We simply have to echo Road & Track’s love for a giant, yacht-like four-door convertible There’s something simply American about a barge of a car with no roof.
Despite the convertible market retracting more and more each year, a four-door convertible would make for a stunning centerpiece for a certain luxury line from General Motors, no? R&T had a few words with General Motors chief of global design, Ed Welburn, over the matter.
“When you’re doing a convertible, you’re taking away a lot of structure,” Welburn said. “When you make a four-door convertible, even more of the structure goes away, and the car would flex a lot.”
What does he mean? He means a four-door convertible would act just as you may remember one from yore: heavy, cumbersome and it would suck gas like a five-year old drinking a juice box.
“Your fuel efficiency would really suffer tremendously,” he added. “You could design it to meet all the regulations, but at the end of the day, after doing all of that, I think it would be a very, very heavy car—rather cumbersome.”
But, there is hope convertible connoisseurs.
“As we have more breakthroughs in materials and that mass comes down . . . if that breakthrough comes, it will happen,” he says. “It’s not going to happen in the next couple of years, but we’ll see.”
See, the 2000s up until present have been an interesting time for automotive design. Calls for vehicles to withstand their own weight under a roll-over crash, and other various safety measures, have had automakers scrambling to conform. This is also what killed the skinny pillars responsible for some of the elegant designs we love from yesteryear.
But, as materials evolve and change, we may one day be able to create that elegant A-pillar again, and maybe forego the B-pillar, too. Welburn noted it won’t happen any time soon, but there’s definitely some love for the idea in the future.
“It just brings a smile to your face when you think of a convertible that size and being able to travel—two couples, I just think of two couples or even a family in something like that,” he says. “It’s like a wonderful painting. There is nothing edgy or harsh about it at all.”