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General Question regarding Convertibles


FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
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12:53 PM
Jan 31, 2019
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For the last couple weeks i had a 2023 Ford Mustang GT Convertible as a rental car on my miami "vacation".
It was the first time for me making contact with a convertible and for the most time i decided to drive with the top closed.

Why? because on this particular car you can't open or close the top unless you stand still or maybe (i'm not even 100% sure) while "rolling" without throttle input.

So my basic question is:
Is this the case for all convertibles?
Especially for 60s/70s american convertibles? (I dont care if its Chrysler, General Motors, Ford)

I mean i can see why you can't open/close it at 80mph but not even at 20-30mph is a real bummer.
Especially in a place like florida where you have to expect rain.
But i also do not want to have the top down at 80mph so i would like to close it when leaving town basically.
you could put the top down on the old cars while moving cuz I did my brother-in-law's mid 60 Chevy ragtop and I did my 70 Challenger RT ragtop. You could slow down to about 25 to put the top down and it would go down pretty quick but to put it up you'd have to nearly come to a stop if you want it to come up halfway decently.....
For me it's simple logic and avoids damage..
I agree with cranky...the old 60/70's era cars basically just had a power to the pump through a switch...push switch up/down and the motor will engage.

Putting the top down at speed more than 30mph would probably force the mechanism to move faster than the system could handle and might cause pressure to build up and seal or lines to busts. Trying to put it up at anything faster than an idle powered crawl would be darn near impossible since that is a very large sail catching all that wind.
I cant see that the technology existed to prevent operating the top when moving back in the day, at least not at a reasonable cost.
Ive had my Challenger convertible for over 25 years and can’t say I’ve ever even thought of trying to operate the top while moving.
I had it at the nats for the year of the Challenger in 2008, and after having a blast at Heath, was headed west on 70 to return to our hotel. The weather had been great all day, but as we cruised along the highway, it suddenly started pouring. My friend said don‘t you want to stop to put up the top??
I said no! And we cruised along at highway speed and we hardly go wet! I think Mythbusters did a segment on driving a convert in rain and what speed required to not get wet once, but anyway we found that at 65 it was basically true!
We got to the exit and things went downhill there, between decelerating on the ramp and going through an intersection to a gas station with a covered pump island area we got wet.
In 25+ years that’s my only experience of getting caught in a pop up shower before I could get the top and windows up situation, so for a vintage car it’s not on my worry list!
As Brad said If your moving 50+ you don't get wet... And the top will act like a sail, slow down to 20-25 and you can put it down, but it's hard on parts that aren't easy to replace so why take the chance.... Going up? The "sail effect" means it can't raise since the air is forcing the top to stay down...
I only have one convertible, and the top won't go up or down while moving.

And there's no way I would do it with a classic car today..... maybe I should have said that earlier but back in the day when these cars were just nothing but cars we did that kind of crap. Heck, I used to jump my sister's 65 Mustang when it was only a few years old and my first car, a 66 Belvedere got it's fair share of airtime too. Would I do that to any of them today? NO.
I’ve generally always put the top up/down when at a complete stop. Also, this is easily done at almost any traffic light or stop sign. Even if the light changes and you have to move I have completed the transition at lower speeds of probably about 5-10mph or less. Anything more the top becomes a sail and I never wanted to hurt anything.
I could put the top down while moving in my 997 Porsche. I think there was a speed limit to do that though.
Thanks for the clarification.
It's a plus that you can put the top down @ 25mph.
But putting it back up would be even more important for me which still only works at (almost) zero mph.

Well i guess convertibles just aren't really for me then.
If i had jay leno money i'd might have 1 but right now i'm not going to pursue it. :)

@RSZ28 What exactly are you disagreeing with? :D
I’ve generally always put the top up/down when at a complete stop. Also, this is easily done at almost any traffic light or stop sign. Even if the light changes and you have to move I have completed the transition at lower speeds of probably about 5-10mph or less. Anything more the top becomes a sail and I never wanted to hurt anything.
I have in the past done exactly this... But two points. first these days I don't want to risk damage hard to find parts.... Second like Michael while on vacation (in my case in Hawaii) I had a Mustang convertible... Sitting at a traffic light we suddenly were caught in a downpour, I hit the top up switch, the top started to raise and the light changed, I released the brake, as soon as I did the top stopped halfway up & I had to come back to a complete stop to get the top to move any further.... Isn't technology great..
How is hawaii? Crowded Tourist / Traffic nightmare or as relaxed as seen in Magnum P.I.? :D
Oahu and especially Honolulu is the island version of LA.... There are things ya gotta see and do... Punch Bowl, Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, Diamond Head and the Pacific Aviation Museum... But the traffic close to Honolulu is a nightmare... We stayed at the Aulani which is a good distance from Honolulu, but there's no way of seeing the main attractions without venturing into the madness...

On the other hand we spent ten days on the Big Island & that was much more relaxed....

If you really want laid back try spending time in Kauai

And most folks I know prefer Maui....

Hawaii has many ways to enjoy your island time... Just gotta know what your looking for...
I had never considered raising or lowering while my car was in motion, mostly because of the snap on tonneau cover.
Had verts for 50 years and haven’t opened or closed the top when moving, maybe once or twice opening it at speeds under 15-20. Trying to close it while moving seems a no-brainer no, as the wind resistance will slow it or stop it maybe overheating the motor or worse. Wasn’t designed for this load. Then there’s closing the latches as the top won’t set down enough to lock it down if the wind is raising it up. Three hands might help; but I only have two.
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