Explore the coolest vintage convertibles ever made, where classic design meets open-air exhilaration. From the sleek lines of the 1960s roadsters to the power-packed muscle cars of the 1970s and beyond, these convertibles are legends on wheels.

International Scout

By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA – 1979 International Scout II, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69237783

The International Scout, produced from 1961 to 1980 with an original base price of $6,406, stood out as an early four-wheel-drive vehicle, predating the SUV boom.

Initially a hardtop truck, it introduced soft tops and removable hardtops in 1966, embodying a design that would influence future SUVs.

Chrysler LeBaron

By MercurySable99 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=132704666

The Chrysler LeBaron, made from 1982 to 1994 and initially priced at $13,974, marked the return of convertibles in the American market post the Eldorado’s last production.

Although not renowned for performance or luxury, its introduction was significant, breaking a convertible drought. The 1987 redesign brought a more attractive, aerodynamic shape and enhanced power options.

Pontiac GTO

By W. Bulach – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114973385

Launched in 1964 with a base price of $2,990, the Pontiac GTO featured a potent 389-cubic-inch V-8, with an optional 421 horsepower unit. Its performance was stellar, with the ’65 model hitting 60 mph in just under six seconds.

It was initially popular, but the convertible variant saw declining sales with the introduction of the second generation in 1968. Nowadays, GTOs command high interest in the collector’s market, with restoration projects often starting around $30,000.

BMW 325i

By ilikewaffles11 – BMW 325i Convertible, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43620105

Since 1975, the BMW 325i has been a mainstay in the luxury car market, with the convertible version debuting in 1985. Priced new at $36,320, it became emblematic of 1980s success. Known for its durability and classic design, the 325i convertible maintains a steady demand in the used car market.

Ford Thunderbird

By MercurySable99 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=136666448

The Ford Thunderbird, initially launched in 1955, found fame as a V-8 luxury cruiser, larger and more opulent than the Corvette. With a new base price of $35,390, its early models, especially the 1957 version, are highly praised and can fetch up to $80,000 today.

The convertible disappeared after 1967, only to re-emerge in 2002 with a design reminiscent of the original two-seater, offering a cheaper option for anyone looking to own a piece of Thunderbird history without the antique price tag.

Mercedes-Benz SL

By Sicnag – 1960 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40644718

Since its debut in 1954, the Mercedes-Benz SL has evolved through numerous models with a starting price of $55,300. The R107 series, produced between 1972 and 1989, is a sweet spot for collectors because of its classic design and relative affordability.

Models like the 560SL from the late ’80s have seen a drop in value, making them attractive investments. Well-maintained 450SL and 380SL variants from earlier years can often be found for under $25,000.

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

By Niels de Wit from Lunteren, The Netherlands – 1972 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37747882

Spanning from 1949 to 1979 and reintroduced in 2001, the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, with an original base price of $6,800, epitomizes the enduring charm of the Beetle line.

The convertible versions, especially the pre-1980 models, hold a special place in history and collector circles. The newer models nod to their heritage with updated features and styling.

Studebaker Lark

By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA – 1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona Convertible, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69245389

The Studebaker Lark, first produced in 1960 with a base price of $2,724, was a compact convertible that marked the company’s last significant attempt to compete in the auto market. Despite thriving at first, Studebaker couldn’t sustain its position against larger automakers and ceased operations in 1966.

The Lark, offered with both six-cylinder and V-8 engines, was noted for its performance and design. The 1962 model, in particular, remains prevalent in the market, maintaining its value due to its historical significance and appeal as a classic American convertible.

Mazda Miata

By Elise240SX – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118462127

Since its debut in 1990, the Mazda Miata drew inspiration from European roadsters like the MG MGB and Alfa Romeo Spider. With an initial price of $13,800, the Miata’s design and driving experience have evolved over three decades, maintaining its status as a beloved roadster.

Early models, especially those with pop-up headlights, are now sought after collectibles. You can grab a Miata from the early 2000s for around $5,000 in fair condition.

