I had started this search almost positive that I was going to get a TR6, but I am less certain of that now. The several test drives have left me unconvinced, and while I know that judging any marque based upon two test drives would be silly, I think it won’t hurt to open up the field a little… So these are the cars I’m thinking of:
I’ve always liked the Honda S600/S800s. I suppose what is most intriguing about this car is its diminutive stature and its 9000 rpm redline. Finding a car at my ideal price point will be a challenge though, especially when you consider that these are exceedingly rare and would likely require me to fly somewhere to view and test drive it. There are 11 S600s/S800s for sale worldwide (that I am aware of). Of these, only three are convertibles – one is in England, another in Greece and the last is in Australia. Clearly, this adds difficulty. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be on the lookout, and if I’m willing to settle for a coupe, there is one for sale just across the border in New York State.
I am still thinking of a TR6, or a 4 or 250. I do like the Michelotti bodied TR4s, but their comparative rarity means that they tend to be a slightly more expensive proposition, and this is even more so with the 250s. Evelyn has said that she doesn’t like the “fins” on the back end (she has the same complaint about the Sunbeam Tiger). One of the positives about these cars is that, unlike the Honda, they are supported by an avid fan base and thus parts and service are much easier to come by.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Evelyn took a shine to a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce at a dealership. I did a little research into these and have decided to keep an eye out for 1971 to 1974 models; these are distinct in that they are “pre-emissions controls” cars, and like the Honda it’s one of the few cars that make 1hp per cubic inch. I like the Duettos too, (Spiders made from 1966 to 1969 – the “boat-tail” – you’ve seen it in “The Graduate“), but they are considerably more expensive than these and make less power.
I’ve never actually driven a Fiat Spider, but I’ve never really WANTED to… that’s not fair, is it? I think maybe that my prejudice against these is that when I was growing up, they seemed to be absolutely everywhere and, considering that this is a Pininfarina design, it’s pretty “sedate” looking. I’m not sure if I like the fact that it’s a 2 + 2 either. Though my dog would likely find the backseat more comfortable than the rear “shelf” on a TR. It probably is worth taking a look at one of these when, and if, one pops up locally… (ooh… had a dekko at Kijiji and there is a 1962 Fiat 1200 convertible quite close… have to wait for spring for a test drive though! Curses. 🙂
The Datsun Roadster (1600/2000). A very nice convertible and the precursor to the Datsun “Z” cars. I do like these, but there are some issues – the best cars are from a very narrow band – March to December of 1969 – these had the more powerful 2L engine, but still used the lower and more attractive (to my eye) windshield. In 1968, the car got a new integrated windshield that was “taller” and makes the car look a little “top heavy”, especially when the top is up. It goes without saying that the 1967 models come at a premium. The other odd thing about these is that they have a very low back end – makes it look like you’ve filled the boot with concrete. 😉
Yes. A 240Z. I would consider it, even though it’s not a convertible. They are really lovely cars and there are still enough of them around to make parts and service possible. One of my friends, Adam, (who is helping me in my search) used to own a 1973 (?) Sunburst Yellow model, so this is a car I have driven, though it was a long time ago (about 1987, iirc). I do think that these are beautiful cars (their homage to the E-Type is pretty obvious), and I like the snug and purposeful “cockpit”. Definitely worth considering.
Yes, a Fiat X1/9. I don’t know that I’m really considering this. I’ve always liked these cars, but I understand that their performance is pretty anaemic. The earlier models (with desirable smaller bumpers) made some 75hp from the 1.2L engine, which is hardly stunning. The other issue with these is that there are not an awful lot of them around anymore and rust was a very serious issue with these. It’s also a Targa – not really a proper convertible.
Another “Targa”, the Porsche 914. I have optimistically included the 914/6 above, but I don’t think that this is on the cards – they are simply too expensive. I’ve never quite warmed to the look of these, but the prices for the 914/4s tend to be quite good and I understand that they are a blast to drive. Both this and the Fiat above would cause a small problem for me, in that I could not fit my dog in the car, if Evelyn is with me…
I don’t know why I included this. First, it’s a hard car to draw (as the effort above attests) and they are beyond exceedingly rare. I know of two that are on sale worldwide, one, in Copenhagen (which appears to be something of a resto-mod), and the other is in California (which is being sold by a dealership that is asking way, WAY, way way way too much for it – $69k US and it needs work). Still, there is something in this car of the Toyota 2000GT – and this is the closest that I’d ever get to that.
I’ve missed a couple – I would consider a Jaguar XJC (this is the rare coupe version of the XJ6 and 12), but it’s not a convertible, it’s hard to find in manual, and when you do find one, it tends to be out of my price range. I’ve always wanted a Mercedes 230/250/280SL, but again, the prices on these have skyrocketed in the past 10 years and a good example is likely beyond my means.
So, what do you think of this list? Is there anything you would add? I’d love to hear your thoughts.