Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Panoramic Progress

The "panorama" roof is very fashionable in the new car world at the moment. Manufacturers such as Vauxhall/Opel, Mercedes Benz, Citroën and Ford all offer models in their current ranges with windscreens that extend back into the roof, to create the impression of a bigger and brighter cabin space and an added sense of inclusion with the surrounding environment.

As is so often the case, there is very little that is truly new under the sun. The Messerschmitt KR200 for example went a whole lot further than the current crop by making the entire roof section out of Plexiglass, and they were by no means the only car manufacturer to do this nor were they the first.

P8150068 (by retromotoring)

This Belgian Minerva Coupe dates back to 1932 and the roof treatment isn't too different in concept to those of today:

1932 Coupe Minverva 32 CV (by retromotoring)

1932 Coupe Minverva 32 CV (by retromotoring)

However if you want a similar experience from an ordinary classic car you really only have the option of an aftermarket sunroof which just isn't the same. Glass ones are too small to let any useful light through or offer a decent view, steel or fabric/Webasto-types have to be open to allow any light in at all. That's fine in the summer but not too enticing in the rain and cold of winter.

An interesting alternative back in the 1960s was this, the Skyscanner roof:

Austin Mini Skyscanner advert (by retromotoring)

Easily fitted and designed to fit "all popular makes of car", they certainly look as though they'd offer an experience similar to those in new cars. Whilst nowadays we have the technology to deal with excessive glasshouse-heat in summer with various coatings and treatments, back then a sliding cover blind did just fine - although I can't imagine it did wonders for the headroom.

I wonder how many were sold, and how many yellowy-scratched survivors there are today?

1 comment:

kitschnkarma said...

looks like he is taking a corpse somewhere to bury it in that ad - either that or he hasnt noticed she has actually been killed by the giant hailstones coming thru the roof