For many people, warm weather road trips are most enjoyable when taking to the road in a convertible. Fans of convertibles find few things can compare to the wind blowing in their hair and the sun shining on their faces on a beautiful day.
The concept of a convertible is nothing new. In fact, convertibles can be traced to some of the earliest vehicles, which were built without tops and based on the design of horse and carriages. The first closed vehicle was manufactured in 1910, and the first retractable hardtop vehicle system was unveiled in 1922. Peugeot claims to be the first manufacturer of power-operated retractable hardtops, which appeared in 1934. Many other auto manufacturers soon followed suit. Plus, cloth tops were introduced in addition to the hard top varieties.
People are attracted to convertibles for many reasons. Appearance and the feeling of connection to the outdoors are two of the most popular reasons for driving convertibles. However, the same attributes that draw some people to convertibles may deter others. Many assumptions and criticisms about convertible cars are exaggerated and could incorrectly paint these vehicles in a negative light.
Functionality is one common knock on convertibles. Convertibles certainly are at their best during warm weather, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be driven in different seasons. Many modern convertibles feature cabins that are well insulated. With the top up, a person can feel just as comfortable as in other vehicles.
Safety is another concern with regard to convertibles, but modern technology has done much to make convertibles safer. While there is the rare possibility in a rollover incident that convertibles could land on the open top, maintaining the speed limit and driving defensively can reduce the risk of accident. Many modern convertibles are modeled on coupes or hatchbacks that would ordinarily have a static roof. To compensate for the roof removal, reinforcements to the pillars and the chassis, as well as rollover bars or other safety features in handling and stability to drastically reduce rolling risk, are included.
Convertibles can be enjoyed regardless of where drivers live. According to Forbes magazine, although 23 percent of convertibles are owned by those in California or Florida, the top five markets in the United States also include colder cities like New York and Chicago.
Convertibles have been featured in movies and helped to shape the history of automobiles. And contrary to popular belief, convertibles are not exclusive to drivers in warm climates.