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Hooniverse Asks- What Convertible Looks the Best With its Top Up?

Robert Emslie November 19, 2012 Hooniverse Asks 57 Comments

Life is all about compromise, and in the automotive world nothing represents a bigger compromise than a convertible. In exchange for the ability to drive under the Sun, Moon, and the stars, we have to put up with noise, decreased zombie protection, and the chance we’ve left the top down when it begins to rain. And one of the biggest tradeoffs is the fact that even the best looking coupe usually looks like ass when its metal roof is replaced by one made of fabric.

The fact that a convertible roof must serve at least two functions – the ability to reasonably keep out the weather and at least the most feeble of brain-seeking living dead, and be able to retract sufficiently to allow unfettered access to being shat upon by pigeons – means that looking good when erect (stop yer’ giggling) is not frequently also on the table. That being said, some cars are able to pull it off better than others. 

The question for today then is which car does that pulling-off the best? Discounting hard-roofed drop tops, which have their own compromises with which to deal, which convertible in your book looks the best with its top up?

Image: [Car and Driver]

  • danleym
    • Lots of folks don't even realize all the K-5 Blazers were hard top convertibles.
      <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/04/24/01/46/1979_chevrolet_blazer-pic-17455.jpeg"width=500&gt;

      Same goes for Broncos.

      • danleym

        Some day I'm going to take the top off mine. I've owned the thing for 5 and a half years and still haven't had the top off.

        I'd like to own an earlier one, sometime (mine's an 88)- from 69 to 75 the roof over the front seats was part of the removable top, too.

        • I had a K-5 for over 10 years and a Bronco for another 5 years or so. I think I had the top off the Blazer less than 5 times and never off on the Bronco. It is a 2-3 man job to take the top off. Power tools are recommended.

          • danleym

            Yeah, the big thing keeping me back is I know all the rubber seals will be destroyed in the process, so they'll all need replaced. And that costs money.

            I do like having a power back window and being able to put it all the way down. That plus open front windows makes for some nice airflow down the interstate. It also makes for a little exhaust in the cab, but hey, a little carbon monoxide never killed anyone, right?

            • Make sure your exhaust is side exit, like it is supposed to be, not rear exit. That helps with the exhaust thing a little bit.

              • danleym

                I actually had the exhaust redone a few years ago, and was thinking about a rear exit and the guy at the exhaust shop mentioned that it would get in the cab a lot worse that way. I definitely followed his advice. The exhaust isn't that bad, I really only notice it if I'm slowing down.

                • racer139

                  I had a 86 suburban with the stock exhaust mounted at the side and with the back window down it still allowed the exhaust into the cab. It was diesel and almost choked you out after ten or so minutes with the window down. The last few months before it was stolen from my driveway I drove around with that window smashed out, not because it was a expensive piece of glass but because of the spring loaded mechanisim no glass shop (or any shop) wanted to touch it. I still miss that old hulk though.

        • vetteman61

          I have an 87. After the novelty of taking the top off wears off, it's not that great on the half cabs. Unless you look back, there's not much difference between just opening a sliding back window on a regular cab truck. It does come in real nice if you want to haul something big or if you have friends that want to sit in the back. The best is to get a friend that wants to drive so you can ride in the back, then it's awesome.

          • My dog loved riding in the back with the top off, friends too.

  • pj134

    <img src="http://www.oconeeoffroad.com/catalog/54716-36.jpg&quot; width=500>

    This HA is probably going to t the trucks.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/6wKbK.png&quot; width="400">

      Wranglers look best with the top off, covered in mud, inside and out.

      <img src="http://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt265/3moore/jeepafterinterlake.jpg&quot; width="500">

      Edit: Upon further analysis, it appears that I have misinterpreted the question. I was reading it as "which convertible looks better with the top up", rather than "what convertible looks better than others when the top is up."

      You're probably still full of shit for some other reason though, so… Yeah…

      Edit 2: I'm getting Jeep banner ads in every browser tab now…

      • jeepjeff

        Edit 2: I'm getting Jeep banner ads in every browser tab now…

        You have no idea, man. I got Jeep banner ads on political websites in late October.

