11/30/2018

Essen Motor Show Presents Convertibles from the Last 60 Years

From the Legendary Mercedes 190 SL to the Latest Corvette

Sporty Convertibles will be the title of an exclusive special show at this year's Essen Motor Show performance festival at Messe Essen from December 1 to 9 (Preview Day: November 30). Over 15 high-class "topless" vehicles from the last 60 years will be presented in Hall 3. Makes which cause the hearts of the automobile fans to beat faster will be represented, such as Aston Martin, BMW, Chevrolet Corvette, Cobra, Ferrari, Jaguar, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

There is some controversy about the "convertible" term. Strictly speaking, only an automobile equipped with a solid or flexible (e.g. made of fabric) top which can be folded back, lowered or removed completely may be designated as a convertible. Thus, the car can be driven in either the open or closed form. Open cars which have no roofs or only minimum weather protection are called speedsters or roadsters. There are also the following terms: "targa" (car with a roof which can be taken off while the rear window is permanently installed) and "spider" (Italian designation for roadster). In this respect, the terms cannot always be used in the precise sense. Therefore, the "convertible" designation is being utilised for all the specified variants in the meantime.

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL from 1956

The "oldest" model in the special show will be the Mercedes 190 SL from 1956 and the "youngest" the latest Chevrolet Corvette. With a 1.9-litre engine, 105 bhp and a top speed of 170 km/h at that time, the 190 SL was one of the quickest series cars which could be bought in Germany. These are values which are surpassed by today's "bread-and-butter" cars such as the VW Golf in the 1.0-litre version. Today, the latest Corvette comes along with 659 bhp and a top speed of 310 km/h. In 1956, it had 300 bhp and managed just over 200 km/h.

Porsche Carrera GT Convertible from 2005

The Carrera GT (type designation: 980) was developed with the aid of the multiple world rally champion Walter Röhrl who carried out test drives, above all, on the Northern Loop of the Nürburgring (amongst other objectives, for suspension tuning). It was originally planned to utilise the engine in a sports car prototype for the 24-hour race in Le Mans. However, the plans were not put into practice. According to information from Porsche, the Carrera GT for the road was built 1,282 times, handmade in the Leipzig factory, and cost Euro 452,690 at that time. The vehicle is equipped with a turbocharged 5.7-litre ten-cylinder engine which supplies 612 bhp. The top speed is over 330 km/h.

Ferrari Convertibles

Ferrari is one of the most legendary sports car makes. Two of the best-known open models will be shown in Essen, i.e. the California from 2012 and the Mondial from 1984. The California was presented in Paris on October 2, 2008. Three days later, it could be seen in action for the first time on the Nürburgring within the framework of the "Ferrari Racing Days". At the wheel: Michael Schumacher. In 2012, the 4.3-litre V8 engine supplied 490 bhp. The Mondial type was built in various versions from 1980 to 1989. In 1984, the 2.9-litre V8 engine supplied 460 bhp.

Great Britain which, with sports cars such as the Healey, the Triumph TR2 or the Austin Sprite, is often designated as the cradle of the post-war convertibles will be represented, amongst other vehicles, by two noble makes: Aston Martin with the DBS Volante from 2013 and Jaguar with the XJS from 1994. Both have large-volume six-cylinder V12 engines. In contrast, the 1.6-litre engine in the Porsche 356 from 1963 looks very modest. However, this Porsche type is one of the icons of automobile construction because Porsche began the series production as a manufacturer of sporty vehicles with it. In 1964, the 356 was then replaced by the 911 which is still in the programme today and is already regarded as legendary. Another convertible from this model series will be represented in Essen, i.e. the 993 turbo from TechArt from 1997.

List of the Confirmed Convertibles (Year of Construction)

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (1956)

Porsche 356C (1963)

Cobra Dax (1964)

Ferrari Mondial (1984)

Jaguar XJS (1994)

BMW M3 E36 (1995)

HMC Healey (1996)

Porsche 993 turbo TechArt (1997)

Porsche Carrera GT (2005)

Ferrari California (2012)

Aston Martin DBS Volante (2013)

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 3LZ (2018)

Maserati GranCabrio (2018)

Mercedes AMG C63 4matic (2018)