Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Bubble Canopies

Any category that includes both the Caparo T1 and the Peel Trident is awesome in my book.

Yes, Encyclopedia Hoonatica is still with us, it’s just been laying low. The Rumor Mill says that it’s being deliberately kept down by The Man (who wants to repress the propagation of Hoonistic lore in the name of decency and social order fiendish, power-mad tyranny). So, to avoid mass laptop bonfires in the streets, we’ll keep the torch lit by sneaking it in here every once in a while on the hush-hush, on the down-low, on the sly.
It’s frighteningly similar to the way The Man has tried to keep all those futuristic bubble-top concept cars out of our driveways and garages*. For decades, manufacturers hinted that they were just around the corner, but like the oft-rumored 200 MPG carburetor, they never quite materialized en masse on the showroom floor. Yet, a bold few have dared to stare down The Man through a huge plexiglass pimple. We celebrate these defenders of vehicular wierdness! In their honor, your Encyclo-Challenge is to name all the bubble-top cars you can.
Chuck Miller's bubblicious "Crater Raider I"

To be “clear” (pun intended), these are not bubble-shaped roofs, but totally transparent roofs (aka “rooves” to those of you in the Northeast). Unlike most E-H entries, we’re not just interested in production cars here. The two road cars in the lead image are probably the lowest hanging fruit, and I can think of only two other mass-produced examples, which would make for a pretty boring comment stream. So — racers, concept cars, one-off customs — bring ’em all to our giant orgy of lexan and compound curves!
*The fact that they were hellishly hot and uncomfortable in the sun had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Read the comments first. Don’t post duplicates. Add width=”500″ to the HTML tag for large photos.
Image sources:

  • Peel Trident: minidoodle.com
  • Caprio T1: Photo taken by me at SEMA 2006
  • Crater Raider I: Hot Rod Show World Magazine, 1971 edition

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    Low hanging fruit, GM Firebird I, II, and III
    <img src="http://douglasmotorsinc.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-o-matic/cache/33b09_GM_Firebirds.jpg"width=500&gt;

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    Man, I wish this was an acceptable:
    <img src="http://www.autospectator.com/uploads/Saab/Concept/AeroX/AeroX_opening.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. smokyburnout Avatar

      Just needs a bit more glass, like the Audi Aspid.
      <img src="http://image.automobilemag.com/f/29289508+w750+st0/1005_15+1988_audi_aspid+side_view.jpg&quot; width="600"/>
      IMG from Automobile

    1. citroen67 Avatar

      This one was built by some students at the University of South Australia. It was nicknamed "The Modern day Messerschmitt." Still not as cool looking as the original.
      <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_VvwAW6tSqJM/SD9geLT9RTI/AAAAAAAAAO0/CR6wpML49_U/s400/eco+bubble.jpg"&gt;

    2. citroen67 Avatar

      Okay, "Nibbles," give me back my reply!!!

    3. mdharrell Avatar

      Let's not forget the similar, but distinct, FMR Tg500
      <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4126/5198320774_c73fd2cb0c.jpg&quot; width="450">

  3. citroen67 Avatar

    Maybe a low hanger…or a disqualification due to the fact that I don't think that the roof was entirely closed off by glass.
    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tvP0QLYae_A/TUe8Kv0A9tI/AAAAAAAAAZs/XShB5qd72Sk/s1600/batmobile2.jpg"&gt;

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Either way, muthalovin beat you to it with the second post.

      1. citroen67 Avatar

        DOH! That'll teach me to hit "refresh" more often while trying to sift through the danglers for a ripe one!

      2. citroen67 Avatar


  4. mdharrell Avatar

    It's far from being the whole top, but Ford put a plexiglass roof into mass production with the '54 Skyliner:
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4040/4291342518_da2ed4d6d3.jpg&quot; width="450">
    and continued it as a seldom-requested option on the '55 and '56 Crown Vics. Mercury had its own version with the Sun Valley, too.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2381/3536341559_c3b73e0703.jpg&quot; width="450">

    1. Thrashy Avatar

      Similarly, there was a trim level available on EDM and JDM CRXs that replaced the entire roof panel with glass. It's not a true bubble top, but it's pretty damn close:
      <img src="http://www.shoden.org/images/cars/CRX/CRX_Exclusive_800.bmp&quot; width="600'>
      Unfortunately for me, the wealth of closed-cockpit Le Mans Prototypes I'm familiar with are disqualified on account of their bubbles being mostly carbon fiber.

    2. Thrashy Avatar

      Perhaps not a true bubbletop, but there was a trim level available on EDM and JDM CRXs that replaced the entire roof panel with glass:
      <img src="http://www.shoden.org/images/cars/CRX/CRX_Exclusive_800.bmp&quot; width="600">
      Unfortunately, the wealth of closed-cockpit Le Mans Prototypes I'm familiar with are disqualified, on account of their bubbles being mostly carbon fiber.

    3. dragon951 Avatar

      If that's in, then move over for side pillars & glass:
      <img src="http://static.blogo.it/autoblog/porsche_997_targa_4_sky_big_01.jpg&quot; width="500">
      And this one you can take home today…if you have 80 grand.

  5. tonyola Avatar

    Big Daddy Roth's Beatnik Bandit
    <img src="http://www.goofspot.com/bamboo/images/rothbb1.jpg&quot; width=400>

  6. P161911 Avatar

    Aurora safety car
    <img src="http://www.diseno-art.com/images/aurora.jpg"width=500&gt;

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Dammit, stole my answer.

  7. vwminispeedster Avatar

    Sweet sassy molassey! I have never seen that thing before. What drugs was that designer on that made him/her think, "You know, this vehicle is a really good idea."

