The Topless One-Percent
No, not that One Percent. In a recent Car and Driver essay, columnist Aaron Robinson examines the apparently impending demise of convertible automobiles in which he notes that production of ragtops has declined to less than 1% of total auto production.
It's worth a read:
I can't disagree with his conclusion that in the age of maximum efficiency, safety and packaging, not to mention universal air conditioning, convertibles appear to be on the way out. He is correct in noting that the post-war convertible boom was a Baby-Boomer driven and looks as if it will pass into history with the post-war generation.
Recently a friend of mine noting that he owned a flip-top during the 50s and 60s made the remark that "convertibles are for young guys
but you outgrow them". He'd either insulted me (on my 5th convertible at age 70) or forgotten what I drive but what went through my mind was something like "Go ahead, lump around sealed in your air conditioned truck while I enjoy the real fun of driving."
I had, for a time myself, forgotten how entertaining it is to be out in the world instead of enclosed into a capsule. I did without a ragtop for nearly twelve years, yielding to the pressures of work, finances and the inhospitable climate of New England. Then, post-retirement I found myself wintering in Arizona where there are more perfect convertible days in any given winter month than there are all year in New Hampshire.
I reintroduced myself to topless driving by way of an E46 BMW that cost no more with low mileage for it's 12 years than a new Focus and have not looked back since. At the end of his column Robinson volunteers "someone else" to save the convertible saying that he'd do it but alas, he is not as young as he used to be. Neither am I but I'm grateful that there's a part of me that is young enough (or immature enough) to savor the sublime pleasures of roof less driving.
2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93