We happened upon three Oldsmobile Cutlasses, each representing a different era and each with its own way of dealing with the ever present need to go topless by hook or crook.. or hatch.
The first of these is a fairly together ’73 Cutlass Supreme, finished in Crimson Red and equipped with an oh-so-seventies T-top. Convertibles were on the wane back then when Federal roll over standards loomed large and manufacturers were so spooked that convertible variants disappeared from product lines. The T-top was a way to let the sunshine in, Aquarius style, without having to deal with fabric of any kind. Hatches over the front driver’s and passenger seats were removable like rooftop emergency exits on a school bus. Hardly a wind-in-your-face solution, T-tops were, nonetheless, comparatively popular at the time. Supreme or pedestrian, it seems as though the rubber gaskets on this one had grown brittle so the owner resorted to the age-old duct tape remedy to keep moisture intrusion at a minimum.
By the 80s and 90s, true convertibles had made something of a comeback. This Cutlass was, in truth, an adapted 2 door coupe from which the roof had been torn away while the B-pillars, aft of the front windows, remained, with a hoop extending across the span from port to starboard. Like the Volkswagen Cabriolet of the time, it was a compromise that recalled the heyday of the convertible while giving in to structural compromise.
This Cutlass was a dulled compromise that pleased very few and presented a lumpy silhouette.
The final example in our Cutlass showcase is this noble 1970 model, a true convertible. You put the top down and that’s it.. no residual superstructure to obscure your view of the world and vice versa. As it should be.
They don’t make Olds Cutlass convertibles anymore. In fact, they don’t make Oldsmobiles of any kind at all any more, the last one having rolled off the assembly line in Lansing ten years ago. It wasn’t a Cutlass and it wasn’t a convertible so very few took notice. Living and dying by the sword, anybody?
Let’s go back to a time when Cutlass was a newly sharpened blade. Here’s a commercial from 1964 in which a Cutlass convertible — a true convertible — was showcased for all the world to see.
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