I have always been a big fan of convertibles. One of my sons is not a big fan. Although he would take one if you gave it to him, of course. Along the same lines, I also love T-tops. I owned a Ford Mustang with T-tops, and it was a true joy. So what is the big deal? Well, in this article, we will take a look at T-tops and convertibles and look at the good, the bad, and the out-right ugly aspects of these two options.

T-tops

If you do not know what T-tops are, do not feel bad. They are very rare nowadays.  T-tops (or more precisely, a car with a T-top) is a car with the roof sections removed above the driver and passenger seats. There is still a bar in the middle, between the driver and passenger that runs from the front to the back of the car. If you were to look down on the car from above, the roof of the car would vaguely resemble the letter “T” and thus the name. They almost always have a glass or solid cap that covers the car most of the time. This glass can be removed if you want to feel the wind in your hair (or in my case, the wind over your scalp).

The Good Stuff about T-tops

First, the brace or roof part that goes from the front to the back of the car is great to keep the rigidity of the vehicle. The car does not tend to twist as much as a convertible. Also, handling stays pretty firm. T-tops also give you more “sky” (open space) to enjoy, usually more space than a sunroof or moonroof (I covered those in an earlier article.

The Bad Stuff about T-tops

T-tops can be pretty heavy. They can be a pain to remove and store in the back of your vehicle. Also, it takes a little time to remove the glass panels, since you have to remove each side separately.

The Ugly Stuff about T-tops

Besides being heavy, T-top covers can be easily damaged when you store them. Also, if you get caught in the rain, it is not easy to pop them in be on your way.

All in all, I favor T-tops, but so did Burt Reynolds in “Smokey and the Bandit”!

The Good Stuff about Convertible Tops

There is nothing like the feeling of freedom when driving a convertible with the top down. You truly have the feeling of owning the whole sky. Modern convertible tops are generally easy to put up and down. Also, many modern co

Photo by Roberto Nickson

nvertibles use improved engineering to make the frame of the car more rigid than older convertibles.

The Bad Stuff about Convertible Tops

Convertibles can be very noisy.  When the roof is up, the interior of the car, especially with older convertibles, can be downright loud. Although, I recently drove a BMW convertible and it was surprisingly quiet. In fact, that was a major selling point.

 The Ugly Stuff about Convertible Tops

They rip. They tear. They fade. Usually the “glass” or plastic in the back yellows or becomes so scratched and hazy that you cannot see out of it. Convertibles can also be very cold in the Winter. But, then again, convertibles are made for warm climates.

Conclusion

Both convertibles and T-tops are wonderful options. Yes, they both have their drawbacks. But I would take a convertible or T-top over a hardtop nearly any day of the week.

 

Written by Gary Pradel