By on February 28, 2014

granville

Note: I’ve used the title “Avoidable Contact” for years now to denote my editorials in which I’m discussing general automotive issues. With the publication of the new issue of R&T, that title is now in use there. For the foreseeable future, I will be writing two types of editorials here at TTAC. The good-cars-and-bad-women content that has traditionally gone under “Trackday Diaries” will continue to do so, while the stuff that used to be “Avoidable Contact” will now be under “No Fixed Abode”, with a nod of the head to the departed Iain M Banks — JB

The year was 1986 and I, a six-foot-three fourteen-year-old rendered insubstantial by vertical growth and sleepless nights, was chasing my eight-year-old brother through the moonlit woods behind the house of my father’s friends. He, in turn, was pursuing a child somewhere between our ages, who was running after a firefly, or a frog, or perhaps nothing. The noise of a party was fading behind us as we sprinted, hot and sweating in the summer evening, screaming wordlessly ahead, until we burst from the trees into a clearing and fell silent as a group. There was a woman seated in a chromed Everest&Jennings wheelchair, thin, sad-eyed, facing a detached garage and the long, battleship-grey Pontiac parked in front of it.

“Sorry, ma’am,” we chorused, when the woman turned her expressionless face our way. We’d heard about her. She was the wife of my father’s friend, dying from multiple sclerosis at the ripe old age of perhaps thirty-eight, a shy woman who had become almost nonexistent in the social life of our neighborhood as the disease progressed. Back at the big brick house, her husband was drinking and laughing and arguing, but she had been nowhere to be seen. Now we had interrupted her private moment and we all started to back to the woods.

“You,” she said, pointing to me. “Kevin’s boy. Come here. It’s okay,” she reinforced, seeing that I was hesitant. “Do you know what this is?” She pointed to the car. Surely, it was a trick question.

“Ma’am,” I answered, choosing my words carefully, “I believe that’s a nineteen seventy five Pontiac Grand Ville convertible.” There was a trace of a smile on her skeletal face.

“You could say that,” she replied. “It’s my nineteen seventy five Pontiac Grand Ville convertible. But what good could it be to me? You can see me. You can see how it is no good to me. Not anymore. So go tell your father,” and there was a hint of anger in her voice that I wouldn’t understand until I heard it again in the voices of women as they said my name twenty-five years later, “that it can be yours, if he would only ask me.”

Then I was off, sprinting back to the house, the other children confused and scattered in my wake, tripping over roots and tumbling to the dark earth before finally arriving in the circle of men who were standing under a pole-mounted bug light, listening to Dad talk about something sports-related. I waited in the near-darkness for him to notice me. Finally he motioned me forward. I could already imagine myself behind the wheel of that big Pontiac, cruising up and down High Street in front of the university, filling the wide back seat with laughing girls and BMX bicycles, being a genuinely cool guy. There were Porsches and Benzes aplenty in my high school parking lot, but no Grand Ville droptops. “You know Jack,” I imagined Cara, the hottest girl in my class at the time, saying. “The cool guy with the big old convertible.” I was so busy dreaming about my future life I could barely spare the processing power to speak.

“Dad! Mrs. [redacted],” I sputtered, “has a seventy-five Grand Ville convertible, I think it’s the four hundred but, Dad, it could be the four-fifty-five, I don’t know, I didn’t ask, but she said to ask you if I could have it.” There was silence among the men that lasted longer than it should have, longer than I wanted it to, before my father responded.

“You,” he laughed, “don’t want a piece of shit like that. Don’t you want a Datsun 200SX?”

“A Nissan 200SX, yes Dad, but…”

“No,” he clarified, the smile gone from his face and his voice, “you don’t want that car. Some old convertible. Worthless. It’s not even safe, Jack.” When he said I “didn’t want” something, that really meant “can’t have”, so I turned away and trudged back to the other children, who had found a toad and were busy trying to find a container in which to imprison it. As I watched the poor creature jump towards an open spot only to find a set of hands waiting for it every time, I moaned in sympathy. The middle class wasn’t going to let go of me any more readily.

Because make no mistake, in the Eighties the idea of a convertible had a distinct whiff of trash to it. Of course, there was the Mercedes SL, the unimpeachable transportation of bankers and trophy wives. During Upper Arlington’s Fourth of July parade of those years, it wasn’t unusual for every single car in the parade to be an SL. Every single one. More than fifty prom queens, local celebrities, and honorary chairpersons, every one seated on the hardshell tonneau of a 380SL or, where said modern variant was unavailable due to poverty or stubbornness, a 450SL.

But the SL, along with the 911SC Cabriolet, was the exception that proved the rule. Decent people shunned convertibles. With their risk of rollover injuries and their fading canvas tops, they were simply NOKD. Fear of federal regulation had killed two entire generations of American family convertibles; the Cutlass Supreme became America’s best-selling car despite dropping the droptop when it went Colonnade, and the 1978 A-body that replaced it offered an Aeroback in its place. The “final convertible” in the minds of many people was that ’76 Eldorado, the monstrous Las Vegas abomination that verged on self-parody to a middle class that was already changing en masse to the diesel Mercedes and Saab hatchback. Cadillac very smartly changed the El-Dog to a trim, formal-looking coupe in 1979, earning my grandfather’s business back as a consequence.

As a result, most of the convertibles you saw were old cars, and in 1986 a decade-old car wasn’t the sensible proposition it is now. It was a junkyard dog. An old Pontiac convertible? Five strikes: American. Old. Pontiac. Convertible. Gas Guzzler. The fact that I imagined myself as the star of my own movie in the thing mattered not to my father, who had been ahead of the curve in the whole despising-the-convertible thing when he’d traded his Camaro RS 327 in on a Volvo sedan in 1974. (Irony time; he’d eventually buy a Volvo C70 convertible, which to my knowledge had the top dropped perhaps three times in the two years he owned it.)

The impermanent top eventually returned to production with the domestics; the Mustang, in particular, has made a career of being a convertible once again. But it was strictly a specialty-car thing, both for the home team and the imports, whose idea of a convertible was either a Karmann-built Rabbit (often referred to, most recently by Jalopnik, as the “bitch basket” for its spoiled-girl clientele and its sensible rollover bar) or some improbably expensive Saab 900/BMW Three/Mercedes E-Klasse variant. There were third-party aftermarket convertibles, which in their execution and customer base precisely paralleled the higher-end waterbeds, but we all pretended they didn’t exist.

