We’re of the opinion that everyone should own a convertible at least once in their lives.
Problem is, it’s hard to find a brand new convertible under $30K or so. Enter the used market: Here are 6 classic convertibles well within reach of the budget buyer.
Volkswagen Beetle (Classic)
There are a lot of reasons to consider a classic Volkswagen Beetle; chief among them is the sheer popularity of these cars, backed up by a good supply of parts and plenty of repair know-how (you’re unlikely to run into a problem that hasn’t been encountered by thousands of other owners). Surprisingly, prices for convertible Bugs aren’t that much higher than hardtops: Good runners frequently sell in the $3,000 to $6,000 range and even show-ready restorations rarely top $20,000.
Shop for your own Classic Volkswagen Beetle Convertible here.
Old British roadsters are not for everybody: These cars weren’t very reliable when new, and keeping them running reliably means staying on top of the mechanical bits. But if you’re handy with small spanners (or willing to learn), an MG can be very satisfying and affordable. With many buyers fearful of their less-than-stellar mechanical rep, clean MGs are easily found in the $2,500 to $15,000 range, with project cars selling for $2,000 or less.
Find your very own MG convertible for sale here.
Surprised to see a Mercedes on this list? Not half as surprised as we were to be able to put it here. To be honest, we had the boxy SLs of the 1970s and 80s in mind when we started looking online — cars like the one in the photo — and we were pleased to see how many nice ones were selling in the $5,000 to $15,000 range (plus some promising fixer-uppers under $4,000). But we were surprised to see a lot of ’90s- and ’00s-era cars in the same price range. If you know your way around a scantool, one of these classic Benzos could be the droptop for you.
Shop for a retro Mercedes SL for sale here.
The Falcon was unusual among 1960s American cars as there never really was a muscle version. Falcons were more like the Nissan Versas of their day: Small, simple, functional cars with modest six-cylinder engines (and the occasional small V8). That’s kept their prices down: You’ll find plenty of clean, functional Falcon droptops selling for under $10,000, and a few fixer-uppers priced under two grand. A Falcon may not win any stoplight rallies, but they are great for gentle open-top cruising under sunny skies.
Relive the golden era of American motoring with a Ford Falcon convertible.
Alfa Romeo Spider
Italian cars never fared well in the U.S. — at least not until the most recent range of Fiats — but the Alfa Romeo Spider was the exception to the rule, showing its namesake’s ability to survive under adverse conditions. Buyers will find a good supply of cars and support, helped by the fact that the Spider didn’t change much during its years in the States. Today they are plentiful and cheap, with plenty of examples selling in the $1,500 to $15,000 range.
Because everyone should have the chance to own an Italian sports car once in their life, shop for your Alfa Romeo Spider here.
The Cadillac Eldorado convertible is the ultimate American land yacht, a car the size of a tennis court with a massive 500-cubic-inch (8.2-liter) V8 under the hood — and all designed primarily to transport just one or two people. Front wheel drive makes these cars a little more complex to work on than most Detroit metal of the era, and they use about as much fuel as a city bus — but with most of them selling between $2,000 and $20,000, you’ll have plenty of change left over for gas.
Feel like a king behind the wheel of your own Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
The Wise Guide team writes about things we think you’ll like, introducing you to great products, services and special deals. We do have affiliate partnerships, so we may earn revenue from the products and services you buy.