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Classic Cars, Coupe, Convertible
#1 of 74 Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car?
Dec 17, 2007 (7:48 pm)
OK, this an age-old topic for debate. If you could only have one collector car, which is the most "owner friendly"? A convertible or a hardtop?
I'll kick it off. Nothing beats the feeling of an open air driving experience. And, is there anything more enjoyable than driving a convertible on a warm summer's night? Sounds like this will be a slam-dunk debate, right? Not so fast.
How about when it's 85+ degrees with a blazing sun unmercifly beating down on one's forehead - especially if you're stuck in traffic and can't get any wind in your face? (can you say heat stroke?) Wearing a hat is great solution, until it blows off your head. Speaking of wind, ever try listening to the radio (assuming you're over 35 and didn't spend $10K on a brain-numbing, woofer thumping, window rattling sound system) or carry on an intelligible conversation with the passenger to your right (forget about anyone seating in the back seat) while at speed? OK, putting up the top on intense ozone action days would eliminate 3rd degree burns on your head, so the convertible wins that battle for its versatility. Then again, the hydraulics/mechanism of a convertible is just one more thing to worry about breaking down (and expensive to fix) - just ask the owner of a 1960's convertible Continental.
Then, there's the issue of the effects of time. While manufacturers usually built in more structural reinforcement, convertibles are prone to body twisting, aren't they? Wouldn't that add up over the course of 40 years resulting in some squeaks and rattles that could never be eliminated no matter how hard you tried?
Needless to say, a convertible is more susceptible to vandalism by even the lowliest of pocket knives. And, the price (ie., the entry into the hobby) of a hardtop is appreciably less than the price of admission for a convertible (assuming both cars are comparable in condition). On the other hand, there is a die-hard contingent that would say "anything OTHER than a convertible is merely a PARTS CAR!
Let's hear what you all have to say. Are convertibles over-rated, OR are they the only way to go?
#2 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [parm]
Dec 19, 2007 (12:51 pm)
Wow. I know it's the holidays and all, but I thought such a "thought provoking" subject would the topic of at least "some" debate. Is everyone in a tryptophan-induced coma from eating too much turkey already???
Is it possible that I presented both sides of the issue so eloquently and thoroughly there's nothing else to add? Yeah right, that'll be the day. LOL!
#3 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [p
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Dec 19, 2007 (3:35 pm)
Okay I was going to give everyone a chance before your bigmouth host crowded the board, but since the boys are obviously in some pre-holiday coma, I'll jump in.
One thought I had was that if you plan to vintage race at all, you want the coupe version---say of an Alfa or an MGB or even a Shelby Mustang. They are safer, more rigid, and easier to modify for racing.
Another question is climate. If you've ever baked in the sun in a ragtop in Arizona, or felt the heat through a black canvas top frying the top of your head, you'll go for a coupe. But in a milder sunny climate like Colorado or mid-range California, the soft top is hard to beat for those warm night breezes and spectacular scenary.
In a metro area, the ragtop presents security issues as well.
#4 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [p
Dec 19, 2007 (3:43 pm)
Overrated. The top is one more thing to break, and it lets the sun ruin your interior and your skin.
I'll probably pull the convertible top and the motor off the S2000 at some point.
#5 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [p
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Dec 19, 2007 (3:44 pm)
and what, plant geraniums? Or use a tonneau? Or?
#6 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [p
Dec 19, 2007 (6:36 pm)
I got the OEM hardtop for it back in September and haven't had it off since then. The only reason I would take it off is to pull the soft top.
Edit: and maybe tint the rear window some.
#7 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [parm]
Dec 19, 2007 (7:57 pm)
I've had my '67 Catalina convertible for about 13 1/2 years now, and have loved every minute of it. But...I dunno if I'd want a convertible as my only car.
It's fun to drive around in nice weather with the top down, and wind buffeting is actually almost non-existent in the front seat. But anybody in the back who's self-concsious will immediately start whining about what it's doing ot their hair. It squeaks and rattles more than a hardtop model probably would, but GM actually did a pretty good job building these cars. Most of the noise from mine comes from aged, crumbling window seals, and not any inherent design flaw.
