Is it Drop-Top Season Yet?

This is the season my mind says it is even though the calendar doesn't agree.

This is the season my mind says we’re in even though the calendar doesn’t agree.

Here we are on the verge of our first real heat wave of the year and I’m on the horns of a familiar dilemma: Do I remove the hard top from the Jeep or waste the opportunity to road-revel in the next couple of 90-degree days? It’s not a decision to take lightly; Once off the top will stay that way until it goes back on for winter.

The question of when to go topless appears with the first happy tulips each March; Their promise of seasonal change is almost enough to convince me that the pre-dawn drive to work in a drop-top won’t feel like the 27-degrees showing on the thermometer. Only once did I get carried away and swap the fully enclosed hard top for the window-less soft one as early as April and, aside from a few torrential downpours that flooded the floorboards, the bet paid off.

My fear is that I’ll freeze. Even under the best circumstances during the heart of the hot months you can bet I’ll be wrapped in a blanket during the morning commute. Those who know me think I’m crazy but something about experiencing cool weather while driving al fresco makes chilly temps easier to stomach than when I’m standing still. I do, however, have a breaking point.

So, I’ll most likely do what I always do: decide today to wait for June and then, when the mercury climbs past 85 tomorrow, go home, wrestle the unwieldy fiberglass roof off the Jeep, and let my reservations fly out the space where the window used to be.

Honda Considering Convertible Acura NSX

Acura NSX Roadster from 'The Avengers'

Acura NSX Roadster from ‘The Avengers’

Is it too soon to talk about convertibles in light of this weekend’s snow?  Nah!   Not when we’re talking about a convertible Acura NSX!  Acura’s parent company, Honda told Autocar that it’s considering a drop-top version of the NSX Roadster that appeared as Tony Stark’s ride in The Avengers movie last year.  That NSX was purely a prop and took its design cues from the sportscar’s original incarnation produced from 1989 to 2005.  The next gen NSX is scheduled to debut in 2015.  If a rag-top goes into production, too, look for it in 2017.   Snow or no snow, we’ll happpily volunteer for a test drive!

Source:  www.motorauthority.com

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ in My Rig

IMG_2654“I don’t mind,” we say.  “It doesn’t bother me.”  “It’s the lifestyle.”  That’s the refrain of the Jeep Wrangler driver, those seemingly-crazy people who drive “topless” in single digit temperatures, who have an entire wardrobe just for Jeep travel, and who strip down cargo to the absolute essentials because they’re counting on getting rained on… inside the vehicle.  These are my people.  While one of my least favorite things is being cold, being cold in the Jeep is somehow different, more charming, part of a larger outdoor experience than freezing anywhere else.  Thus, the refusal to zip windows into the soft top no matter the weather.

This soggy floor mat is all that remains of  the "lake" caused by last night's rain.

This soggy floor mat is all that remains of the “lake” caused by last night’s rain.

But once a year, usually during the first torrential rainstorm of Spring (I’d say “convertible season” but among Wrangler owners “convertible season” could last all year long) I question that decision.  And not during the storm, either.  No, my regret over being so “carefree” (or lazy, depending on your point of view) strikes upon climbing into the  Jeep only to set my feet (and laptop and bags and coat) in the lake the storm left behind where where the floorboards used to be.   In my conversations with those who don’t speak “Jeep” I brag about the plugs in the floor specifically for this type of drainage.  But in the recesses of my mind I worriedly calculate just how much junk I can carry on the passenger seat – the only dry spot in the vehicle other than the driver’s seat.

Of course, that thought passes as quickly as the storm, and my attention turns to the forecast.  There’s just a 35-percent chance of rain, you say?  Guess it’s time to take the doors off.

Just Because it’s Winter Doesn’t Mean it’s Not Convertible Season

2012 Mustang ragtop

2012 Mustang ragtop with the top down… in March.

It happens every winter:  The sun breaks free of the clouds over Southern Oregon, gives us two or three weeks of Spring-like weather,  and suddenly the urge to wrangle the hardtop off my Jeep is overwhelming.  But I am a warm-weather person and March is simply too early to be driving around top-less.

Or is it?  Because today I dropped the top on a 2012 Mustang convertible and went for a spin…  Comfortably…  In 60-degree weather.  Me, the chick who never uses air conditioning and yet still sleeps comfortably under two down comforters and flannel sheets in August, didn’t shiver once while traveling the freeway with nothing more in the way of outerwear than a denim jacket.  If I’d been in the less aerodynamic Wrangler I would have needed a sweatshirt, parka, and gloves, at the very least!  AND the wind resistance wasn’t so loud as to drown out the stereo!   So, here’s to Ford, powerful heaters, good design, and the start of convertible season!

Kia’s Going Electric for 2014

The word is out that Kia will be offering an all electric Soul come 2014. Details are sketchy but Autocar is reporting that Kia has confirmed the existence of the Soul EV, and that the vehicle’s been spotted testing in Germany. It’s looking like the 2014 Soul will feature a few styling changes both inside and out. And Autocar’s reporting a convertible and 3-door GT model may also be offered. Stay tuned!

Does Your Political Party Affect Your Auto Brand Allegiance?

The joke used to be you could tell a Republican by the color of his tie.  Today, members of the Grand Ole Party may be revealed by the vehicles they drive.  A recent study conducted by automotive research firm Strategic Vision shows brand loyalty trends among those who belong to specific political parties.  For example, Democrats seem to lean towards vehicles that are smaller, fuel efficient and practical;  Think the Ford Fiesta Sedan.  Republicans appear to like bigger vehicles (like SUVs and trucks), but also favor luxury and rag tops like the Ford Mustang Convertible.

Here’re the top 5 on both sides of the aisle:

Democrats

  1. Honda Civic Hybrid
  2. Volvo C30
  3. Nissan Leaf
  4. Acura TSX Wagon
  5. Ford Fiesta Sedan

Republicans

  1. Ford Mustange Convertible
  2. Audi A8
  3. Mercedes GL
  4. Ford Expedition
  5. Ford F-150

What do you think?

Read the full article here:  http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/03/republican-democrat-car-buying-habits-new-study