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Webb Sledge
01-03-2005, 12:07 AM
What does this mean? I've seen it several places. Convertible in normal American English?

ObiRichKanobi
01-03-2005, 12:19 AM
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What does this mean? I've seen it several places. Convertible in normal American English?

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Yep...that's exactly what it means.

LastDeadLast
01-03-2005, 12:34 AM
The opposite being fixed head coupe... I learned that from my ill fated 1969 XKE days....

-Shannon

sammyb
01-03-2005, 01:22 AM
Webb,
There are many terms for open cars, and most have (or at least at one point HAD) distinct meanings.

A fixed head coupe is indeed a regular coupe -- like a berlinetta.

A drop head coupe is a "convertible."

A Spider or Spyder originally meant an open-top car not based on a sedan platform with removable weather equipment (or none at all.) (Funny, since most Ferrari Spiders produced are actually Targas, and Fiat Spiders are not spiders because they are based on the 124 Sedan.)

Roadster is a two seat open car with removable (or no) weather equipment.

Cabriolet is simply a convertible.

Phaeton is a four-seat convertible or open-top car with removable weather equipment. If there is a second windscreen or a separate compartment for the rear occupants, it is called a dual-cowl phaeton.

A car with a closed rear compartment, but open/convertible above the driver can be called a Sedaneca DeVille or a Laudolet...

Many 1930s British cars (and Kaiser Darrins) are "Three Position Dropheads" as they are either closed, totally open, or with a partial cover.

Targas have a removable center section, which can be one or two sections. Americans call them "T Tops," but T is just short for Targa.

Now, usually, it doesn't matter what you call a car, since most cars are only available in one style, or two (coupe and convertible.) BUT Jaguar XK120s were available in DHC and OTS -- which means either a convertible or an Open Top Spyder (meaning do you want roll-up windows or side curtains, or drop top or removable top?) There are differences in value.

Also in the custom-bodied Classic-Era, certain body styles are much more desirable. Phaetons and roadsters are top, with convertibles next, sedanecas and coupes, then sedanettes and sedans.

Information overload? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

01-03-2005, 12:51 PM
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Phaeton is a four-seat convertible or open-top car with removable weather equipment. If there is a second windscreen or a separate compartment for the rear occupants, it is called a dual-cowl phaeton.

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Does it bother anyone else that VW has chosen to name their latest monstrosity a phaeton, when it isn't even a convertible? I never believed those people who said it just looks like a giant Passat. However I saw one the other day on the road, and it's true, it looks like a big, $80K Passat, nothing special about it.

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Targas have a removable center section, which can be one or two sections. Americans call them "T Tops," but T is just short for Targa.

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I'd say there's a substantial difference between a T-top car and a traga. My buddies Supra is a targa, the entire center panel comes out as one piece. However, all my Nissan Z cars were T-top cars, and they had two seperate panels that lifted out, leaving the "T-bar" center section of the roof in place. T-top cars are also structurally sounder than targas or full convertibles, because that T-bar adds quiet a bit of strength to the cars body, tying the front and rear sections of the car together.

01-03-2005, 12:53 PM
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Targas have a removable center section, which can be one or two sections.

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Oops, my apologies, Sammy makes this distinction, I didn't see that. Another case of fingers typing before brain thinking, I'll shut up now...

Eric
01-03-2005, 01:18 PM
Just to pick a nit, in Jag-land, OTS refers to Open Top Sports, not Spyder. XK Jags came as both drop head coupes, where the top folded down in a heap (like an old VW bug Cabrio) and had a vestigial back seat for legless infants and as OTS, where the top disappeared under the rear deck and consumed the space where the utterly useless rear seat would have been. Looked much sportier.

Eric (former XK150S OTS owner)

Mark Beiser
01-03-2005, 01:18 PM
I personally seperate LBCs into 3 catagories.

Coup = has a permanent roof

Convertable = has a folding top that stays on the car when its down, and roll up windows.

Roadster = has a folding top that is doesn't stay on the car when it is down, and usually doesn't have roll up windows, but sometimes does.


So to me, an early MGB would be a roadster, but the 1968+ ones were all convertables.

Geo Hahn
01-03-2005, 03:31 PM
I once asked an Jaguar OTS owner what that meant, he said "Other Than Sedan". Well, to my credit I doubted him at the time. Thanks for clearing that up.

I guess the TR4 could be called a roadster as the top goes in the boot but for me that term best suits the sidecurtain cars. If Charles & company call their business The Convertible Factory it wouldn't sound nearly as nice.

Kurtis
01-03-2005, 06:29 PM
Geo,

I've always thought of the TR4 as a bit of a hybrid. However, according to the definition I've always heard it would be termed a roadster... If the top comes off, it's a roadster, and if the top stays attached in some way it's a convertible.

