Classic Car Watch

August 1, 2006
By Scott Lewis

It's summertime and a time for convertibles. Now, here is South Central Texas you have to worry about frying an egg on the top of your head with the top down in 100 degree heat. But that's here. You may have a more pleasurable climate for top down cruising.

I mostly stopped looking at convertibles. I sold my 67 Camaro RS Convertible partly because it was too much trouble for the pleasure it returned. Granted, it had manual steering, manual brakes, manual top and no air or stereo. People didn't want to ride in it mostly for the lack of air and music.

But I can't help thinking about convertibles. Doesn't everyone that likes classic cars also like them in convertible form. It's just the thing to do. And convertible prices reflect this. You will pay a good deal more for a classic convertible than the same optioned car with a solid roof. It's the basic principle of supply and demand. They made fewer convertibles and there is a strong demand for them.

In fact, classic convertibles make sense from a driving standpoint. Many people only drive their classic cars occasionally, and only when the weather is nice. Perfect for driving with the top down.

I did not do much searching for convertibles. Over the last few months I just started collecting the ads for convertibles. I did do a quick search before making this list, but you will see from the "found" dates that this list has been growing for a while.

1969 Mercury Cougar Convertible - $11,900 (Preferred Car)

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Description: New Interior, Edelbrock Aluminum Intake Manifold, 600 CFM Edelbrock Carburetor, White Fully Electric convertible top, Rebuilt brakes, Dual exhaust, Sequential Tail-lights, MSD Electronic Ignition, Runs Great, Hide-away Headlights.

NADA: $15,900 - $25,300

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 7/17/2006

Comments: I love this color combination. In fact, I love the car. The pictures are not high resolution, so we need better pictures. If this car is rust free then I want it. We have enough left in our $15K budget to get air conditioning in the car. Looks like a trip to West Virginia is in order.

1969 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Convertible - $14,900

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Description: 429/365 horse engine, C6 automatic transmission, 3.00 rearend, power steering, power disc brakes, bucket seats, center console, factory floor shifter, power convertible top, rim-blow steering wheel, remote side mirror, factory AM/FM stereo radio, hide-away headlights, factory deluxe spoke wheelcovers, whitewall radial tires, fully restored luxury convertible. 72,969 actual miles, beautiful paint in factory Brittany Blue done in modern urethane with a smooth glossy shine.

NADA: $17,440 - $30,080

Source: Sports Car Gallery of Beaver Falls

Found: 5/10/2006

Comments: I have never seen an engine add so much to the value of a car. NADA adds 60% for the 429/360 hp engine. If this is a numbers matching car that is way cool. However, the site I found this on usually mentions when a car has a numbers matching engine, so I have my doubts. If it's not the original engine it NADA puts this car at $10,900 - $18,800. One heck of a difference.

In a nutshell... this body style doesn't do it for me. It's just not sporty enough. However, the color combination and console are just right. It is a great looking, fully restored convertible that just needs air condition to be a great cruiser. I would probably pass on this car if it is not a numbers matching car.

1970 Ford Mustang Convertible - $14,900

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Description: Two owner car (same family) owned since 1989. Beautiful red exterior with white top and interior. Always a red car. Rebuilt 302 cubic inch V-8 with automatic transmission. Approximately 10K on engine. Power steering and power top with zip out glass rear window. Factory radio with aftermarket stereo system added. Bucket seats. Nice chrome. Stock wheel covers. Brand new whitewall radials. White convertible boot. Runs, drives fine.

NADA: $21,500 - $38,200

Source: Gentle Touch Motor Cars

Found: 4/5/2006

Comments: I love white interiors on classic convertibles. Can you tell? This car is at the top of my budget... without air conditioning. Fortunately there is plenty of value in this car if its condition warrants it.

1972 Ford Mustang Convertible - $17,995 (Over Budget Runner-Up)

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Description: 351 V8, automatic, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power top, AM-FM cassette, deluxe interior, bucket seats, console, magnum 500 wheels, dual exhaust, pop open gas cap, urethane front bumper, factory Ram Air. Runs & drives great, super straight body, RARE 1972 Mustang Convertible. Awesome cruiser classic.

NADA: $25,730 - $44,795

Source: Classic & Collectible Cars

Found: 2/2/2006

Comments: Is that a white interior? Notice a trend here. The 351 engine boosted the value of this car by 25%. It better be a 351 Cleveland. Let's assume so for argument's sake. This car is out of my budget, and a far less desirable car than I would normally look at. So why is it here? Because it inspires me, plain and simple. The pictures are great, showing that you can have good pictures without high resolution. I like the car. All the right options are present. As long as it is a numbers matching, rust free car I am ready to try and talk them down to my price range.

