Want A Tesla Model S Convertible? Newport Engineering Says It'll Build You One

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In theory, convertibles are the perfect way to enjoy electric motoring.

What better way to experience your zero-emissions car than with the roof down--enjoying the silence, the sounds of nature and the wind in your hair?

Tesla's first car, the Roadster, offered just such an experience--and one California firm is now offering the same with its drop-top Model S.

Newport Convertible Engineering, based out of Huntington Beach, seems to turn just about anything into a convertible, if its website is anything to go on.

From Jaguars through SUVs to stretched limos, Newport touts endless convertible conversions, as well as 6x6 conversions of imposing off-roaders like Mercedes G-Wagens and Range Rovers.

The company claims to have received an order for 100 Model S convertibles from a Chinese investor, at a conversion cost of $29,000 per car.

Nice work if you can get it, and we're intrigued to see the end result--the Tesla's structure is formed from aluminum, so hacking the roof off to make a four-door convertible isn't the simplest of tasks.

The cars will need significant structural re-engineering to account for the large hole where the roof once was--and designing a fabric roof to cover the car's large interior is no mean feat, either.

Newport does have a 30-year history of convertible engineering, so we don't doubt its intentions--though whether the end result will be quite as elegant as the firm's computer-generated (well, hastily-photoshopped) images is a different matter.

The firm's other four-door drop-top projects--including convertible Jaguar XJ sedans and Range Rovers--have a distinct pram-style quality to the roof, like that of an old Karmann-engineered Beetle convertible.

They also use a large roll-hoop to retain structural strength. To further the Volkswagen comparisons, that's a little like you'd find on an old Rabbit convertible.

In other words, we're not expecting the sleek, hoop-less design shown on Newport's website.

Newport also says it's officially requested a partnership with Tesla to build a further 5,000 Model S convertibles--and claims an announcement will be made on April 18.

Tesla itself has little to say on the matter. We reached out to communications manager Shanna Hendriks, who responded; "We don’t have any plans for a convertible at this time. We are very focused on developing Model X and bringing our mass market vehicle to market in about three years."

That's that, then--Tesla doesn't have the time for official convertible projects.

And pending Newport's design, we're not sure they'd advocate a conversion that was any less than perfect. In the meantime, we'll have to wait and see...


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