The lone exception to all this was Chrysler. Lee Iacocca, always a man with an eye for a way to extract a publicity-friendly new car from an existing platform, saw that an American convertible capable of seating five would have some sort of market. He had the sense to make sure it hit the market as a LeBaron, not a Reliant, too.

Thus began one of the more curious production runs in American automotive history. For a full thirty-one model years, almost without interruption, Chrysler sold an affordably-priced, mid-sized, non-specialty, family-car-based convertible. Other manufacturers would dip a toe in the waters then run, but Chrysler maintained it from LeBaron to Sebring to 200. For the last thirty years, the Chrysler convertible has been a mainstay of rental fleets, a choice of older women looking for a bit of post-divorce thrill, the used car most often chosen by public-university girls whose parents couldn’t spring for a bitch basket.

I never knew anybody who actually wanted a Chrysler droptop. The desirability of those cars in most quarters was precisely zilch. Yet when it was time to fly to Hawaii or enjoy a Florida work-cation, those same people who would wrinkle their noses when they saw a Sebring convertible parked next to them at the grocery store would fight tooth and nail to get one as a rental. It was America’s temporary pleasure car, the four-wheeled equivalent of a Nevada prostitute. You loved it for a Vegas weekend but if you had one at home your neighbors would magically forget your existence.

Chrysler knew who was buying the things, and so did Polk. In the DaimlerChrysler era, the Sebring convertible was ruthlessly optimized for its disparate and specialized customer bases, with no fewer than three different tops, the most expensive of which was a Car Top Systems hardtop just like what you could get in the majestic but long-out-of-fashion Mercedes SL. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one so equipped, but I’m sure they are out there.

And now they are gone. The Chrysler 200, the less-than-silky purse created from the sow’s-ear Sebring, offered a convincing convertible that combined the interior revisions of the 200 with the superior silhouette of the folding-hardtop Sebring. You could do a lot worse than to buy one, if you wanted that sort of thing.

Yet we’re no longer the sort of country, or even the sort of world, that wants that sort of thing. The family-car buyers of the Fifties and Sixties often found themselves strangely split between the two most expensive variants of the Ford or Chevy they preferred, those variants being station wagon and convertible. A lot of people put their unbelted children in a convertible every day of the week and, as they say, twice on Sundays, once for church and once for ice cream. No longer. Today we will pay any price or bear any burden for safety and security, whether from the terrorists du jour or the rollover accident. And when we say “we”, I mean “we, including Jack Baruth”; I used to drive my son around in my 560SL but I’m no longer so sure about doing that. It would be better to retreat to our fortresses of solitude, our caves of steel, lest the demon return and air-burst our wind-blown faces with the blood of our children.

You could argue that Chrysler had a national responsibility of sorts to continue providing the 200 Convertible, that if they were unwilling to undertake the job themselves then the government should have stepped in. Why not? The G mandated the construction of the B-29, they can sure as hell make the production of domestic droptops a condition of the bailout. Face it: you don’t really want a cramped Mustang or claustrophobic Camaro the next time you step off the plane in Miami or San Diego. You want a flat floor, a big trunk, front-wheel-drive dynamics and no trouble. You want the 200 in that line of rental cars. You need the 200 in that line of rental cars. You’ll miss it when it’s gone, no matter how you disrespected it in the past.

As will we all. The convertible era truly died the minute General Motors and Ford gave up on providing the option in the midsizers, but the death throes lasted a good long time and, frankly speaking, I’m glad they did. The Chrysler convertible was, truly, the working girl of the car biz. But every working girl eventually gets tired of the parade of faces. Eventually it’s time to lay down alone. And so it will be with the Chrysler convertibles. They, like the 380SLs of Upper Arlington on the morning of July fourth, have a long parade ahead, but it’s one that ends, not in the laughter of the final assembly, but in the arms of the crusher, dead and gone, like that woman in the wheelchair from long ago, taking a final night to remember the glories that can never come again.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

117 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Where were you when the convertible died?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So confuse! Adobe abode!

  • avatar
    NN

    Poetic

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “less-than-silky purse created from the sow’s-ear”

    Seen this used at least three times this week in articles, it’s old now.

    Also, wasn’t there a midsize 5-seat predecessor to the LeBaron, like the 600, or the Town and Country convertible? Seems like I’ve seen both predating the LeBaron convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Town and Country convertible for sure, might have even sold along side each the “sporty” Lebaron briefly in the mid 80′s. I wouldn’t mind a T&C convertible as a cheap summer ride.

      • 0 avatar

        They looked pretty good when taken out of the crate.

        • 0 avatar
          AllThumbs

          I’ve got an ’84 LeBaron Town and Country convertible now. I bought it a year ago for $750 because I wanted a cheap car to learn how to be a mechanic on, and because I hadn’t had a convertible in my small fleet in fifteen years.

          The first goal has certainly been met, as I spent the first ten months of ownership using almost all my free time (no exaggeration; it became an addiction)fixing something or other– mostly electrical and suspension. It’s sitting in my driveway now waiting for warmer weather so that I can finish replacing the head gasket and timing belt.

          I think it’s a lovely car. I bought cheap but pretty wheels, got a cheap paint job, and drove it a lot with the top down in the summer. It’s turbo, has the leather “Mark Cross” interior, and has good AC, so it is practically modern in terms of comfort and keeping up with traffic. I get lots and lots of compliments.

          It is certainly not modern in other ways, though. Its electronics are adolescent (as opposed to mature), and its reliability would be honored to be called suspect.

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      Is it 100% sure now that there will be no convertible based on 2015 new 200 so traditions could continue? Rental companies and dealers must be angry.

    • 0 avatar
      ppxhbqt

      No. The Town & Country was a trim line of the C/V-bodied, K-based LeBaron (this car is generally know as a K-car, too, but the shop literature of the time called it C/V; many references to the LeBaron/400 at the time were to the Super K-cars), which was also available as the Dodge 400, which was later absorbed, along with its coupe version, into the E-body 600 sedan lineup when the 400 sedan was dropped.

      I think you’re incorrectly thinking that the also-K-based J-body LeBaron was the first LeBaron convertible.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Nice piece, Jack. Growing up in Miami, I saw many a tourist driving around in rental-car convertibles. Of course we natives didn’t see the point — the brutal sub-tropical sun beating down on your face with oppressive humidity to boot — but you nailed it regarding the momentary (and illusionary) freedom the convertible espouses.

