September 18, 2005 Retractable hardtops have been all the rage this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show with Nissan’s Micra C+C, Opel’s Astra TwinTop, Volkswagen putting the Project C into production and Volvo’s second generation C70 coming with an innovative three-piece retractable hardtop. But the idea is not new. Several cars with retractable hardtops exist on the market today, such as the Peugeot 307 CC. Indeed, Mercedes Benz has had a retractable hardtop, called the vario roof, in production continuously on its SLK-Roadster for a decade. And prior to that, Ford manufactured an electric retractable hardtop for three years in the mid-fifties called the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner – just wait until you see the size of the trunk on the Skyliner (images and links inside). It’s the size of a football field and when the roof is stowed, it is FULL! But this week we came across images of what is surely the original production retractable hardtop. Peugeot changed the face of the convertible car market when it showed the first production car with an electric folding roof at the Paris Auto show - the Peugeot 401 Eclipse. You won’t believe what year it was!