I dunno about other manufacturers, but with my Catalina, even when the hydraulics stop working, you can still raise and lower the top by hand. It's easy if you have two people, but I can do mine by myself...even with a bum shoulder. Putting it down is no trouble at all, but it's hard to get it back up. Still, there is the added complexity, and the added expense of having to replace the top every so often. My top needs to be replaced, but I've just slacked off with it since the car's garaged most of the time.
Normally, convertibles give up some trunk room and back seat room, but GM's big cars from this era gave up very little. You can still get 3-across seating in back more comfortably than just about any car made nowadays. You'd have to move up to an SUV, truck, minivan, etc, to find better. And while the top probably takes about 5 cubic feet of trunk space, it's all up front, at that shallow spot over the rear axle. Even with the full-sized spare, I imagine there's 17-18 cubic feet of trunk space back there. Most midsized and even some full-sized cars would be proud to boast that much trunk volume nowadays.
My car has never been vandalized, but I also just have the stock AM radio in there, and nothing worth stealing. I'm sure that otherwise, it would've been broken into by now.
#8 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [p
Dec 19, 2007 (8:23 pm)
Where I'm going with this is with a car that's more suited for cruising versus carving up a winding canyon road. I'm talking something domestic from the 1960's, such as a Cadillac, Buick, Plymouth, take your pick. Which is the better way to go? Convertible or hardtop coupe? For now, let's exclude muscle cars from this discussion since going strictly hardtop is more of a no-brainer.
For a nice cruiser collector car, I've always leaned toward convertibles because they seemed like more fun. But, here's the thing. I just don't know if a convertible is the best choice if we're talking"older Detroit iron". It seems to me that an older convertible would be more susceptible to body panel alignment issues (40 years of body twisting takes it toll, does it not?), rust, squeaks, leaking (when the top is up) let alone the whole idea of maintaining the hydraulics and a mile of wiring. Plus, a hardtop coupe would be less expensive to buy and it's much easier to install a decent sound system given the availability of a rear package shelf for speakers. You could get a darn nice coupe for the price of a "needy" convertible. Ahhhh, but a convertible is just the thing for a warm summer evening drive. What's a guy to do?
How 'bout this? For your daily driver, you could go with something along the lines of a Pontiac G6 with the hardtop convertible option (or pick your favorite other modern-day convertible that fits your budget). For me, the G6 makes sense because its bigger (ie., more livable) than a Solistice/Sky/Miata, etc. and the convertible hardtop is perfect for Indiana winters. But, when the weather turns warm, at the touch of a button, you're driving topless (bring on the warm summer nights). And, you're doing so with all the comforts and reliability that modern day technology provides. So, with your daily driver doing "double duty", this frees you up to satisfy your collector car sweet tooth with a hardtop coupe. Tastes great - less filling! A win-win.
Or, does the prevailing thought of, "If your collector car is not a convertible, it's a parts car" win out?
#9 of 74 its for a collector
Dec 20, 2007 (5:25 am)
ok well the debate delima here is that the weathers too cold, vandalism, mabey even worrying about leaks later on, but the question was which option is better for a COLLECTOR. Almost every collectible car you look at is more valuable if you can find the one with the convertible top and if youre a car collector you should have a garage to put your cars in so vandalism and dry rotting from the sun should not be a problem. Me and my friend who own a car dealership in my town have purchased three classic cars recently and they are all locked up in a garage but if you arent really a collector and you just want a cool car to drive around every once in a while but you dont have a garage then get a hard top and a car cover. Oh and if anyone was wondering what the three cars are there a 55 bel air a 68 camaro and our newest a 58 thunderbird. If anybody has any classic cars or trucks for that matter that they are looking to sell get up with me at rhodes.eric hotmail.com thanks
#10 of 74 Re: Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car? [p [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 20, 2007 (7:07 am)
After spending years trying to like convertibles, I've decided I just don't like them. They are great when it is not too hot, not too cold, not too sunny, not too cloudy, etc., so maybe 5% of the time at best. Other than those perfect days, they are basically inferior to their hardtop equivalents in every way.
That being said, from a collector's standpoint you need to have a convertible.