What happened to t-tops?

I have always believed t-tops (or the "t-roof,’ or “t-bar roof”) to be the best configuration for open-air driving, but apparently auto manufacturers have stopped agreeing with me. Ten, fifteen years ago, it was easy to check the “t-top” box as an option for your new car, but in 2003, zero cars (by my count) offer them.

What happened? Have they been ruled unsafe, or too pricey, or what? When General Motors 86ed the Firebird and Camaro last year, with it went the only model(s) to still offer the venerable removable roof panels.

I love them too! They’re the perfect modern version of a convertible (a fabric roof in 2003?! I don’t think so!) I bought my previous car, a 91 Nissan NX, just because it had one.

I think the reasons they’re not made is:[ul][li]They’re expensive[/li][li]They introduce saftey concerns (failing crash tests)[/li]People never seem to use them[/ul]I especially notice the last one. People are too lazy to bother to take them off, they don’t feel safe leaving them off while parked (can’t lock the car, it might rain, etc.) If they really want the ‘open air ride’ they get a convertible for push-button convenience.

They became a major thing to steal and sell to repair shops.
Just smash a window with a tireiron, unclip it and go while the alarm sounds.

So the insurance companies made them a major surcharge.

All those things, plus the hundreds of warranty claims from folks who got wet when the t-tops didn’t keep the rain out.

Yeah, mine leaked. :frowning: Real big pain-in-the-ass sometimes…

Mine had a lock cylinder in them as well. You needed the ignition key to unlock & remove them making them less easy to steal.

As nimble suggests, they all got stolen. It got to be a bad enough problem here that the insurance companies would not cut you a check for a loss - they provided you new ones instead.

I looked mine up in a Nissan parts book. $1200 each!

I wonder, might it also have been the reappearance of real convertibles? There was a period of about ten years - 1975-1985 when there were no convertibles made in the US and very few sold here. I suspected the T-Top was sort of an in-between measure.

Now, folding metal tops are all the rage.

I always thought they vanished along with (the old, good) Van Halen, chest hair (yuck!), and Trans Am’s (highway wonderland!). Not that that’s not a bad thing…

There may also be some technological, structural issues as well. For a long time, one of the most difficult aspects of making a convertible was to build one that still had a reasonably high level of structural rigidity. The metal roof, and the pillars that attach it to the car, play a big part in the strength of the car; when they are removed, the whole chassis is much more likely to twist and feel loose during cornering and other maneuvers. The t-top gave open-air motoring without the structural compromise of removing the roof and the pillars altogether. It’s possible that, as the ability to construct torsion-free (or at least torsion-minimized) convertibles increased, there was simply less need for a t-top design.

Convertibles made a comeback at the expense of T Tops…just as T Tops thrived when convertibles were darn near obsolete thru the 70’s and 80’s.

Rebirth of converts = death of t-tops.

Our last car was a Nissan 100NX with a targa top. We didn’t open the top very often, to be honest. This was partly to do with the British climate, but we also couldn’t really be bothered to unlock it and stow the bits in the back. The seal between the window and the top became slightly leaky, which was annoying.

Well my cousin has a 2000 (or 2001) Trans Am with T-Tops. He bought is slightly used so he didn’t actually have it installed as an option. BTW I am sure he has an old/good Van Halen CD in there as well.

The Trans Am he has is an Anniversary Edition so perhaps they offered the T-Tops as a nostalgic type option. At least one person bought into it.

The chest hair I can’t attest to but the others are still roaming the streets together.

The Corvette coupe comes with a removable, transparent or body color panel, which is pretty much a T top (although it doesn’t split in two).

and here’s a link:

Aww, but without the twin panels, it doesn’t make a “T” shape!

Exacty. That’s a targa design, not a t-top…

Ok my cousin must have a 99 Trans Am since that was the Anniversary Edition. Here a pic of someone else’s, complete with T-Tops, I found during a web search.

I don’t know what they were thinking with that paint job. The racing stripes do not work with that car.


Aren’t mullets standard equipment with T-Tops?