How Do Convertible Car Frames Compare to Typical Car Frames?


Quick Answer

Thanks to improved techniques in car manufacturing, convertible car frames now have chassis and bodies as strong as typical car frames. This marks a major shift from the convertibles of the 1960s through 2001, when the car bodies flexed significantly, unlike hardtops. Tougher federal vehicle rollover standards led automakers to improve convertible quality.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

In the early days of manufacturing convertibles, including the Ford Mustang, automakers cut the roofs off of cars to build their vehicles. The construction method produced cars that had less rigid chassis and body strength than hardtop models. Gaskets made of rubber created weak seals, or became dry and brittle over time. Doors did not open and close properly.

During the 1970s and 1980s, as the federal government strengthened national vehicle rollover requirements, the convertible market waned. Automakers developed ways to reinforce their convertible chassis to comply with the new regulations. In 1990, Mazda introduced the sporty Miata, which revitalized the market for convertibles.

Convertibles now offer the chassis and frame stability of hardtops. Consumers can chose retractable-hardtop models, such as the Volvo and Mercedes-Benz convertibles, or traditional cloth-top convertibles, such as the iconic Mustang. Although some convertibles produce a certain amount of movement when a driver hits a bump, they are the exceptions, not the rule.

Learn more about Car Parts & Maintenance

Related Questions