Hagerty’s Top 10 Classic Summer Convertibles

1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

It may seem like we’re well into summer, as we are almost through June already, but in fact summer only “officially” started Sunday, June 21st. To kick off the next few hot weather months, the vehicle collector experts over at Hagerty’s are sharing their 2015 list of Top 10 favorite classic summer convertibles.

“There is nothing like driving a convertible. They force you to slow down and enjoy your surroundings rather than just drive to a destination. They were designed and built to put pleasure into driving,” says McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, the world’s leading provider of classic car insurance and valuations. “So, in deciding this list of our favorite classic convertibles we selected cars that provide the broadest range of fun, value and stop-them-in-their-tracks good looks.”

To make the top 10 list, cars had to meet the four following criteria: be affordable, meaning available at market prices below $35,000, be reliable, feature easy to get replacement parts and present a sound financial decision.

So without further ado, we give you the list, along with Hagerty’s notes, to drool over.

  1. 1966–67 Alfa Romeo Giulia Duetto Spider – A production run of several decades means both maintenance and cost-of-entry are low for fun drivers. Over time, the general look and feel remained true to the original design, so that the Spider feels like a classic no matter which model year you’re driving. An affordable taste of ‘la dolce vita.’
  2. 1987–93 BMW 325i Convertible – BMW launched its “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan in the 1970s, but the 1980s E30 helped make it a household expression. The M3 is well past “affordable” by now, but the 6-cylinder 325i convertible can still be bought with a credit card. Most in the US were equipped with automatic, but savvy searchers will be able to locate one with 5-speed to help deliver on the old ad tagline.
  3. 1968–75 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible – An American stalwart, the C3 Corvette had a short run as a convertible (the model was built for 7 years as a coupe only), but high production numbers and low upkeep costs guarantee an affordable example resides nearby.
  4. 1965–67 Ford Mustang Convertible – The Mustang is instantly recognizable by anyone who cares about cars and has endured shifting preferences among buyers to maintain relevance. From high-performance V8s to 6-cylinders, and with millions made, there is a first-generation Mustang to suit everyone’s budget.
  5. 1966–71 International Scout – Summer convertibles need not be limited to sports and luxury cars, and the Scouts are equally at home on the beach, in the forest or at the cruise-in. Values have risen steadily, but not past the point of accessibility.
  6. 1961–67 Lincoln Continental Convertible – Values have climbed for these stylish convertibles over the past 5 years, but they are still surprisingly affordable. Room for friends, great 1960s lines, and being a modern pop culture reference (“Entourage,” anyone?) should all keep this purchase essentially free through the summer months.
  7. 1989–97 Mazda Miata – Still ignored by a population of drivers who made up their mind about these cars without ever sitting behind the wheel of one. Their loss is your gain as Miatas are as rewarding to drive as any cheap, two-seat sports car has a right to be.
  8. 1986–89 Mercedes-Benz 560SL – The Mercedes-Benz 560SL has seen swift appreciation over the past 6 months, but driver examples are still affordable. The earlier 450SL and 380SL models have not been swept up in the craze to the same degree, which means they are easier to get into today and have decent future prospects.
  9. 1972–1976 Porsche 914 – With Porsche prices rising above what can be described as “affordable” by most folks looking for a fun summer car, 914 values remain relatively unfazed. And with the recent run-up of Volkswagen convertible prices, the VW-Porsche stigma the 914 carried with it since new has less of an impact.
  10. 1987–89 Toyota MR-2 T-Bar – The MR-2’s exotic mid-engine chassis makes it something of a novelty, but it also provides for a driving experience that is hard to find in sub-$10,000 collector cars. Being a Toyota, reliability is great and aftermarket support is, too. These weren’t as high on the list for tuners as other cars, either, so stock choices still abound.
Photo Credit: Barrett-Jackson
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