Every winter for as long as I’ve been a hardtop owner, I’ve dreaded it. The hardtop. Being closed in. The squeaks, the rattles, the confinement.
The fiberglass prison.
For real. I’m making it ridiculously dramatic, but it’s never been exactly a picnic. Sharka’s hardtop has always been far too noisy and annoying to keep it installed for longer than necessary. The real back window makes it worth it (I hate the soft top plastic window, no matter how “clear” it is) and the extra insulation against the cold is nice. But man, the very day it creeps above 50 for a high, I’m usually out there storing the hardtop away again.
But not this year.
This year, there were no rattles. No squeaks. Nothing. Just a solid, stable, wonderful hardtop. And I’m stumped as to why it would be like this. Between last winter and this one, only everything changed. Sharka went from being a 97 to being a totally stock 95. After I took the hardtop off in 2009, I added the rollbar and FM frame rail stiffeners. It was apparently enough to solve the rattling hardtop problem.
And with the lack of annoying noise, I grew to love the hardtop over the winter. Really LOVE it.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve always been a top-always-down kinda guy. I’ve been known to shake my fist at the rain clouds and scream “I’M NOT PUTTING IT UP!” as I drive home through a downpour. I leave the top down basically from April till October. I once got very sick because I took the wife for a top down drive to see the lights on Christmas Eve. And now, suddenly, I have no desire to drive a topless roadster.
I love how the hardtop looks. I love how it turns the Miata from a floppy noodle into a rigid…. (quick, give me a rigid food other than a carrot!) not-carrot. I love the visibility of the rear window. I love the lack of drag (yes, you can feel it) as you drive down the road. At this point in my Roadster-driving life, I love everything about the hardtop.
Next week I’m putting the hardtop back on. And I’m removing the soft top completely.