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"off duty" 1970 - 1997 - eine Freizeit-Zeitung für's US-Militär

Die in diesem amerikanischen (Freizeit-) Shopping-Magazin angepriesenen Hifi- und Video-Produkte waren auschließlich amerikanischen und kanadischen Militärangehörigen zugänglich - also zu kaufen - und vor allem zu ganz ungewöhnlich (verblüffend) niedrigen US $ Military-Preisen. Zu der einführenden "off duty" Seite geht es hier lang. -  Um 1970 begann der weltweite Hifi-Boom bis zum 1. Crash 1978 und dann wieder zum 2.Crash um 1990. Über die 20 Jahre nach 2001 lesen Sie mehr in den Kolumnen auf diesen japanischen Seiten.


They Don't Flip Their Tops Anymore


.The good old American convertible is driving off into the sunset-for good - By HAL SCHELL



1973 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

REMEMBER those movies of the 1930s and 1940s you saw on late television in the States? The hero, Cary Grant or John Wayne or maybe RobertTaylor, would take the heroine out for a drive in the California sun. Or in the moonlight.

And he'd be driving a nifty little convertible, maybe a '37 or '38 Ford. Thanks to the magic of the film crew, there'd be zero wind noise. The heroine's hair wouldn't blow one whit. If she got a bit chilly, which always happened, she just snuggled a mite closer to Cary or John or Robert. And everything was OK.

A whole generation of American youth was brought up to believe that "rag top" ownership was the epitome of the good life. It didn't much matter that you had to buy a new top for your jewel every couple of years and that you never could see out of the discolored rear plastic window.

Who cared that the tops didn't fit very well around the windows? But the rain came in. If you lived in the North, it was common in the winter to be greeted by a seat full of fine white snow that had sifted in. In the summer, though, you really lived.

Well, if you are one of those with a secret longing for convertible ownership, hustle down to your local dealer. Because the American rag top is about to go the way of the Dodo bird.

After poring over untold volumes of material I collected on the '73 Detroit offerings, all I could find were nine convertible models. And this includes the two versions of Mercury's Cougar, Chevy's Corvette and Ford's Mustang -

FoMoCo's only convert' by the way. My library of several hundred photos of '73 cars yielded but a single convert' photo - the Cad El Dorado. So I have to conclude that even those companies still manufacturing a rag top are not especially proud of the fact.

By '76, I'm predicting, this total will be down to two, and they'll be the personal sporty-car types.

"Just what happened?" I asked myself. "Why is the convertible dying just at the time when it should be healthiest? At a time when engineers have licked the problems of top life, tight windows, rattly joints, ease of putting up and down?"

One of the Dodge Boys, a local dealer, puts it this way, "No one has even asked about a convertible in the last couple of years." The fact is (and this dealer didn't know for sure) Dodge no longer manufactures a convertible.

However, I've found that marques that do have a convert' in their line often don't give it showroom space. "I have little call for'em," says a Chevy dealer. This year, Chevrolet trimmed its convertible offering to one besides the Corvette.

There are obvious reasons.

Air conditioning is a popular option these days, and it is hardly compatible with folding tops. There is a proliferation of 2-door hardtops with leatherette-covered tops that give the convert ible look without the bother. The gals with fancy hairdos never were very fond of the convertible, and in these Lib times they have more to say about new car selection.

The driver of the '70s is more safety conscious, too. He wants to drive a safer car, even though he may not always choose to drive it safely. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what happens when you get upside down in a convertible. Ultimately, it will probably be this factor that tolls the death knells for the rag top. Uncle Sam's "roll-over-able" specs of the near future may be too difficult to comply with. And with the puny demand for converts, why should the manufacturers bother to try?

Another deterrent to open-car ownership is the miserable polluted air in many of today's big cities. Who wants to put the top down and expose himself to the stuff?

So what would Cary or John or Robert do today if Betty, Ginger or June were to say: "Honey, I'm getting a little bit cold. I've got goose bumps on my arms"? He'd push a button, and the petite little sun roof would slip silently closed. Then he'd turn the heater up a couple notches, check his shoulder harness for proper fit, then drive off into the setting sun.

He wouldn't even have the sniffles.

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