Everyone has dreams and fantasies. It may be finally making that elusive hole-in-one. Or it could be actually meeting the hot girl who lives 3 doors down. Maybe it’s winning the Lotto. Whatever they are, we all have dreams.
Mine is having a cool car/truck/motorcycle museum/garage/shop with a great man-cave attached where I and my friends can hang out and putz around (when I dream, I dream big). Of course this collection would be heavily convertible based and almost all American made. In fact, I could probably list a hundred cool and classic droptops I would love to have in such a collection. But while listing a hundred convertibles I find desirable would be fun, I thought it would be more fun to try and par that list down to my absolute top 10 favorite.
So after hours of adding to, arranging, and rewriting my list, here are 5 of the top 10 convertibles I would want in my personal collection. (I reserve the right to change my mind at any second, day or night).
1971-72 Cadillac Eldorado—this stunning car is tops on my convertible list. My dad loved Cadillacs and he drove a few of these as a used car dealer in the ‘70’s. But even though he preferred the 1969 and 1970 Deville convertible because he felt the rear wheel drive Cadillacs were better than the front wheel drives, I somehow fell in love with the lines of the ’71 and ’72 Eldorado convertible.
I just like the looks of the ‘71 and ’72 Eldorado ragtop even though I think the same year Eldo Coupe looks terrible. The coupes rectangular quarter window and straight C pillar just don’t have the sex appeal of the sweeping lines of the quarter window and top that makes the convertible so sexy in my eyes. The convertibles’ C pillar area makes this droptop look as good with the top up as it does with it down, which is pretty rare with factory produced ragtops (I must admit that many lead sled convertibles and custom truck droptops often look better with the top up. Go figure).
To me, the ’71 and ’72 Eldo convertible looks slick and clean, kind of a successful mix of American and European styling rolled into one. From the slabbed and slightly peaked quarter panels and fenders, to the simple chrome strip that run down the side and ends in fake louvers arrear of the door, the car drips elegances. I find that I admire these particular ragtops from any angle, side, front, rear or combination, and the car is a thing of beauty.
1969-72 Corvette—in the early ‘80’s, I owned a numbers matching 1964 Corvette which I used as a daily driver for awhile. I really like the looks and style of the C2 but haven’t included one my top 10 list. Instead, I would like to have a ’69-72 Corvette ragtop.
Every year I fall a little deeper in love with the curvaceous body that was mind shattering when it first appeared in 1968. The car looks to be tearing up the highway even when it’s standing still. It isn’t overloaded with chrome and unsightly spoilers and such. It is just clean and beautiful. Plus, it has one of the best dashboards in any American car of the era. Add in the great engines available for those years and this car is a winner all the way around.
(Some of you may notice I didn’t include the 1968 Corvette in the list. The ’68 was prone to excess body cracks which was redesigned and reinforced for the 1969 and forward models).
1964-68 Mustang—the Ford Mustang is the longest running of all pony cars. That alone is enough reason to love and respect these cool cars. Tack on the fact that even after 50 years, they are still abundant, affordable, easy to get parts for, and guaranteed to turn heads, and most would want a first model ragtop in their personal collection. Plus, with the short deck lid and long hood, they are great looking cars.
My personal desire for a Mustang convertible goes back to childhood. My dad constantly changed the daily drivers my mom had at her disposal, except for a butternut yellow ’65 we had for a couple of years. Those summertime errands my mom always had to do became a lot more bearable when the top was dropped.
1948-49 Cadillac—I admit it, I’m a little biased toward the full sized GM convertibles. I’ve always liked most of GM’s styling and the full size models were the cars that received the most focus for many years, making them the beneficiary of GM’s best styling cues. Add in the fact that my dad almost always drove Cadillacs, and you can understand how I developed a soft spot for GM’s fanciest brand of ragtops.
Where most Cadillac enthusiast would pick the iconic 1959 Cadillac because of its famous fin and tail light assembly, I choose the Cadillac that started the whole tail fin craze, the 1948-49 models. For starters, I really like their looks from the front, especially the ‘49’s. I think that big chunky grill is awesome. I also really find their side chrome treatment very tasteful and classy. And of course, I am attracted to the slight bulge of tail fin protruding from the quarter panel. All-in-all, the whole package oozes elegance and style. Besides, I’ve always had an interest in the decades of the 1940’s, so I need at least one convertible to help connect me to those interesting times.
1987-1993 Chrysler Sebring—this is the newest car on my list and it is here for a reason, it is the car that got me back into the convertible scene. I had sold my 1969 Electra ragtop 10-12 years prior and was developing the itch for another droptop. A teal green Sebring was sitting along the side of the road and caught my daughters attention (she was 9 at the time and already into cars). The Sebring had 17s and low profile tires. It was exceptionally clean but needed a trans and a top replacement. I wanted a convertible and so the deal was struck.
After the car was on the road, I really started to appreciate the 25 plus miles to the gallon and the overall quality of the car. I also took a good look at the body lines and style of the car and realized what a looker it was. Yeah, the trunk and back seat are too small, and it could use a repaint, but this is the car that got me back in the game and helped to birth this site.
There it is, Part I of the 10 American ragtops I would most want in my personal collection. I will list Part II as soon as I can decide which 5 of the 30 or so ragtops still on my list would qualify. Meanwhile, what are your 10 favorite American ragtops?