Long before SUVs and crossover began flooding the market, Cadillac planned to build an ATS convertible. Flash-forward to the present day and such a car never came to fruition.
But, that hasn’t stopped one a Florida-based coachbuilder from making its own, and it’s a Cadillac ATS-V. Jalopnik reported on Wednesday that Convertible Builders LLC has spent decades turning factory hard-top cars into convertibles. Specifically, they focus on cars that should have come with a convertible option. The ATS-V made the list.
As one can imagine, an incredible amount of work goes into making the ATS-V look like a factory vehicle. The shop reinforces the underside of the car before chopping the roof off to provide the strength needed. In the process, the ATS-V receives “a significant twisting benefit,” the company’s owner said.
The shop installs other upgrades to eliminate cowl shake, ensure serviceability, and interior reinforcements. A major focus is on the B pillar so the car can handle numerous door closings and the event of a side-impact crash. Then, extra reinforcement is added to the A pillar and an area just in front of the soft top called the header.
“There’s three layers [of steel] on that header,” he said. “We weld in reinforcement steel across that header,” which provides even more stiffness where the roof fastens.
After all of the upgrades, the owner said each car gains only around 100 pounds over the factory car. And in the case of the ATS-V, it looks really, really good. Convertible Builders also ensures the soft-top folds into a neat storage area and does not compromise room in the rear seat of the car. We don’t know if we’ll ever see another factory Cadillac convertible, but this ATS-V gives us a glimpse of what could have been.