A Studebaker Reference Guide

Body Styles Explained

So do you know the different between a roadster and a cabriolet? Well I didn't, so I thought I would pass on a little information on the different types of body styles so you will know what to ask for at your local antique automobile dealer...

  • Four-door sedan (or a sedan) is a closed car with four doors. In England these cars are called a saloon.
  • Two-door sedan (or coach) is a car with two doors but seats five.
  • The coupe has one seat for two or three people.
  • A hardtop was originally a convertible body with a non-removable hardtop installed at the factory. The main feature that distinguishes a hardtop from a sedan is that when the front and rear windows are rolled down, there is one large open space with no frame or post between the front and rear seat area. Another feature is that the doors do not have any external frames to support the windows.
  • The four-door convertible has both front and back seats but has a soft top that can be folded down. This car may have some chrome cabriole bars on the top behind the back seat to help the top fold down. There are windup windows.
  • A roadster is a one-seat car for two or three people with no windup windows - or usually with no windup windows. With windup windows, it is a convertible or drophead.
  • The cabriolet is like a roadster except that is will definitely have windup windows and has cabriolet bars that are almost always chrome plated for ornamentation and to help fold down the soft top.
  • A limousine is like the four-door sedan except that there is glass divider between the front and rear seats. The divider may be designed to be rolled down and more or less disappears. This divider is to seperate the driver from the passengers.
  • A berline is a car designed to have a glass partition between the front and back seat.
  • The town car is a car that is designed to be driven by a chauffeur and only by a chauffer. The car has a front a back seat like a limousine, but the front seat generally has a fabric top that can be removed. These cars are also called sedanca de villes, broughams, and chauffeur killers.
  • A landaulet is a four-door sedan with the back seat convertible. The top over the back seat is fabric and it folds back.
  • A touring car is a two- or four-door car with a soft top that folds back and generally no roll up windows. This was the standard body style before World War I. This is also called a phaeton.
  • A torpedo is generally a touring car with a somewhat pointed tail.
  • The boattail speedster is a roadster with a pointed tail and generally has superior speed. The terms boattail or speedster can mean the same style.
  • The Weymann body was developed by Charles T. Weymann in 1922. This style was used on some of the finest cars of the '20s. The frame was wood, with the various strips of wood fastened together by strips of a light metal. Over this frame was streched leatherette (leathercloths). The body was very unique and light. Very few remaining cars of this era still exist that have this style.
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