Cadillac Eldorado

By Kevauto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80146064

From 1952 to 2002, the Cadillac Eldorado was a symbol of luxury, with the 1976 model marking the end of an era as the last American convertible of its time.

Priced initially at $31,286, classic models like the ’57 can now command over $100,000, while those from the mid-1980s are more accessible.

Triumph Spitfire

By Own work – Rundvald, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9396287

The Triumph Spitfire, produced between 1963 and 1979, and initially priced at $4,500, was the British answer to affordable, sporty convertibles. Early Spitfires featured a 63-horsepower engine.

Through its production run, the Spitfire saw subtle design evolutions but remained true to its roots. Today, you can find well-preserved models like the ’77 Spitfire under $20,000.

Alfa Romeo Spider

By Stahlkocher – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2064780

The Alfa Romeo Spider was produced from 1966 to 1994. It was originally priced at $21,264, and its design was courtesy of Pininfarina. Early models, especially those with chrome bumpers and the iconic Alfa grille, are highly sought after, sometimes going over $50,000.

Later models from the early ’90s, while less expensive, have seen a jump in value recently, making them more accessible for collectors.

Porsche 914

By Alexander Migl – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=110652813

The Porsche 914, produced between 1969 and 1976, was a collaboration with Volkswagen, aiming to offer an affordable mid-engine sports car.

Initially retailing at $3,755, it featured both four- and more powerful six-cylinder engines, the latter significantly quicker in acceleration.

Ford Mustang

By Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74077602

Since its launch in 1965, the Ford Mustang has symbolized muscle car culture, with early models now priced between $30,000 and $50,000. The Mustang’s appeal grew with the reintroduction of the convertible in 1983, after a hiatus.

The 1987 GT version boasted a 200-horsepower V-8. As a favored model among collectors, its market value reflects a steady interest, especially for well-maintained examples from the earlier production years.

MG MGB

By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45094991

The MG MGB, produced from 1962 to 1980, set the standard for affordable British sports cars. Its design, especially the chrome-bumpered models before 1975, remains popular among drivers.

The MGB offered the joy of open-top driving, but came with a few notorious reliability issues. Today, these cars have a consistent market value, reflecting a modest increase since late 2021.

Chevrolet Corvair

By Olivier.benquet – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116502565

Introduced in 1960, the Chevrolet Corvair came with an air-cooled, rear-mounted engine, marking a departure from typical American car design. Priced at $2,440 new, its used average is now $12,350.

The Corvair became notable for its convertible variant and the Monza, which offered a turbocharged engine. However, its reputation took a hit with Ralph Nader’s criticism in “Unsafe At Any Speed,” affecting sales despite later vindication of its safety. Recently, the Corvair’s market value has appreciated.

Chevrolet Bel Air

By Kev22 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81345867

The Chevrolet Bel Air, produced between 1950 and 1981, is remembered fondly, especially the 1955-57 second-generation models. Initially sold for $2,611, its current average used price is $57,500, with top-condition versions fetching over $100,000.

This era’s Bel Air, powered by a V-8 engine, was celebrated for acceleration times that impressed both consumers and critics alike.

Chevrolet Corvette

By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70582697

From its debut in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette became iconic as a convertible, initially offered at $5,846. Early versions now fetch upwards of $50,000 in the collector’s market.

The 1974 Stingray, notably, had three V-8 engine options, with many still accessible today, some even under $20,000.

Initially exclusive in convertible form, it transitioned to include hardtops in 1963 and introduced T-tops by 1968.

Lincoln Continental

By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA – 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70765435

Launching in 1961, the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental was originally priced at $6,715. It became renowned for its design and engineering feats, including the signature rear-hinged “suicide” doors.

Equipped with a 462-cubic-inch V-8 and features like a power convertible top and tilt steering wheel, it epitomized luxury.

Though its base used price averages $47,400, pristine models can go for up to $90,000.

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Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs

Bio:

Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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