Last post on Mar 26, 2002 at 4:51 PM
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#8 of 17 Back in college...
Mar 25, 2002 (7:49 pm)
I came close to buying a '72 Impala convertible. It was white with a light brown interior that was good except for a very cracked dashboard (a common problem). This was back in late '91/early '92. I ended up backing out because they started playing a numbers game with me. One guy quoted $1995 (which I would've bought it for) but then I got told that price was wrong and they wanted something like $2700. They also couldn't "find" the key to the trunk for some reason. Later I found out why. The thing was horribly rusted, although they patched it up well enough that I couldn't tell from the outside. They also got kinda "funny" when I said something about having my mechanic look at it. This one just had a 350-2bbl, although it was enough to move that car's bulk.
It seems the '71-75 Buick LeSabre is a pretty common convertible too, with a lot of 'em still around. For some reason, Oldsmobile Deltas and Pontiacs of this vintage seem to be much less commonplace.
Mar 25, 2002 (8:36 pm)
Did the '71-'76 Cadillac Eldorado ragtops have a problem with the dashboards cracking?
Mar 25, 2002 (8:54 pm)
"I think the most practical value of '70s convertibles would be '73-'75 Chevy Caprice ragtops, especially ones with 454s."
Those are very cool cars; I've seen several of them for sale in really nice condition. Back in the '80s when I was like 6 years old, my next door neighbor had a mid-70s Caprice sedan, complete with fender skirts, wire wheel covers, etc. I remember really liking that car as a little kid. She eventually sold it and bought a new Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight (around 1991?).
"Did the '71-'76 Cadillac Eldorado ragtops have a problem with the dashboards cracking?"
I think all cars from the '70s and '80s had that problem. Both my '86 Pontiac and my brother's '77 Toyota had cracked dash pads when we bought them. We retrofitted both with those molded plastic dash shells. They are really great reproductions that you just push on right over the original dash pad, and they can be bought painted to match. No one would notice anything amiss unless they really knew what to look for, and it's much cheaper and less complex than taking the whole dash apart to install a new pad.
#11 of 17 cracking dash pads
Mar 26, 2002 (6:50 am)
I've noticed a few cars of the era that seemed immune to it. Both of the Chrysler R-bodies I've owned (2 '79's...a Newport and a NY'er 5th Ave) had dashboards that looked almost brand new. Chrysler "cheated" a bit though with these cars, by using a removable metal panel across the top that you can pry off to get to the speakers. The part that faces the passengers though, is a high-quality soft-touch material that seems to hold up well. My '82 Olds Cutlass had the dash made out of what appeared to be the same material, and it didn't have any cracks. Same with my Grandma's '85 LeSabre. But then my '80 Malibu had cracks all over it. It was the same style as the Olds (except the pod that housed the gauges), but seemed to be of a cheaper material. I honestly can't remember the material on my '86 Monte though, or if it was cracked or not.
It seems they used two different types of soft-touch material back then. The "good" one was softer to the touch, and would stay soft over the years, while the "bad" one was a bit harder, and became more brittle as the years went by. Sorry, I know that's not the most technical description in the world!
As for the '71-76 Eldorados, I honestly don't remember, but I'd imagine they did crack. Cadillacs back then had another problem with the soft-touch stuff on the door panels. It looked nice when it was new, but seemed to crack pretty quickly.
Mar 26, 2002 (10:30 am)
It was a FireFlite. Maroon with leopard-skin upholstery (obviously aftermarket!). The power steering was so overassisted, I could take my index finger and spin the wheel, making that big ole whale do the most awesome, smokey doughnuts you ever saw!
If the price makes you sick, what happened to the car will make you even sicker. When I left Guam to go to college, i sold it to some kid who promptly wrapped it around a tree. I have a feeling the tree came out badly too, but the car was totalled. I hope the kid was, too (just kidding, but only partly!).
#13 of 17 Dennis...yup, I'm sick now!
Mar 26, 2002 (10:36 am)
I forget the exact production figures, but I think they only made about 1000-1100 Fireflite convertibles in 1957. The Firedome was a little more popular, but not by much...maybe 1100-1200 I think. It's amazing though, how cheaply cars could be had back then, although when you adjust for inflation, maybe they're not such bargains! But my Mom bought a 1957 Plymouth in 1965 for something like $75.00. She doesn't remember much about it except that it was "Big and gray" (to quote her).
ps: I woulda made you an offer on it back then, but I was around -6 at the time!
Mar 26, 2002 (11:00 am)
On the big Eldorados, I noticed that the brakes wore out fairly rapidly and needed servicing quite a lot. The brake system on our doctor's '76 Eldo ragtop was totally gone by 56k miles a couple of years ago.
#15 of 17 What was amazing............
Mar 26, 2002 (12:46 pm)
was that, if I remember, correctly a convertible cost about $500 more than an equivalent sedan and every full size sedan had a convertible model.
#16 of 17 Sickening, ain't it...
Mar 26, 2002 (12:56 pm)
I seem to recall (I might be off a bit), that the base price of a '58 Impala hardtop coupe was $2693, and the convertible was $2841. Seems like a small price to pay, even figuring for inflation. I read somewhere though, that the average '58 Impala 'vert left the showroom with an MSRP of around $4,000 by the time they added options.
#17 of 17 Well another grand ($5k)...
Mar 26, 2002 (4:51 pm)
would get you at least a base Corvette and I think a 'Jag XK-150 could come in under $6k.