Best Convertibles of All-Time: BMW Design Chief Picks 'Em

Image source: Mercedes-Benz

As part of our Business of Design special report, we asked leading car designers to give us their all-time favorite convertibles. Here are the picks from Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design, BMW Group.

The BMW 503 Convertible is a timeless design from the 1950s. It may not be that well known, but for me it is one of the most graceful cars of all time and the very essence of high-class elegance.

The BMW 507 also dates back to the 1950s. It's a genuine masterpiece. Like the BMW 503, the BMW 507 is one of the most elegant cars ever made, but it has a rather more sporting flavor. I'm particularly impressed by the precision of the design.

The vertically sliding doors of the BMW Z1 were very avant-garde back in the 1980s and they remain unique to this day. The Z1's unusual door system creates a very open driving feeling.

The current generation of the BMW Z4 was launched in 2010. I like its classical proportions and, of course, its speed. For me, the BMW Z4 stands for pure driving pleasure.

The 1960s design of the Mercedes "Pagoda" is beautifully balanced and detailed. A highly original feature of this model is the concave roof.

Image source: BMW Group

The Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider is a classic car from the 1960s. You'd never describe it as one of the best aerodynamically, but that elegantly sporty design has an undeniable place in automotive history.

Also from the 1960s, but faster is the Jaguar E-Type. Its immense power was particularly exciting, of course. But from a designer's perspective, what fascinates me is its long bonnet, the likes of which we will never see again.

The Fiat 124 Sport Spider presented in 1966 is a true Pininfarina classic. It could have been a Ferrari, in my view.

Ferrari never actually wanted to make the 275 GTB/4 Nart Spider, but today this 1960s model remains one of the prettiest of all open-top Ferraris.

The Porsche Spyder 550 from the 1950s is a fully fledged racing car. It's compact and fast. For me it's a true rebel: always open to the elements, no hint of a roof.

Want to find out the cars others top designers picked as their favorite convertibles of all-time? Click below!

Walter de Silva—head of group design, Volkswagen AG

Ralph Gilles—president and CEO, SRT brand and motorsports and senior vice president, product design, Chrysler Group LLC

J Mays—group vice president, design and chief creative officer, Ford Motor

Ed Welburn—GM vice president, global design

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