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Convertible owners: Enjoy it year-round!

With autumn finally providing those crisp, clear, blue-sky mornings in Melbourne, my thoughts have turned towards how best to enjoy them. Of course, with a mind so focused on motoring, there is the inevitable “I should take a car out for a country drive today” scenario which, as I sit tied to my desk this morning, has its merits. But which car would I take on my ideal autumnal morning drive?

2013 Mazda MX-5

I’m lucky enough to be looking after a friend’s early Mazda MX-5 this week, so the answer to that question is somewhat foregone. The car has to have a removable roof…

In Australia, we have a long tradition of enjoying open-topped motoring, but it is largely a summery endeavour. Moreover, many convertible owners are actually more concerned with looking good as they crawl through peak hour in Double Bay or Brighton than enjoying the unique thrill convertible motoring can provide.

Despite the weather clichés, our friends in the UK are generally more devoted to ‘sports cars’ than we are. They also have a certain pride for their home-grown products, which sees scores of ‘classic’ (I prefer to call them wheezy, but that’s a story for another day) MGs and Morgans out and about throughout the year, regardless of weather. (As an aside, I find it interesting that, despite our climate and love for the outdoors, I can’t think of a locally produced convertible (feel free to add any nominations in the comments)).

If you do have access to a convertible, I urge you to follow the UK’s lead. If the sun is gentle and the sky clear, get up early and rug up completely. Remove the car’s roof, switch the heater to full blast and enjoy the ever-changing scenery our great country has to offer. It’s a truly invigorating way to spend a day, and the elemental exposure really awakens the senses…especially if it rains!

16 comments

  1. Keith says:

    sososososo true about convertibles. With the roof down no mater what the conditions it is such an great feeling.

    April 5th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

  2. Adam says:

    Thanks for the comment Keith. Just back from another invigorating run in the MX-5 myself!

    April 11th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

  3. Meggsie says:

    GO THE CONVERTIBLE!!!! I LOVE my VW Eos. I live in the tropical NT so sometimes a bit hot during the day (watch out for that skin cancer!!) but beautiful at night under the stars

    April 26th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  4. Jackie N says:

    Being a Brit happily now residing in Brisbane, I fondly remember my husband courting me in his Lotus Elan coupe in all weathers. Mind you, he would come suitable attired in leather jacket and a WWII leather pilot’s hat to match – and he would also have similar attire for me. Never mind that we were quite possibly the 2 most unromantic looking individuals on the road – it was, as they say, all in the driving. I absolutely loved going around Wales and Scotland and sometimes just out to somewhere like Burnham Beeches all rugged up with the fantastically warm heater keeping my toes as warm as the proverbial toast! Happy days indeed – thank you for taking me back down that road!

    April 26th, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  5. Paul says:

    Love my EOS. In summer I have to watch the sunburn, slip slop slap is the way to go.
    In Winter I recommend a wind deflector – I use the F3 daily and at 110k there is a lot of wind.

    April 26th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  6. Perry says:

    I live in Brisbane, so the roof on my 1998 Porsche Boxster is always down, unless it’s raining. No need to rug up at this time of the year. Had a “mid-life crisis” last year, at 60, and bought it – Guard’s Red, of course!

    April 26th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

  7. David says:

    Australian made? The original oz made TD2000 is a true classic and an absolute delight to drive on these crisp Autumn days. Mine (last built in Australia) will definitely venture beyond the garage this weekend.

    April 26th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

  8. Roger says:

    I am in my sixties and have been thriving on convertible motoring since I bought my first, a 1948 Morgan in England in 1965, followed by a series of sports cars too numerous to mention. I keep thinking it’s time I grew up and parted with my Nissan 350Z roadster. I have a couple of other cars but nothing makes me smile like putting the top down on the Z and going for a spin, especially on an autumn day like today. My most unlikely convertible experience was owning a Corvette convertible in Arizona, a brilliant car for top down motoring in three seasons but not the summer. I wonder if it’s the same in far northern Australia.

    April 26th, 2013 at 4:33 pm

  9. barry says:

    Well your all right, I am a Perth boy and just traded my 2001 Boxster S for the new generation Boxster and you can only hear that growl with the roof down, of course it can get a little hot here sometimes and need to roof it. It is definately the only way to travel, why would you buy a Cayman I then ask?
    Enjoy everyone.