1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible - $15,950

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Description: Same family since new! Loaded! 350ci v8, automatic, p/top, p/s & p/b, p/windows, bucket seats & console, dual exhaust, excellent paint & nice original interior. Crisp dependable car! Drive it anywhere!

NADA: $9,850 - $15,100

Source: Brockers Beautys

Found: 2/2/2006

Comments: The power windows got me hooked. This car is a little over my budget, but it seems to have everything. They said "loaded" and I see A/C in the picture, though it was not mentioned specifically in the ad. We'll assume it is working. I like it. This would be a great cruiser.

1968 Plymouth Satellite - $14,500

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Description: What a Great Ride! You don't see a 1968 Plymouth Satellite Convertible every day! Painted in the original Matador Red with Black Vinyl Interior & a Brand New Black Vinyl Soft Top. Powered with a V8 Motor & Automatic Transmission. Also equipped with Power Steering, Power Top, Jensen AM/FM Stereo w/ Cassette. This good looking convertible runs and drives great!

NADA: $14,350 - $24,500

Source: Classic Auto Showplace Ltd.

Found: 7/17/2006

Comments: This could turn into a nice Road Runner look-a-like. It has the mandatory power top, but it needs air conditioning. If it looks as good in person as the pictures I would am sold.

1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible - $15,950

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Description: This is the most collectable and valuable Corvair of them ALL. 1969 is the LAST year and by far lowest production model of ALL Corvairs. Only 521 Monza Convertibles were built in 69 and of this very limited run only 60 of them were equipped with the high performance 140hp 4-SPEED package. Not only is this an ultra rare and historically significant car it is a blast to drive as well. With only 23,900 documented true original miles this is a museum piece and in all likelihood the finest example in existence. The stainless and chrome on this car are perfect. The interior, dash and instrument cluster are flawless. The original spare has never been out to the car and the motor compartment is show quality. There is not a ding, dent or scratch on the car. It was repainted in the correct Butternut Yellow about 10 years ago to keep that fresh look. The successful buyer will get names and numbers of former owners, ALL of which viewed this car as a collectors item from new and treated it as such. There is a Special Club dedicated to this one year called THE 1969 CORVAIR GROUP. Additional neat features are the rear mounted antenna, front and rear bumper guards, wire wheel covers, wider headrest seats, 4-speed, 140hp four carburetor motor and power top. I am told it is one of only nine to have a power top. This special car is a worthy addition to any collection and at $15,950 it is a fraction of the cost of anything this rare in this condition, not to mention this much fun. Located minutes from DFW International Airport, fly in and drive it home with confidence.

NADA: $9,350 - $14,025

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 3/31/2006

Comments: Why is this car on the list. I guess the four speed is a fair trade off for air conditioning. If this really is in as good a condition as they say it might justify the price being over NADA's high retail value. I kind of like the Corvair. The black interior will be an issue in the Texas heat, but that's what the power top is to help with. I can really see myself with a car like this.

1970 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible - $18,900

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Description: Factory N-code 383/330 horse Sport Fury Convertible. Original 383 engine, original 727 Torqueflite transmission, original Suregrip positraction 3.23 rearend, dual exhaust, power steering, power brakes, bucket seats, center console, factory floor shifter, power convertible top, factory rallye gauges, remote mirror, factory am/fm thumbwheel radio, twin power-bulge hood, hide-away headlights, factory rallye wheels, radial whitewall radial tires.

NADA: $14,563 - $21,500 *

Source: Sports Car Gallery of Beaver Falls

Found: 4/13/2006

Comments: The console and buckets sold me on this one. Where's the A/C? Darn. I love the look of this fuselage beast. Too bad this car is so far out of my budget. I really like it. Gas mileage would such with this car... especially with two carbs.

* Note: I could not find a Sport Fury Convertible on NADA's web site. So I priced out a Gran Coupe (which I believe is a Fury). The only other convertible in the Fury lineup on NADA's site was the Fury III convertible, which would have been priced at $8,938 - $13,250.

1973 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible - $6,450

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Description: 351 V8, automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning, power top, bucket seats, console, factory gauge package, AM-FM radio. One owner with original documentation. Runs & drives great, older paint, mostly original interior, good driver. Spent most of its life in San Diego. A great affordable convertible.

NADA: $12,155 - $19,435

Source: Classic & Collectible Cars

Found: 2/2/06

Comments: That sounds about right... "A great affordable convertible." Why not! I had to have one car here under 10 grand. The interior needs work, but that shouldn't be much of a problem at this price point.