    1. P161911 Avatar

      It was actually for sale on ebay a little while back. Much the worse for wear though. http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2011/01/ebay-find-lu

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Shades of the 1968 Automodule!
      <img src="http://maxcdn.fooyoh.com/files/attach/images/1044/400/853/004/1968automodule2.jpg&quot; width="500">
      (I believe it may be French.)

  8. smokyburnout Avatar

    Also in this category, Prince Albert's Lexus Landaulet.
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/06/01-lexus-ls-600h-l-landaulet.jpg&quot; width="600"/>
    IMG from Autoblog

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Do you have Prince Albert in a bowl?

  9. FlipperAZ Avatar

    The Probe 16
    &lt;DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"&gt;
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/12/2010/10/probe16.jpg"&gt;
    The silhouette
    &lt;DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"&gt;
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jv1uTpgUfVw/TF6p-ctSQ7I/AAAAAAAAAEM/qs8TqvlnzFM/s1600/Silo_Real.jpg&quot; width=600>
    Toyota Sera
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://images.carpictures.cc/photo/m/Toyota_Sera_Toyota_00025380.jpg'&gt;

  10. mdharrell Avatar

    "…these are not bubble-shaped roofs, but totally transparent roofs…."
    Yes, but if you're willing to overlook all that, we can include the Avolette Tourisme:
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3476/3210486256_1ac852b6b9.jpg&quot; width="450">

  11. OA5599 Avatar

    The Mach 5 has a canopy for when it goes underwater.
    <img src="http://www.nyjtimes.com/Entertainment/Movies/SpeedRacer/emile-mach5.jpg&quot; width=500>

  12. OA5599 Avatar

    Swamp Rat XXX brought canopies to Top Fuel for a while.
    <img src="http://garlits.com/images2009/SwampRats/swamp-rat-31a.jpg&quot; width=500>
    They were at the salt flats long before that, though.
    <img src="http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/images/history/drivers/Craig_Breedlove/craig_breedlove3.jpg&quot; width=500>

  13. Alff Avatar

    Mitsubishi HSR Concept. The company declined to put it in production when someone realized that, with no opening windows, there would be no way to vent the exhaust smoke that invariably accompanies Mitsubishis.
    <img src="http://www.carstyling.ru/Static/SIMG/420_0_I_MC_jpg_W/resources/concept/large/1989_Mitsubishi_HSR-II_concept_01.jpg?3253AB12BACD4425C6F966255B001BC9"&gt;

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      I swear GM had like 3 dozen late-80s, early 90s concepts that looked like that.
      To what end? As best I can tell, the 4th gen F-bodies and a few Saturns. Oh! and the Geo Storm.

  14. dmilligan Avatar

    Mysterion by Big Daddy;
    <img src="http://theselvedgeyard.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/2576409661_aec65ab588_b.jpg&quot; width=”600”>

  15. packratmatt Avatar

    Don't forget the Adams Probe

  16. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    Marcos Mantis XP
    <img src="http://www.thecoolist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Marcos-Mantis-XP-2.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Ferrari 575 Superamerica
    <img src="http://www.productioncars.com/send_file.php/ferrari_575_superamerica_top_red_2006.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Yamaha OX99-11
    <img src="http://www.chrisabraham.com/Yamaha-OX99-11-Concept.jpg&quot; width=500>
    ItalDesign Alfasud Caimano
    <img src="http://www.carroantigo.com/imagens/carros_conceito/1971_italdesign_alfasud_caimano.jpg&quot; width=500>
    ItalDesign/Maserati Boomerang
    <img src="http://www.carroantigo.com/imagens/carros_conceito/1972_italdesign_maserati_boomerang.jpg"&gt;
    Pininfarina/Honda HP-X
    <img src="http://www.carroantigo.com/imagens/carros_conceito/1984_pininfarina_honda_hp_x.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Chevrolet XP-755 (Mako Shark 2)
    <img src="http://www.carroantigo.com/imagens/carros_conceito/1962_chevrolet_xp755_mako_shark_2.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Buick Centurion
    <img src="http://www.carroantigo.com/imagens/carros_conceito/1956_buick_centurion_2.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Perennial vaporware, the Acabion GTBO
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/acabion-gtbo-4.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Opel Astra GTC Panoramic roof
    <img src="http://cdn2.worldcarfans.co/2004/9/medium/2040908.004.1M.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Foremost Snowcoach
    <img src="http://www.busdrawings.com/coach/brewster/snowcoach/1984/534r.jpg&quot; width=500>
    various popemobiles:
    Mercedes-Benz 230G
    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2008/09/230G-Popemobile.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Peugeot 504:
    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2008/09/Peugeot-504-Popemobile.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Land Rover Range Rover
    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2008/09/Range-Rover-Popemobile.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Leyland of some sort:
    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2008/09/Giant-Pope-Mobile.jpg&quot; width=500>

  17. topdeadcentre Avatar

    Rare dealer option for the 1954 Corvette (approximately 20 original bubbles known):
    <img src="http://www.chevyhardcore.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/28/files/2010/11/RM54BT-1.jpg&quot; width="550/">

  18. salguod Avatar

    The rare 70's Buick Skyhawk with the C06 plexiglass roof option:
    <img src="http://austininfo.com/images/430_1977_Buick_Skyhawk.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    According to this thread at the H-body forums, only 5-6 are still on the road. More info here, says some 2,700 were built.
    When I had my Monza in college, I wanted to find one of those roof panels and turn mine into a targa with removable glass roof panel. Would have done wonders for the frame stiffness, right?