AskDefine | Define roadster

Dictionary Definition



1 an open automobile having a front seat and a rumble seat [syn: runabout, two-seater]
2 a small lightweight carriage; drawn by a single horse [syn: buggy]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An open automobile having a front seat and a rumble seat


Extensive Definition

Roadster is the North American term (spyder in England) used for a 2-seater lightweight car without a permanent top. The term was also used for a light carriage, synonymous with "buggy".
Even with the soft top convertible raised and deflecting "windows" (if existing) snapped in, the driver and passenger remain somewhat exposed to the elements. "Convertible" is an abbreviation of "convertible coupe" or "convertible sedan" which in 1920s-30s parlance indicated that the top of the car can "convert" the car from a car with the passenger habitacle covered into a car without having the passenger habitacle covered, transforming vehicle into a "cabrio". Thus, the term is used for describing also vehicles with more that two seats for which the roof can transform the general aspect of the car from coupe / sedan into a "cabriolet".
Most modern day production roadsters do not meet all of the above criteria. Here, the use of the name "roadster" is more of a marketing gimmick than a technical label, recalling the feeling of an open-top machine for enjoyment, like those of the past.

Old roadsters

Traditionally, roadster bodies were used on anything from a Ford Model T to a Cadillac V-16. It was a body style favored by those who preferred enjoyment to practicality. Roadster-bodied cars are popular with collectors, and are often valued higher than even other open styles.

Hot Rod Roadsters

The American Hot rod is largely based on Ford roadsters and coupes. Late Model T Fords, and 1932 Fords are by far the most popular starting points.

Modern roadsters

The roadster name experienced a resurgence in 1989 with the introduction of the Mazda Miata/MX-5. Though not roadsters in the traditional sense because their tops were permanently attached, not removeable, many manufacturers today offer "roadsters." They can be described as "convertible sports cars" because they stress driving rather than practicality. Like sports cars, modern roadsters are 2-seaters.
Originating in Italy, the term Spider described a fast, very agile two-wheeled chariot used in antiquity by the Roman army for short, quick interventions. It was commonly towed by several horses (See Gladiator (film)). In England, the word was spelled with a "y" instead of an "i" to avoid association with spiders (arachnids), becoming "Spyder". This also preserved the original pronunciation of the word in English.

Notable roadsters




Roadster Pedal Toys


roadster in Bulgarian: Роудстър
roadster in German: Roadster
roadster in Spanish: descapotable
roadster in French: Roadster (automobile)
roadster in Korean: 로드스터
roadster in Italian: Roadster
roadster in Dutch: Roadster
roadster in Indonesian: Roadster
roadster in Japanese: ロードスター
roadster in Norwegian: Roadster
roadster in Polish: Roadster
roadster in Portuguese: Roadster
roadster in Russian: Родстер
roadster in Finnish: Roadster
roadster in Swedish: Roadster
roadster in Turkish: Roadster
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