Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Best Convertible Drives in the Southeast United States

Buckle your seat belt, grab a gallon of sweet tea and binge watch “The Dukes of Hazzard” because this blog post will take you on a scenic road trip through the Deep South.  While it isn’t quite the West Coast, there’s still a handful of remarkable drives located in the Southeast that will satiate even the most adventurous convertible owner.  After careful deliberation, we’ve selected a handful of roads in the Southeast that’re well worth traveling.  These drives are all special for the scenery, history or culture (aka comfort food) you can experience along the way.  Trust us—we ain’t just whistlin’ dixie.

Lookout Mountain Parkway

The Lookout Mountain Parkway will take you across state lines and on a scenic journey through the south.  Along the way you’ll spot towering waterfalls at the Little River Canyon Preserve and Noccalula Falls Park.  If you make the drive up to Tennessee and aren’t afraid of heights, ride the Lookout Mountain Incline—it’s the world’s steepest railway.  Make sure to take a pit stop in the tiny town of Mentone, Alabama to experience some small town southern culture. 

Cherohala Skyway

A National Scenic Byway located in Tennessee, the Cherohala Skyway cuts through two national forests—the Cherokee and the Nantahala.  Take your convertible along the winding 42-mile road and enjoy the incredible view from the Santeetlah Overlook.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a better vantage point of the Great Smoky Mountains.   

Coastal Highway Route 17
Boasting fantastic seaside scenery and spectacular seafood eateries, U.S. Highway 17 is perfect for a low-key, coastal drive.  If you have a hankering for some deep-fried ocean critters, be sure to stop by Love’s Seafood or the Old School Diner to satisfy your craving.

Seven Mile Bridge
This stunning expanse of road stretches over the Florida Keys and is unquestionably our top convertible drive in the Deep South.  For a little under seven miles, you’ll race your convertible over beautiful, blue ocean water.  If you’re interested in a history lesson, take a walk down the original Seven Mile Bridge (pedestrian traffic only) and learn about the road’s origins as an overseas railroad.

These routes just scratch the surface of the innumerable driving opportunities waiting to be explored by convertible owners in the south.  Was your favorite scenic convertible ride excluded from our list?  Leave a southern road trip suggestion in the comment section below.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Amazing Evolution of the American Convertible Car

While the convertible as we know it today was invented in the United States in the early 1900s, the first cars built by Henry Ford and other greats were basically carriages that had horsepower – without the horses. Fully enclosed cars quickly became preferred due to the vast number of dirt roads, weather conditions and sharing of the roads with actual horses. People were spending more time in their cars and a fully enclosed cabin was the most practical option at the time. Companies including Chrysler, Peugeot and others manufactured the first widely sold convertibles that became popular after the Great Depression. While it may be hard to believe that such a luxurious innovation came during such a difficult time in American history, it isn’t hard to understand why it has maintained its status as a symbol of joy and freedom. So we’ve put together a list of the most important innovations that have helped make the convertible the most admired automobile in the world.

  • Retractable hardtop – The first retractable hardtop convertibles were built in the 1930s and proved to be a popular innovation that has constantly evolved and improved over the years. The hardtop was housed out of site in a trunk-like compartment and could be operated electronically. This was an improvement from the cloth folding tops that came on the original carriage-like cars and provided a sophisticated look and design.
  • Folding Hardtop – The collapsible hardtop gave the convertible the protection of a fully enclosed car with greatly reduced storage necessary for housing the convertible top. These convertible hardtops are able to collapse into multiple folding parts that stay tightly hidden away when retracted.
  • New Fabrics – There are many innovative fabrics being used for today’s soft top convertibles including Stayfast, German A5, Twillfast and many others that take advantage of the strength of vinyl and other composite materials. These materials are able to withstand the elements, as well as the stretching that comes with even excessive use. In the past, soft top convertibles were expected to need replacement after several years. The materials that have been designed today are able to last for years before showing any signs of fatigue or stress.
  • Creative Design – Due to new creative designs, we are able to upgrade our inventory as often as possible. Our convertible soft tops can come in almost any design or color with many replacement convertible tops equipped with new and improved hardware and stitching. These creative innovations improve upon your current convertible’s design to ensure they are able to withstand frequent use and the elements with ease.

The convertible car has come a long way since its inception with new innovations being introduced each year. Upgrading a convertible top has never been easier and our replacements incorporate the newest fabrics and technologies to ensure we provide the most reliable convertible tops on the market. What is your favorite convertible innovation? Share your thoughts in the comments below!