Driven - Apr 2017

Why We Drive Convertibles

In life, it is just accepted that if you’re feeling partial to something a little nicer than the norm, you’re going to have to pay for it. I was treating myself to some Chinese takeaway the other night and thought to myself, “Self, you should have a fortune cookie.” Not a bad idea either, considering our political climate, as well as vocational prospects which lie on my horizon.

Next to the stereotypical fortune cookie jar with its jaunty opening sitting to one side like a late 2000’s Mercedes-Benz ML with failed air-suspension, I know you’ve seen both, lay another fortune cookie jar with the very same jaunty opening. In one jar, there were plain, common or garden fortune cookies, and in the other, there were chocolate coated fortune cookies. Now, while I am in no position to comment on how the addition of chocolate to your fortune cookie might affect your future prospects, what I can say is that fortune cookies are delicious, and so is chocolate, so the concept is sound on paper at least…

‘R5’ had been badly written on the plain fortune cookie jar with what I can imagine the vertically challenged biddy behind the counter mistook for a permanent marker, but it most certainly wasn’t. Much to my dismay, however, the chocolate covered cookies were R10 and this started to get me thinking…

For the price of one chocolate coated fortune cookie, I could have had two plain cookies with two whole fortunes included, whereas if I had opted for the chocolate cookie, I’d only receive one fortune, but it would be a chocolate covered fortune.

The dilemma above is one which can be observed when purchasing a convertible, a two-seater roadster in particular, and before you think that I’ve lost it, let me explain.
While we can all agree that for the most part, convertibles aren’t particularly practical, nor are they sensible purchasing decisions, they are quite nice. Yes you can very easily buy a sedan with twice as many doors and seats and said sedan will be notably cheaper than your two-seater roadster, but do we really care?

Well, if you have a family, then unfortunately I’m not here to give you false hope – the answer is yes. If the answer is no, however, or you are the sort of person who leaves the ferrying of children and their things to your better half, the roadster is actually quite a fun thing, just like a chocolate coated fortune cookie.

Scuttle shake, a wiggly body, a boot only large enough for a flip-flop and sunburn are only a few of the drawbacks to convertible ownership, but at the end of the day, few things are cooler than dropping the top and going for a drive. This is something that many will be able to relate to, in particular if you are a car person, and while they might be a bit embarrassing at times, the bottom line is that the majority, note that I did not say ‘all’, of convertibles are relatively classless.

Classics such as the Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMWs Z3 and Z4, Chrysler Crossfire and Alfa Romeo’s pornographic Spyder are all examples of cars which appealed to the not so sensible part of a human. While not all of the above were particularly good at all, they were purchases that resulted from some fortune cookie advice such as “Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.” Or “We write our own destiny, we become what we do.” Cringe.

Are they a waste of money? Probably. Are they completely pointless? Almost. But just like the humble fortune cookie, we all love a good convertible. Long live the drop top!

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