It’s pretty amazing that most, if not all, of the earliest cars were open-top wonders of modern transportation. Horseless, true, but also roofless. As the decades progressed, advancements like fully enclosed cabins, affordable HVAC systems, and chassis designs that were both stable and safe at high cruising speeds ensured that convertibles would be relegated to limited production and/or the creative aftermarket. The world isn’t fair, but could we have done better by having a few more roofless wonders? According to Hagerty readers, yes.
Thanks to technological advancements for OEM engineers and local fabricators alike, just about any vehicle could be a droptop rockstar with very few downsides. I previously covered one such vehicle that proves the point and was made by an Orlando-based Kia dealership. So I asked everyone in the Hagerty Community about their dream convertible conversions. The feedback was impressive, both in volume and variety. You can see every comment here, but we curated the standouts here.
Chrysler LX platform
Aftermarket designs for all variations of the Chrysler LX platform cars (i.e. LX sedan, LC and LA coupe) have been around for at least a decade, and the Challenger coupe looks good enough to be a production vehicle. Multiple members of the Hagerty Community are surprised that the LX platform hasn’t lost its top with the blessings of DaimlerChrysler, Chrysler, or Stellantis. Perhaps Chrysler wouldn’t have needed so many different corporate overlords if it had simply sawed the roof off its flagship and raked in the profits.
2019+ Toyota Supra
The current Toyota Supra represents a bit of an identity crisis. Perhaps making it even closer kin to the topless BMW Z4 whence it came wouldn’t help its case with Toyota purists; on the other hand, considering how badge-engineered the A90 Supra is under its unique skin, why not bring the two vehicles even closer with a shared disdain for the enclosed body?
Ford Panther platforms
Just about everything said about the Chrysler LX applies to Ford’s famous Panther chassis. The aftermarket fashioned alternatives, while some even retained the B-pillars for extra safety. Ford itself seriously considered making a Panther with only two doors and one roof, as manifested in the 2002 Mercury Marauder concept car pictured at the top of this article. What a shame the Blue Oval didn’t make that concept a reality … but it remains another example of Ford stealing victory from the defeat that met this platform in 2011.
1970–72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
There are plenty of personal luxury coupes, but there’s only one Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The affordable entryway to mass-market luxury sported a deliciously long hood, flowing hardtop roofline, and an understated decklid—all perfect for a natural transition to a convertible body style. While Chevrolet sported a bumper crop of roofless alternatives (Impala, Camaro and Corvette) at the same time, something about the personal-luxury Monte Carlo made it feel worthy of the same treatment.
Unlike the Monte Carlo, the Volvo P1800 wouldn’t compete in the crowded parking lot of a local car dealership. It would stand head and shoulders above everything else—and Volvoville in Long Island, New York, agreed. The Volvo dealership took matters into its own hands, named its creation the “Volvoville convertible,” and charged an extra $1000 for the privilege. Volvoville supposedly sold 30 units before Volvo in Sweden got wind of the open-air motorcar, whereupon the corporate mothership leveraged another grievance to end production: The dealership could keep its contested name but had to stop making the P1800 drop-top. (It remains in business today as Volvo Cars of Huntington, with barely a trace of the original name in its digital footprint). Ah, the things we do to make money while simultaneously keeping our bosses happy!