AutoWeek 11/17/04 By MARK VAUGHN
The only known cure for a post-Specialty Equipment Market Association soiree hangover is to talk about SEMA for as long as possible. That’s why we drove to Newport Convertible Engineering Inc. in Placentia, California, to pilot a stylin’ white Chrysler 300C convertible that was out in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the SEMA show.
NCE started making Datsun Zs into convertibles in 1983 and has chopped the tops off more than 1000 cars since. NCE’s latest is this cabrio, converted for about $12,500. NCE strengthens the A- and B-pillars and rocker panels, and adds a basket roll-hoop as well as reinforcement behind the rear seat. The company did it right, as a short drive over Placentia’s toughest speed bumps produced no shimmies.
The top consists of five layers; in descending order: German canvas, rubber, German canvas, foam, nice headliner material. Top up, the ride is quiet as a production convertible, minus a hint of wind noise behind the driver’s left ear. The hydraulically/electrically operated top functions smoothly with one button, and the headliner releases with two latches. A fuse blew when we had the car, but NCE assured us that does not normally happen and blamed the stress of SEMA. Oh, don’t we know about the stress of SEMA.
You can have your Chrysler dealer send a 300C to NCE to have the work done or bring in your own car. See for more information.