    I have never understood the allure of a convertible, but then again living in South Florida I didn’t fully understand how brutal and soul-depleting a northern winter can be. Only by going away for college and then the rest of my life, I can appreciate it a bit more. As Chevy used to say, it’s not a car, it’s your freedom.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      I used to have family in Naples. I would fly into Miami and rent a convertible Sebring for the drive across Alligator Alley to Naples. Then I would drive it around for a few days then back to Miami for the flight home. Jack captured it perfectly. It was a pleasant enough experience but never made me want to own one. I don’t remember the heat and humidity being a problem, but it was usually fall or winter when I went.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Spot on, Jack. We need more actual 4 seat convertibles, not less. I drove an early 2000′s Sebring from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West. It was a 36 hour respite from cold weather in the Rust Belt. I sunburned my unaccustomed skin to a lobster-y shade of red, but it was fun.

    If only the cars ( Lebaron before it, Sebring and 200) had been better cars, they might have sold them outside of rental fleets. Actually, a good friend of mine bought one. A two year old “S”, 11k miles, Pentastar. Not a former rental!

    He simply wanted a power hardtop four place convertible. I steered him from the Volvo but the only other vehicle was the 200.

    RIP Chrysler convertible

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      The Solara (four seat convertible based on the Camry, not a 2+2 but four proper seats plus a useable trunk, and a very ordinary vehicle in every other way, very similar concept to the LeBaron and 200 convertibles) sorta withered on the vine several years ago.

      Jack cleverly avoided the term “cougar” in his description of the target market demographic, but all of us were already thinking it as we read that part…

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    And here I thought this was a comment on the flex/flash/acrobat patches that are as much a part of my workday startup routine as coffee.

    xkcd.com/1197/

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Nice story, the death of the convertible. I’m glad I had a big one when it was still cool to drive a big convertible. Then I got one of those Lido Lebarons because it was the only game in town and regretted that decision. That was my last, but with the continued improvement of the sunroof every car I’ve had since was so equipped, so I’m good.

    Now, the next time I go on vacation to someplace warm and sunny one of those Mustang convertibles ought to do the trick, so I guess the convertible is dead, long live the convertible

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I can’t think of a time since I left high school where I didn’t have some sort of removable roof. Had T-tops, full on big block Coronet convertible, Dodge Ramcharger, Cobra roadster and the cycle will continue as long as they are not all in the junkyard.

  • avatar

    I was GM of Chrysler in Evanston IL when the ’83 LeBaron Conv. was released. We received the first one a few days before Easter Sunday that year. The weather warmed up to an unseasonable 80 degrees that Sunday, something that never happened previously that I could recall. There were still snow drifts everywhere. I slapped on some dealer plates, took a pocket full of business cards for my pocket, and drove down Clark and Broadway to Rush Street. The car sparked more interest than I could have imagined. I exhausted my supply of business cards in about 90 minutes and received telephone call orders one after another the following week. WE became the largest volume Conv. dealer in the Chicago zone on a complete fluke. I had no idea of selling any cars that day and only took business cards with me as an after thought. The more we sold the more we earned based on the allocation formula of the day. We ended up shipping them all over the country.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    “the four-wheeled equivalent of a Nevada prostitute”.

    As a person who has rented these on a couple trips to Las Vegas (the car, not the prostitute) I can appreciate this comparison.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I would say this should read the American Big 3 stopped selling verts, imports did not , Saab and BMW had verts in the mid 80′s as did Audi I think as well as benz. VW did with their own chick vert roofless rabbit and also let’s not forget the best of the bunch as a 2 seater the Miata. In fact in the last 90′s early 2000′s it seemed everyone had verts. hell even Volvo did , Ragtops did not disappear they just moved to the being produced on the other side of the ocean for the most part. I really have no idea how many of the 70′s boats were topless but my guesses they always sold in low numbers as they do today. maybe the American family car as a ragtop faded out of view but not sure how many were really sold when they were on the scene.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    My folks had two convertibles in the household, as follows:

    one 96 Camaro. Forest green, black cloth/black rag top

    one 2002 Sebring. Mint/jade green, same black interior and top combination and previous rag top.

    The Camaro sported the ridiculously small squared headlights which were basically useless- even the high beams. It also had a push-button second gear start feature.

    The Camaro’s power was fair to slow… definitely closer to slow. It would pull, but only on the high end of its powerband.

    It had problems creating tire smoke in the rear wheel well. I pushed like hell to smoke them. It would- sometimes.

    The Camaro felt heavy and sluggish, and it produced more rattles and squeaks than my dad’s 91 RS with t-tops. That always surprised the daylights out of me. The RS was a rattle trap, too.

    The Camaro also produced more chassis flex than I knew a car was capable of. The pothole-ridden streets of St. Louis certainly pushed its flexy body (and suspension) to the test.

    Then bring on the Sebring. Despite being of laughable build quality, and even more comical subpar materials used for the build (especially the interior), it flexed and rattled significantly less than the Camaro. (I’ll be damned, one point for the Sebring?)

    But the Sebring was, make no mistake about it, a dog. The performance? Non-existent. That Chrysler, sans this post, was totally forgettable in every way. It was base model of the base models, the thing even had wheel covers. Power windows, power locks and top… that was it.

    In two years, the Sebring was traded off.

    The Camaro, however, to a kid in high school at the time, was a really beautiful car AND an asset to my communication levels with the pretty girls at my high school (although I loathed the fact that my folks never wanted the Z28 model).

    Now I am pushing 30 and there will be no convertibles in my household. Perhaps when we’re elderly, we’ll take a high-performance two seater with a convertible/removable hard top.

    Otherwise, yes- convertibles are seemingly dead.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      That’s a 3.8L Camaro, btw

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Raresleeper, your family’s Sebring must have been the 2.5 liter 4 cylinder. I owned a 1998 with the 2.7 six, and while no rocket, it had satisfactory acceleration.

      I had the Limited version, which was very rare (most were JX’s or JXi’s). I enjoyed it while I owned it, wish I still had it for the spring and fall weekends.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Yup, that was it.

        It was loud and really struggled to pull the car, although it felt smooth for a four banger. Mileage, although it had a 4 cylinder, was nothing to write home about. Rather embarrasing, really.

