The category of vintage American convertibles is filled with amazing offerings, many of which are highly sought after by collectors. Everyone will have their own opinion about which convertible is the top. However, some are more popular than others among collectors, enthusiasts, and experts.
The Cadillac Eldorado, specifically the 1959 model year, is an iconic convertible with its over-the-top styling that shows off various features of the decade. It delivers dual “bullet” taillights and massive tail fins, along with “jeweled” grilles on both the front and rear. There’s also chrome trim along the tailfins, taillights, wheel wells, and sill panels. This vintage American convertible was ahead of its time with power seats, steering, brakes, locks, and windows, plus an air suspension. Not only was this convertible huge, it had a 500-cubic-inch V8, which translates into 8.2 liters.
Ford Mustang Convertible
Everyone can agree that the Ford Mustang is a classic car that is highly sought after, and the convertible is no exception. The iconic 1965 version is the model most people picture when they try to drum up a mental image of this classic. This was the first model year. Ford offered four different engines, including up to 271 horsepower, so there were options for plenty of drivers. It was the Mustang’s success that led to other “pony cars” joining it on the market, such as the Plymouth Barracuda and Chevy Camaro.
Go back further in time, and you will find the Ford T-Bucket from 1915 to 1927. This convertible earns a spot on the list for its simple innovation and history. It showed off what drivers wanted in a convertible hot rod and was based on the Ford Model T roadster with two seats. Influences from that roadster included the passenger compartment in a bucket shape. The vehicle itself is among the best vintage autos for its history and style. However, many owners change out the old 2.9-liter engine with its measly 20 horsepower (which was good for the day), for a more modern engine with at least several hundred horses.
Lincoln Continental Convertible
The Lincoln Continental was new for 1961. Designed by Elwood Engel, it regularly is considered his finest achievement. This convertible is large compared to today’s models. This iconic convertible is largely known for being the limo of choice for President John F. Kennedy. Many also recognize it for its rear-hinged, “suicide” doors.
The Shelby Cobra came into being when Carol Shelby took a small, lightweight AC Ace two-seater roadster body and put a Ford V8 engine in it. The Cobra had mixed success on the racetrack but remains a favorite among experts and collectors. The earliest versions had Ford V8s with 260 or 289 cubic inches, with later models getting 427 or 428 cubic inches. Only 1,000 roadsters or so were made between 1962 and 1967, meaning that the originals are incredibly expensive. You can, however, get a continuation model from Shelby American if you prefer.