    April 26th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

  10. Andrew says:

    I love my convertible MX-5. Living at the coast there is nothing like the smell of salt air while speeding along roads adjacent to the sea views with music up loud. Driving around in the nearby country hinterland is also beautiful on a sunny day whether hot or cold. My wife and I just dress according to the outside weather and there is always the car heater. Even in light to moderate rain I drive with the hood down because of aerodynamics the water doesn’t enter the cabin. I want my next car to be a MX-5 hardtop though will rarely need the roof.

    April 26th, 2013 at 5:52 pm

  11. Roger says:

    Locally produced ragtops included the Bolwell Nagari, Westfield and Elfin sports cars.

    April 26th, 2013 at 6:19 pm

  12. Geoff says:

    My wife is a young Grannie of 72, loves driving her Audi A3 with top down, as do the grand children. I love it night or in the winter when not too hot. Grannie has it down all the time,
    Loves it when the truckies say good on you Grannie!!!

    April 27th, 2013 at 12:31 am

  13. Peter says:

    I have fond memories of driving my 1962 MGA MkII Winter Summer and Spring and Autumn…only really putting the roof up when it rained! In winter I fashioned a warm blanket with a hole cut in the middle, so it acted like an over-sized poncho that extended to the leather gloved hands (this model did not come standard with a heater!!) and wore a bright red beret on top. Loved the wind in my long hair (well, it was the 70’s).

    April 28th, 2013 at 5:50 pm

  14. david says:

    My lust for topless motoring started early in my driving life a few decades ago, when one day at lunch in the city I spotted a Ford Landau parked outside an art gallery, top down. Whats that you say? Landaus didnt come in a convertible. Correct, they didnt, unless you made one yourself! This one was made properly, unlike the multitudes of Valiant 2 doors around those days with dodgy alloy roof frames and gaps betwen the roof fabric and windows that you could put your head through. (Hate to see them in the rain). No, this one was made properly by a place called Choptops, with a modified Mustang power top, proper chassis stiffening and quality llined roof fabric. I used to see it every lunch time in Castlereagh Street and resolved to get myself a Landau and do the same. I eventually did get a Landau but sadly, my example never got its top off dut to hidden rust in the body and a dearth of finances. Fast forward to the present though and I have owned my fair share of convertibles since then, including Datsun Sports 2000’s, Clubsport Capris, and even got the wind in the hair offroad with Suzuki Sierras and Vitaras. Nothing was a good as a crisp morning pressing on through a gorge topless, with the sounds of the exhaust reverberating back from cliffs and giving you such a feeling of connection with your car, so that your gearchanges were never smoother and the connnection between man and machine never keener. Great too where those warm evening drives, and drives to nowhere with my wife in the country with no particulalr destination, save somewhere nice to lay the picnic blanket and the picnic basket on it.
    None of of my convertibles had power tops, and as I got older ans lazier I sometimes I found it all too hard to put the top down as it was all too much trouble to put the roof down and back up, (especially the Sierra), and as a result I didnt get my top off as much as I wanted. I swore then in the those times that if I ever got a convertible with a power top, I would go topless everywhere at the press of a button. Now my wife has had her Eos (a very popular choice it seems) for a few years and I am sad to say my time in the car has been most commonly roof up, until now. Convertible drivers I now declare, do as I now resolve to do- live life like the puppy who has found the front gate open and go topless anywhere and everywhere you can!

    April 28th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

  15. Garry says:

    As a now daily motorcycle commuter the time I spend in my 14 yo S2000 is restricted to weekends, but it still get driven weekly (every Saturday afternoon for 4 hours) and ALWAYS with the top down even if it is raining (you just need to drive faster, once you hit 90km/h the rain doesn’t land inside). Albeit you may get a few strange stares in such conditions from other drivers, but as far as I’m concerned I’m a lot snugger and dryer in my convertible than I would be on my bike in the same conditions.

    … and David, I also owned a Sierra in the mid ’80s and it was definitely worth the trouble of unclipping its roof and frame to drive open topped, I even unbolted the roll bar, removed the doors and laid the windscreen flat on mine for the complete alfresco experience. 🙂

    April 29th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

  16. Arty says:

    Smart car Roadster 🙂 cool days are the better ones – roof down, heater on, heated seats on – Way to Go

    April 29th, 2013 at 3:09 pm