Ragtop

1976 Cadillac Eldorado

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1976 Eldorados were promoted by Cadillac as the “last American convertible;” selling over 14,000 in total. However, Cadillac re-introduced the Eldorado convertible for the 1984 model year.

1976 was also the last year for the massive 8.2L V8 engine; the next year, a downsized 7.0L engine was introduced.

Pacific Palisades, CA

Photos by The Professor

1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible

1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible
1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible

1972 was the last year for the classic second-generation Cutlass, and the last year of the Cutlass convertible until it was revived in 1990. Despite this, it was the best-selling convertible in America, with 11,571 sold out of 298,881 Cutlass Supremes total that year.

Cheviot Hills, CA

Photos by The Professor

1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Convertible

1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Convertible 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Convertible 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Convertible 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Convertible 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Convertible 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Convertible1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Convertible

Steve McQueen owned one of these, and drove it in the final movie of his career–The Hunter (1980). His sold for $84,000 in 2013. With a standard 3-speed manual and an optional 2-speed Powerglide automatic, nearly 50% of the Stylelines sold were with the Powerglide, like the example pictured here.

This one was spotted at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.

Los Angeles, CA

Photos by The Professor

 

1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible

1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible

The Corvair, of course, was highlighted in Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed, after which sales fell more than half from 220,000 in 1965 to less than 110,000 the next year. Nader’s book crippled the reputation of the Corvair, and sales never recovered.

This is not the most attractive example of a Corvair imaginable–the knockoff wire wheels and the drab color and trim do nothing to help its looks. However, it is a fairly-well preserved example of a none-too-common convertible model, which makes it a worthy picture target.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabrio

1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio 1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio 1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio 1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio 1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio 1959 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio

Made by the company far more famous for producing fighter jets for the German Luftwaffe during World War II, the KR200 “bubble car” was originally conceived as a result of temporary sanctions against aircraft manufacturing in the Messerschmitt factories. When the sanctions were lifted in 1956, the rights to the car were sold to a man named Fritz Fend, who established a company called Fahrzeug-und Maschinenbau GmbH Regensburg (FMR); hence the “FMR” logo on the hood of this microcar.

It produced all of 9.9 horsepower and was shorter than the wheelbase of a new Chevrolet Impala. The last picture shows a stark juxtaposition between the hulking Bronco and the diminutive Messerschmitt–it looks like a diecast model. Definitely a model for those with a secure self-image as their head sticks out a few feet above the top of the car.

Pacific Palisades, CA

Photos by The Professor

1973 Jensen-Healey

1972 Jensen-Healey 1972 Jensen-Healey 1972 Jensen-Healey 1972 Jensen-Healey 1972 Jensen-Healey 1972 Jensen-Healey

A car that was a mess of different parts from different manufacturers: Lotus engine, Vauxhall suspension, Chrysler transmission…none of it worked very well. Most of these rusted out a long time ago; this one seems to have lived its whole life in Southern California and has fared considerably better.

This car, which marked the end for two fine British marques, was not so fine itself (I suppose that’s why it marked the end, then).

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

Outtake: 1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

It’s been a while since I saw a Paseo, and I don’t recall ever seeing a convertible. When I researched it a bit more, I realized why. This is a second-generation Paseo, only sold in the US for model years 1995-1997. The convertible was released in August of 1996, meaning it was only sold here for the 1997 model year. If I had known that, I probably would have taken more than one picture of it, but at the time it was just a curiosity and not an actual interesting car. Next time I’ll know.

 

Santa Monica, CA

Photo by The Professor

 

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