Drivers who go topless in S’pore

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

Three drivers tell us why they chose to buy convertible cars over more practical options.


9 February 2011
my paper

By Cheryl Tay


DRIVING your convertible with the top down is cool and stylish, as the “topless” car attracts much attention from all around. But getting caught in sudden downpours and having to pull over to get the roof up (modern convertibles have roofs that are operational at speeds of up to 50kmh, but Japanese models require the car to be stationary) is simply not cool. Still, many are going for a “topless” ride, come hell or high water. Hear why three drivers chose to buy convertibles over more practical options.




Ms Choo, a credit analyst, was deciding between a Mini Cooper and a Volkswagen Beetle when her husband – who races for local racing team HKS Garage R Racing – brought the sporty Honda S2000 to her attention.

“I was attracted to the car”s overall sharp looks and I immensely enjoy the ‘wind in your hair’feeling,” she said. “The car’s price is higher than that of the similarly Japan-made MX-5, but it stands out favourably against the prices of European convertibles,” said Ms Choo, who bought the S2000 from parallel importer Garage R 1 1/2 years ago for around $130,000.

The fabric roof of the S2000 requires only six seconds to operate, but the car has to be at a standstill, with the handbrake activated. Ms Choo drives her S2000 daily, but switches to her Toyota Vios when she needs to drive friends and family around. “The S2000 is strictly a twoseater, and may not be a popular or practical option as the sole family car,” she warned.



Ms Low, a bank executive, drives her Audi S5 convertible with the roof down every day, weather permitting. “My lifestyle fits the bill for a convertible, hence it”s top down to work before 8am and homewards after 6pm,” she said.

The Audi is her first convertible, which she bought for $262,000 in October 2009. And when it comes to rain, she said she has no issues as the roof can be operated within 20 seconds at speeds below 50kmh.

“Driving a convertible in Singapore can be practical, depending on your purpose and the time (in which you drive). If you have grown-up children, no elderly or handicapped dependants, and need the car mostly for before and after work, when the sun is not at its strongest, then it’s fine,” said Ms Low, who is a member of the Audi car club.


DR S. M. YUEN, 34

Once, he nearly had a cigarette butt tossed into his convertible when the roof was down. On another occasion, a boy remarked aloud that ‘it was pointless buying such a car in Singapore’. These are just some of the experiences that Dr S. M. Yuen, an aesthetic doctor, encountered in his five years of driving convertibles.

He has driven a BMW 321i cabriolet, a BMW Z4 and a Porsche Boxster S Tiptronic. Today, he drives a Porsche Boxster S PDK and a Ferrari California. “The hard-top California is a practical but exotic car, which is rare,” he said. “The California is great for day-to-day driving, has blistering pace, (provides) comfort, a spacious boot, and rear seats that are usable by kids or smaller adults.”

He added: “One problem is that Singapore roads are crowded. So, I choose to have the top down on routes that have few traffic lights and fewer heavy vehicles, as (putting up with) smoke from heavy vehicles is not cool.”

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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