Car News: Oversteer
You Can Have a Convertible Anything From NewPort Convertible Engineering
Every few months, I carry out one of my time-honored Internet rituals: I head over to the website of NewPort Convertible Engineering, which is located in Huntington Beach, California, and I see what they've turned into a convertible lately. The answer always is: a lot of stuff.
I first heard about NewPort Convertible Engineering ages ago, when they converted a Ferrari 456 -- only ever sold by Ferrari as a coupe -- into a convertible. I think they were also responsible for converting Volkswagen New Beetles into convertibles before Volkswagen actually offered a drop-top Beetle, and I know they converted at least a few Ferrari Testarossa models.
But recently, they've moved on to an enormously wide variety of convertibles, and their website always has some amazing photographs of their work. Right now, if you click on the "Convertible Cars" or "Custom Convertibles" section of their website, you will find a convertible version of an Acura TL, an E38 BMW 7 Series, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a GMC Yukon, a Toyota Prius, several different versions of the Range Rover, a Dodge Challenger, a Toyota FJ Cruiser, a 4-door Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, a Lincoln Town Car, a Chevy Monte Carlo, a stretched-wheelbase Nissan Patrol and a Chevy Express conversion van.
Now, these convertible conversions don't always come out looking beautiful. For structural integrity and rollover purposes, NewPort Convertible Engineering seems to have to mount a roll bar on its 4-door convertible conversions, which makes them look a little odd with the top down. And there's no doubt many of them look even odder with the top raised. But here's the thing: If you wanted a convertible version of a car an automaker never actually made as a convertible, well, you can get one. And NewPort Convertible Engineering will make it possible.
Among NewPort Convertible Engineering's most recent successes are perhaps two of its most exciting overall models: a Ford F-150 Crew Cab -- yes, they've made a convertible Ford F-150 Crew Cab -- and a Tesla Model S. Based on the pictures on NCE's website, it appears they've made more than one Tesla Model S.
Interestingly, some of the links on NCE's website include videos, and they're a bit mesmerizing -- both because you can see these cars in action, and because you can watch the top go down on a car that never really intended to have the top do anything other than sit there. For instance: Tell me that this video of the roof going down in a Lexus LX 570, folding neatly away with the push of a button, isn't kind of interesting.
Anyway: I'll let NCE's website -- and the photos I've shown below -- do the rest of the talking. Unfortunately, NewPort Convertible Engineering doesn't disclose pricing on its website, but I suspect conversions aren't cheap -- so don't start fantasizing about a drop-top version of your own car.