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Best Convertibles on a Budget


For those with champagne tastes on a beer budget, a convertible is like a night spent with a supermodel: the ultimate fantasy that will almost certainly never become reality. Or maybe it will. We can’t hook you up with Gisele Bundchen, but we can steer you toward a few fetching convertibles that are within the reach of average folks. Here are three to consider, and heck– maybe the car will land you the girl!(maybe)

Mercedes SL Class:

1980 Mercedes-Benz SL

That’s not a misprint. Yes, you can afford a Mercedes convertible, in good shape, for around $15,000.00, or even less if you look hard enough. The R107 is a particularly good catch. Built from 1972 to 1989, it’s considered one of the best-looking vehicles ever turned out by the German automaker. Even better, it’s relatively mechanically simple, making it possible for capable shade tree mechanics to do much of the maintenance. For a classic car that will make you look good as you get a tan, this choice is hard to beat.

Mazda MX-5 Miata:

Mazda Miata

If you want something a little newer that the SL, then you can find MX-5 Miata convertibles with less than 100,000 miles on them for less than $15,000 – sometimes much less, like in the $10,000.00 range. Even a new 2013 MX-5 starts at around $23,000. The Miata is a great ride, peppy, cool, and reliable. Plus, it has the kind of classic sports car looks that will never make you feel like a dork – unlike, say, a Cadillac El Dorado from the 70s with velvety pillow-top seats.

VW Bug (original):

Volkswagen Beetle

Forget speed and maneuverability; for sheer coolness, nothing will ever top the original Beetle. Find one that has been transformed into a convertible and you have the ultimate fun car. It can still take you across the US reliably, thanks to the uber-abundance of spare parts and utter simplicity of the mechanics. Models from rust-free states like CA and FL can be found all over the Internet in near-mint shape for $10,000.00 or less, depending on the model year and the seller’s level of motivation. Keep the top down and enjoy the ride.

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