DECEMBER 1 MYSTAR FIVE FOR FRIDAY: MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR PICKS OUR FIVE FAVORITE 2-DOOR HARDTOPS

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It is no secret that we at MyStarCollectorCar are big fans of every body style on vintage vehicles, including the 4-door sedan models, mainly because the same basic DNA can be found in any retro ride.

However, we also believe there are solid examples of 2-door hardtops that run ahead of their 4-door sedan siblings in terms of overall style, so MyStarCollectorCar decided to showcase five of our favorite examples of 2-door hardtops fit our cool category.

Jim Sutherland

The “hardtop” term entered the automotive vernacular during the post war era when it was used to describe a car that provided the fresh air experience of a convertible–but with a fixed metal roof.

Post-war domestic car builders accomplished this feat by removing the B (center roof) pillar from their cars and, in most cases, tinkering with the design of the C (rear roof) pillar on the vehicles.

Honors for the first acknowledged post war 2-door hardtop belong to the 1946 Chrysler Town & Country Hardtop, an upscale and extremely rare two-door vehicle that preceded GM’s 1949 luxury 2-door hardtop models by three years.

Consequently, the ’46 Chrysler Town & Country belongs on our list because it was a pioneer in the post war 2-door hardtop movement, so it automatically gets our vote.

As mentioned, it would be three years later when General Motors introduced its new-for-1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera, Olds 98 Holiday, and Cadillac Coupe de Ville 2-door hardtop models.

The large impact of the high-end General Motors trio was enough to make many people believe these luxury rigs were the first post war hardtops built by a domestic manufacturer, likely because only seven 1946 Chrysler hardtops were even built that year and did not proceed past the introductory phase.

Additionally, the GM trio offered a C-pillar that was both thin and stylish, a unique feature not found on conventional sedans built in 1949. One could argue the trailblazing C-pillar design on these GM 2-door hardtops set the table for future domestic 2-door hardtop models. The 1949 GM 2-door hardtop models are a worthy addition to our list.

MyStarCollectorCar’s third member of our esteemed 2-door hardtop list is the 1961 Chevy Impala bubble top. The ’61 Chevy Impala looked fast at a standstill and offered plenty of rear window glass to enhance that image.

The Chevy’s rear tailfins were essentially gone by the 1961 model year because GM wanted to head in a newer style direction that year, including a massive rear glass section with thin C-pillars to provide better definition for the restyled rear quarters. It was a home run style in our opinion here at MyStarCollectorCar.

It would be impossible for us to omit our fourth addition to the list, namely the 1961 Ford Thunderbird 2-door hardtop. The interesting part of the equation was the ’61 T-Bird’s C-pillar was very thick by comparison to the Chevy Impala’s from the same year, but the Thunderbird’s large rear roof pillar made the car resemble a two-seater sports car-unless one spotted its four-seater cabin area. For the record, only kids (and mortal enemies of owners) should have to ride in what passed for a rear seat in a ’61 T-Bird.

MyStarCollectorCar believes Ford made an excellent decision to include the wide C-pillar on its ’61 Thunderbird because it upped the car’s sporty factor in a big way.

The fifth and final addition to our 2-door hardtop list is the 1966 Plymouth Fury, a car that we at MyStarCollectorCar admit looks better with less doors because of its very stylish C-pillar that appeared on Mopar models a few years earlier.

The C-body ’66 Fury was a large car that looked nimbler and sportier in 2-door hardtop form in our opinion. The 2-door hardtop models were striking cars that earned a spot on our list and are a worthy addition to that list in our opinion.

It turns out five examples are not enough to cover the number of retro 2-door hardtops that deserve a place of honor on our list, so MyStarCollectorCar will revisit this topic in a future article.                     

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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