Miata, a Solstice and a Viper with limited success. In all 3 cases, my egress from the car required ridiculous contortions. I recall that the Solstice had a stick, but I'd never be able to drive it. Just one of my (size 13-wide) feet covered two pedals at a time, and there was NO room for my other foot. Please note that I drove a 1984 VW Rabbit with a stick for 5 years, my brother currently has an early 80's VW Cabriolet, and I find both cars quite comfortable. The new convertibles I sat in simply lack "inner bigness".

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Jun 20, 2008

    I have owned convertibles since my first MG Midget bought in 1985. A year later I bought a second one to use for the necessary spare parts. My Dad always had convertibles up until the safety regs of the early 70's killed them. He was actually talked into trading in his 64-1/2 Rangoon Red Mustang ragtop for a Pinto wagon with the fake wood panels. The dealer convinced him that ragtops would be worthless. I also remember his 1962 Chevy II convertible....white with red interior....what I wouldn't give for that car today. I have owned my 1996 M-Edition for over 12 years and have loved every minute of driving in it. I am now using it as a daily summer commuter for my 60 mile drive (one way) to work. I even shaved my head this summer so that I can drive to work with the top down and not be a mess once I get there. There is still nothing quite like falling into this car, quickly dropping the top (manually, the way God meant), and snicking through the gears for 2-1/2 hours a day. I still love it. The greatest thing is when you have the top up, pull up next to a Solstice at red light, and quickly drop the top with out having to leave the car or empty my trunk. They hate that. GET A MIATA

  • Tagiam Tagiam on Jun 20, 2008

    I drive a 350Z Convertible here in Phoenix. I realize that some people see it as a midlife crisis car and frankly it is a little showy for me, but I love driving it. I put an analyzer on the car a few months ago and realized that I drive completely differently when the top is down than when the top is up. With the top down, I drive a little faster, take corners significantly faster and rev the engine a little higher. Driving with the top down is simply better. One caveat. According to my wife, driving with the top down really causes split ends in her hair. I wouldn't know, but she says it is a real issue, so beware when trying to sell the idea to your girlfriend.

  • Dancote Dancote on Jun 20, 2008

    Back in '03 I bought my wife a 1 year-old automatic Miata. I went down to CA (from WA) to pick it up and drive it back to surprise her. We dressed it up with a Mazda body kit and a hard-top for winter. You'd swear I'd given her the moon. She loved it then and still loves it today. She beams whenever she drives it.