(714) 666-2449

Error message

  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).
  • Warning: Illegal string offset 'field' in DatabaseCondition->__clone() (line 1901 of /home/newport/public_html/includes/database/query.inc).

Exotic convertible

 

California company puts safety up front in redesigning ragtops

Most of us can’t help admiring a convertible. Whether it’s a muscled up Mustang, a sleek Spyder or a pristine Porsche, we all sit up and take notice.

Al Zadeh notices convertibles also, but not for the same reasons the rest of us do. The USC-trained engineer has been fascinated with open-air chariots since he owned a somewhat problematic MGB in his youth. He has spent his working life transforming standard coupes and sedans into custom convertibles, making them safer and more structurally sound in the process.

Zadeh is the founder and president of NSC, a quint-essentially California company. For 30 years, Zadeh and his crew of engineers have literally been ripping the roofs off luxury vehicles and replacing them with one-touch, fully powered convertible tops.

“My engineering background allows me to look at a standard sedan, whose structural integrity is directly tied to the roof, and to remove that roof, transforming the vehicle into a one-of-a-kind convertible,” explains Zadeh. “What’s amazing is that not only do we not compromise the safety and integrity of the vehicle structure, we actually enhance it.”

Zadeh cast his critical eye on the aforementioned MGB while still in college. “I wasn’t particularly pleased with the way that car performed as a convertible,” he recalls. “There was too much wind noise, water leakage, and a lack of stability. I came to the realization that there were plenty of improvements that could be made to convertible bodies so they would perform more efficiently, safely, and practically.”

Zadeh employs about 20 junior and senior engineers at to plants in CA. The technicians there have experience with many different vehicle types, but the majority of conversions are done on Mercedes-Benz S Class and CL Class four-door and coupes. 

Zadeh estimates that 80 percent of the autos his company transform are brand new, while 20 percent will have some miles accumulated, but rarely more than 30,000. Besides Mercedes, other popular four-door conversions include the Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus, Aston Martin, Porsche,Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Bentley and   the BMW. Two-door conversions are more common than four-door, and the BMW, Acura NSX, Rolls Royce, and Lexus are among the most requested.

NSC's signature operation system is  one-touch, full power operation, with remote control capability. 

Zadeh counts celebrities, political heavyweights, and movie stars among his clientele, but the vehicle can become movie stars in their own right. In past years, Paramount Pictures commissioned a conversion of a 1954 DeSoto, which got significant screen time in the comedy I.Q., with Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, and Walter Matthau as Albert Einstein.

Zadehs business is also international: Jordan’s king Hussein, the Kuwaiti chief of intelligence, ruler of Kuwait, royal family in Dubai, King of Bahrain, Prince of Denmark and the president of South Korea have all been customers.

While it’s the bells and whistles of the conversion that attract all the interest, the company president remains preoccupied with the nuts and bolts.

“My concern is how to reinforce and restructure the body of the auto after the top is removed,” he explains. “The torsional rigidity and load bearings mustn’t be compromised in the conversion process.”

Zadeh has been adding side impact protection to his vehicles since day one, a practice that safety conscious automakers Saab and Volvo have only introduced in late 90's.

“Instead of a car collapsing into a V – with both the front and back end coming together after a powerful collision – our side impact protection distributes the force throughout the entire length of the vehicle’s body, resulting in vastly increased safety for both driver and passengers,” claims Zadeh.

In addition to the unique eye appeal and the safety features, NSC continues to attract new business because many people want to provide input the creative process.

“We are considered a boutique shop in the automotive industry, and our customers want vehicles that are totally new and innovative,” Zadeh says. “Many of them have great ideas, but they might be impractical regarding structural integrity, or perhaps compromise their safety. We can help them turn their dreams to reality, and, in the process, provide them with a vehicle that’s safe, stylish, and singular. It’s a great feeling because, in the end, everybody comes out a winner.”

by Joel Zuckerman