AUG 22,2010: CONVERTIBLES: DO REAL MEN OWN THEM OR ARE THEY REALLY JUST CHICK CARS?

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This topic has inspired some debate in car circles.

 

There are a few car guys that would rather eat quiche than own a drop top.

 

‘Personally we don’t feel that all convertibles are automatically designated “chick cars”, but some fit the bill more than others.’

 

A Miata is a good example of an unmanly convertible. Put on a skirt and change your name to Sally if you want to drive one of these babies gentlemen. There is no good reason for a real guy to own a Miata, outside of good gas mileage and bad brain damage.

 

 

We have a basic rule of thumb about convertibles: anything built in North America before 1955 is a good candidate for a retractable roof. The flow of the body lines in pre-55 cars really lend themselves to a convertible look. Anything made in the 40s is a very good fit with a convertible.

 

In fact, the lines of a 40s convertible run right at the front of the pack in all time great cars. The bulging fenders and tall hoods of this automobile era are made to go roofless. That is where the style really kicks in for these cars.

 

 

The same magic is abundantly clear in the 20s and 30s pre-war convertibles, but somehow the post- war drop tops really make a big impression. Perhaps because the 20s and 30s vehicles also look good with a roof, while the 40s cars lose something with tin on top.

 

The pre-55 Detroit cars from the 50s carry some of the same magic of the convertibles, but the emergence of the popular hardtop roof design in this era was a very attractive alternative to a full-fledged convertible.

 

Many would argue that post-55 cars had many great examples of classic convertibles, but the evolution of the hardtop was stiff competition for them. The rule of thumb that we applied was that bigger cars like Lincolns, Caddies and Imperials carried off the convertible look very well. Let’s face it, ‘Entourage’ has made the classic four door Lincoln convertibles even more popular than their first time off the dealer lot.

 

 

The best convertibles of the late 60s and 70s were also the big cars from Detroit. The full sized land yacht convertibles from the Big Three had a very stylish look to them when the roof is down. They were big and topless, but nobody ever called them cute. So any guy (then or now) fit behind the wheel of these road monsters without the hazard of Miata testosterone losses.

 

 

Just ask Lance White from the old ‘Rockford Files’ TV program how well his Eldorado convertible worked with the babes.

 

So we disagree with the notion that convertibles are essentially wheels for women- that men need not apply. But guys have to make careful choices when it comes to convertibles to avoid personal labels that may include girls’ names.

 

A steady Miata-free diet is a good start.

 

Jim Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com 

COMMENTS

DENNIS:”To own a convertable back in the good ol days, you had to put up with a few drawbacks. The old fabric tops flapped in the breeze and no matter how far you turned the heater up, it wasn’t going to get warm inside. I had a 55 Merc and a 65 Caddy convert. The struts were exposed on the inside and of course if you folded up and down a lot, you could sooner or later expect to be making a trip to the upholstery shop to fix the tears.The new cars like the Mercedes for instance, have metal folding tops, where’s the “sport” in that? Even the new Mustang has a headliner inside the convertable top. It’s just not the same and yes, they’re either “chick cars” or they’re “get a chick” cars.The Miata is tailor made for guys who go to “sensitivity classes” and carry “man bags”, real popular in San Francisco or Key West”.

ANGUS:”I think any Miata looks very masculine sitting next to a VW Golf/Rabbit/Cabaret. VW tops the  list of girlie droptops.As a big fan of topless-ness… including cars; I have to say there is nothing cooler than rolling into Key West at sunset in a Mustang droptop (a rental classic) with the top down and the stereo up. As long as your hand is firmly wrapped around the shifter and not your passenger’s shifter”.
BRIAN:”… you, I have always liked the Miata and would still like to own one”.
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