Spannerhead Dot

Would You Own a Convertible?

March 11, 2012 by Matt

Mazdaspeed Miata Red Turbo Drift Drifting

Some just don’t care for the body style. As for me, I’m on the fence.

I realize the merits of the following bullet points depend greatly on the particular car under consideration, but nevertheless, let’s list some general pros and cons:


  • The wide open sky over your head. This is the biggest draw, and a revelation for those who’ve never ridden in a ‘vert. I remember my first ride in a Miata with the top down, and I remember saying to myself, “Ah, so this is what the big deal is.” There’s no substitute for the connection with the elements, the sensation of the road, the engine noise… I have very fond memories of blasting up and down Florida’s beachside A1A state road at night in my old Supra, targa top removed, stereo playing just loud enough not to distract me from the sensations outside.
  • The style factor. Much the draw here depends on the environment—pulling up with shades on and the top down doesn’t command the same level of appeal in Minneapolis as it does in, say, San Diego, but the fact remains that convertibles do possess connotations of style and glamor in the larger public’s eye.

Honda S2000 Yellow Top Down Driving


  • Chassis rigidity. This isn’t so much a problem for cars that were designed for topless activity from the outset, like the Honda S2000, Porsche Boxster or Mazda MX-5 Miata, where the rest of the structure can be optimized for the car’s configuration, but for most convertibles, based as they are on a corresponding hardtop model, shimmies and shakes are the order of the day. Even with additional (and heavy!) door and floor pan bracing, it’s impossible to make up for the loss of the roof as a structural component.
  • All-season practicality. Even the most well-made, weatherproof convertible top fails to measure up to the insulation and soundproofing standards of a typical fixed roof.
  • Complexity. And even if the car remains leak- and draft-free its whole life, there’s still a great deal of mechanism behind the front seats—linkages, hinges, clips and in many cases, electric motors to wear out, fail and add weight.

Porsche Boxster Green Driving Top Down Seaside Ocean

Would you take the plunge, throw caution to the wind and purchase a convertible? If so, which ones (or one) are on your short list?

Filed under: Miscellaneous


  1. John D says:

    No way. Spend $4k on a motorcycle and you get the same sensation and more. I’ll take a sunroof, perhaps even a targa top, but I wouldn’t have a convertible for all the reasons (cons) you listed above. They are also more expensive to boot…just another reason to stay away. They are like snow tires: wonderful in a specific set of relatively rare circumstances, but miserable and/or useless for the rest (most) of the time.

    I’ll have a crotch rocket on the side for less money out of pocket, thankyouverymuch.

    • Matt says:

      Just to play devil’s advocate here for a second, what about for the family man? I know my wife would be an order of magnitude more comfortable with me driving a convertible vs. a motorcycle, just from a safety point of view.

  2. John D says:

    Ok, ok…I hear ya. I’m in the same boat as I gave up riding several years ago for similar reasons. I still wouldn’t buy a convertible. Maybe I’m too spoiled by having been even more exposed and ‘one with nature’ by riding a motorcycle, but a convertible is just too much compromise for me. I would never have one as a primary vehicle and wouldn’t want it as a toy because if I’m going to have a vehicle just for fun, I would want it to be performance oriented…and a convertible version of any performance car is going to be a compromise. I just don’t see myself buying one for any reason or under any set of circumstances.

Leave a Reply