Spannerhead Dot

3 Cars That Should Not Have Been Convertibles

January 9, 2012 by Matt

Nissan 350Z Convertible Vert Cabrio Droptop Ragtop Blue

Not everyone should drop their top, and this adage applies equally well to cars. After a full weekend of continuing to prep my garage for the forthcoming Z restoration project, and extending the sort-of Z theme from the previous post, let’s kick this off with an entry from the Z world:

Nissan 350Z. Shown at top. For a car with proportion “issues,” probably the worst thing Nissan could have done would have been to remove the only element giving it even a hint of interest in profile—the roof—and make it a ragtop. Sadly, they did. The transformation dramatically multiplied the number of “bad angles” possessed by the car. The 350Z’s side view morphed from a quasi-pyramid-like center-cab shape to an amorphous soap bar. And no convertible truly looks good with the top up; but the 350Z deserves special mention for its awfulness, looking for all the world like a symmetrical lozenge with a speed bump amidships. Truly terrible.

PT Cruiser Convertible Vert Cabrio Droptop Ragtop Silver Gray Grey

Chrysler PT Cruiser. Where do I start? The picnic-basket-like “roll bar?” The bathtub-ish styling? The fact that the once kind-of-plucky retro shape had jumped the shark, past its prime, exhausted its 15 minutes of fame and finally become a complete cartoon with the ragtop iteration? Male, female, young, old, car buff or not; I don’t care what your party affiliation is, driving one of these is a utter affront to human dignity. They should have offered them from the dealer with brown paper bags for the new owners to wear over their heads.

3000GT VR-4 VR4 Spyder Convertible Vert Cabrio Droptop Ragtop Black

Mitsubishi 3000GT. Take one overwrought, overweight, over-complex Japanese sports coupe. Add a dose of fading public interest. Throw in a poorly-executed, trunk-killing folding hardtop. And garnish with a dash of nearly double the car’s price. Recipe for success? I think not. Over the 3000GT Spyder’s 2-year (’95-’96) model run, its automaker sold a whopping 1618 here in the States. Granted, the folding hardtop was a good idea (the Mercedes SLK would later execute it correctly, sparking an industry trend); Mitsubishi just couldn’t pull it off, and overall it did more harm than good to the car’s reputation.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Miscellaneous


  1. Mike B. says:

    I am surprised the Nissan Morano CrossCabriolet is not on this list. Same can be said for the Chrysler Sebring. I couldn’t agree with the PT Cruiser more though.

    • Matt says:

      Good call about the Murano. That’ll be part of the “3 More Cars…” installment.

      As for the Sebring, I totally agree, and it was the second car that popped into my head after the 350Z provided the initial inspiration; however, I felt like the PT Cruiser was more iconic, and didn’t want to lay into Chrysler twice in one post, so…that’ll have to come in the “sequel post” too. :)

      • Mike B. says:

        I had a rental Sebring convertible I drove to NC once. The only good thing was the top. The 4-banger had to work like hell and the auto downshifted like crazy in the WV mountains. And the suspension was as soft as a soggy twinkie.

        Still it was most likely better that the Buick they were going give me until I asked for a change.

Leave a Reply