        The steering was numb and unresponsive… the slightest and slowest of cornering and the skinny tires objected, sqeauling loudly. The automatic was sloppy- albeit, again, strangely smooth- yet every bit as detached as the steering was from the car.

        Turning radius equivalent of the Titanic.

        Took an endless amount of room to get the bastard to stop.

        Imagine a floaty, slow, malaise-era barge minus the body roll with economy level Chrysler smoothness.

        But it did have a (*thumbs up*) REAL glass rear window, with a rear defroster!

        Oh, the humanity.

        Disasters like this are the very reason our cousins across the pond are convinced that we can’t build quality cars.

        But yes, the Limited was certainly much better appointed and undoubtedly a much more pleasing experience behind the wheel…

        …to an extent.

        • 0 avatar
          Thatkat09

          I wonder how the 2.7 V6 in the second gen Sebring convertible drove? I also remember the white leather option with fake wood grain that had Chrysler emblems on it. I know its hard to believe but I thought that was the classiest thing, the interiors of the second gens haven’t aged well but in 2001 it was damn near luxurious for the price.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            I remember it running quite well. Two lane passing was fine and it was fairly smooth until about 5500. Engine was better than the car it was attached to, at least when new.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        In 1998 you would have still had the 2.5L Mitsu V-6. The 2.7L Sludgemaster didn’t come to the Sebring convertible until the 2001 reskin, which also shared the 2.4L Chrysler four-banger base powerplant of the earlier JXs. No 2.5L four was offered.

        EDIT – Didn’t see Roberto’s correction above.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I cannot morn the death of the 200 convertible, but I won’t celebrate it either. To me, a FWD Chrysler convertible is Bon Jovi. It started in the early 80s, and continued on after many of their peers had died or stopped production. Throughout the entire run, I never liked either, and I never really cared.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Chrysler convertible is Bon Jovi. It started in the early 80s, and continued on after many of their peers had died or stopped making music.”

      or, I liked for awhile and then I didn’t

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Fair. I was born in 1983, so by the time I started buying music, Bon Jovi wasn’t on the list. I still have my Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Dinosaur Jr, and Alice in Chains tapes though.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      You’ve got to admit, “Livin’ on a Prayer” had a hell of a hook.

      But “Wanted Dead or Alive” always reminded me of Slim Pickens playing Wild Jack Monroe on the MTM Show.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The album “Slippery When Wet” stands the test of time even though I don’t want to admit it. Its certainly better than popular music today. I will take Bon Jovi over whatever crap is on top 40 radio.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Beautiful Day” is the best convertible song, oh wait, see, not ALL of Bon Jovi’s peers are dead

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          U2 is a Euro convertible.

          • 0 avatar
            ctg

            That’s fantastic.

            Today’s pop music is a lot like modern cars. The engineering and production is far better, but they’re missing character and uniqueness. We know how to make a top 100 hit, just like we know how to make a safe, quiet, reliable transportation device.

            There are still outliers that are really interesting in both cars and music. But definitely the mainstream, “non-specialty” (as Jack put it) products are all blending together.

            Great article, too. I’m also very sad that rationality and safety seems to be increasingly killing off the fun but “unnecessary” parts of our lives. But, like Jack, I’m also guilty of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            Beach Boys’ “Sunflower”. Also contemporary jazz standards like Buble’, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall, Bobby Caldwell, etc.

            However, a sure-fire pick? A summer evening ball game while cruising around. Sweet!

        • 0 avatar
          Japanese Buick

          Johnny Nash “I can see clearly now”

  • avatar
    Curt in WPG

    The first non-1960′s car I purchased after I finished university was a 1989 LeBaron convertible (coupe version, not the boxy K-car look-a-like). It was January 1993 in Winnipeg so it was 30 below and I got a screaming deal from a salesman who clearly though I was nuts to buy a drop top in that weather. It had the 2.5 litre 4 banger that produced somewhere around 100hp and vinyl seats that caused ones kidney’s to freeze in the winter. When one is used to 1968 Beaumonts and 1969 Impalas the LaBaron, my “topless lesbian” (sorry, wasn’t very PC in those days) was wonderful. It was, in all honesty, probably a really crappy car but they all were back then and every spring when the snow melts I miss it terribly.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    Always wanted a Chrysler-Maserati; and if I had a place to keep it; might still buy one today; knowing even back then it was an overpriced K-Car; but a very nice looking K-Car.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Convertibles died for another practical reason: in real life the top hardly ever gets dropped.

    My wife had convertibles for about 13 years for typical female reasons: it looked cute and sounded fun. In real life it was too cold to use under 75 degrees, and too hot above 85. The wind messed up her hair. Papers and detritus flew around and out of the car unless it was perfectly clean and any loose thing stowed away. Leave the top down while parked and a pop up rainstorm renders the inside soaked.

    So the top stayed up. So do the tops of the other convertibles I see in my daily travels.

    Add in the economics (about $5000 premium for the convertible, $1500 every 5 years or so for a new top if you don’t garage the car, and mechanical complexity that can get problematic after 10 years or so) and -for most people- convertibles don’t make a lot of sense to own.

    Convertibles are a lot like a boat; on a nice day you really want a friend to own one but not a smart place to put your own money.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “too cold to use under 75 degrees”

      Not true- roll up the windows, wear a jacket, turn the heater on and it’s tolerable to about 60 ;)

      But yes, your basic premise–about stuff blowing around in the car, sunburn (somebody else mentioned that), and it not being much fun outside a narrow temperature range–your basic premise is spot on.

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        Too cold to use under 75 degrees? Here in cold wet Englandshire, we can only dream of those temperatures, but we still buy more convertibles than France, Spain or Italy.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/10188969/Britains-love-affair-with-the-cabriolet.html

        I owned a Miata for four years and regularly got the top down. Going out for a drive on rural roads on a crisp spring morning with the roof down and the heater turned up is a treat for the senses.

        • 0 avatar
          racebeer

          I’m on your side, spreadsheet monkey. Up here in Minnesota I have seen more ‘verts than anyother place I’ve been. We use them once the thermometer hits 50, and don’t put them away until it drops below 50 (April to about early October). Last summer, I only put the top up three times — the rest of the time it was down. Park in the garage at home, work has a covered parking ramp so I don’t worry about the rain. Being a fourth generation Trans Am, the windshield is laid back so far there is minimal buffeting in the cockpit, and if you think it’s too cold, just pop the windows up and crank the heat. My opinion is if you own a convertible, then you understand the plusses and minuses, have weighed those items, and made a fact based decision. It’s all personal preference.

          ps …. 3 point subframe connectors work WONDERS on eliminating the severe cowl shake these cars have.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke

            As a fellow Minnesotan I will happily confirm your remarks. There’s nothing like seeing those convertible owners with their early April sunburns eagerly received on the first warmish weekend possible.

