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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/1/22 12:10 p.m.
feature_image

Sure, convertibles offer the thrill of the wind in your hair, but what about when it comes to the looks department?

Is down always better, or do you prefer to show off the cloth–or folding roof–with pride?

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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/1/22 12:18 p.m.

Luckily, if you prefer the look of top-up but you don't want all of the downsides of a fabric top, there's a third option!

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
12/1/22 12:27 p.m.

Generally speaking I think they look better with the top down.  Some folding hard tops look slick with the top up, BMWs from a decade back come to mind.

I'm not sure this 'vert looks better either way....

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
12/1/22 3:40 p.m.

Maybe the worst "top down" look is an old VW bug convertible.

when down it sits so high you cannot see behind you !
early models even had a rear view mirror that swiveled  up so you could see behind you a little better , 

JahjahSQC
JahjahSQC New Reader
12/1/22 4:29 p.m.

Best look is C, hard top!

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
12/1/22 4:33 p.m.

Depends on the car.  I used to have a 1961 Bonneville convertible; even though I rarely put the top up I think it looked better that way.

stan
stan UltraDork
12/1/22 4:43 p.m.
stuart in mn said:

Depends on the car.  I used to have a 1961 Bonneville convertible; even though I rarely put the top up I think it looked better that way.

Yes.

I think "Fox body" Mustang convertibles look better with the top up. Wouldn't mind a hard top option, see Mercedes, for one.

trucke
trucke SuperDork
12/1/22 4:46 p.m.

No so sure about this one either.......

 

Puddy46
Puddy46 Reader
12/1/22 4:47 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:

Maybe the worst "top down" look is an old VW bug convertible.

when down it sits so high you cannot see behind you !
early models even had a rear view mirror that swiveled  up so you could see behind you a little better , 

A new contender in this category is the Jeep Gladiator.  You can only put the top back, but not down onto the bed, so it looks like its got a man bun.

ShawnG
ShawnG MegaDork
12/1/22 5:30 p.m.

In reply to Puddy46 :

The original Beetle Cabriolet was a victim of the "Almost down" top company as well.

Pre-war German cars were bad for this too. American cars had single layer tops that disappeared into bodywork or at least folded nicely.

German cars had a convertible top with padding and a headliner which often results in a piled-up mess on the back of the car.

 

Berck
Berck Reader
12/1/22 6:49 p.m.

If it looks better with the top up, it never should have been a convertible.

Or: If it looks better with the top down, it's a roadster.  Otherwise, it's a convertible and you should have gotten the hard top.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/1/22 7:16 p.m.

The third gen Miata PRHT (NC) always looks a little awkward with the top up so it's much better with the top down.

It's a convertible and a hardtop. Problem solved.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/1/22 7:48 p.m.

It really depends on the car......

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
12/1/22 7:50 p.m.

Down. 
 

But there ARE some ugly convertibles (most of which would be ugly regardless of whether the top was up or down)

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/2/22 7:13 a.m.

I saw one yesterday, in fact: I think an E36 convertible looks particularly striking with the top down. There's something about that line across the top of the body.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
12/2/22 9:35 a.m.
trucke said:

No so sure about this one either.......

 

NOTHING about that looks good.

I nearly always prefer top down.  There's kind of no point in a convertible if you're going to leave the top up all the time.

 

te72
te72 HalfDork
12/2/22 10:23 a.m.

What's a top?

 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/2/22 10:36 a.m.

I think a big part of it, too, is whether or not the vehicle in question was designed as a convertible from the start.

If it hit the market with a fixed roof, and then got a convertible option, weird things often happen.

iansane
iansane Dork
12/2/22 11:16 a.m.
Colin Wood said:

I think a big part of it, too, is whether or not the vehicle in question was designed as a convertible from the start.

If it hit the market with a fixed roof, and then got a convertible option, weird things often happen.

I was going to say this as well but my only comparison was my ASC mod'd 3rdgen trans am vs my mother's 6thgen camaro. The camaro looks a lot more svelte with the top up.

But honestly, the roof and rear quarter lines of a convertible 3rdgen fbody look surprisingly well and I wish that gm made a true notchback like ford did with the mustang. I've always wanted to make a hardtop for my car but never been able to invest the time.

XR7
XR7 New Reader
12/2/22 2:07 p.m.

Always liked the 93-'02 Camaro's with the top down and I'm a Ford guy.

The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is butt ugly regardless of top up or down.

The PT Cruiser was another convert that was hideous, especially with the top down, looks like a bathtub.

A convert should be driven with the top down, only reason for the top is to keep the bad weather out.

I only owned one convert, 62 Ford Galaxie, noisy, cold, got rid of it after 6 months and a couple of transmissions.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
12/2/22 2:10 p.m.

I think the last gen SAAB 9-3 convertable looks good top up or down.

Automobilist
Automobilist New Reader
12/15/22 1:47 p.m.

I submit that old Mercedes SL's had the best configuration.  Either a sleek top down profile, or a really well designed hardtop. 

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
12/15/22 2:00 p.m.

There is no convertible or roadster that looks better with the top up.

There are only ones that fail to look worse when closed.

 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
12/15/22 2:44 p.m.

Porsche 911s are dammed ugly top down and improve to homely with it up.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
12/15/22 5:56 p.m.

Has anybody mentioned that they all look better with a steel top welded to them?

Convertibles look incomplete top down, and bulbous (orvsomething) with the top up.

Edit:except e type Jags.  They look awful with a tin top, and horrifying in the 2+2.

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