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LA show: Hyundai chops the top off Veloster

Peel mobile: The sliding roof on the Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept can open from the front or rear.

Roll-top Hyundai Veloster convertible ‘not out of the question’ for production

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Hyundai logo30 Nov 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

HYUNDAI appears to have channeled post-war European car design before taking the can opener to its Veloster sports coupe concept revealed at this week’s Los Angeles motor show.

The Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept features a sliding soft-top reminiscent of the opening roofs on 1950s cars such as the Citroen 2CV and Fiat 500, except that the roof on this version can slide forward or back.

The South Korean company says the car is only a concept at this stage, but has not ruled out production.

Hyundai Australia public relations manager Bill Thomas told GoAuto it was too early to say if the soft-top sportscar had a showroom future.

Mr Thomas said the company was testing the water with the concept at the Los Angeles show before making any decision.

“I don’t think it is completely out of the question, as all the structural elements are still there for a production version,” he said. “I would certainly like to see it.”

The C3 (standing for Convertible three-door) Roll Top’s powered sliding roof was modeled on semi-trailer truck side curtains, complete with C3 Roll Top logo emblazoned on it.

Sliced-up skateboards line the luggage area in a form of Gen Y mosaic.

The luggage area is accessed by a tailgate that, in the show car, doubles as a support for long loads such as the “fixie” bicycle that can stand up in the back with the soft-top pulled forward.

The reddish soft-top can slide forward or back, converting the car to either open-top convertible or, as the LA car shows, a form of ute for load lugging.

Unlike a full convertible, the side windows and roof rails remain intact, retaining an element of structural rigidity between the A-pillars and C-pillars.

Oddly, the wheels of the turbocharged C3 Roll Top are green at the back and black at the front – a colour scheme matched by the bicycle in the back.

The concept was designed at Hyundai Design North America in California, with the Golden State in mind.

Chief designer at the centre Chris Chapman said the designers had been inspired by the proverb ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ in coming up with the C3 Roll Top.

“The Veloster C3 Roll Top concept offers the ‘no strings attached’ freedom of a roll-top convertible and customisable utility that fits an everyday-to-a-play-day dual lifestyle,” he said.

Such versatility was top of mind at Citroen back in the 1940s when it came up with a similar design for its 2CV, turning a cheap two-cylinder French runabout into an all-purpose vehicle.

Other vehicles such as the Fiat 500 from the 1950s and, in the 1990s, the Mazda 121 have adopted similar designs, although in those cases the top was manually operated and only slid towards the rear.

The Veloster, with its unique three-door design – two on the kerb side and one on the driver’s side – is Australia’s top-selling sportscar, accounting for 25 per cent of all sales in the segment.

Powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 103kW of power and 167Nm of torque – and since August with a 150kW/265Nm Turbo variant – the Veloster has racked up more than 3000 sales this year.

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