Simulated Convertible Top – The Origin of the Design.

Although we talk about simulated convertible tops today many people don’t know that their origin lies in the horse-drawn carriages that predated the first automobile. This carry-over from the carriages to the car is not surprising since many of the carriage manufacturers of the day switched to making car bodies when their carriage businesses died.

Landau and Carriage Tops

In some documents you’ll see the terms “landau top” and “carriage top” used to describe what we know as a simulated convertible top. So this style has a long and interesting history.

Even though these dated back many years they didn’t remain in style continuously from the 1920s until today. As with many fashions, the popularity of this type of top rose and fell over time. In the 1920s and 1930s the term “landau” was used to describe a cloth covering on the rear quarters of a fixed roof car. So called “side landau bars” were fitted and these, along with the cloth covering, gave the impression of a convertible top.simulated convertible top

Popularity of Simulated Tops Changes Over Time

In the mid-1930s until the end of the 1940s other developments in the automobile proved to have greater attraction for consumers and the use of cloth coverings and the word “landau” fell out of favor. But in the mid-1950s a covered or partially covered roof, mainly using vinyl, came back into style. During this period and up to the mid-1980s the simulated convertible top remained in fashion. Because of demand, the car manufacturers produced models which featured this styling. They continued to produce these cars until car designers began to emphasize a sleek profile in a new generation of cars.

Today, cars in the same model class, regardless of manufacturer, tend to look similar. For this reason, proud car owners look for methods of personalizing and transforming their cars. Installing simulated convertible tops is a cost-effective and attractive method of standing out from the crowd.

Specialty Aftermarket Manufacturers Fill the Gap

Mainstream auto manufacturers no longer offer a “landau” option. However, these tops are available from independent manufacturers in the aftermarket sector. These entrepreneurs saw an ongoing demand for this kind of styling and are filling this need. They offer a full range of solutions for all car makes and models so anyone, for a reasonable price, can add a simulated convertible top to their car.