Differences Between a Moonroof & a Sunroof

by Robert Blain

The difference between a moonroof and a sunroof is often misinterpreted. In fact, there is one major difference between the moonroof and the sunroof, and it's how the roof panel functions.

The Difference

A sunroof a metal panel in a car roof that slides into the roof like a pocket door or it tilts upwards to let in air like a transom. A moonroof is a stationary, glass sunroof -- like a window but in your car roof.

Brief History

Although it is often said that Ford Motors invented the moonroof, it was only used in a line of automobiles by them. The moonroof Ford used was actually manufactured and installed by the American Sunroof Company, which later became American Specialty Cars.

Either, Or

Glass moonroofs allow more sun in the car without having to open it all the way, letting you enjoy the daylight and be under the sky no matter the weather condition. With sunroofs, you can only enjoy the sun if you open the roof and let air in as well. Sometimes, however, you might not want to be in the sun at all times. In these instances, sunroofs are more preferable. Yet, moonroofs usually come equipped with a secondary, fabric-covered sliding panel.

Why is it Called a "Moonroof"?

The term was coined by a Ford marketing manager named John Atkinson in 1973 as an offline feature on the Lincoln Continental Mark IV. No mention was made as to why he chose the term. The concept wasn't new, however. The idea of allowing daylight through a car's roof panel was featured in "Popular Mechanics" magazine even as far back as 1937.

About the Author

Robert Blain is a freelance writer with expertise in holistic health, alternative medicine, fitness, sports, popular culture and world affairs. For nearly 11 years, he's been researching alternative medicine and studying Western culture. His education includes a high school certificate of proficiency and a four-year university equivalent.

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