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Lifting the lid on convertible motoring

With Britain basking in summer sunshine, our minds turn to open top motoring and the British motorist's love for the convertible. As you might expect, there is a seasonal spike in demand for rag tops and we are now in the middle of the boom period for sales.

With Britain basking in summer sunshine, our minds turn to open top motoring and the British motorist's love for the convertible. As you might expect, there is a seasonal spike in demand for rag tops and we are now in the middle of the boom period for sales, as chief car editor for Glass's Guide, Rupert Pontin, explains: "There is a general trend for demand for convertibles in the used car sector to peak early in the summer months. This year, however, the pattern is a bit of a surprise. 4x4s are still topping the charts in terms of popularity, but this is most likely because the good weather has arrived a little later than normal. I would expect next month's figures to show a rise in the buying of convertibles."

While the summer peak in sales might not be a surprise, the extent of Britain's love of the convertible just might be. We know that we are one of Europe's wetter countries but we buy more soft tops than the Italians, Spanish or French. In fact, only the Germans buy more convertibles. That might seem odd but Steve Ashdown from Convertible Car Magazine contests the point about soft tops and hot countries: "Convertibles are actually better suited to a milder climate rather than hot, arid conditions where you can keep much cooler and less sunburnt in an air-conditioned hardtop."

It seems that British motorists just love to experience that wind in your hair feeling and look to make the most of the sunshine in our often dreary summers. It helps too that the technology is getting better, with tougher fabric hoods, metal folding roofs and powered mechanisms for getting them up and down. Ashdown adds: "Modern convertible roofs are watertight and offer great insulation and sound deadening for year-round driving. They will happily stand year-round outdoor life but they do need to be cleaned and proofed at least once a year to keep them looking good. My best tip is avoid parking under trees if you don't want them to turn green."

These new hoods have seen the popularity of convertibles increase dramatically but values are still affected by the weather. The Met Office tells us that this spring, for example, was the coldest for 50 years and that resulted in a drop in the price of second hand convertibles of around 4%. Unsurprisingly, weather has a geographical impact on sales. Surrey boasts the most convertible sales whereas the Outer Hebrides has the fewest.
 

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