There's nothing quite like putting your head out through the roof of your car and enjoying the wind blowing through your hair (mind you, you don't want to be driving while trying this!). Call them sunroofs or moonroofs, they certainly add to the 'fun quotient' of your car.
Of the many amenities you tend to look for in a car, few seem as cool as the little opening in the roof of your swanky new car. Commonly called a sunroof, it is meant to do just as the name suggests, let the sun in.
Going by that logic, a moonroof has got to be the opening in the cars of all nocturnal beings out on the street at night! Well you aren't too far away from the truth.
By definition, sunroofs are venting or sliding openings in the roof of a car (usually right above the rear passenger seat) meant to let the light and/or air into the car.
The ones that can be opened, may either be operated manually, or may have a motorized panel. There are many types of sunroofs, depending on the type of car, and of course your taste (not to mention the 'dough' you carry!).
There's little, if any difference between the two, moonroofs are in fact a type of sunroof.
Sunroofs are usually opaque, so they are almost always heavily tinted. As a result they let in no air or light as long as they are closed. On the contrary, a moonroof can let in light even when it's closed, and just at the push of a button slides open.
Another interesting thing about this feature is something known as the 'panoramic sunroof'. This is a sliding roof that covers the entire span of the top of the vehicle instead of just a small square or rectangular area, and it looks quite magnificent when it is entirely open.
History of the Rooftops
Way back in the late 70s, when this concept was the new big thing, they were called moonroofs. This was an opening in the roof of the car, which was initially made of the same material as the rest of the roof.
This was usually done by the car owners themselves, as the car manufacturers of the time did not offer this feature in their cars. With its increasing popularity, car makers incorporated these roofs in their cars, and in fact these were the USPs of some of their top-selling cars of the time.
Around 1973, the American Sunroof Company (now known as American Specialty Cars) made the first official moonroof.
As mentioned before, this was simply a sunroof made of glass, and electronically operated. Ford used this in one of their vehicles, and it is now a standard accessory in most of their top-end sedans.
Most big car manufacturers have since followed suit and offer a sunroof as an additional feature in their high-end cars. Today, most of these are made of glass, so as to let the light in, without the need to pop it open.
While a completely retractable roof in cars (convertibles) is a luxury enjoyed only by the crème de la crème of society, sunroofs are comparatively more within the reach of commoners.
These days there are plenty of affordable sunroof kits available in the market, which can be easily installed in your car at less than half the price of a factory-fitted version.
So now you could get the limo-esque feel (minus the luxuries and the exorbitant price tag) of traveling around the streets of Vegas in your own little car with a sunroof. This little innovation, may not 'bring the roof down', but surely gives you the bragging rights of having one of the coolest cars amongst your friends.