The warm days of June may have made you think again about a cheap convertible. Will this be the year that you go homeless through the summer with the wind in your hair? Below we have part two of our list of affordable convertibles. Of course, these are not all convertibles that fall within a friendly budget. Do you have any suggestions that should not be missing from this list? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.
Fiat Barchetta – vanaf € 2,000
You always have them with you – people who call the Fiat Barchetta a ‘women’s hairdresser’. Now we don’t really understand what’s wrong with that: we always like it when our other half has a decent haircut, and someone has to do that anyway. And that person probably also needs a car, so what’s the problem at all?
Anyway, the Barchetta (always written by Fiat itself with a lowercase b, but we think that’s a bit of an affectation) was a most charming open two-seater with front-wheel drive, designed by Andreas Zapatinas, a Greek who later also developed the Alfa 145/ 146, a BMW 5-series coupé study (E59) and the first BMW 1-series Coupé and Convertible.
The Barchetta stood on the chassis of the Fiat Punto and has had only one engine choice throughout its life: a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 130 hp. So clear. Because the Barchetta weighed only 1,060 kilos, it was quite smooth: from 0 to 100 in 8.9 seconds and a top of 200 km/h. Yet it is anything but a sports car – the tuning is above all comfortable and the body is very stiff, so quiet touring is his thing.
You can pick up a Barchetta for a breeze and three marbles. They are already there for around 1,000 euros, but that is the category ‘needs some love and attention’. Rather spend double, or double that, and buy one that is less prone to rust (a typical Fiat/Barchetta problem).
Chevrolet Camaro (fourth generation) – from €5,000
So you want a convertible, but a large one with room for your children? Something you don’t see every day? A bit characterful? And for less too? Chevrolet helps you out with the Camaro they built from 1993 to 2002. Also in the Netherlands you regularly come across these for sale, often for hilarious amounts around 3 grand (go ahead, 5 for a nice one). You will not find such a wonderfully rumbling V8 for that money, but do not flatten the V6 versions. Especially not when it comes to the 203 hp 3.8 (from 1995), one of GM’s greatest hits who is probably getting older than you. With a bit of luck you will find a copy with a manual gearbox, but the four-speed automatic is a great thing and fits ‘m also excellent. Parts are cheap and consumption will be better than expected. What are you waiting for?
BMW Z4 – from €7,000
You can buy a top Z3 for this, but what’s the fun of that? Better pick up a Z4 ‘with some work’. There will be gremlins living in electronics, but what fun you’ll have fixing that! Then you may have a cheap convertible, but nobody sees it.
Jeep Wrangler – from €12,000
If you have ever rented an old Wrangler in a sunny holiday destination, you know two things: indestructible and mounting the roof on it is a disaster. Especially with the older models, the complex of press studs and zippers is often worn out, so it’s better not to cruise with it in the rain. The other side of the story is that you can drive through the butts with it, and keep attacking deep puddles or mud puddles and you can still take some people and junk with you. Especially with the four-door versions. If you buy a recent one, see if you can arrange a hardtop with it. Handy for winter.
Mazda MX-5 – children € 4,000
A list of cheap convertibles without the original MX-5? Stop soon. This gem in car history came about because Mazda realized in the eighties that all cool British roadsters had ceased to exist. So they made their own, but with the characteristic Japanese quality and reliability. The NA, as the generation with the pop-up headlights is called, drove into everyone’s heart with squealing tires and the MX-5 instantly became the best-selling sports car ever.
Do you want one? The choice is huge, but there is also a lot of vague imports, plus hobby racers, tuning types and other tinkerers have also been using the small Mazda for years. Also pay attention to rust around the rear wheel arches and sills. So be alert and selective, choose a good one (preferably an earlier 1.6 or later 1.8) for a thousand or 4 to 5 and enjoy one of the nicest cars that exist for years and years. Prices fluctuate a bit and are currently a bit on the high side.
Porsche Boxster – vanaf € 8,000
Can you buy a Boxster for this money? Yes, from before this millennium, with astronomical miles. Do you have to? No, unless you love the hard shoulder. But: 8k! Porsche!
Peugeot 206 CC – from €2,000
Peugeot was one of the pioneers in the convertible field and has always had one in its range. Until 2014, when the 207 CC and 308 CC were retired. Some of those cars are among the most beautiful the brand has ever put on the road (504 Cabriolet!), but unfortunately you can’t say that about the 206 CC. The metal folding roof made it look rather hunchbacked with the roof closed, a problem that was fairly easy to solve by driving it as it was intended: open.
The big advantage of that construction was of course that you had a coupé and a convertible in one (hence the CC), and that it only had two seats based on a four-seater car, so you still had quite a bit of luggage space (certainly for a convertible). . The disadvantage was that the construction was technically quite complicated, and technically complicated things tend to break, especially as the years start to count. Something to keep an eye out for if you’re interested. Forget a bit of the utility of a cheap convertible, otherwise.
But the advantage of the 206 CC is its popularity, which means that there is now a large range for reasonable prices. For under 2 grand you already have a lot of choice, and add another 1,000 euros and you don’t even have to be really picky anymore. Driving a 206 CC just fine, nice and comfortable and certainly with the 2.0 engine still quite smooth.