Landau is a carriage design with a folding fabric top consisting of two sections supported by external elliptical springs.
A landau bar is an ornamental feature located on a car's rear quarter panel, mostly used on hearses.
Carriages that had a fabric top that could be lowered and raised were named "Landau" carriages after the city of Landau in Germany where convertible carriages were first produced.
Thus the name "landau", like many other automobile terms, originates from coachbuilding (since coachbuilders began making motor car bodies instead, and because customers were familiar with coachbuilding terms).
The "landau" described a carriage that featured a manually folding fabric roof that was supported by elliptical springs. The top was designed with separate folding front and rear sections that raised or lowered independently or locked together in the middle to cover the carriage. To differentiate the landau models, the coachbuilders typically included large sidebars.
The automotive equivalent to the horse-drawn landau carriage was not popular, since a forward view was generally insisted upon by passengers. Instead, the more popular body style for automobiles was the landaulet (half-landau), with its covered front seats and open rear seats.
In the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the United States, "landau" became associated with cars where the fixed (eg metal) roof and rear quarter panels were covered with fabric or leather and fitted with S-shaped side landau bars, to make it appear like a convertible roof.
Following the 1920s and 1930s, when custom-built bodies were available with a split front and rear roof design, the use of landau changed from a functional feature on limited production cars to that of a decorative feature in some higher market segment production cars.
The term landau fell into disuse from the mid-1940s until the late-1950s. It was used to describe fixed-roof cars styled to simulate a two-piece roof or to resemble convertibles, sometimes time using vinyl roofs. An example of a two-piece roof is the 1957 Imperial four-door hardtop with simulated "landau-type" roof design Some models were called "landaus" by their manufacturers, and many were fitted with landau bars on the rear quarters (faux cabriolet).
The "Town Landau" model was a version of the 1967 Ford Thunderbird line. This included meant a wider rear C-pillar with no rear quarter windows, or a partial vinyl roof that was applied only over the rear seat area (and is thus reminiscent of a town car).
Nash Rambler Landau
This model was described as a "convertible landau" and the roof section from the top of the windscreen could be retracted into the trunk/boot. As per other convertible coupes, a "bridge beam" steel structure remained in place at the top of the doors and windows. The Rambler's strong body structure eliminated the internal bracing that was normally needed on other open cars.
A landau bar is an ornamental S-shaped metallic bar installed on the rear quarter panel of a car. Mostly used on hearses, the landau bar represents the folding roof structure on a Landau carriage.
Since the mid-1940s, landau bars have been commonly used on hearses in the United States and the Philippines.
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Landau used on automobiles 1920s mostly advertising device to indicate a fixed roof without a rear quarter window.
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