Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September in both Canada and the US. Besides being another great excuse for a BBQ, block party or a trip to the beach, it also marks the unofficial end of summer. From here on in, the BBQs and block parties will become less frequent and going to the beach will become less and less desirable, depending on where you live. Convertibles will also be more likely to be driving around with their tops up.
That wasn’t the case when I visited gorgeous Vancouver earlier this summer. Where I live (Brisbane), we don’t have this distinct demarcation between seasons. Though we may be less inclined to go to the beach in our winter, temperatures in the coldest season are nothing for us to whinge about – the weather was about the same in Brisbane’s winter as it was when I arrived in Vancouver’s summer. Because of the harsh sun and decades of “Slip, Slop, Slap” sun safety ads, convertibles have never enjoyed the popularity they have in countries like the United Kingdom where one has to enjoy as much of the summer warmth as possible.
Vancouver may bask in the most habitable climate in all of Canada but I dare say this ’67-68 Pontiac Firebird driver will be putting his top up in a few weeks. Despite the large dent in his door, nothing appears to be putting a dent in this driver’s day. I spotted this Firebird a few different times that day in downtown Vancouver and the weather was indeed enjoyable for a summer, top-down cruise. The colour of this Poncho is suitably summery and looks splendid against the off-white interior. I hope the driver took advantage of the beautiful day and cruised out somewhere nice. A drive along the Sea to Sky would have been just the ticket.
Well, I can see one little cutie who’s definitely enjoying a cruise! This MG Midget’s got its top up but the windows are down and the little doggo is enjoying its favourite olfactory past-time: sticking its head out the window. Dogs are in hog heaven when they can stick their head out because their superb sense of smell allows them to partake in thousands of different scents as they’re driven along. It’s a smorgasbord of smells!
This Midget’s been customized somewhat so it’s a bit hard to pin down the year. During the course of its almost 20-year run (1961-79), it was powered by a range of inline fours displacing between 1.0 and 1.5 liters. That’s quite a bit less than the Firebird but these weighed almost exactly half that of the Pontiac and were around four feet shorter. There’s enough room for a grown adult – not too tall, though, unless you drop the top – and this relatively small dog.
Finally, let’s end with a rather left-field choice for a summer cruiser: the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the only CrossCabriolet I saw in Vancouver. I’ll tell the full story someday because this is one of the most delightfully weird cars of the 21st century. Oh, sure, there’s nothing terribly exciting about the car’s mechanicals – it’s your typical softly-sprung Nissan crossover with a CVT. But it’s a high-riding convertible with absolutely zero sporting aspirations but virtually no off-road ability, and that’s just such a strange proposition it’s enough to keep resale values of this commercial failure surprisingly high.
Sadly, it’s so long, summer, at least for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere. Meanwhile, our days in Brisbane are about to go from highs of 71°F (22°C) to highs of 85°F (29.5°C). We won’t need to put our tops up!
Photographed in Vancouver, BC in June 2019.