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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster

A roadster, also known as a spyder or spider, is a two-seat car, traditionally without either a roof, side or rear windows.

Most modern day two-seaters have windows and feature retractable roofs (and are thus convertibles). While retractable soft-tops are nevertheless marketed as roadsters/spyders, retractable hard-tops are commonly designated as coupe roadsters.



1932 Duesenberg J Murphy-bodied roadster

Traditionally, roadster bodies were widely available, spanning the gamut from a Ford Model T to a Cadillac V-16. They are popular with collectors, often valued higher than even other open styles.

Hot rod roadsters

The American hot rod is largely based on pre-World War II roadsters and coupes. Late run Model Ts and 1932 Fords are the most popular starting points.

Championship race cars

The term roadster was also used for single-seat, front-engined AAA Championship Cars, primarily associated with the Indianapolis 500. Roadsters are cars with the engine and driveshaft offset from the centerline of the car. This allows the driver to be seated lower in the chassis and facilitates weight offset which is beneficial on the oval tracks. Frank Kurtis built the first roadster for the 1952 Indianapolis 500 and it was driven by Bill Vukovich who led most of the race until a steering failure eliminated him late in the race. The team went on to win the 1953 and 1954 contests with the same car. A. J. Watson and Quinn Epperly were other notable Roadster constructors. Roadsters disappeared from competition by the end of the 1960s, after the introduction, and subsequent domination, of rear-engined formula style machines. The final roadster to make the race was built and driven by Jim Hurtubise in the 1968 race and dropped out early. Hurtubise attempted to run the same car in 1969 but while making his qualifying run at a very good speed the engine failed on the last of the four laps. The car was entered many times after that but was never seriously considered fast enough to start.

See also


Audi TTS Roadster

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