Editor’s Note: We love scouring the internet for reasons to spend money we don’t have on cars we daydream about owning, and these are our picks this week. All prices listed are bid amounts at the time of publishing.
If you want to make the most of the blue, cloudless skies and warm air that come along with summer, the most idyllic cars are going to be drop tops. Unlimited headroom is hard to beat on a day offering up the perfect driving conditions. But more so, you’ll want a car that’s fun to drive in order to really take advantage of the toasty, dry tarmac and cyan sky — finding yourself in a jaw-dropping classic doesn’t hurt the situation either. We found five iconic cars, all at different price points, perfect making the most of summer weather.
2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed Miata
Location: Brighton, Massachusetts
What We like: The biggest gripe with the Miata is always its lack of power. It’s an incredible chassis, but because Mazda is adamant that to keep the ideal power-to-weight ratio, they purposely hold back. Well, Mazda addressed the complaints with the Mazdaspeed and gave it turbos and an intercooler good for 178 horses. It’s affordable to own and maintain; you can drive at or near its limit and be in no real danger. The Mazdaspeed is the definition of a cheap thrill.
From the seller: “The Mazdaspeed version of the 1.8-liter four featured lower-compression pistons, a turbocharger, and an intercooler, bringing factory-rated output to 178 horsepower. The 16-valve engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and sends power to the rear wheels through a standard limited-slip differential.”
What to look out for: Make sure to ask the owner if they ever had or noticed the clutch pedal going soft. Miatas of this age are known to develop leaks clutch slave cylinder causing the inability to disengage the clutch to shift.
2003 BMW M3 Convertible
Location: Merrillville, Indiana
What We like: The E46 generation M3 — though it’s over 20 years old — is still used as a benchmark for how a sports car should drive. The convertible version simply adds to the cruiseability on top of the natural sports car mantality.
From the seller: N/A
What to look out for: Repair costs tend to add up for this generation 3-Series — small, ancillory things start to fail after 110,000 miles, generally. But, one notable issue are the power steering hoses that are known to fail, sometimes simultaniously.
1965 Pontiac GTO
Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
What We like: Often considered the godfather of the American muscle car, there’s no mistaking the GTO. The 389ci V8 provides the grunt the GTO is known for but the odd-for-the-era bucket seats might be the creature comfort you want when you put that power to use coming out of turns.
From the seller: “The car was given a frame-up restoration in 2008 that included bodywork and a repaint in its original color, while a number of factory-available options including power brakes, steering, windows, air conditioning and more were added at some point by the previous owner. It also runs a wide-ratio four-speed transmission, limited-slip rear, newer exhaust and factory handling package. ”
What to look out for: “Because the frames under the convertible were boxed, a lot of [rust] would build up inside. As a result, they would tend to get soft just behind the front wheels, and just in front of the rear wheels.” — Hemmings
1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
Location: Dallas, Texas
What We like: The Mercedes SLs of the ’50s are some of the most beautiful classic cars still on the road — design-wise, they have the perfect roadster silhouette and seem to glide down the road. On top of that, this one has a custom compartment in the trunk for your dog, which is nothing short of a fantastic add-on.
From the seller: “This 190SL was originally fitted with a black interior, which was refreshed after the original owner’s son took possession of the car. New seat upholstery and carpeting were installed, and the seller states that the dashboard and door panels are original.”
What to look out for: Due to its unibody architecture, the 190SL was susceptible to rust, not unlike other German classics of the same era. When shopping around, make sure to get eyes on the wheel wells, chassis frame rails, trunk floors and spare-tire wells and mounting points for the rear trailing arms.
1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa
Location: Quarryville, Pennsylvania
What We like: Not only is the Targa one of the more desirable classic Porsches out there, its also the most versitile. In terms of the convertible and hard top, it’s the best of both worlds — not to mention drop-dead gorgeous.
From the seller: “Very fine paint, nothing to note, other than a touch up to the hood. Interior appears new, with no wear to note, either.”
What to look out for: The seals for the targa top can leak if they’re not kept in good condition, but the rot on the floor pan is a more serious situation. If not looked after properly, the rot can rust out the floor pan and door sills.