Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A hardtop is a style of automobile roof. Two different styles carry the name hardtop.
The first and earliest, the removable hardtop, is a removable solid roof that can be fitted on a convertible, normally for use at times of the year when lowering the top is not desirable. The hardtop offers better weather protection, better outward visibility through the rear window, and possibly greater security.
A development, still rare, is the retractable hardtop, where the solid roof folds up to fit in the trunk. There have been several historical attempts at this, but the complexity and expense rendered them unsuccessful; in recent years, there has been a renewed interest.
The second meaning of the word is for a fixed hardtop: a solid, non-removable roof that is designed to look like a removable hardtop or even a soft convertible top. These were popular from the 1950s through the 1970s but thereafter fell out of fashion. A key element to the look was the lack of fixed window frames; the window and any frame retract into the car when wound down, as on a true convertible. Some hardtops have a center pillar (pillared hardtop) between front and rear windows; the more common style is the pillarless hardtop, where there is no fixed pillar and the sides of the car are open when the windows are rolled down.
Some hardtops take the convertible look even further, including such details as simulated convertible framework and the lines and angles a top makes stretched over them, and sometimes even simulated convertible-top fastenings at the windshield end inside.
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