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Q

CAR BODYWORK. Can you define the precise meaning of the different names historically used to describe IT?  

A

There seems to be some confusion regarding the term `cabriolet', as applied to a type of car body. I had always understood that a cabriolet was a car which had conventional saloon doors and windows, but the canvas roof rolled back in the manner of a Fiat Topolino or a Citroen 2CV. The tittle `cabriolet' row seems to be applied to all manner of convertibles, such as Fords, Vauxhalls, Volkswagens, etc., which do not have these feature. Is this correct? And could you also explain the difference between a Sedanca de Ville and a Coupe de Ville?

I'll try and list as many different types as I can think of

Cabriolet: A two or four seat drop head on which part of the roof structure remains permanently in place - as is the case with the VW Golf cabriolet.

Convertible: Generic name for any car with a fullyfolding top where no part of the top is left in plate when the roof is folded.

Coupe: A fixed roof car with two or four seats, usually with rear head and legroom compromised for styling reasons.

Coupe de Ville: A formal but close-coupled hard top town car, sometimes with only two doors.

Drop-head coupe: Two or four seater with snug folding top; winding windows, and window frames which stay in place with the top down.

Estate Car: A car with squared-off bodywork aft of the front seats and doors at the back that open to roof height.

Folding Head Saloon: Saloon car with a folding or roll-top canvas centre to the roof (as per the 2CV).

Landaulette: A limousine with a folding canvas or leather hood over the rear passengers, but a fixed roof over the driver. Limousine: A large car with the driving compartment separated from the rear passenger compartment by a glass screen.

Phaeton: American term for what the English understand as a `tourer'.

Roadster: Open two-seater car with rudimentary foul weather equipment uses a frame which needs to be assembled and a hood stretched over it. Roadsters used to have side screens rather than winding windows.

Sedanca: A car with two doors and a removable top over the chauffeur's seat, but a fixed roof over the rear passengers.

Sedanca de Ville: A car with four doors and a removable top aver the chauffeur's seat, but a fixed roof over the rear passengers.

Saloon: A fixed roof car with four or more seats and plenty of headroom in the rear.

Shooting Brake: A car with squared-off bodywork aft of the front seats with doors at the back that open to roof height.

Station Wagon: A car with squared-off work aft of the front seats with doors at the back that open to roof height.  

Tourer: Four seater roadster, usually with a folding top but only rudimentary protection at the sides.

Traveller: A name used by Morris for a Station Wagon.

 

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