Webasto unveils new technology to produce super light, strong soft-tops
27 February 2008

German cabriolet specialist Webasto has created a new concept car showcasing a clever soft-top roof that it claims is suitable for volume production.Called the Light – a name reflecting the roof’s featherweight 13kg, the new two-seater was created in co-operation with IED Automotive, an off-shot of Istituto Europeo di Design. It's also been styled in tribute to the Fiat 124 Spider, according to Webasto, which is responsible for many of today’s soft-top arrangements, including those found on most BMW models.Planned to make its first public outing at next week’s Geneva motor show, the Light’s novel roof, complete with heated glass rear window, is designed to sit flush with the body work when stowed away – the inside of the roof facing skywards in a move that preserves boot space.Conceived without a complex frame, the roof then manually flips forward over the interior to protect it from the elements.Stud attachment to the windscreen surround and strong anchoring points behind the Light’s two seat cabin ensures a taut fit, while allaying any concerns about the ability of the new roof to withstand high speeds.Webasto’s latest roof is fashioned from a polyurethane CSM (compound spray mound) material that in combination with internal webbing and ribbing is claimed to provide excellent flexibility without any great weight. While the Light’s roof is claimed to weigh just 13kg, production versions are likely to be closer to 20kg according to Webasto officials.

Greg Kable

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