This is the time of year when Doug buys his shorts, and the time of year you should consider buying a convertible. Naturally, the reason they are so cheap is that the season is ending, so you can get some great deals! Plus, if you get a little bit of a late summer, you may even be able to have a bit of top-down fun before it gets cold, depending on where you live. Following up on the best sport compact bargains and the best V8 sedan bargains, here are the best convertible bargains found here on Autotrader!
There is little doubt in most enthusiast minds that the S2000 is near perfection. It’s like a Miata with some actual horsepower. Sure we used to joke at autocross events back in the early 2000s that they were almost guaranteed to spin, but that’s part of the fun, right? Regardless, it’s a Honda, so it’s pretty reliable. Doug posted one awhile back with 230,000 miles on the clock. Well, if that’s a bit too high for you, fear not: You can get plenty right here on Autotrader for reasonable cash with under 100,000 miles on the odometer — although finding one with a clean Carfax is a bit more challenging (see above about the likelihood of a spin). For a pure and reliable drop top driving experience, these are hard to beat. Find a Honda S2000 for sale
Mercedes-Benz SL 550
If the elemental Honda is too basic for you, how about this former-$100,000-sticker-priced SL 550 convertible? Many of these are listed for under $30,000, even if they’re only a few years old, and buying one gets you a Mercedes-Benz with a 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V8 — and absolutely gorgeous styling. It’s definitely more of a GT cruiser than a track rat, and you’ll have to stay on top of the potentially pricey maintenance — but as far as high-end, open-top cars go, this one is dirt cheap to start. Find a used Mercedes-Benz SL 550 for sale
Want even more power than the little 5.5-liter SL was putting out? How about a LS3 small-block V8 with 436 hp? That’s what you get in this 2008 Chevrolet Corvette. According to the C6 Registry, this is an Indianapolis 500 Pace Car edition, which — beyond the badging — added the 3LT option package and the Z51 performance package and dual-mode exhaust. So it’s not your average Corvette convertible. Chevy only made 500 for the United States, with just 266 being topless, meaning this car could hold its value over time. You’re welcome! Find a used Chevrolet Corvette for sale
Ford Mustang GT
Ubiquitously offered at every Hertz counter around the country, the Mustang has perfected the bargain, open-air motoring experience. The one you probably get upon your “upgrade” from the subcompact base Fiesta is the V6 model with an automatic transmission. But this bad boy is a like-new 2016 Mustang 5.0 GT with just over 20,000 miles — for under $30,000. Oh, and a manual transmission is included for all your burnout needs. Plus I love the white and black look. I’ve driven quite a few of the newest generation Mustangs, and they’re great fun, meaning this is definitely worth a test drive if you want a do-it-all open-top car. Find a used Ford Mustang for sale
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Oh, but wait, if you really want to do everything, there’s a final option that most convertible owners may forget about. The Jeep Wrangler! Want space for 5 people plus your stuff? Want to drive over things, even if it’s just curbs in parking lots? Want all of that, while enjoying more of an open-top experience than almost any other convertible? The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited should be on your list. Sure, it gets awful miles per gallon, but so do most of the cars in this article. But can you (easily) take the doors off of any of the others and drive around town in a vehicle that literally makes you feel like you are outside? I don’t think so! Look for the 2012 and newer models, as the newer 3.6-liter engine is much better than the outgoing 3.8-liter in previous Wranglers. Or, if you want to spend just a littttle more, buy a new one. Wranglers hold their value better than just about any other vehicle, so you’ll find used options are only a few grand cheaper than buying new. And with the newly revised 2018 Wrangler coming out, they are even cheaper. How do I know? Because I just bought one, of course. Find a used Jeep Wrangler for sale
Like most of these “best bargain” articles, I’m sure I missed some great options. Let me know some of your favorite options in the comments — and, if you must, let me know all the ones I forgot. There’s always round two.
Based in Northern Virginia, William is a professional writer and acts as editor-in-chief for Right Foot Down. He spent most of his misspent youth on tracks in the mid-Atlantic, as well as killing cones in parking lots, and he once taught at a teen performance driving school.