Reader Question: What Happened to T-Tops?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Kristy asks: When I was in college back in the ’80s, my boyfriend had an IROC-Z Camaro with T-tops. I remember seeing cars with T-tops all the time. I never see them anymore. Did they just fall out of fashion?

My reply: No, T-tops fell out of favor with Uncle.

The reason you don’t see them anymore – as a new car feature – is because of federal roof-crush saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety standards, enforceable at gunpoint. Meaning – they’ll literally kill you to keep you saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe.

Glass isn’t structural, so it’s very hard to design a T-top roof that is “compliant” with the federal ukase that requires the car’s roof be designed such that it can support the weight of the car in the event the car rolls over.

There’s another factor, too – and it’s related.

People are much less tolerant now of squeaks, rattles – and leaks. When you cut in T-tops, you cut out a lot of roof rigidity. It flexes more, which causes  . . . squeaks and rattles and leaks. It was a common problem, back in the day, for water to dribble into the T-topped car’s interior when it rained. Over time, this would often become worse as rubber seals shrank or got brittle – which they inevitably do.

Still, I miss T-Tops, too. I never much liked convertibles; too much wind and cutting off the roof often ruined the car’s lines. With T-tops, you got better wind management and better looks – in my opinion anyhow.

They may return, one day.

If we can get rid of Uncle.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet (pictured below) in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  



  1. As far as I know, the only modern T-Top’s still around are the Wranglers and Gladiators with the hard tops.

    Just take off the front two panels and bam! T-Top. Of course, why just stop there when you can go naked

  2. I have never been a convertible lover. Unless the car is really designed for that look, it nearly always screws it up. I’m not much for NO rollover protection either. I have always driven much too close to the edge to not have a roof.

    It’s not like the Camaro and Firebird were very rigid cars to begin with. I hunted down all the special parts for a killer SBC like angle plug heads, custom grind cam, Team G Weiand intake, various other goodies for building my best friend an engine for his 77 Z 28. Doing 70 down the road when you tromped on it, the passenger window would pull away from the seal. Once you let off it would seat again. Driving those cars really hard with lots of power was cause to do some serious strengthening on them. I liked those cars but I preferred a body on frame. Working on a friend’s Vette we had it sitting on the frame on 3 spots. Since the floor wasn’t perfectly level, the 4th would tick-tock when we’d do something, just didn’t quite touch.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here