Convertible SUVs (or ATSUVs) are some of the automotive worlds’ greatest, most counter-intuitive inventions. Here are some that are a little more unusual than your typical Jeep Wrangler or Bronco.
The Toyota Blizzard was introduced by Toyota in 1980 to satiate the rising demand for smaller 4WD SUV’s. It was co-produced by Daihatsu and sold in some markets as the Daihatsu Taft. Its styling is reminiscent of the FJ40 Land Cruiser and is sometimes called a Tiny Cruiser. The ATSUV models are called FRP-top for Fiber Reinforced Plastic. Here is a link to its original JDM brochure if you want to see something awesome.
Nissan Patrol / Safari Hardtop (160)
This classic convertible SUV is hard to find information on. Called the Safari in some markets and sold in others as a variation of the 3rd generation of the Nissan Patrol, it was the only Patrol offered with a removable top since its first generation. It’s pleasantly reminiscent of the Land Cruiser 70-series. I haven’t been able to find a single picture with the top removed.
Delta Mini Cruiser
Now this is the true Mini Land Cruiser! Toyota contracted Delta to produce this even smaller version of the popular South American Bandierante. These cars have a pretty interesting backstory. This model stands only 3/5ths the size of an FJ40! Perfect if the Suzuki Samurai isn’t obscure enough for you. Very cool and very, very rare.
You thought a Dakota Sport convertible was rare? Think again. Ford worked with ASC (the company behind the Ford/McLaren coupes and the Capri) to produce as many as 19 examples of this awesome truck before scrapping the plans. I think the floating C-pillar alone makes this one a beautiful monster.
Mitsubishi Pajero J-Top
American enthusiasts will be more familiar with this model, if only tangentially. This generation of the Pajero was sold in the US as both the Mitsubishi Montero two-door and the Dodge Raider, a cult favorite. Unfortunately though, neither of these received the open-air model. It’s a shame these convertible SUVs were never sold in America, but parts are plentiful if you’re thinking about importing.