February 11 Weekly Open Thread: T Tops
Ever since Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason made a little movie with a black Trans Am, T Tops have become a staple in our automotive land. For about two decades, every American automaker offered them. The Subaru BRAT, Nissan 300ZX, and Toyota MR2 were a few foreign models that had them as well.
After all, convertibles were gone forever after 1976 (Or so we were told), so this was the only way, other than a sunroof, to open the skies for us motorists. And they just looked, well... cool!
Even the Wikipedia "T Tops" link shows a "Smokey and the Bandit Mobile" as their example of a car with T Tops. In fact, this is that image. So please behold, in all of its splendid magnificence, a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with T Tops, which is still the desire of many diehard car chase movie fans, truck drivers, and Coors beer enthusiasts.
Of course, Smokey and the Bandit premiered in the summer of 1977, so they used a '77 model Trans Am. But there was little change for '78, so many replica cars were one year-model later.
We usually associate T Tops as twin removable panels, leaving a structural roof bar in the center and making something of a "T" shape. They also usually leak air and/or water. However, T Tops are also called Targa Tops by some. My late friend George Arents told me that the word "targa" is Latin for "shield," which makes sense. But most Targa Tops use only one panel, leaving the entire area over the front seats as open space.
Though most people probably associate T Tops with Camaros and Firebirds, I think the stylish (and rare, only 1,252 were made) application on the Fiero ranks as one of, if not the best, ever done. But then, I kind of like the Fiero.
So would you like to see Targa or T Tops return on certain cars, like the Camaro? Are they viable alternatives to convertibles?
And of course, this is also the place to fret about anything else that's even slightly automotive-related.
--That Car Guy (Chuck)