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10 convertibles to cruise in this summer

Sun Seekers Published: 10th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
10 convertibles to cruise in this summer
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After some suitable head gear? Here’s a terrific ten just waiting to give their new owners some summer fun

Austin Metropolitan

If ever a British car had a slice of Americana about it, then it must be the Austin Metropolitan – because Austin designed it for the US market in conjunction with Nash. After an unsuccessful foray across the pond, three years after introduction, this three-seater was offered in the UK with the 1489cc B-Series at 47bhp that can barely break the speed limit. With such a short wheelbase, handling is entertaining, because the whole set-up is ridiculously soft as you’d expect, while those enclosed front wheels mean an oil tanker-like turning circle of 37 feet. The fine owners club can help with those increasingly hard to find body and trim parts – mechanically it’s much easier. Despite no more than 250 examples currently residing in the UK, there are usually a few Metropolitans for sale at any one time although they can go for up to £15,000… But for that you’ll own one of the cutest looking cars ever made that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you take it out.

Reliant Scimitar GTC

Reliant’s chop top GTC was launched just as Stag was culled. It has all the attribute of the GTE it’s based upon although unlike the sports hatch, GTC relied upon the smaller, sweeter, if not so lusty, 2.8 unit found in the Granada which is carb, not fuel-injection fed, cutting power to 135bhp. However, as it’s a lighter car than the GTE, performance is broadly similar, although the lower gearing employed means the car isn’t quite so longlegged. The Scimitar’s fibreglass body can’t rust of course (chassis can) and the ‘parts bin’ construction, using components from major manufacturers at the time, makes for fairly easy ownership. There’s a fine owners’ club, too and you’ll find it hard to part with more than ten grand for even the best.

Triumph Stag

What’s the Stag doing in such company – are we joking? No and here’s the reason why. Apart from the Mercedes-Benz R107 and the later R129, where else can you acquire a decent family-sized coupé with a detachable hard top and civilised cabriolet all rolled into one? What’s more, Stags are commonplace, keeping values relatively low and much cheaper than some of the other candidates that don’t enjoy such a prestigious name contained in this article. With that lovely sounding if hardly speedy 3-litre V8 and the choice of manual or automatic transmission, plus standard power steering for good measure, the Stag is one of those rare ‘old’ classics that’s also modern where it matters. Throw in an excellent owners’ club and specialist support, this Triumph is easier to keep than a Vitesse and probably cheaper too. With so many on the roads you won’t be alone owning one – but perhaps that’s now part of the problem because you don’t stand out in the crowds?

Ford Zephyr/Zodiac

Ford produced some classy four-seater convertibles under the Zephyr, Zodiac and also (four-cylinder) Consul badges in both Mk1 and Mk2 style, the former plump and rounded, the latter all fins and things. Both performed well for their day, with the Mk2 enjoying a particularly lusty 2.6-litre ‘six’; handling, care of McPherson struts (a first for Ford), remains some of the best for its era and disc brakes were optional from 1959 and easily retro fitted. All are full six-seaters and the hydraulically-powered convertible hood also had the option of a half-way De Ville; something BMW’s MINI emulated four decades later. While not as prevalent as other Fords, spares are not really problematic although values for good cars might as they are going the way of every classic Blue Oval.

Vauxhall Vagabond

Based upon the Vauxhall Velox E-Type, which itself was a take on a ’49 Chevrolet, the Vagabond convertible was never available over here; instead, it was designed for the Australasian markets where a ‘Ute’ pick-up was also made, thus allowing a two-door bodyshell to be made. Looking utterly glorious with the hood down, if ungainly erected due to the Morganlike side screens needed, the Vauxhall trucked along nicely with its straight six 2262cc engine. A real rarity over here, but the rival Ford models are much more plentiful and the more complete.

Bond Equipe

Essentially the coupé or convertible Equipe is a rebodied Triumph by Bond, best known for its plastic three-wheelers and the Bug (of course) although not as well built. Initially based upon the Herald (albeit Spitfire-powered) and then the Vitesse right up to Bond’s demise in 1970. With no chassis changes, Equipes drive pretty well much like the Herald and Vitesse they are based upon although, due to the car’s body (which some thought had too much overhang compared to the Triumph), 155 x13 section tyres were about the largest which could be employed without fouling the wheelarches, limiting the Bond’s roadholding. Being much rarer, Equipes are more select and yet prices don’t reflect this. Whether they will over time is debatable but we think they will. Brand loyalty is high and good cars don’t come on to the market that often, so if you see one for sale get in quick if a premium Bond suits you.

SAAB 99/900/9-3

What sets Swedish Saab from the German brands is the Swede’s characteristic modesty and quiet good taste. Scalped SAABs started with the 900 range during the mid 80s, a result of pressure from American dealers, which evolved into the Vauxhall Calibra-based 9-3 that carried on until the company’s demise – latterly with mild-to-wild turbo power or a smoothie 2.8V6 – a decade ago. Turbos are thrills-on-wheels and the top 230bhp Viggen is outrageously animal-like and yet Saab prices start from less than £2000, probably due to fears of future parts supply. Don’t let that put you off as specialist support will keep them running for many more years and miles yet.

Morris Minor

Seventy years young and still going strong, the magnificent Minor is as appealing today as it ever was and the convertibles are open air delights because they have all the attributes of this evergreen Morris plus full fourseater thrills with the hood down. The later the model the better (but condition counts more than anything else) as from 1962 they sported a lustier 1098cc engine, plus better gearbox and brakes although as there’s a shed load of upgrades to modernise any Minor of any era – from superior heaters and wipers to 1275cc engines and five-speed gearboxes – all with the blessing of the owners’ clubs and classic insurers. Add superb specialist support and there’s not an easier or more friendly classic car around plus you can buy (from likes of Charles Ware) ‘brand new’ ones built to order. Why not hire this one pictured from Great Escapes to try Minor motoring over a long sunny weekend? You’ll be hooked…

 



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