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Discussion Starter #1
Our BMWCCA chapter is debating convertibles safety. Lots of them are gonna be axed. The Elise is not on the hot spot at all, but I was wondering if a hard top has better chance of staying in place in case of rollover?

What do you think? I might start saving for a hard top... :shrug:
 

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No.
I was driving in front of another Elise that did a barrel roll and the hard-top came of. We found it under the car when it was all said and done.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No.
I was driving in front of another Elise that did a barrel roll and the hard-top came of. We found it under the car when it was all said and done.
Wow!
Ok that answers it. I was hoping it could restrain arms better than the soft top. I guess I'll just keep using the soft top.

How well did the Elise do in the crash you described?
 

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Car was totaled, but the driver was okay. Just a scratch on his arm, might have been glass from the windsheild that cut him.

Car did a 360 barrel roll and a 180 directional change.

Regardles of what top is on hold on to steering wheel untill the car come to a complete stop was the lesson I walked away with.
 

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I was wondering if I have to wear my hard top to drivers schools like the one mentioned. Or will the soft top be ok????/

Also was wondering about the log 29 event too?


swede,

I didn't know you moved, wow!
 

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When my elise was totaled, the hard top flew right off. It was a side impact though not a roll over.
 

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Agreed. You'd never be able to hold onto the wheel in any kind of serious shunt even if you wanted to.
 

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Our local BMW chapter does not normally allow convertibles to run at their driving schools. They allow the Lotus because it is a targa style top with factory rollover protection. They require us to run with hardtops in place, probably so that we at least LOOK safer.
 

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Yep, and I have a broken thumb to prove that you shouldn't hold on to the steering wheel in a shunt.
One of my nephews broke his hand holding on to the steering wheel.

I was rear-ended ('89 Chevy Blazer going ~70 hit my '85 Jeep Cherokee at ~50) and it nearly broke my seat back. It was badly bent. I didn't let go of the wheel... didn't have much time. I now often suffer from back pain from that accident.

Regarding the original question: I doubt a hard top would make much difference. A soft top might even be safer since a splintered hard top could do more damage to you than the cloth soft-top.
 

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There's a great in car rally clip of Colin McCrae losing it bigtime in a focus. You can see the point where he realises it's a no go and just calmy lets go of the wheel and grabs the straps. The co-driver wasn't so lucky as he didn't see it coming (looking at the pace notes) and only at the last second realised the car was going over and his arms went everywhere.

But yes - it's also a very good idea to drive with your thumbs on the wheel rather than wrapped around it. That way your hands have a much better chance of being thrown off the wheel if it snatches in a crash. With your thumbs wrapped around then the wheel spokes can easily break your thumbs. My wife ages back was a doctor in an emergency room and it's very common in highspeed crashes for thumbs to not only be broken but virtually amputated (apparently they don't generally fully detach but bend so far back that they might as well have).

As for the original question - the hard top will obviously offer a limited degree of extra protection but it's not structural so in a rool over it will detach as soon as the chassis flexes. This is true even of S1 Exiges where the roof was not removable and glued in place. There's a thread floating on the old British Cars BBS with an exige in a multiple roll-over crash and although the car was ruined and the roof detached it stood up pretty well.

One thing I like about the elise design is that the occupants are more "in" the car rather than "on" it like most convertibles (for example the Miata/MX-5). The rear roll bar is very comforting and damn strong along with the windscreen surround. And even if that should collapse the roll bar and chassis should still help protect the occupants.
 

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actually that's a bad idea. you should cross your arms over your chest. grab belts if you have 4-6 points.
agreed,
actually why not buy a pair of arm restaints if you are worried. they are cheap, i normally dont like G-force products, but their arm restraints are very easy to use the way they designed them.
I think for SCCA(or other car clubs), that would get you passed most of their concerns as well.

when you just become a passenger in the car and are in the process of hitting something hard and have no control over the car any longer, letting go is your best bet so you dont break hands, wrists ect.
staying relaxed and limp like a cooked spagetti noodle is how we used to avaoid injuries when I was roadracing motorcycles.
if you stiffen up on the impact, you can shatter, if you are relaxed, you stand much better chance of taking the impact.
Due to a huge puddle of oil dumped on the track, and no warning from the track crew, I hit a wall pretty hard in the FF going backwards.

Everything happened in slow motion once i was past the point of no return, and was just along for the ride. I did all the things that i should have done, all on instict. I let go of the wheel, I relaxed my body, and i gently moved my head back to contact my headrest so i dont get any seconday whiplash on the rear impact.
it was easy to relax, ONLY BECAUSE I HAD ON ALL THE GOOD SAFETY GEAR: hans, arm restraints etc...........
w/o the proper safety gear i would never been able to just relax myself while i was along for the ride.
 

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... The rear roll bar is very comforting and damn strong along with the windscreen surround. And even if that should collapse the roll bar and chassis should still help protect the occupants.
The windshield surround is only fiberglass and has little structural integrity. You can easily flex it with your hand at the top of the windshield.
 

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if you stiffen up on the impact, you can shatter, if you are relaxed, you stand much better chance of taking the impact.
This is why in many instances the drunk driver suffers little injury and the minivan mom he/she hits suffers major injuries.
 

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The only time I have heard of when a hard top would have helped is when a convertible went into a gravel trap upside down (soft roll) backwards. The front windshield grabbed and dug in.

Secure the hard tops with more than just the factory latches, and get arm restraints if you are really concerned.

And to as everyone else said do not hold the steering wheel, hang on, and both feet in (brake and clutch). That way if you do have a function car after the wreck you can control it. I missed that last one.

D
 

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A friend on mine rolled his Miata during a canyon drive (La Tuna Cyn). It was a gentle roll after catching a hillside, winding upside-down on the asphalt. He did NOT have a roll bar. He was lucky that the high-back seats kept the car from crushing him, so he slowly crawled out.

The Miata was top-down and totaled. The injuries on my friend was located on his face which slid along the asphalt and it was serious. He lost a lot of blood. He had many facial surgeries to remove the imbedded rocks and asphalt from his face. A lot of skin grafts too.

If he had a roll bar, it would have minimized the injuries. If he had a hard top, his face would not have contacted the asphalt. Maybe a soft top would have helped too in this case.

--Hal
 

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A friend on mine rolled his Miata during a canyon drive (La Tuna Cyn). It was a gentle roll after catching a hillside, winding upside-down on the asphalt. He did NOT have a roll bar. He was lucky that the high-back seats kept the car from crushing him, so he slowly crawled out.

The Miata was top-down and totaled. The injuries on my friend was located on his face which slid along the asphalt and it was serious. He lost a lot of blood. He had many facial surgeries to remove the imbedded rocks and asphalt from his face. A lot of skin grafts too.

If he had a roll bar, it would have minimized the injuries. If he had a hard top, his face would not have contacted the asphalt. Maybe a soft top would have helped too in this case.

--Hal
Had the Cayman S in the picture been a soft top convertible the driver and passenger would have been impaled by tree branches when the car went off a mountain road and landed 25' below. Both individuals were able to climb out of the driver's door (the car came to rest on the passenger side) and had very minor injuries although both were very shaken up by the accident.
An hour earlier we were joking around and then . . . . .
 

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:crazyeyes

I can't believe how bent that Cayman is!
 

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...it'll buff right out...
 
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