Instant Convertible

In chase scenes, there comes a time when the trailer of a Mack blocks the driver's path. And, there isn't time to avoid a collision. What does one do?

Answer: DUCK.

If the car is low enough and/or the trailer high enough, most of the car will pass under it safely. Except the roof and windows. The car is perfectly drivable afterward. The driver may even remark, "I've always wanted a convertible." Hence, the name of the trope.

The Mythbusters show this trope is Truth in Television: their tow cable-guided test car kept going until it left the test site and crashed into a ravine. A Sub-Trope of Low Clearance.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Soul Eater Giriko complains the limousine Arachne's Butler arranged to pick them up with after she was resurrected was too cramped and invoked this trope while it was still stationary. Being an Ax-Crazy guy with the ability to turn into a chainsaw does that.
  • In Durarara!!, Shizuo pulls this off on Horada's car by slicing the top off with a highway sign.
  • Episode 6 (second half) of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has this happen to See-Through by another vehicle. Chuck didn't duck of course.

    Films — Live Action 
  • James Bond
    • 007 shears the top off a doubledecker bus by going under a low bridge in Live and Let Die.
    • This is one of many mishaps that happens to Bond's Renault in A View to a Kill.
  • The long chase scene in The Seven Ups ends with one of these. Only the front half of Roy Scheider's car gets sliced off, though.
  • In The Toxic Avenger Part 2, during the final chase scene Toxi's cab driver is unable to avoid this fate. After a moment of silence, everyone in the cab freaks out and when the driver starts ranting about how his cab's been ruined, Toxi tells him to chill out 'cause he now has a convertible and hands him a pair of sunglasses (and he does!). Oddly enough, the little Jesus statue in the back is unharmed.
  • In The Mummy Returns they do this to the second floor of a double decker bus.
  • Happens to a police car in the live-action Disney comedy No Deposit, No Return.
  • Terminator
    • Terminator 2: When the T-1000, driving a semi, crashes into a demolished bridge, destroying the roof of the truck, the T-1000, being made of liquid metal, is able to reconstruct itself and continue the chase.
    • Terminator 3 does this with a hearse, badly damaging the terminator trying to cut though the roof in the process.
  • Averted in A Clockwork Orange. They're already in a convertible, and it suffers no damage whatsoever when it goes under a truck.
  • In Smokey and the Bandit, Sheriff Buford T. Justice has this happen to him when he can't avoid a truck carrying a concrete I-beam. He continues to drive the roofless police cruiser at high speed across several states for the rest of the movie.
  • In the 1987 film Cyclone the scene is shown four times in rapid succession. Watch here.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This happens in the final episode of Perfect Strangers.
  • It happens to Rosco's cruiser in an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • It happens in Top Gear with a Citroen sedan driven by The Stig as part of a test on vehicle height in sports cars (it failed).
  • Mr. Lahey's car in Trailer Park Boys.
  • Averted in the Bugs episode "All Under Control". The villain attempts to drive under a truck, only for the car to come to a complete stop.

    Music Videos 
  • Happens to the girl's car in the music for Twisted Sister cover of "Leader of the Pack".

    Western Animation 
  • Happened in an episode of Megas XLR when Coop was taking a driving test at the DMV.
  • Slight variation in an episode of Garfield and Friends when Jon drives under a billboard and Garfield makes the comment.
  • Variation in the '90s X-Men animated series, when Cyclops pisses off Wolverine.
    Wolverine: Tell Cyclops I made him a convertible.
  • In one episode of Extreme Ghostbusters, the gang is being chased by the metal-eating Jersey Devil, who blasts the roof of Roland's car. Eduardo then makes the comment.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Dungeons and Wagons", when Stan, Francine, and Roger are fleeing the street racing kidnappers, Roger dumps everything to reduce the car's weight leading to one of the kidnappers driving under the tanker truck and becoming a convertible.
  • Happens to Cruella De Vil's car at the end of 101 Dalmatians, while she is chasing the moving van the titular dogs were travelling in.
    • Her car was already a convertible, though the top was up at the time.

    Real Life 
  • The Double-Decker Bus vs Low Bridge variant happens frequently in Britain.
  • There is a bridge in the United States called the 11 foot 8 Bridge, a railroad bridge with low vertical clearance. Drivers of large vehicles frequently fail to take heed of the big yellow warning signs and the warning lights triggered by their overheight vehicles, and the roofs get sheered off in spectacular fashion. Two cameras at this intersection capture every instance of this to YouTube. This happens twelve to sixteen times a year, so much so that the locals have nicknamed it the "Can Opener Bridge". There is even a website dedicated to the videos of these crashes.