            I love the looks of 4th generation F-body convertibles. I have looked at several of them but haven’t yet found the right one.

            The ‘Birds are especially fetching…something about them just works better than the Camaros.I met a guy up at Brainerd a few years ago with a crazy convertible Firebird with a roll bar pushing like 600 hp at the wheels. He was pretty quick on track and obviously completely adored the car. I didn’t blame him for a minute!

          • 0 avatar
            racebeer

            Hey Luke … I have an affinity for the Firebirds as well. It took me about two years to find the one I purchased a few years back because the combination was a bit rare — ‘vert, 6-speed manual, red, taupe interior and taupe top. It’s amazing to me how many of those were built with automatics, which to me just isn’t right in this type of car. I have thought about installing a cage so I could go to Brainerd, but they make getting in and out a real PITA. They don’t require a cage on the hardtop version …..

            It’s funny when we travel back south for vacation and our friends ask if we went to a tanning booth before coming. I say sure, if you count a 335hp manual shift convertible as a ‘tanning booth’.

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          It was my wife’s car. If you have been in a relationship with a female you become very aware that, as a general rule, they have a lot if issues related to temperature :) If you have not learned this yet you are in for a treat.

          Guys generally happy to take the top off a Jeep (the Official Convertible for Guys) or sports car in all kinds of weather. Girls not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        Curt in WPG

        You can also use them in the rain if you drive fast enough. At highway speed I never had rain get inside with the top dropped. Slowing down to turn off the highway just meant you pulled over really fast to put the top up :-)

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        I’ve found with my ’12 PRHT Miata the seat heaters make it usable down to about 60. In my previous ’96 Miata without the seat heaters the comfort floor was 70. Seat heaters work better than blown heat for this, IME.

        I don’t know if it’s psychological or direct sunlight angle but I find 60 and going up (in the morning) more comfortable than 60 and going down (at dusk).

        When summer hits here in NC I get plenty of top down time…on the morning commute, before the heat gets really bad, and at night with the stars above and the frogs and crickets chirping all around. The PRHT rocks, easy to put up if conditions change. Not just rain either…for example transition from breezy back road to stop-and-go “roast in your roadster next to a semi” freeway or city roads.

        IOW…if you love the convertible you find plenty of opportunities to use it. If you just got it because it’s cute…we’ll thank you for supporting the volume Mazda needs to keep making them.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Exactly. People don’t like convertibles. They only think they would like a convertible. Think about it: A convertible is something they had before they had good air conditioning. They have been obsolete since about 1957. So they are an anachronism. They exist mostly because of the endless sentimentality that attends them.

  • avatar
    mu_redskin

    Maybe VW will keep on producing the the EOS. It’s still available for the 2014 model year.

  • avatar
    mu_redskin

    Chrysler could be just teasing us with the death of the 200 convertible and offer a better convertible based off of the new Challenger that will soon be released.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    You better hike up your stones and pull out of this miasma, Jack, or you’ll soon be what you most fear – irrelevant.

  • avatar
    pb35

    My dad brought home a handful of LeBaron convertibles in the 80s. I was 17 and he let me joyride my face off with whatever female I could coax into the passenger seat. It wasn’t hard.

    These days, when I need a drop top fix, I take my Volvo to the dealer and ask for a C70. Then I take the day off.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    OK, Jack you are exactly 5 years older than I am but every time you talk about your childhood I get transported back. Every damn time.

    I grew up further north in the great state of Ohio (sorry as a native Ohioan I’m legally required to say that every time I mention my birthplace) and grew up rural in the lower middle class but the way you write I get sucked back in time. Neighborhood parties with bonfires, cheap beer, country music, lots of Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Fords, and the occasional Dodge or Plymouth parked around the perimeter.

    As the owner of an old Mustang convertible I have been looking online at the reviews of the new 2015 Mustang convertible. One of the sentences that shocked me in someones review was “this is the ONLY CONVERTIBLE model made by Ford, period.”

    I had to think about that for a min. No European market convertible that we don’t get? NO. No special Australian market one off? NO. No Chinese market only convert? NO.

    Although the backseat is really only there for insurance purposes I predict that the 4cyl eco-bost Mustang convertible will become very popular as a rental car in places like Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Florida.

    R.I.P middle class 4 seat convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      Our dogs would disagree about the purpose of back seats in convertibles. In fact, they’re mad as hell that they don’t have a back seat in our MX-5 Miata because they refuse to share the passenger seat.

      This is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been contemplating other convertibles, like the ’15 Mustang and G37 convertible. If the dogs can come along for the ride, we can get the heck out of Phoenix in the summer with the roof down.

      Now, this is where I need the B&B to stage an intervention and remind me why I’d be nuts to and regret letting my MX-5 Miata go. Yes, it’s got 3 pedals, LSD and it’s just about paid for.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        If I didn’t own a 1967 Mustang convertible that is a labor of love for me I’d make you an offer. Although for me the LSD would be great for the winter tires I’d need on the NM portion of the Colorado Plateau from November to March.

        • 0 avatar
          cpthaddock

          Nice, very nice. The “labor” in “labor of love” that persuaded us away from classics.

          Our convertible odyssey started with my wife spotting a pretty 560SL for sale. Ultimately we were persuaded by cheap to run, reliable and hooliganesque enough while not fast enough to send me to jail without passing go. (fingers crossed, touching wood)

      • 0 avatar

        @Captain Haddock

        It’s true that you’d be nuts to let your Miata go. On the other hand the dogs obviously need to ride. You have a genuine dilemma.

        • 0 avatar
          cpthaddock

          Sadly, that’s exactly what prevents us from using it in the summer to get out of town.

          Maybe I secretly want my life to resemble a Larson cartoon with the dogs driving …

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “I never knew anybody who actually wanted a Chrysler droptop.”

    You do now. I absolutely loved the Le Baron, and we owned a bright red with charcoal-and-white interior 1992 for over 8 years.

