A Kia Stinger convertible? Florida dealership gets creative with one-off chop-top
Car dealerships do interesting things to get you into the showroom and out with a new ride. The positive reputations of places like Yenko Chevrolet, Grand Spaulding Dodge, Tasca Ford, etc. are always tarnished by the dishonorable dealings of the Bill Heards and Reagor-Dykes of the world. The tables have since turned, requiring automotive marketers to innovate in their assigned Primary Market Area, and one Kia dealership is going deep into the Florida custom car playbook to make it happen.
The dealership in question is Orlando’s own City Kia, which partnered with Drop Top Customs to make its self-titled “Stinger GT-C” convertible. You might remember this company for its ability to drop tops on late-model Challengers, but it’s had skin in the game for decades. Or, as its website reads: “Drop Top Customs was originally founded in 1976 as ‘Coachbuilders Limited,’ has over 41 years of experience. We are proud to say that we are 100 percent debt free! We don’t work to make ends meet; we work to meet your needs!”
It’s hard to look for a classic American car and not come across one of Coachbuilders Limited’s creation at auction or in a classifieds section. While trusting your ride to a debt-free (wow!) and therefore financially solvent conversion company is a wonderful start, a closer look at this company’s engineering is in order. Its take on the Cadillac Eldorado is likely a good place to look.
While the Stinger GT-C (first video) has yet to receive a folding roof to replace its deleted steel one, odds are what’s presented here with the Eldorado will wind up in the Kia: color-matched trim panels, a glass rear window, full headlining, and a power-actuated tonneau cover to cover the power-folding top. Coachbuilders Limited certainly paid homage to the Eldorado’s upright quarter-window treatment, and this difficult implementation suggests the Stinger GT-C’s roofline will be an honest portrayal of the factory’s sleek, fastback roof.
The Cadillac conversion cost roughly $20,000, which is roughly as much as what dealerships asked for the droptop, late-model Challenger (over the cost of the coupe from whence it came). On the other hand, Kia Stingers can’t trade on the same brand loyalty that the aforesaid American models could, so there’s a chance the Stinger GT-C might sell for more to cover R&D costs. Since the dealership is clearly using this chop-top Kia as a local marketing tool, it will set the final price accordingly. Whether we’ll see a run of these customs is entirely up to the leadership at City Kia.
I asked an Orlando-based friend to give City Kia a visit, and he eagerly accepted my request to hunt down this automotive oddity. (Maybe he felt bad after someone else got the Orlando-area Merkur Scorpio that clearly had my name on it). Sadly, he didn’t see the Stinger GT-C on the premises, nor did he find an employee who could disclose any information on it. He did offer up another nugget of wisdom: Rumor has it that City Kia made a Kia Soul convertible years ago for the same reason: to drum up business in the Orlando area.
Sadly, neither of us can find proof such a Kia Soul existed. This is how far I got on Google Image Search.
Clearly, I need to work on my sense of humor.
The lack of quality photography for both the GT-C and a theoretically topless Kia Soul is a bummer, but odds are that City Kia is doing what smart dealerships do: Play the long game. It’s likely prepping this one-off for future events, some that might actually garner national attention. Given City Kia’s marketing savvy and good customer reviews (even on Yelp, which is generally brutal for dealerships) you can expect to hear more about the Stinger GT-C.
I’d put money on it—but then again, I’d prefer to put zero down and no payments for six months.