There’s no experience quite like the wind in your hair, sun on your face, and revving through a tight corner. I picked up my first convertible in the summer between high school and college. It was a 92 Pontiac Sunbird, which may be one of the worst cars GM ever made, but I was instantly hooked. While the 145 hp v6 3100 engine is utterly anemic compared to the modified Eclipse that I drive today, the bottom end offered just enough fun for an 18 year old kid to make trouble for himself. Friendships were made and cemented in the road trips that would span over the summer before I inevitably caved to adulthood, heading off to college and beginning my career. But in one, incredibly irresponsible summer, the seeds of my love for drop tops began.
While I was already into modding cars, having gone through autoshop in high school and working on my old non turbo eclipse, the sunbird was my first chance to really get my hands dirty. I drove that car throughout college, driving 100 miles a day to make it to class. In that time, the car went through 3 engines and I spent many nights in my uncle Bruce’s garage keeping that car going.
A decade later, I still love convertibles. I’ve also grown to love traveling, camping, exploring the outdoors with my dog, Covan, and I still have the same itch for more power that I felt the first time I sat in my eclipse at 15. But just as I found with the Sunbird at 18, there are many impracticalities that come with owning a convertible at age 28. Leaking tops, vandalism, limited storage space, less drive train options, different rules at the track, and a place for my 90lb dog to sit in car that can barely hold a child seat are all problems I have to deal with to keep the dream alive. But I’m a dreamer, and I’m stubborn to boot.
So, I started VertTuner.com to document how I conquer these issues inch by inch and to invite others to write about their own experiences. Whether you’re using your drop top for a little spirited driving on the weekend, trying to make it beast at the track, or just trying to figure out how to get the groceries to fit, this is the place for you.