Convertible Week: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster

As a brand new Porsche 911 passed me by the other day, I thought to myself “my this car got fat.” Sure, the new 911 is a perfectly capable and desirable sports car which is (thankfully) still offered with a manual gearbox. Years before the 911, Porsche introduced the Speedster moniker on the 356, a lower cost, simpler option for those seeking drop top thrills. The Speedster name would carry on through several iterations of the 911, up to the latest example we see here, the 997-based 911 Speedster. While many of the 997 Speedsters you see are painted in Pure Blue, this 911 Speedster for sale in Connecticut wears the more classic Carrera White.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster on JamesEdition

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Convertible Week: 2002 BMW Z8

Debuting at the end of the 1990s, the BMW Z8 arrived during a time when carmakers were exploring the retro styling theme, such as Volkswagen with their New Beetle and Ford with their revived Thunderbird. The Z8 was meant to harken back to the 1950s during the heyday of the 507, a limited production V8 roadster that made an impact with its dramatic styling. Fast forward to 1999 and the Z8 arrived with a V8, this time shared with the E39 M5. The engine was placed aft of the front axle for optimum weight distribution. One innovation the car employed was neon lighting for its tail lamps and turn signals. This was perhaps an answer to what modern day LED lighting can offer. Most Z8s you come across are silver, but this Topaz Blue over red leather example is a real eye-catching combination.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW Z8 on Classic Driver

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Convertible Week: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

Perhaps it was reasonable planning that Mercedes-Benz would only offer the R107 SL in the US market with a V8. After all, production of this vehicle spanned a period where horsepower was down due to increasing emissions regulations. Thus, for almost 20 years, customers stateside were deprived of a six-cylinder SL. However, for 1986, a storied moniker reappeared: 300SL. This version of the R107 had the M103 single overhead cam inline-6 that we saw in numerous E and S-class models in the US. Weighing less than the 5.6 liter V8 had its advantages and proved to be a great pairing for this roadster. We’ve seen a good amount of 300SLs make their way stateside now that all of them produced are over 25 years old. This example for sale in California has lived much of its life here, being imported at a time when entry of gray market vehicles wasn’t as stringently regulated.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on eBay

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Convertible Week: 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Edition

When most people think about hybrid vehicles, images of haphazardly placed Greenpeace bumper stickers on oddly shaped compact sedans come to mind. Today its a different story, with hybrid emblems gracing small Toyotas right on up to the flagship of the Porsche range, this 918 Spyder. The 918 Spyder took over as the cost-no-object sports car in the lineup, but it was so much more than the Carrera GT. Unlike the Carrera GT, however, the 918 Spyder was a leap forward in terms of technology. With a 4.6 liter V8 and twin electric motors front and rear, this car puts down a total of 887 horsepower to the pavement. For those well heeled enthusiasts who missed out on procuring one new, this 2015 918 Spyder Weissach Edition for sale in New York City offers up a second chance at this state of the art supercar.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder on JamesEdition

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Convertible Week: 1976 Volkswagen Ragtop Bus

$_57 (4)

Few things say “summer love” like a ragtop VW Bus, elevating the free-love van to the next level by opening up the whole roof like the tin can that it is and creating huge apertures allowing for the sun to flow in and your favorite herbal vapors to flow out. This bus has been beautifully restored with a level of modification that helps it look exceptional without going over the top. The exterior looks perfect in tan and black over Porsche Empi wheels and is backed up by a 2.0-liter Porsche motor. The interior nicely flips the color scheme for black leather and tan piping on a limo-style dual couch setup in the back, creating a very inviting space to chill. The tasteful and detail-oriented restoration means the seller is probably looking for a hefty price, but in return for the value of several bricks of contraband you’ll get one of the nicest T2 Buses we’ve seen.

Click for details: 1976 Volkswagen Bus on eBay

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Convertible Week: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 5-speed manual

It was around my second year in college that the chance arose for me to finally get behind the wheel of the (then) newly introduced Mercedes SLK230. My first impression is that for such a small car, it drove just like a regular Mercedes. Except it was smaller. Up until around 15 years ago, I maintained that you could blindfold me and I could tell you if I was riding in a Mercedes or not. The SLK was no different. Steering with a bit of heft to it, a firm but compliant ride and a smooth automatic gearbox were the order of the day. Some complained about the agricultural nature of the supercharged inline-4, but it offered plenty of power to scoot you around in a hurry.

