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Discussion Starter #1
I ask this question because I have never, ever considered an open top car before. In the few open top cars I have driven, I have been turned off by the excessive sun, wind noise/buffeting, and knowledge that the car was giving up structural rigidity to its closed-top counterpart.

But because the Elise is supposed to have pretty good wind protection, and structural ridgidity is a non-issue, I do want it badly for what it offers as an entire package. I'll suffer any wind issues, and keep some baseball caps in the stowage net for sun protection.

So, here's the basic question: All things being equal, and if a closed top Elise was just as easy to get in and out of as an open top, would you prefer to buy a closed top car? Or what about a closed top with a sunroof that added no weight?

(And, please, don't weave in Exige comments! It's too different a car to fit into this question!)
 

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My first car was a Triumph TR-4 convertible. My third car was my '72 Lotus Elan DHC (convertible). My daily driver is a Miata. Except for two or three years, I have owned an open top sports car since 1971. I would not even consider the Elise if it was not open top.

<---- By the way, that's me and my Elan in the picture to the left...;)

So Yes, all things considered, I would choose an open top...:p

I've never understood those who wouldn't...

Tim Mullen
 

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When my X1/9 was my daily driver, I rarely took off the top. This was mostly as a result of lasiness. Taking off the top for a 20 minute commute, and left all day in a campus parking lot, just wasnt a good idea. However, on a gorgeous day or a longer road trip, I always took the top off. It was so much better than the sunroof in my celica.

Sigh, missing my X1/9. Need to get that thing up and running soon. I probably wouldnt be so desperate waiting for the elise if I had Wedgie to drive around.
 

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I don't think I'll ever drive a coupe as an everyday driver again. I love convertibles, been obsessed with them since I was a little kid. To me driving a roadster gives me a sense of freedom, it almost like riding a motorcycles just a little safer.
:cool:

Neil
 

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No brainer in Southern California. I wouldn't even consider a non-convertible.

The Elise allows you to have the best of both worlds. It's a convertible and you can enjoy the plein-air experience, but with the hard top on, it looks like a coupe. With the targa-top styling, the car appears to be sounder structurally than your typical drop-top convertible, and I believe that wind noise and buffeting will be less.

I owned an RX-7 with a removable sun-roof (I had both a red top that matched the body color and a clear one to let in the light, which I ended up using most of the time) when I lived in the SF Bay Area. It was nice, but not even close to the convertible experience.
 

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I have always been a closed top snob.... secure in my superiority of more rigidity, better safety, superior sound, better protection from the sun and elements, better security when parked.

I do enjoy a nice targa or sunroof though.

But I am willing to learn the benefits of a convertible. My limited experiences with driving an MR2 Spdyer to races on the freeway demonstrates to me I like having the top up. I might also enjoy not being so visible, but I understand you get used to that.


One major downside for me, is that I can't wear hats. At least not in public. Really.
 

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Roadsters, convertibles, ragtops - whatever you call 'em, that's what a pure sportscar is SUPPOSED to be!

Even here in the great rainy 'northwet' I drive my C5 with the top down most of the time.

In the old days I had a Fiat X-1/9 and bought an aftermarket top that was smoked lexan. It was a sweet way to have a top on when you HAD to. Maybe someone will do a product like that for the Elise. It would be even nicer if it had the same double-bubble look of the factory hardtop. :D
 

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TimMullen said:
I've never understood those who wouldn't...
Well not everyone can enjoy the wind in the hair feeling. :p

Regardless, I still like the open top thing. One thing that is real nice is the total lack of blind spots. (You would probably not get this benefit in the elise tho w/ the targa typ configuration) The extra sun and fresh air are nice too. Esp in the spring/fall when its still a bit cool out.
 

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Rag top. I've almost always had a ragtop or a car wit T-tops. I hate enclosed cars. Hopefully I'll never own one again. I probably wouldn't get the Elise if it wasn't an open top car.
 

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Personally, I'd never understood people who owned convertibles. I just didn't like them. Then I found a deal I couldn't possibly pass up on a slightly used Jag XK8 convertible. I don't think I'll ever own a non-convertible/targa car again.
 

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I've never liked the styling of convertibles. While the cars can look good, they've always looked better as a fixed-top. I'm also wary of the decreased safety of a convertible (unless you add an ugly rollbar). A targa top like the Elise is perfect - you still maintain the smooth rooflines of a hardtop (even with the top off, to some extent, due to the b-pillar and rear buttresses), you get the open air driving sensation, and you get increased safety due to the rollover structure behind you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Very interesting replies; thanks, people. FWIW, I would say my opinions pretty much mirror those of Randy: "But I am willing to learn the benefits of a convertible." That is my mindset, word for word.

Also, while I keep my sunroof open whenever possible, even in 55 degree weather, I often find myself closing it because of acute sunlight angles causing weird glare on my sunglasses. Is this somehow a problem with sunroofs only, or is this common in convertibles too? I figure I will have to keep visors in the car for that precise reason.

Randy, why can't you wear hats???

As for MattG's comments, I must confess that I have always found convrtibles to look a little, well... oh jeez, I'll just say it: girly. But this probably is mostly a function of their styling. A Z3 or VW Cabriolet looks girly, whereas the Elise looks pretty damn tough (depsite, oddly enough, it's very girly name).
 

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A Z3 ... looks girly
Ouch!! I drive a 1.9L Z3!
All I can say is my car has made a lot of E36 and E30 M3s look pretty feminine going up or down a mountain. No offense to any M3 drivers out there.

Even though the Elise to some might look tough. I am sure to some Esprit drivers think it looks "Girly" to.

Neil
 
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