While tuners like Ruf, Alpina and AMG captured the hearts and minds of performance-oriented enthusiasts in the 1980s, turning normal or even fast versions of standard cars into custom creations capable of supercar levels of performance, others took a very different route. The affluence of the 1980s coupled with the near extinction of convertibles between the mid to late 1970s meant that there was an active community of aftermarket companies ripping the tops off everything from Ferraris to Fords. Some of the companies are more notable; in the BMW world, for example, companies like Baur enjoyed a long history of converting coupes to convertibles for the firm, but there were new companies giving it a go, too – Oldenburg, RPM, ABC Exclusive, Schulz, and Lorenz & Rankl all made custom drop-top version of the E24. It was neither cheap nor pretty to remove the roof structure; look under this 628CSi and you’ll find giant steel girders welded to the floor for support. And while the mechanisms for the top varied by design, non of them every looked completely at home top up or down. The origin of this particular conversion isn’t clear from the listing; the seller mentions Euler but they were better known for a custom E23 Touring we previously featured. One thing is for sure; this convertible Euro-spec 628CSi is surely a rare bit of kit:
All posts tagged Convertible
Just the other day a friend of mine was complaining about the lack of “pure” sport coupes available on the used market for a reasonable price. They aren’t interested at all in roofless options which does eliminate fan favorites like a Mazda Miata, Honda S2000, or Porsche Boxster. I then asked, “well what about a BMW Z3?” and my perfectly reasonable question was met with a chuckle. I don’t know what it is about the Z3 that so many people so dislike but when thinking of driver focused sport coupes, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind. M Coupes are more powerful and aggressive looking, but they’re also highly sought after, therefore the reasonable price part of the equation goes right out the window. I love the odd styling and the wonderfully simple interior. Driver position is amazing in these cars and they’re surprisingly functional as well thanks to the hatch. The Z3 roadster might be what comes to mind when the name is mentioned, but it is the coupe that is the real star.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3
The majority of the E30 convertibles that I come across suffer from two common issues: they’re usually in very rough condition and they have an automatic transmission. The former is due to the neglect of owners who never thought they’d become a sought after classic and the latter is a symptom of the non-enthusaist buyers who took these things home by the boatload. There is no vehicle that reminds me more of smarmy, yuppie folks than the E30 ‘vert. At launch, this was the official car of the abundant 80s nouveau riche, perfect for whisking guys with names like Barry, Gordon, or Donald away from the office, and out to where ever they were summering.
By 1993 things had changed, Barry Gordon, and Donald were either broke, working the Asian markets, or quietly cruising along in a legitimate line of work. The the E30 sedan and coupe had died off in ’91, giving way to the larger, softer E36 body style. The convertible however, it clung to the 80s for dear life, soldiering on until 1993. This example is advertised as having had only one owner, I’d love to get their story on why they chose this car, and more importantly why they opted for the manual transmission. It’s very rare to see a a drop top BMW with a 3rd pedal, let alone a one owner car that appears to be in great condition, so you
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 325ic
There is no doubt that modern day Porsches are impressive machines, with power and performance almost second to none. But when I scan the current lineup, there’s something missing. I’d never deny these are great machines, but I almost feel like there’s a bit of a carefree nature that was apparent in Porsches from the past. Case in point, this 1997 911 Carrera 2 Cabriolet for sale from our friends at Automobili Limited right outside of Philadelphia. The owner of the dealership, Tony Kasser, was kind enough to invite me for a visit this summer and it was an impressive collection of enthusiast machines, mostly of German origin. This 911 Cabriolet is another in a long line of classic Porsches in their collection. In Guards Red over Cashmere leather with a 6-speed manual gearbox, this is a great way to enjoy one of the last of the air-cooled 911s.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cabriolet at Automobili Limited
For me, the R129 Mercedes-Benz 300SL came one year too late. The US market was never privy to its predecessor, the R107 300SL, which was available with both automatic and manual gearboxes. This was always a favorite R107 variant of mine, its smooth 3.0 liter inline six seemingly more suited to this car’s size than a big V8. And of course, the available 5-speed manual was a huge attraction for me. Mercedes decided to take a little bit different direction for the 1990s and made available the six cylinder SL to North American customers, even with a manual gearbox option for a few years. This 300SL for sale in Illinois is a Canadian market SL with the 5-speed automatic gearbox in one of my favorite SL colors, Cabernet Red.