By on March 15, 2008

paper002_1024.jpgYesterday we discussed snow vehicles, so let's go for some contrast. I mean, it's mid-March and already the sun is shining. (Come April, I'll stop wearing socks until November.) Sure kids get murdered picking lemons off my old tree, but I love Los Angeles. I was having a beer with my neighbor last night and he mentioned that he had seen a yellow-nosed green Se7en parked on some studio lot. My pulse sped up. I know I talk about Se7ens with as much passion (and as often) as Farago mentions his Boxster S, but why on earth not? It's my opinion that if you boil the notion of "car" down to its marrow, you get a Se7en. A totally pure automobile. Of course, this weekend's question is concerned with the best summer vehicle. And it's hot in the summer, so I'll need AC. And Boxster's have AC, don't they? Real and/or aspirational, what's your fave summer steed?

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40 Comments on “Question of the Day: What’s the Best Summer Vehicle?...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    Easy: Ariel Atom. The sun on your face, the wind in your hair, bugs in your teeth, people with cameras swarming around you. What could be better?

  • avatar
    Terry

    Is there any question?? The Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    If I had unlimited finances and access to a track, a Ariel Atom and/or a Se7en.

    Since I have neither, my ’06 Miata will do quite nicely. I know why other Roadsters cost more, I just don’t see why they are worth THAT much more.

    Best of all, good fuel economy means more driving without feeling the guilt.

  • avatar
    frontline

    In the past I preferred the Jeep Wrangler. You can take the doors and top off. If it rained inside it didn’t matter.

    Now, I wish they could get better mileage out the “pig”.

  • avatar

    Caterham 7 gets my vote – can’t be beaten for pure driving pleasure; in the dry!

  • avatar

    Nothing would make me happier than a 1962 Eldorado convertible, in canary yellow with a saddle leather interior. I’m never in a hurry during the summer, so having to slow down to negotiate those tricky 15-degree esses wouldn’t bother me. And because climate control wasn’t introduced until ’64, my ’62 would have working a/c. (The new-for-’63 engine might make that year a better choice, but I’m not crazy about the more slab-sided styling.)

    If I was willing to live without a back seat, an alternative would be a mid-seventies 450SL. I’d want one that’s post D-Jetronic, but before the Chrysler-sourced climate control reared its ugly head. Maybe a ’76, like the one that I had for a few years in the mid-eighties, and which was as at home on dirt roads during camping trips as it was on pavement. What a car!

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Any car with a moonroof. You can close it up and there are less moving (and/or cloth!) parts to break than in a convertible.

    I can roll down all four (frameless) windows in the Diamante, open the moonroof, and get plenty of sun and wind. Of course, a greenhouse-free Chrysler 300 would be different, but you still get 75% of the fun for a tiny fraction of the cost in purchase and repair costs.

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    Best summer vehicle… hmmm… I’d have to say a bicycle, or a Chevy Impala. I like the bike because, well, it doesn’t use gas. I like the Impala because it’s got great A/C, cruise control, comfortable, and ideal for those summer drives.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Heh heh, same car as my winter car, only with the sunroof open. So far, 2 road trips are planned.

  • avatar
    autoacct628

    A great summer vehicle must:

    Have room for four to bring friends and a cooler along. Doesn’t have to be a LOT of room, just at least a 2+2
    Have an a$$-kickin’ sound system.
    Have loads of attitude.
    By definition, a convertible. White over red.

    So: Current best summer car – ’08 Mustang GT convertible.

    Best All-time: ’68 Impala convertible with the small block 327.

  • avatar
    factotum

    Ferrari 412.

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    Nearly any pre-1940 roadster with a rumble seat. No wait, a dual-cowl phaeton. Actually a woodie wagon would be great!
    Am I losing anybody here?
    The open and partially open cars from that era would all be a summertime blast. A 1941 Continental, a ’32 Cadillac V-16.
    An Auburn speedster!!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    If you want room for four, the VW Cabrio. Pretty good on gas, so you can cruise around all day for cheap.

    Otherwise, the Miata. No better driving experience available for reasonable $$, also fairly easy on gas and with a reliability history that says your summer drive will be a drive, rather than a wait for the two truck.

  • avatar
    Skooter

    Corvette Convertible. Velocity Yellow Tintcoat, 6 speed manual, perf exhaust.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    miata

  • avatar
    miked

    Awesome, I get to answer the same vehicle as I did for yesterday’s snow question. I just need to take the chains and roof off of the CJ-5 and there’s nothing else I can drive that makes me feel cooler.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    A Jaguar XK or Austin-Healey.

  • avatar
    frontline

    You are a probably a “true car freak ” if you can’t make up your mind.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Either a Volvo P1800, or a ’62 Cadillac, or a Triumph TR6, or a MGB.

    Yeah, any one of those.

  • avatar
    donethatbeenthere

    best Summer car-my 19663274speed conv. Vette drove for 35 years till somebody stole it-now have settled for a 1985 El Camino-and lay in the bed with my lastest girl.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Of cars currently in production: Mazda Miata or Jeep Wrangler.

    Among older cars, I really have no idea. There are waaaay too many choices.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    A ten year old Toyota Tacoma 4×4 Xtra cab. V6, 5 speed. Skid plates. Winch. Extra gas cans. Bed shell (and air matress.) Perfect for offroad camping and fishing trips, or starlit visits to remote hot springs.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    For all those saying Miata…. and trust me I LOVE Miatas…. I gotta tell you about Se7ens.

    They weigh 1,000 lbs. less. And sometimes even less (most Se7ens are in the 1,100 – 1,300 lbs. range) have no doors or roofs and get 30 mpg.

