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Contertible Season Has Arrived!

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On: Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 12:43PM | By: Gary P Garry

Contertible Season Has Arrived!

Now that we are getting very close to the official beginning of summer, there are certain automotive thoughts that come to mind. This time of year, convertibles of all kinds tend to capture your imagination.

In a way, the best advertising for a car is the actual car itself. When you see a car on the road that causes your head to turn, it is suddenly on your radar. Right around now, when you see a convertible driving by, you may find yourself looking at the Auto Shopper listings later that day.

Cars have always been a symbol of freedom in the United States, and convertibles seem to provide the ultimate freedom. There is nothing between you and the sunshine and blue skies above, and you always have shelter available if a summer storm comes along. Your hair can fly back in the breeze, and you can build on your tan as you are getting around town.

The fact that convertibles tend to be sporty cars certainly adds to the appeal. Over the history of convertibles, most of them have been two-door models.

The earliest incarnations had removable roofs, but over time they became a hinged part of the vehicle itself that could be folded away neatly. At first this was done manually, but technological advances eventually allowed people to control the roof from the driver's seat.

The first retractable hardtop was the brainchild of Ben P. Ellerbeck, who hatched the notion in 1922. His idea was first used on a Hudson prototype, but the cars were never actually offered to the general public at that time.

The French automotive manufacturer Peugeot took the technology forward in 1935 when they offered a car with a retractable roof that was power operated. The automotive designer behind this innovation was Georges Paulin, who was a dentist as well as an engineering innovator.

From an American perspective, the first convertible that was conceived by an automaker from the United States was the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt, which was a concept car.

Over time, the convertible became the object of many automotive dreams. In fact, my first car was a 1970 Chrysler Impala convertible.

Fast forwarding to the present, imagine yourself heading to the beach in your brand-new 2014 Corvette Stingray convertible, with its 7-speed transmission and 460 horsepower engine. You would get there in a hurry, and you would look mighty good doing it.

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