What about my Jeep? It has side curtains, but the top (at least part of it) remains attached? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Mickey Richaud
01-03-2005, 06:37 PM
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What about my Jeep? It has side curtains, but the top (at least part of it) remains attached? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

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Good question, Kurtis.

Roadsible? Convertster?

/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jester.gifMickey

sammyb
01-03-2005, 09:07 PM
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What about my Jeep? It has side curtains, but the top (at least part of it) remains attached?


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Convertible, because a roadster refers to more of a sporting two-seater.

And, actually -- I'm fairly certain the original designation for the OTS stood for "Open Two Seat" but is now often referred to as the roadster or spider, although Eric is most definitely correct that the "S" doesn't officially stand for spider. Spyder is generally a term that was put into use by Italians.

Dotanukie-- the following story ran in my newspaper column back in Feb, 04.

The confusing world of classic vehicle semantics

Volkswagen’s new Phaeton is currently a big topic of conversation. Many of my fellow automotive journalists question if anyone will buy a $70,000 large sedan from a manufacturer associated with economical transportation. I actually am more concerned with the new VW model’s name.

Derived from the sun god Helios’ son’s name, Phaeton is a French term traditionally used to identify four-plus seat convertibles. Certainly it’s an inappropriate name for a hardtop sedan.

I don’t want to sound like Andy Rooney, but at some point automotive semantics went haywire. Traditional terms are so misused, blurred, and just plain ignored, that the lack of standardization makes buying, selling and discussing cars extremely difficult.

Confusion abounds, because caveats have been created for even basic terms. A sedan has four doors, and a coupe usually has two doors – although some modern coupes feature two extra smaller doors. Large two-door vehicles have in the past been marketed as two-door sedans, or sedanettes. At least coupes with small fold-down back seats are always called 2+2s.

The world of ragtops is more confusing than Parliamentary Procedure. Convertibles have roll-up windows and a permanent frame for a soft top, and are what British call dropheads. Convertibles can be coupes or sedans -- the last being the 1967 Lincoln Continental. The most valuable classic open body-style is a dual cowl phaeton, which is a convertible with separate compartments for rear-seat occupants. Some European sedan or coupe-based convertibles were called cabriolets. Lincoln wins the all-time model name redundancy award with its 1940-1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet Convertible.

An open-top car with removable weather equipment is a roadster. Since there’s no modern market for topless, side curtain-adorned cars, roadster now means a two-seat sporty convertible. Spiders (or spyder) are roadsters built on a platform not shared with a sedan. Oddly enough, the highest production spyder, the Fiat 124 Spyder, shared suspension and running gear with the 124 Sedan.

Enzo Ferrari was notorious for being hit or miss with coachwork terms. While his barchettas were indeed streamlined racers, and his berlinettas definitely coupes, his Dino 246GTS and 308GTS Spider models weren’t Spiders at all, rather coupes with small removable roof panels usually known as targas. Most people assume Porsche invented the targa, but the removable center section on the Triumph TR4’s surrey top preceded the 911 Targa . Incidentally, too many people think GM’s t-top name was derived from the bracings supporting the two-piece panel. T-top is simply short for “targa top.”

It’s not just manufacturers abusing terms, as enthusiasts fling lingo around incorrectly. For instance, now people call everything a “Classic.” Classic (capital “C”) means the car was an expensive, important sports or luxury car made in the 1925-1948 Classic Era. I’ve always felt it’s acceptable to call any early and truly significant vehicle in its genre a classic (lower-case “c”) – such as “Shelby’s Cobra is a classic American sports car.” Combining “Pontiac Fiero” and “classic,” however, should result in jail time.

Muscle car is probably the most abused term these days. By definition, muscle cars were economical offerings built on mid-sized American passenger car platforms with large V8 engines. Pontiac GTO, Chevy Chevelle, Olds 442 and Plymouth Road Runner are all true muscle cars. Impala, Galaxie 500 and Dodge Charger are not muscle cars, because they were full-sized platform vehicles – which is why they were the basis for NASCAR showroom stock cars. Even with a powerful engine, a four-door sedan is not a muscle car. Mustang, Camaro/Firebird and ‘Cuda/Challenger were not muscle cars either, as their compact coupe platforms, base low-performance V6 engines, long option lists, and emphasis on handling classify them as pony cars.

None of the just mentioned vehicles classify as sports cars either. Some high-performance pony cars, like a Camaro Z-28 or Shelby GT350 can destroy many pure sports cars, but this isn’t the litmus test. Sports cars are two seat or 2+2 vehicles utilizing light, purpose-built compact platforms for all-around performance. If comfortable and tall-geared, sports, muscle and pony cars can all be considered gran turismos or GTs.