    Just… perfect.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Something easy to drive, comfortable, and fun. Atoms and Sevens are to much work. A 911 seems nice. A 7-series sounds interesting. Well I drove a 94′ 525i yesterday, and that is my pick for the time being. I love it and I’m in love.

    I really like the S5 interior, but I dunno about that heavy metal. My 92′ Integra was great. Just need more something. E34 525i it is. I’m going to attempt to acquire one. hehehe.

  • avatar
    speedbrakes

    1998 911 Carrera 4 Targa. My deam car for summer……..and winter…….and spring………you get the point!

  • avatar
    westhighgoalie

    If your ever in Southern New Hampshire between mid April and early October, listen…

    You’ll hear a shrill exhaust note and a guy screaming YIPPIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In my MINI Cooper S convertible.

    Its got enough room for you to pack for you,your woman and your gear (wink wink)

    Seriously. I’ve gotten more tail in the MINI than I could in a vette or a Mustang. Why? cause the ladies think “it’s so cute!”

    Who really cares if you have to open the door to get your pants off!

    It’s got a pimpin’ stereo too!

  • avatar
    NickR

    Ultima CanAm

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    Actually, now that I think about it, a great summer car would a 65 Chevelle SS. Just imagine driving across the prairies at 140, the V8 rumbling, sun shining… just heavenly.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    One summer I flew to Seattle, rented a Miata and drove it up to Vancouver. One of my best driving experiences ever. Because of that the Miata has to be in the top 3. But the summer car I truly lust for is a Boxter S.

    Next would be the Factory Five Racing Shelby Cobra. Still one of the best looking cars ever, IMHO, and that brute speed and difficult handling and no top at all…

    Of course an Ariel Atom or a Se7en or a Lotus Elise would be great as well. Damn, I wish I had money. Still after the snow storm this weekend, I should be able to throw my summer tires on, and that is quite a lot to look forward to.

  • avatar
    Toscha

    A Jeep Wangler.

    Pop off the doors, take off the top, and enjoy the surroundings!

    My family spends a few weeks up in Northern Maine during the summer, and unpaved roads would make a jeep feel more at home than anything else.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Can’t makeup my mind…

    VW Cabrio (aka Rabbit ‘vert) – like Kixstart said — enough room for four, a decent trunk for it’s size, room for a couple and their two kids and an overnight or two of luggage. Mine is my daily driver. Good power, excellent a/c, and folding top.

    Old Beetle with a big ragtop sunroof…

    VW Westfalia – camping anywhere, anytime, small foot print.

    Mini with a sunroof.

    Miata – the perpetual fun machine.

    Any motorcycle… Honda ST series or Kawasaki Concours…

    Fiat 500 (old one)

    Citroen 2CV is the distances are short and slow, smae as the Fiat 500…

    Any mid-30s convertible such as the Ford V-8.

    1st Gen Mustang convertible with better brakes, sway bars, etc.

    late 40’s GMC/Chevy pickup with some bales of hay for passengers in the bed… poor man’s convertible…

  • avatar

    I have my dream summer vehicle:

    Right here.

    Spent the day today working on it, as summer will be here soon.

    –chuck
    http://chuck.goolsbee.org

  • avatar

    Any convertible that drives the rear wheels. There are far too many good ones to list, and just about every country that has pumped out cars has made some fine examples.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    For all the Se7en fans here, how about a 23 replica? Lighter still, slicker, and you can get the Atlantic motor in them (4AGE).

    Other than that, let me commit some blasphemy and say that I don’t like being hot and sunburned, so I’ll go with a coupe. Specifically, a Lotus Exige, with the most powerful engine they sell this year.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Cobra…..260, 289, 427, Factory 5 kit clone, it doesn’t matter, just as long as it runs good and looks better.

  • avatar

    a bicycle?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    It all depends on what you would like to do.

    An Ariel Atom for when you want to go out for a drive (we can do that in an Ariel Atom on public roads here in California). Aclose second would be a Shelby Cobra, followed by a Lotus Exige (it’s nice to have AC and protection form the sun at times).

    A ’68 Mustang with a V8, the larger the better, for the car shows and cruising around town.

    For camping, I still like my 58 Chevy truck. Simple to work on if anything breaks, great ground clearance, and better gas mileage than todays monster SUVs. Plus if I’m driving my 58, I’ve always got a good friend along even if I’m the only one in the cab.

  • avatar

    I’ve gotta say, as much as I love a good sports car, in the summertime it’s really all about how many friends and how much gear you can comfortably take on the road trip. To that end:

    Getting to the hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains:
    Subie WRX
    M5 Touring
    RS4 Avant

    For when you need to go off-road:
    4-door Nissan Frontier
    4-door Toyota Tacoma

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Best summer vehicle ?

    In the winter I like my STi with dedicated snow tires.

    In the summer it is going to have to be (for the time being) my gixxr-600. I miss that bike so much. I was recently in Brazil riding a Honda Falcon NX4 (2006 model iirc) 400cc and it is fun, but no comparison to the gsx-r

    Other options I miss:
    My roller blades….I live next to the lake now. I really should blade more.

    A bicycle (miss having one…..no place to put it in this apartment).

    I’d really like to get one of the BMW sport/tourer bikes for my wife & I to ride, except for the price. 50-60mpg, 11-12 second quarter miles stock (IIRC) and enough luggage for a 3-5 day trip. Navigation available, heated grips…yum!

    For now I’ll have to settle for the gixxr and my June 1100 mile, 4 day trip around lake Michigan.
    I am going with a few friends. Anyone in the Chicago area is welcome to come, however we have no patience for stupidness.

  • avatar
    minion444

    Sorry all.
    A motorcycle is the best summer car! Any motorcycle. Yeah I know this is a car site, but I love my 2 wheels too.

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