Mercedes upped the enthusiast ante shortly after the SLK debuted and offered a 5-speed manual gearbox. Not since the 190E had US customers been able to spec a Mercedes with three pedals. To this day, you can still order a new SLK250 with a 6-speed manual, but who knows how long that will last. I tend to think someone at Mercedes-Benz USA forgot this was on the menu. If you don’t want to plunk down the coin for a new SLK, this SLK230 for sale in Pennsylvania gives you the chance to enjoy a lot of fresh air and the freedom to row your own.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 on eBay

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Convertible Week: 1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet with 21,500 Miles

By the late 1980s, Volkswagen’s lineup seemed decidedly dated. While the entire lineup of German motors wasn’t particularly innovative or new (I’m looking at you, R107 and 911), for some reason the Volkswagen lineup seemed more ancient. Outside of the Golf and Jetta which were launched in 1985, you had the Quantum – a chassis shared with the B2 Audi, but it lived longer as a Volkswagen. Square and tall, it looked like a mildly updated 1970s car mostly because it effectively was. Then you had the Scirocco; fun, angular and sporty, it too was a mildly updated Scirocco 1 from the 1970s and might have been the last use of sealed-beam headlights in the U.S. market. Of course, there was the Vanagon; the T3 would amazingly carry over into the 1990s (barely) from its 1979 launch – but it always felt straight from the 1970s, even when presented with updated bodywork, wheels and interiors. And then there was the true Jurassic-era product in the Volkswagen lineup – the Cabriolet. While Volkswagen didn’t chop the top off the first generation Golf until 1980, it was already a reasonably old car by that point, having been launched in 1974. Yet the last of the Cabriolets would roll off the assembly line astonishingly in 1993, having outlived the A1’s successor, the second generation Golf. Such was the enduring appeal of the Cabriolet, however, that it was a bit long in the tooth didn’t matter. Nor did poor build quality, relative unreliability, buzzy engines, short gearing, oppressive wind noise and poor performance. It was, after all, a convertible – and that meant people anted up amazing amounts of money to get their hands on what was the cheapest German convertible one could buy. It wasn’t an expensive Rabbit – it was a cheap 911 cabriolet. Sort of.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet on eBay

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Convertible Week: 1998 BMW M Roadster

When it was introduced, the BMW M Roadster quickly caught the attention of those who thought the non-Motorsport variety Z3 Roadster was a bit weak in the knees. Even though the US version was initially short on horsepower versus its Euro market counterpart, 240 horsepower was nothing to sneeze at in such a small package. Then the M Coupe arrived on the scene. Still a two-seater, this sports car with a breadvan profile was a bit misunderstood at first. Now, however, it’s popularity is eclipsing that of the M Roadster, leaving prices for the open roofed version lagging a bit. This M Roadster for sale in Florida is a lower mileage example, wearing the rare Evergreen hue that at times polarizes opinions.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay

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Convertible Week: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

Following on to the 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500 we featured yesterday to kick off convertible week, here’s that car’s grandfather: the 300SL Roadster. Painted in a similar hue of black, this example for sale in Los Angeles has lived there most of its life, originally being sold in Europe. This is an early build 300SL roadster on its fourth owner, having undergone a repaint in 1981 along with a few other items being refreshed.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster on eBay

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Convertible Week: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500

To kick off Convertible Week here at GCFSB, we’ve started with one of our favorites: the Mercedes-Benz SL. For more than 60 years, this car has been a mainstay in the Mercedes lineup, beginning with the closed roof, 300SL Gullwing. The Gullwing would eventually give us the 300SL Roadster and from there, Mercedes stuck with the hardtop roadster format, which would morph into a roadster with a retractable hardtop for the 2003 model year. One of my favorite SLs, however, was the late model R129 that preceded the R230 with its folding hardtop. This low mileage 1998 example is almost exactly as I’d want mine kitted out, looking mean in black over black leather with the 18″ AMG alloy wheels.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

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