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A retractable hardtop is a form of convertible that uses a top composed of more rigid materials instead of a canvas softtop. The system involves only the foldable roof and boot that opens oppositely to allow the roof to be stowed at the back of the boot and then, the boot closes all in a touch of the button. The benefits over the softtop are an increased amount of security, the roof is stronger and adds the convertible's coupe image when the roof is up. But all of that comes at an expense of weight (mainly because of the reinforcements for the body and the roof folding mechanisms) and boot space cut short.


This retractable hardtop was first seen in an open top Ford Fairlane which involved the whole top stored at the back of the boot but using the whole roof can take up a great deal of boot space.

The proper retractable hardtop system was featured in a 1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK and is the first production car to use this feature. Unlike the Fairlane, the roof is foldable so it can fit in a short boot. The roof of the SLK is composed of two pieces electrically operated, the boot has two hinges (normal hinges for opening the boot and extra hinges for opening the boot for roof storage) and the control unit that manages all of these operations.

Then, many other cars use this feature and they include the Lexus SC430, Peugeots 206 and 207 CC and the 307 CC and vise versa, Volkswagen Eos and the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class just to name a few.

Notable retractable hardtops

See also