    I’ll probably never own another convertible for the foreseeable future, however – just not practical for my l-o-n-g commute.

  • avatar
    LKre

    When Iain Banks and old girls are dead and gone, when all palatably-looking transvestites are busy with other customers, a moment comes when your lust for sunlight begins to overwhelm your revulsion, and you start craving a Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet. The sight of its malformed stilted body and face betraying signs of unspeakable torture should be enough for you to understand that Warhammer’s Ruinous Powers have replaced the SC Minds in this universe, but so what, you’ll have your sunlight.

  • avatar
    Luke

    My little sister’s first car was an ’87 LeBaron convertible, red with a 4 cylinder/auto and black top. The previous owner had left it parked outside so the plastic back window was completely hazed and brittle, and the top was stained with dirt and tree detritus. I spent a whole weekend home from college helping my dad replace the window and scrub the top with various solvents, cleaners, and conditioners to get the top clean and back to black. You’re welcome, sister!

    They were really nice looking cars great proportions. Unfortunately it was a dog and my sister hated it. Basically the slowness and groaning engine of a 4-banger K Car with the added inconvenience of wind noise, rattles, and cold from the convertible top. As I recall, she complained long enough and vocally enough that my dad replaced it with a plain vanilla Buick Regal.

    My own experiences with convertibles have been completely underwhelming. I’ll agree with Toad that it’s either too hot or too cold to put the top down, and that al-fresco driving is just loud and windy. I’ve always wanted to experience one of the really expensive convertibles with a folding hardtop. Maybe those are more satisfying?

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Any of them with a turbo or V6 were as quick or quicker than other cars of the era in those price ranges, but a NA I4 with the 3 speed auto the review would have gone something like “I was well past the normal braking point before using them and still had to drive the car into the corner, because it has such phenomenal brakes? NO, because it is phenomenally slow.”

      Of course other four pot/3 speed autos were about the same. You used a sun dial to time the 0-60 times and a calendar for the quarter mile.

  • avatar
    319583076

    My DD is an MX-5 Club. The first rule of driving a convertible is: the top goes down whenever possible. The sweet spot for me is between 55 degrees and 85 degrees. Warmer is ok if the sky is overcast, but above that, I’m cooking. Curiously, around the Omaha metro, most convertible drivers seem to only drop the top when the temp is 90 degrees or better and there is nary a cloud in the sky. I can’t understand it. Coincidentally, one of my co-workers daily drives a 200 convertible. A 2012, I think. Convertibles aren’t for everyone and I don’t think most owners take advantage of them often enough (or correctly enough). I prefer to drive top down as often as possible. Long live convertibles!

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      +1

      The top stays down on mine unless it’s raining or parked outside and it’s my winter daily driver. Summer temps are too high in Phoenix for roof down – despite great AC it reminds me too much of an easy bake oven.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      When we owned our convertibles – the 1992 Le Baron, the 1992 Wrangler and the 2007 MX5, all were garaged with the top neatly stowed, and in the Le Baron’s case, the boot cover was ALWAYS used properly – to cover the folded top!

      Whenever the weather was right – except for the Jeep – if it was chilly, the top would be down, the windows up and the heater on. A wonderful experience.

      I suppose if we ever get another convertible, it’ll be a… hmmm… I have no idea.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Absolutely agree on rule #1. Denver has 300 days of sunshine, and with the heat on and a nice jacket, anything north of 40 degrees is top-down time. You buy a convertible for the 75 degree summer days, but you haven’t experienced Motoring (with a capital ‘M’) until you’ve barnstormed a B road in a light snowfall.

    • 0 avatar
      TL

      Exactly. As a Seattle area convertible owner, my MR2 lives a dual life. 5-7 months of the year it’s top is never up. Most of the rest of the year it huddles in the garage waiting for the sun to come back out (days like today being the rare exception).

      Convertibles ownership has it’s downsides, but for me there is nothing else that can put a smile on my face after a long day at work like a topless ride home.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I find a curious parallel between the works of Iain M. Banks (to qualify his science fiction work, he used Iain Banks for his non-SF works) and convertibles: The first ride is mind-blowing. When I read Excession (as my first exposure) I was stunned at how original and entertaining it was. Yet every other of his books never quite lived up to that first experience. So it is with convertibles. After the first “holy cow” experience passes, the inevitable compromises begin to loom larger and larger.

    BTW, he wrote a real car-themed novel “The Bridge” which was pretty damned good.

  • avatar
    dkleinh

    One of the worst diseases there is – MS. My mother suffered with progressive degenerative MS for 25 years. While not that interested in cars, mom always wanted to see and ride in the cars I got over the years. I always wanted a convertible and finally got a Lexus IS250C last year. Sorry mom passed away in 2008, wonder what she’d have said to me about it. It’s not a daily driver but every weekend I take it out and if it’s nice, the top comes down and my wife teases me about the self-satisfied look I get as I drive it.

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    Great story! The only thing wrong with the cream colored car in the article photo is that it’s a color other than red. That would be my first change.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    The only ragtop I owned was a ’65 Monza which I bought from a local Corvair indy mechanic–minus doors and convertible top frame. It belonged to a young man who went to Nam and never returned. Original color was Evening Orchid. His father just wanted to get it off the hillside in Milpitas where it lay, a project forever interrupted by the war.

    I found a couple of doors and a top frame, had it resprayed in a gunmetal metallic grey, installed a new top, a Buick tilt column, heated Volvo bucket seats, and it became my DD for the next 4 years or so.

    The body was purpose-built with extra unibody frame rail reinforcements and those wierd spring-loaded vibration dampers (suspended in an oil-filled cannister) at the extreme 4 corners. You could still stick your finger between the vent wing frame and the A-pillar and feel it get pinched while driving on a rough road.

    Lots of memories in that car, and I drove it with the top down most of the time, just because that body looked terrific then and still does. On cold days I’d roll the windows up and crank the heater full blast.

    Would I do it again? In a heartbeat, if I could find a rust-free example and it could be stored in a warm garage and I had the time to tinker with it..that’s just not happening now.

