General Motors was the first U.S auto manufacturer to mass produce the pillar-less hardtop body style. GM applied the moniker “Convertible Hardtop” to the 1949; Buick Roadmaster Riviera, Cadillac Coupe de Ville, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Holiday. The term “Convertible Hardtop” was derived from the concept that they would build a convertible and add a permanent hardtop that resembled a convertible with the top up. The doors would dispense with the fixed metal framing around the door window glass. This concept was first applied to two door cars and spread to four doors cars and some station wagons. The style became very popular and even struggling Independents had produced their own Hardtop models. Almost all U.S. Auto Makers had a Hardtop available by the mid-1950s.
The pillar-less hardtop was significant enough for most car brands to attach a corresponding name (in parenthesis in the image descriptions above) specifically for that body style or top tier model or trim level that was only available as a hardtop body. Models that were aimed at the economy conscious often did not offer hardtop variants. Conversely, upper market models would sometimes eliminate sedan versions from the line up.
Hardtop Brand Monikers:
Chevrolet –> Sport Coupe (2 door) Sport Sedan (4 door) confusing the issue since the term sedan was relegated mainly for traditional framed door glass cars.
Pontiac —-> Catalina
—-> de Ville & Seville
Chrysler (& 1955 Imperial)
—-> Country Club
Notice that some of the names would be used again, becoming separate models of their own. (i.e. Catalina, Riviera, Lancer, Newport) or trim packages (i.e. Holiday, Landau)
Visual example of Sedan vs. Hardtop
1956 Chevrolet 210 Two Door Sedan
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Four Door Sedan
1956 Chevrolet Hardtops; Bel Air Sport Coupe & 210 Sport Sedan
the chances of Bart walking outside wearing a dress is very high, but Thad don't know that
Thad fidgeted in the massive backseat of Max’s 1949 Buick Roadmaster. He hated having to ride to school rather than run. Max insisted that he and Bart ride to their middle school to learn how to “slow down” and “live life at normal speed”. It was awkward enough being the new kid and Bart’s “cousin” plus acting like he hadn’t met all these kids and been Bart for moths was awkward. Riding up in a car old enough to be his classmate’s granddad was embarrassing, getting out of a car with Bart was always embarrassing. He just thought he’d feel better if he got to blow off some steam by running. The other backdoor opened. “finally, I thought you died!” Thad saw Bart’s shoes first, lime green chucks, his eye traveled up to Bart’s baseball socks almost to his knees, just above his knee was a white sun dress over which Bart was wearing a purple velvet tailcoat, tucked behind one ear was a large red flower. Bart always dressed in his own odd way, but this was next level. “You’re wearing a dress” was all Thad could think to say. “yep, you like it?”
“um, it’s a look” Thad started to feel himself sweat, wondering what the kids at school would think. He burst out laughing. “What?” Bart looked offended “no no not you!” Thad waved him off laughing some more, 6 months ago he’d been ready to kill any of Bart’s friends without a second thought, now he was worried what they thought of his “cousin” wearing a dress to school, times change.
We stopped to eat and came upon a gentleman and his ‘49 Buick, all original with an inline eight engine and portholes. He just found the whitewall tires a few months ago and said they were twenty-six years old.