      • pj134

        So if I'm reading your edit correctly…

        <img src="http://i.imgur.com/6wKbK.png&quot; width=500>

  • DemonXanth

    The Cadillac Allante's top really fit the car perfectly and left looking as good up as it did down.
    <img src="http://cadillac-parts.uneedapart.com/images/cadillac-allante-parts.jpg&quot; width=400>

    …although the Dakota's top did pretty damned good too.
    <img src="http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/dd/f5/ddf529880bad12a75a9c980bc6a868bc.jpg&quot; width=400>

  • oldcarjunkie

    Generally SUV based ones like this ultra rare Lada Niva cabrio

    <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8340/8198955971_e48fbaa51b.jpg&quot; width="500" height="375" alt="1993 Lada Niva Cabrio">

  • FrankTheCat

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/a88Dm.jpg&quot; width="600">
    If you can even tell what our dear Markus is.

    • Matt

      Appears to be a Saab 900/9-3 'vert.

      If you can keep the top working, then yes, this qualifies.

      • danleym

        Hey, it's all about which convertible looks best with the top up. It never said the top had to be mechanically sound and actually go down, only that it was originally designed to do that.

      • FrankTheCat

        The top works if you strong-arm it down. I don't think a NG900 Saab with a working electric top exists, unless it's never been used…

  • buzzboy7

    As much as I despise convertibles…
    <img src="http://www.americandreamcars.com/1987mercedes560sl022711.jpg"&gt;
    Hardtop SLs are pretty swank.

  • smalleyxb122
  • I like the '40 Ford and his big brother, the Continental convertible.

    <img src="http://www.ausbcomp.com/jed/40ford6.jpg"&gt;

  • <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/4/675/1529/39185764015_large.jpg&quot; width="500">
    1st Gen Amigo with a removable hardtop. Don't ask why, It's what popped into my head. A friend had one and I always thought it looked lousy with the cloth top up. Then he got a hardtop cap, and it made all the difference in the world.

  • I always like the 3rd and 4th gen f-body convertibles that gave the cars a notch back style instead of the fastback.
    <img src="http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/1991-pontiac-firebird-convertible.jpg"width=500&gt;
    <img src="http://images1.americanlisted.com/nlarge/1996_camaro_z28_convertible_7500_san_antonio_tx_8489381.jpg"width=500&gt;
    I actually had a green Z-28 with a tan top very similar to this one.

    • I had a Quasar Blue '96 Firebird with a black top. V6 and 5-speed. Oddly enough, one of the best cars I've owned. Got great mileage, relatively fun to drive, and the top worked flawlessly until I took it thru a car wash and the dryer blew out the back window. It might have more to do with the specific time in my life, but I miss that car all the time.

      • I had the exact opposite experience with my '96 Z-28, it is about the only car I have owned that I DON"T want back. I went from a 1994 6-speed Corvette coupe to the automatic Z-28, the downside of marriage. I kept the car for about 2 years and traded it in for a 1987 BMW E30 4-door 5-speed and cash. When I traded it in the interior was starting to show lots of wear and the rear end was making a bad growling sound. The overall difference in build quality between the Camaro and the Corvette was amazing. It probably didn't help that I let rats chew up the wiring harness twice and also had to repair the dreaded Opti-spark myself. Also, I hated the automatic. The top on mine did work great and it would always freak people out when I would be turning in the parking lot a 10-25 mph with the top going up.

        • At the time I wanted the V8, but in the end the 3800 was probably the better choice. Other than a tendency to eat spark plugs and wires (especially on the back two cylinders) I put zero dollars into that car other than the aforementioned rear window and a leaky rearend gasket. Everything else was just normal maintenance. Like I said, it's probably more to do with the fact that I was in grad school and living alone for the first time, but I still regret selling it.

  • Devin

    I'll go with the Aston DB7, since it looks quite good and if you take the top down it looks like someone put some folding lawn furniture on the back of your Aston.

    <img src="http://remarkablecars.com/photos/1997-aston-martin-41455.jpg&quot; width="500">

  • Irishzombieman

    I've been thinking about this for an hour now and I can't think of a single convertible that I think looks good with the top up.

    Maybe this is why I've never much liked convertibles, ever.