Mechanical lingo is also used with reckless abandon. For instance big block means the engine uses a block larger than a manufacturer’s standard V8 block. Chevy’s 427s is a big block. Oldsmobile’s 455 and Pontiac’s 400 are not, because they’re made from their manufacturers’ standard V8 blocks.

Furthermore, AWD and 4WD are not synonyms. Not all horizontally opposed engines are boxer designs, and while turbos are a type of supercharger, many supercharger types aren’t turbos.

Enough! I’m going out to drive my vintage big block Corvette convertible sports car.

Sam Barer writes for Olympia-based Apex Features Syndicate. Submit questions or cars for profiles to soundclassics@apexstrategy.com

01-03-2005, 09:28 PM
Fantastic, thanks for the great article Sammy! I am so happy that there are others out there as bugged by VW using that name as I am. I mention this issue whenever non-car freak friends bring up the new VW and I get blank stares and brain dead expressions, they think I'm nuts.

I'm equally guilty of inappropriately flinging around some of those automotive terms. You learn something new every day. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Dale
01-03-2005, 11:36 PM
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----------AWD and 4WD are not synonyms. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Please enlighten me as to the difference between All Wheel Drive and Four Wheel Drive. Or am I misinterpreting the acronyms.

LastDeadLast
01-03-2005, 11:57 PM
There's not a lot of difference between 4wd (not to be confused with part time 4wd) and awd. They both essentially mean the same thing; all 4 wheels are powered all the time. Only with 4wd you have the ability to select 4wd "low" and "high". AWD does not give you this ability. Hence why you find awd mostly on cars while trucks, like my Disco, have 4wd.

-Shannon

LastDeadLast
01-04-2005, 12:19 AM
Actually to clear a point up... very few cars/trucks today trully power all 4 wheels... not even my Disco, which has a locking center diff, but with front and rear open axles, which means, at best only one front and one rear wheel will ever have power. The best system, at least for an off-road vehicle, would be locking front, center and rear diffs, which would be a little hard to steer, but can climb a tree. For a car, the ultimate would have the equivilent of a torsen diff at all three ends (there are a few technologies out there to accomplish this function), with some electronics to vary the torque split from front to rear.

Thats all I can think of now.

-Shannon

01-04-2005, 12:19 AM
I was under the impression that an AWD system was one which used a non rigid coupling of the front and rear wheels, like a viscous center differential. This allows the front and rear wheels to rotate at different rates and not "crab" on dry pavement or when power is applied. This also allows variable power split between the front and rear beyond 50/50. In a 4WD sytem, there is a rigid mechanical connection between the front and rear wheels, and they are essentially locked together, like with a transfer case. This is great for off road use, and the power split is pretty much set at 50/50 and non-variable. However, if the pavement is dry and it is used for long periods or at high speeds damage can result. As long as the pavement is wet or loose and the wheels have the ability to slip there is no problem.

My wifes 02 Jeep Grand Cherokee has both an AWD mode (Jeep calls it full time 4WD) and a 4WD (part time) mode. When the AWD mode is selected the connection is viscous or clutch packs (not sure which) and the power split is variable. It can also be driven in all conditions, even dry pavement, all the time. When 4WD mode is selected the transfer case locks and a mechanical connection is made. Torque split is then 50/50 and you are not supposed to use it except in snow, mud, or off road. There is a 4 high gear and a 4 low gear also, but they are only available in the 4WD mode, not the AWD mode.

Bob Buxbaum
01-04-2005, 01:52 AM
Sammy,

You have made me feel SOOOOOOO good about me project car /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif. It's a TR7 FHC that WAS going to be converted to a TR8 FHC. But, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO............ /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

A Triumph 3.5 Berlinetta!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif WOOOHOOOO!! I can't wait to try to register THAT at an SCCA autocross in B/SP /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif!

sammyb
01-04-2005, 02:36 AM
B/SP -- that stands for Berlinetta Street Prepared /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Hey, and I didn't even talk about barchettas, runabouts and other types of body styles.

And I'm glad some other people tackled the differences between 4wd and awd -- the differences are not huge, but man if you confuse them around 4X4 enthusiasts, they'll tear you apart.

Here, you just have to watch out for the Land/Range Rover crowd and the Jensen FF contingent.

Bob Buxbaum
01-04-2005, 07:39 PM
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B/SP -- that stands for Berlinetta Street Prepared /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

VERY GOOD!!!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif





Here, you just have to watch out for the Land/Range Rover crowd and the Jensen FF contingent.



NOT MANY OF THEM. THEY DON'T HAVE ANY MORE LUCK KEEPING THEM GOING AS WE DO. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif

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