Dear Oversteerage, I’m happy to report that the convertible pickup truck is making a return. Like many of you, I’ve known for months now that Jeep was planning to make a pickup version of the Wrangler, since you can’t exactly disguise test mules of a Wrangler pickup truck as something else. But I never really considered the true implications of this: the Wrangler is a convertible. The new Jeep Gladiator is a pickup truck. Put them together and you have a convertible pickup truck.
This excites me immensely because the convertible pickup truck is, frankly, an untapped market segment that needs to be revived. In my lifetime, there have been two convertible pickup trucks. The first was a convertible version of the Dodge Dakota, which was often described as the least-structrually-rigid vehicle in existence. The drop-top Dakota sold in truly abysmal numbers and it didn’t last long, though I saw one driving around a few weeks ago here in San Diego with the roof down.
The other, more recent convertible pickup truck was the Chevrolet SSR, which really stretches the definition of "pickup truck" since it had a very small bed that had a trunk cover on it. But it was a truck, and it was a convertible, and it, too, sold in poor numbers. Chevrolet eventually gave it a massive 6.0-liter V8 engine after starting off with a 5.3-liter V8, but that didn’t boost sales, and it was canceled.
But now the drop-top pickup truck is back. This became clear to me at the Los Angeles Auto Show when I walked up to the Jeep Gladiator, and I saw it in all its glory: a 4-door pickup truck with a nice truck bed and the roof off. And the doors removed. This gives us, the people, an opportunity to experience something we haven’t done in years: driving around with a bunch of stuff in the back of a work truck, while simultaneously enjoying a nice breeze.
Unlike the last two convertible trucks, however, this time I think it will actually sell.
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