    Thanks for the story! We all have one that got away.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Round these parts, the Chevy Cavalier convertible was far more popular than the Chryslers. They ran from 1982 to 1999, the first three generations, and with that growly V6 went fine. The second gen particularly was quite handsome, I thought.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    I had my own encounter with an old Pontiac convertible when I was 18. A used car lot in town (trustworthy, so my dad said) had a 9-year-old ’66 Bonneville, with leather-and-Morrokide power bench seat and factory air, that hadn’t been driven in years except for the occasional parade. By the time I sold it 17 years later, I’d replaced the top myself, endured bad electrics and hydraulics, deteriorated brake lines, etc. The car was a wonderful idea but not executed very well, sorry to say.

    Nonetheless it was great in a straight line, and I enjoyed driving around with five (or more) college friends – all, of course, belted in to the extent possible – and being able to haul virtually anything in the massive elongated trunk, or (in one case) a queen-size mattress and boxspring on top of the trunk.

    My only regret is that I sold it (and pieces of a parts car) a year before meeting my wife-to-be.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Am I trippin’ JB? A Kafka reference on TTAC?

    ‘No Fixed Abode,’ being the answer Odradek gives about his home in Kafka’s ‘Die Sorge des Hausvaters.’

    Right, let’s get back to cars and other khazerei

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    Taking off the top is one of the most effective ways to make an otherwise boring car interesting. Mine has had a rip in the top for nearly two years, and I haven’t bothered replacing it because I almost never raise the thing. 75 MPH suddenly feels more interesting. Go for a country drive, and you feel like you’re enjoying the outdoors, scents and all. Topless under a moon- and star- lit sky? Amazing; arguably it’s more enjoyable than a sunny day. “Let’s go for a drive” suddenly becomes a romantic date idea in the eyes of women.

    When it gets cooler, turn up the heat and maybe put on a jacket once temps drop into the 40s. Look smugly at onlookers who don’t realize that the heater does a pretty good job of keeping you warm. This is even more fun when it’s raining hard and you’re enjoying just the slightest spray while cruising along the highway. Driving becomes a sort of mini-adventure compared to sitting in the isolation chamber that is most modern cars.

    More than once I’ve shown up somewhere with a tan to be asked, “Oh, you’ve been to the beach?” Nope; stuck in traffic. I keep sunscreen in the center console.

    People have told me that having a two seat convertible is too impractical. Funny: during the few instances I’ve needed to transport people or things, approaching family or friends with, “Hey, want to trade my convertible for your minivan/sedan for the day?” has never given me any issues.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    I’m exactly Jack’s age, but my experience in the 80s was a bit different. My (white, middle class, suburban) crew’s vehicles included a 1973 Delta 88 convertible, a 1975 LeSabre convertible, a Dodge 600 Turbo convertible (my upper class friend), and a 1968 Super Beetle convertible (my mom’s car, which I would drive), and a 1972 Impala convertible. Those were the days.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I might also comment here that I always found the early/mid 90s E-Class convertible classically beautiful.

    Couple years ago I saw an old guy driving a bright red one with white top and WHITE interior. I was so envious.

    Am I to understand per the article that these were not factory, some sort of coach-built thing sold to dealers? I can imagine they were mega costly.

  • avatar
    charski

    My last convertable is a 2013 Jeep Wrangler, it sure doesn’t have a mechanized top that’s down in under 20 seconds, and it’ll be interesting to see the kids reaction this summer with the top off…I’ll have to get a bandanna and sunglasses for my wife and daughter.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    For most people the convertible fantasy is much better than the reality. Guys buy them to get the girls, but the reality is that most girls don’t like them because it messes up their hair and they get too cold or too hot with the top down, or they complain about the drafts and noise with the top up. Or you might have fantasies of your posse of friends cruising with the top down, but the reality is that those assigned to the backseat will complain after five minutes unless you drive less than 20 mph to keep the wind blast down. The only people I know that have found lasting enjoyment are those that buy convertible sports cars that they enjoy driving themselves in all non-rainy weather with the top down as God intended.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I tried buying an Escort(EU) convertible once. A decent 4 seater by our standards back then. I actually liked it, but yeah, it wasn’t very practical, and It was too expensive according to my gf. (and I guess at the time she was right, but they are getting very rare now)
    After trying the ZDX, Element, Insight and who knows what, Honda owes us an Accord convertible by now…(btw ,did they ever build a real convertible?)

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Tell you something interesting.

      There was a custom 89 Ford Escort (American model) in my neighbohood a while back in which someone chopped the hatch-area off the back and made it into a mini-truck. No bull.

      It even had a custom canvas snap-down tonneau cover.

      These following phrases are the equivalent of an amalgamation (this is not for the weak of heart): 89 Escort. Custom paint. Custom body work.

      Even more humurous are the following I’ve spotted on the infamous Ebay Motors:

      *Custom convertible Range Rovers (for none other than the hip-hop urban crowd). What better way to completely ruin a Range Rover, with the exception of flat black paint.

      *Custom Chrysler 300 Convertible (is it just me, or do modern 4 door convertibles look rather bizarre?).

      One custom convertible I DO find quite nice, as follows: 1992-2002 Cadillac Eldorado. In a word: beautiful. You’ll see these pop up on Ebay from time to time. The coachwork on these just look right at home, in my humble opinion.

      (Although Cadillac did make the Eldorado convertible in the 80′s from the factory- mid-80′s, I believe. That indeed, was most definitely a gorgeous car. However, I don’t trust the 4.1 engine, so I will have to pass on that beauty.)

      And I’m not exactly sure folks will take a liking to an Accord Convertible; however, stranger things have happened.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        You are right not to trust the HT 4100 V8, had an 84 Eldorado.Terrible motor. But the last Eldorado did make a handsome convertible. Wouldn’t mind one, except they still trade for a good price on eBay.

