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Summertime & the Top is Down


Summer hits in full force this week, beginning with last night’s full-moon June solstice, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than with a convertible. We came up with an example from almost every post-war decade, but we’re sure we missed some great ones. What’s your favorite?

1959 Cadillac Eldorado

1959-Cadillac-EldoradoWhen Chuck Berry sang about Cadillacs, this was the car he had in mind. The ’59 Eldorado was a jet-age, tail-finned touchstone of post-war style.

1960 Austin-Healey Sprite

1960 Austin Healey SpriteThe 1960 Austin-Healey Sprite was the affordable convertible sports car with styling even the non-enthusiast had to love.

1961 Jaguar E-Type

1961 Jaguar E-TypeIf you can’t tell by looking at it, the ’61 E-Type’s design was earth-shattering. Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car ever built, and it spent time on display at the Museum of Modern Art. The coupe has its merits, but the convertible is simply gorgeous.

1962 Lotus Elan

1962 Lotus ElanThe Jaguar may be the more recognizable, but the low-production Lotus Elan was just as influential in its own way. It set the style for small sports cars for years to come, and provided the inspiration for the Mazda Miata’s design in 1990.

1963 MGB

Built from 1963 to 1980, there wasn’t a convertible ever built that had more staying power. By the 1970s, new emissions and safety regulations stifled it, but in the 1960s, the MGB was one of the leading sports cars ever made.

1965 Ford Mustang

Ford-MustangAside from the ’59 Eldorado, there probably isn’t a more iconic American automobile than the 1965 Ford Mustang. By that year, you could choose a notchback or a fastback, but the convertible squeezed all the life out of summer.

1971 Olds 442

The GTO might have been the muscle car kids wanted, but the 442 convertible was the muscle car for adults, with gobs of torque secured from its 400-cu.in. V-8 and room for five. Drive it to the office Monday to Friday and to the drag strip on Sunday.

1989 BMW 320i

1989 BMW 320i convertibleThe 1980s were generally a pretty bleak time for convertibles, but the BMW E30 provided a sporty, fun, four-seat platform for letting the sun in.

1990 Mazda Miata

mazda-miataConvertible sports cars were all but dead in 1989, but in 1990, Mazda introduced the Miata and singlehandedly reinvigorated the two-seat, convertible sports car market.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevrolet Corvette StingrayPowered by a 455-460 horsepower 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 and a seven-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, the current Corvette is the highest quality car Chevrolet has ever produced.