One of the things I enjoy most about the Miata is that it doesn’t have a roof. Well, it does have one, of sorts – it’s made of fabric and plastic – but it is almost never raised on my car, except when it has to be stored for an extended period. I love the feeling of freedom that comes with driving an open car, even if it does mean that people in other vehicles or on the sidewalk feel that they have an open invitation to initiate conversations with me completely out of the blue. It just comes with the convertible territory.
As someone who has been known to drive home in the rain with the top down, it might surprise you to find out that lately I have been pondering a purchase that is seemingly incompatible with my wide open lifestyle. That’s right – I have been tempted by a hard top for my Miata.
Why a hard top? To begin with, there’s no denying that while the Mazda Miata’s cloth roof looks dowdy, when fitted with a hard top the tiny convertible transforms quite beautifully into a sexy-looking coupe. Past that superficial – although important – consideration, there is also the fact that a hard top would be a practical addition to my track day excursions. I am planning to hit up both Monticello and Watkins Glen this coming season, and having a hard top on the car during a long trip would help me to pack as much stuff into the vehicle as possible, as well as better prepare me for running in the wet should conditions turn sour. Visibility with the cloth roof up is sub-par at best when it rains, but a hard top can be had with a defroster and the wider rear glass improves sightlines considerably.
I have also come to the conclusion that a hard top might help me extend the driving season by at least a few weeks at either end. Given that I live in a part of the world where summer is a fleeting beast almost always seen running towards or away from the observer, a roof over my head could very well goad me into driving the car right up until the snow nips at my garage – as well as protect me from March and April showers.
The final caveat concerning hard top procurement is their relative rarity. Since the creation of the Spec Miata racing series, which requires a mandatory hard top on every car, these accessories have been harder and harder to find at a reasonable price on the open market – let alone in a color that would match my black Miata. I have resigned myself to having to over-pay for a solid roof should I eventually cross over to the dark side.
So what is the verdict? Do I stay true to the spirit of the car and continue my topless adventures, or should I give in to practicality and procure myself a hard top for those special situations?