    • calzonegolem

      I can't help but feel the same way. They all look lumpy like someone stuck a tent on top. You need to commit. Remove that scaffolding and add lightness,

    • salguod

      The point is almost never to have the top up. My t'bird's top goes down in spring and doesn't come up until fall.

      • Irishzombieman

        For that reason I'm sorta partial to removable hardtops.

  • Pretty much any phaeton looks great with the roof up. Makes you want to stand on the running board wearing a three piece suit carrying a tommy gun. This one's a Packard.
    <img src="http://www.dochemp.com/images/packardmeldrivewya.jpg"&gt;

  • XRSevin

    <img src="http://jerseycarcash.com/car/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/ptcruiser-500×375.jpg&quot; width="600">
    A chopped Carson Top style when up; a silly Easter Basket when down.

    • JayP2112

      Those PT Cruiser guys are pretty hardcore.
      When the PT was in it's death throes, they came up with all kinds of reasons for the car to stay fresh- one was to make a 3 door coupe with a hardtop based on the cabrio. That would have looked pretty cool.

      Would this cab be the answer to "Besides the Shelby Dakota and SSR, what trucks were made in to convertibles?"

    • calzonegolem

      Ok, i'm going back on my previous statement. This looks way better with the top up.

  • Scandinavian Flick

    I just think the S2000 is a great looking car in general. If I could fit in one, I would probably own one.

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/sBemy.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • Preludacris

      The S2k's design is aging so well… unfortunately for those of us who want one.

      • Scandinavian Flick

        Very true. It's just amazing how well they hold their value. I wonder if that would be the case if Honda continued S2K production though…

        • Preludacris

          Good point. Part of the appeal is that you can't currently buy anything quite like it.
          My Craigslist search returned a few examples near me. The two that stood out were a daily driven, 180km example listed at $10k, and a factory fresh 2009 model with only ten thousand kilometers on it… listed at an eye-watering $42k!

          • Scandinavian Flick

            Good grief… A friend of mine just sold his with 30K on it, completely clean and stock looking, pretty much pristine, for $22K. The main difference… it was supercharged, making 360rwhp…

  • wisc47

    I always disliked the 911 convertible because it had way to much junk in the trunk, so I think it looks less bootylicious with the top up.

    <img src="http://image.motortrend.com/f/roadtests/convertibles/1211_2013_porsche_911_carrera_4_and_4s_drive/45138213 w799 h499 cr1 ar0/2013-Porsche-911-Carrera-4S-Cabriolet-white-rear-three-quarter-top-up.jpg" =width= "600">

  • Scandinavian Flick
    • MVEilenstein

      This really is the only correct answer.

  • Vavon

    Somehow they all don't look very good… Take this Peugeot 306 Cabriolet for example.
    <img src="http://www.newoldcar.co.uk/images/Car_Listing_Photos/634_1999_Peugeot_306_Cabriolet_Convertible_2.0/1999 peugeot 306 cabriolet convertible 2.0 3.jpg" width="600/">
    Gorgeous Pinifarina design and then when you put the top on… even the weather changes!
    <img src="http://www.newoldcar.co.uk/images/Car_Listing_Photos/634_1999_Peugeot_306_Cabriolet_Convertible_2.0/1999 peugeot 306 cabriolet convertible 2.0 4.jpg" width="600/">
    Still one of the better looking ones, compared to the VW Golf, Ford Escort or Opel Astra.

  • Manic_King

    Some Ferraris, flying butresses and all

    <img src="http://carsihaveseen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/IMG_1054.jpg&quot; width="549">

  • Van_Sarockin

    Current Ferraris have pretty sweet looking convertible tops. They used to give them about five minutes thought, and it showed.

  • Mad_Hungarian
  • Jdwhines

    <img src="http://www.dupontregistry.com/photos/detailslarge/nc-2012-ferrari-458-spider-additional-(6).jpg" width="800">
    How has this not been posted yet? Ferrari hit a clear home run.

  • Jdwhines
  • OA5599
  • salguod

    No one said '58 Lincoln Mark IV?

    <img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5184/5869376287_5bd8d4a2b4_z.jpg"&gt;

  • mallthus