  • avatar
    davew833

    In fall 1985 I was a 17-year-old high school senior who somehow got picked to drive the Homecoming Queen around the football field (slowly!) in a brand-new 1986 LeBaron convertible with only 7 miles on it. It was burgundy with white interior. I think that must have been the first brand- new car I ever drove.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Drove a 1991 VW Cabriolet back and forth to Manhattan for about 6 years. The convertible top had three layers. You could not hear the rain falling on the top. One day someone followed me home and offered me a price i could not refuse and i let the car go. The next day i kicked myself all over the house. That car never missed a beat. 2 months after selling it i purchased a 1991 Miata with a removable hardtop and less then 70,000 miles. Of course i store it over the winter months in my garage to keep the road salt off it (After all it is a Mazda). The car is great in the summer months remove the hardtop and drive all summer with the top down. Being retired i can buy what i like and the Miata on a nice summer night with my wife at my side is a joy. This car i will not sell no matter what i am offered. Whatever i do and buy it will still be a convertible.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    I’ve owned a bunch of convertibles:

    -69 Chrysler Newport
    -64 Corvair Monza
    -80 Mercedes 450SL
    -86 Mercedes 560SL
    -63 Dodge Dart
    -91 Mazda Miata

    The SLs and Miata were fun, but honestly, the old American deals that would seat 4 (or more, many more in the case of the Newport) were the most smiles per mile. I’ve driven them, top down, in sub-freezing temps, in the rain, and in triple-digit deserts. There’s nothing like blasting through the night, top down, on some vacant road, that chill of the evening starting to creep in around the edges, an AM radio wheezing out a creaky tune from the early 60′s…

    I will never be without a convertible in my garage.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    You mean like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIOW9fLT9eY

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    My grandmother owned a 2000 Sebring convertible. Smart-looking car. Forest green, gold wheels, black top, black leather interior. It followed the Volvo 244 that was nearly destined to become my first car, and an ’03 Eclipse convertible followed it, before that was replaced by Bubbe’s last car, a V70 XC.

    My grandfather remarried a few years after Bubbe passed, and the convertible bug bit him and my stepgrandmother a couple of years ago.

    Well, he test-drove a pre-owned Sebring convertible overnight. This was an ’07, theoretically loaded, with the hardtop. It rode like a covered wagon on 18″ wheels, and with the top stowed, a glance in the trunk left me amazed that it worked at all. I drove it, briefly, and gladly handed the keys back without taking it over 30 MPH.

    They ended up with a well-kept ’04 instead, which turned out to be a better car in every way.

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      Except safety. If theres one thing the 08(there was no convertible 07) Sebring did better than any other convertible up till that point, it was being as safe as a tank. Gotta give Chrysler credit for that at least.

  • avatar
    eichler1

    Ummm, this extended talk of Chrysler convertibles and death (or at least dearth) of convertibles makes me feel like I lived in a different country. And apparently I did: California. There, no one, and I mean NO self-respecting person would be caught dead, much less alive, in a post-’70s American car. That’s slowly — and I emphasize, slowly — changing, since Detroit is now to its credit producing something other than total embarrassments on wheels.

    But in the ’80s -’90s? No convertibles? No way, not in the Golden State. But we didn’t drive Chryslers or Cameros. We drove Celicas, 240SXs (known in their native land by the far more fetching moniker, Silvia), Nissan Z cars, and of course, the aforementioned Miatas. Good, Japanese cars that made convertible owning, well, if not hatchback-practical, at least not impractical. I personally owned a 1988 Celica ragtop, which I bought in 1999 for $3K with 160,000 mules on the odo. Unlike the Chryslers of yore, those built-in-Japan models ran and ran, and that Celica gave me years of mostly trouble-free motoring, the odo pushing well past 200K. With all-wheel independent suspension and a 5-speed manual plus aftermarket rims/tires, suspension bits and disc brakes from a contemporary Celica GT-S, that car was such a pleasure to drive, mile after mile, year after year, offering my children youthful memories of swift, sunny motoring. Drew compliments from my son’s little league teammates (as they stepped into boring RX-330s). Thing still runs, in the hands of my cleaning lady’s husband.

    My current fleet (we have teenagers and I now live in car-friendly Phoenix) includes a ’99 Miata, still fun, trouble-free transportation.

    And since BMW seems to do about a third of its national business in LA County, 3-series drop tops are — and have been for decades — a dime a dozen in Cali. Yours truly piloted a ’99 M3 rag top with a stick. What a soulful, connected and hella-fun car that was.

    And of course in frostless urban California old cars keep their good looks for decades (even more so in Phoenix, with its museum-like dry air, where one often sees totally cherry classics cruising the boulevards), so it’s not unusual even today to see a classic Lincoln suicide door convertible, a ’60s Mustang and, yes, maybe on a special occasion a ’75 Grand Ville like the beauty in the picture above.

    So I beg to differ with this idea the convertible died. At least in California, which one in eight Americans call home (foreign though it apparently remains), the convertible remains vital.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    As a child of the 1960′s I too was offered many really sweet old cars from the 1930′s , 1940′s and 1950′s simply because they were ” old cars ” at the time and I’ve been car crazy since I was in diapers .

    Never allowed to bring one home sadly , as soon as I lift home and had my own place I began dragging home oldies and haven’t stopped yet .

    Jack, _she_understood_ and better yet so did you even at that age .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    CougarXR7

    I’m the proud owner of a rust-free ’72 Olds Delta 88 convertible that I bought three summers ago. Rocket 455 with four barrel. I drove the piss out of it- every dry and reasonably warm evening and weekend until the timing chain finally let go.

    One day when my folks stop dumping their wacky home and garden projects in my lap I’ll actually fix the damn thing and drive it again.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    cabrios are cool, and nobody produce them ..

    .. T-tops, and hard-tops are cool , and nobody produce them ..

    .. some personal-luxury-cars were also cool , and nobody produce them

    ..

    ..that’s the price(loosing oryginality and local flavour) you pay for ‘globalisation’..
    (ie. Cadillac instead of ‘chasing BMW3′ should make a big 2-door cabrio[and call it Eldorado..]
    and where is ‘promissed’ Buick Riviera .. ohh, GM don’t have any Opel car in Europe to ‘re-badge’ it as Buick ?!? .. yeah , but maybe they’ll built Riviera..at last..for chinesse customer ..and it will be blinky-nouvoriche hatchback with ‘more room at the back-seat’ .. and maybe even they’ll offer it in USA..(and yes: if ignorant ‘Generation Why’ would have some money they would buy it ..
    .. because they have ‘knowledge and taste’(corporate-brainwashing) similar to their moto-ignorant chinesse friends..
    (..welcome to Globalisation.. :)

  • avatar
    WildKarrde

    I love convertibles. I’d almost always prefer the convertible version of a car to the hardtop version. But of all the convertibles I’ve loved, the Chrysler variant is not one of them.

    I went to a Pontiac dealership once, right after the Solstace was released. I was hoping to find a nice Miata that had been traded in on one. I found out they had none, but the salesman told me “We just got in a great Sebring convertible, it’s almost the same thing!”

    Haha. No. Seriously? No… no, no, no. It’s not nearly the same thing. It’s not the same thing at all.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States