Top 10

Raise the roof with these drop-top conversions

Many car makers offer at least one convertible in their range. Here are some of our favourite drop-tops created by independent coachbuilders.
Audi Quattro TreserAudi Quattro Treser

Audi Quattro

Before he went bust in a bid to create his own open-topped sportscar, Walter Treser used to chop, stretch and stick bodykits on to anything with an Audi badge. Where the Quattro was concerned, he sliced 39 of them open and added his own bodykit. Well, this was the eighties…
Citroen DS decapotableCitroen DS decapotable

Citroën DS

Citroën had always intended to build its own open version of the DS, but didn’t have the time or resources so it outsourced the work to Henri Chapron, knowing the DS decapotable would always be a niche product. In the end just 1365 were built.
Ford Fiesta FlyFord Fiesta Fly

Ford Fiesta

Numerous companies were happy to produce an open-topped Fiesta for you, from a standard hatchback, but arguably the best (and best-known) of the lot was the Fly, offered by Crayford. Initially these were based on the 1300 Ghia; then it was the XR2 that was cut open.
Jaguar XJS Lynx convertibleJaguar XJS Lynx convertible

Jaguar XJS

The XJS debuted in 1975, but there wouldn’t be a cabriolet (with T-bar) until 1983. Jaguar didn’t introduce its own full convertible until 1988, so for more than a decade it was up to coachbuilders like Lynx to lift the lid on the XJS.
Lotus Esprit Paul BaileyLotus Esprit Paul Bailey

Lotus Esprit

For some reason nobody has felt the need to decapitate the Stevens-designed Esprit, but the Giugiaro original has been opened up by German outfit Kollinger as well as Brit Paul Bailey. The latter called his car the Saint Tropez, and it’s his conversion that’s in the picture.
Mercedes SEC B+BMercedes SEC B+B

Mercedes-Benz SEC

In the 1980s there was a multitude of coachbuilders that would stretch, chop, uprate or attach a bodykit to anything on wheels. Anything with a Merc badge attached was fair game for companies such as Lynx and – in this case – B+B, which slid the steel roof over the boot instead of engineering a soft top.
Range Rover AshtonRange Rover Ashton

Range Rover

There was a huge array of companies happy to turn the original Range Rover into a convertible; many stretched it and gave it a third axle while they were at it. Such outfits included Townley, Wood & Pickett plus Glenfrome, whose Ashton is shown here.
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit convertibleRolls-Royce Silver Spirit convertible

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

There have been loads of Spirit drop-top conversions over the years; when you consider how massive the Roller is, taking the lid off one is no minor undertaking. So whoever did this one reckoned that if they were going to do, they might as well shout about it…
Skoda Rapid convertibleSkoda Rapid convertible

Skoda Rapid

If you couldn’t afford a Porsche 911 in the mid-eighties but you wanted those rear-engined thrills, the Skoda Rapid was the way to go according to some pundits. And if you wanted open-topped thrills too, you could buy a Rapid cabriolet through a Skoda dealer, converted by Ludgate Designs.
Vauxhall Cavalier CentaurVauxhall Cavalier Centaur

Vauxhall Cavalier

Developed by Magraw Engineering, produced by well-known outfit Crayford and officially approved by Vauxhall for sale through its dealerships, the Centaur was based on the Cavalier coupé. Between 1978 and 1979, there were 188 examples produced.
Many car makers offer at least one convertible in their range. Here are some of our favourite drop-tops created by independent coachbuilders.
Audi Quattro TreserAudi Quattro Treser

Audi Quattro

Before he went bust in a bid to create his own open-topped sportscar, Walter Treser used to chop, stretch and stick bodykits on to anything with an Audi badge. Where the Quattro was concerned, he sliced 39 of them open and added his own bodykit. Well, this was the eighties…
Citroen DS decapotableCitroen DS decapotable

Citroën DS

Citroën had always intended to build its own open version of the DS, but didn’t have the time or resources so it outsourced the work to Henri Chapron, knowing the DS decapotable would always be a niche product. In the end just 1365 were built.
Ford Fiesta FlyFord Fiesta Fly

Ford Fiesta

Numerous companies were happy to produce an open-topped Fiesta for you, from a standard hatchback, but arguably the best (and best-known) of the lot was the Fly, offered by Crayford. Initially these were based on the 1300 Ghia; then it was the XR2 that was cut open.
Jaguar XJS Lynx convertibleJaguar XJS Lynx convertible

Jaguar XJS

The XJS debuted in 1975, but there wouldn’t be a cabriolet (with T-bar) until 1983. Jaguar didn’t introduce its own full convertible until 1988, so for more than a decade it was up to coachbuilders like Lynx to lift the lid on the XJS.
Lotus Esprit Paul BaileyLotus Esprit Paul Bailey

Lotus Esprit

For some reason nobody has felt the need to decapitate the Stevens-designed Esprit, but the Giugiaro original has been opened up by German outfit Kollinger as well as Brit Paul Bailey. The latter called his car the Saint Tropez, and it’s his conversion that’s in the picture.
Mercedes SEC B+BMercedes SEC B+B

Mercedes-Benz SEC

In the 1980s there was a multitude of coachbuilders that would stretch, chop, uprate or attach a bodykit to anything on wheels. Anything with a Merc badge attached was fair game for companies such as Lynx and – in this case – B+B, which slid the steel roof over the boot instead of engineering a soft top.
Range Rover AshtonRange Rover Ashton

Range Rover

There was a huge array of companies happy to turn the original Range Rover into a convertible; many stretched it and gave it a third axle while they were at it. Such outfits included Townley, Wood & Pickett plus Glenfrome, whose Ashton is shown here.
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit convertibleRolls-Royce Silver Spirit convertible

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

There have been loads of Spirit drop-top conversions over the years; when you consider how massive the Roller is, taking the lid off one is no minor undertaking. So whoever did this one reckoned that if they were going to do, they might as well shout about it…
Skoda Rapid convertibleSkoda Rapid convertible

Skoda Rapid

If you couldn’t afford a Porsche 911 in the mid-eighties but you wanted those rear-engined thrills, the Skoda Rapid was the way to go according to some pundits. And if you wanted open-topped thrills too, you could buy a Rapid cabriolet through a Skoda dealer, converted by Ludgate Designs.
Vauxhall Cavalier CentaurVauxhall Cavalier Centaur

Vauxhall Cavalier

Developed by Magraw Engineering, produced by well-known outfit Crayford and officially approved by Vauxhall for sale through its dealerships, the Centaur was based on the Cavalier coupé. Between 1978 and 1979, there were 188 examples produced.

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