Whacking the roof off a vehicle is easy – all it takes is the will and a cutting torch. Making a decent convertible out of a machine that wasn’t originally designed to be one is a far more daunting task.
Al Zadeh has been guillotining roofs off everything from VWs to Ferraris over the past 30 years at his NCE in California. Some of his conversions are naturals (the big Mercedes CL), and some surprisingly attractive (a Chevy Monte Carlo).
Making a convertible of the Mercedes CL, which is naturally so well-suited to a conversion. Zadeh has done similar projects dozens of times – it was engineering a top that was esthetically pleasing.
NCE’s CL is a cohesive design. Top up, the roof line matches as unaltered CL. Top down, looks pleasant.
The fully lined top is built in-house by NCE by sewing German-made canvas to a steel frame. Top up, visibility is comparable to stock. When down, the top stacks behind a back seat.
The NCE-added reinforcing structure between the rear wheel wells. And NCE does warrant its work to match Mercedes’s coverage that continues to apply to the rest of the vehicle.
NCE reinforces the Mercedes’s structure with box-steel ladder like structures along each rocker, tied together with welded cross members. Therefore, no changes to the suspension or drive train are required. a seven-speed automatic shifting, acceleration is great and almost no different from stock.
Top up, it’s tight and quiet. Other Mercedes convertible Cowl shake is at about levels – the NCE’s CL convertible is composed over bumps and railroad tracks. Steering response, suspension compliance, and braking all seem unaffected by the conversion.
It’s a novelty and great aftermarket convertible. But whereas Lexus will sell thousands of Lexus convertible, NCE has shipped about 500 Mercedes Benz CL convertibles to the selected Mercedes Benz dealers who’ve signed up to get them. And although a Lexus convertible gets no attention at all, a convertible Mercedes Benz CL convertible attracts crowds.