• May 20, 2009
Since the advent of the automobile, automakers have always been compelled to go topless with a variety of cars, and occasionally, trucks. For a brief period in the late 1970s, after rollover safety standards threatened our wind-in-the-hair, sun-loving ways, it was nearly impossible to find a real convertible to buy in America. Instead, automakers introduced alternatives like the targa and T-top that maintained a modicum of protection from a vestigial roof.

All that changed as the '80s approached and the convertible once again took its rightful place in the line-ups of nearly every automaker doing business in America. This resurgence gave way to a host of new drop-tops on the market, and who can forget the throngs of Chrysler LeBaron convertibles or the game-changing Mazda Miata?

Today, though, we're taking a stroll through memory lane with some of the least popular convertibles we could dredge up from our quickly fading memory banks. To qualify for this particular list, the car had to be a true convertible, which excluded such gems as the Suzuki X90, Nissan Pulsar NX and Daihatsu Rocky. Without further ado, then, we bring you the Top Ten Forgotten Convertibles of the past 30 years.



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  • 50 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lets see
      Almost bought an Avanti II in 1993
      Have tried 3 times in last 10 years to get a Reatta Drop Top
      Parents had the Dodge version of that Town and Country
      How I wanted the Dakota Convert (Made my 88 Isuzu Pup a convertible
      back in 1990, it was the mini-truck days back then)
      Neighbor had the Infiniti
      The Elan was in my garage for 3 years, regret selling and an looking
      for another
      I think I buddy owned the ASC
      Yeah GTA convertible Yeah...
      Father had a TC ordered for years, setteled on a Pace Car 87 Lebaron
      since Chrysler delayed the car so long.
      And at Carlisle this Past weekend I walked up to the Paseo
      convertible For Sale (1 of 2) and said I forgot this car exisited. So
      you guys got one right
      • 5 Years Ago
      TO BC, who posted on Pg. # 2.
      and to Robt. "O"

      1. The ascMclaren Capri was indeed backed by Ford Motor Company, who built purpose-built "mules" with items deleted as per ASC request. The Ford Motor Company Code for these cars was D32.

      2. The rear quarter fender tips were indeed fabrcated, as the normal ones were part & parcel to the bubble-back hatch. When the hatch was removed, there were no rear quarter fender tops.

      3. the top Stack did not fold down into where the rear seat had been. It folded down into the area where the rear seat package shelf had been and about an additional 8 inches of truck space.
      The area that had been the back seat contained a Mercedes-like elevated "box" into which were twin strorage compartments with attached folding covers. The rear seat area floor was identical to a Capri bubbleback's floor.

      Robert O

      Production #s on the Mercury Capri Edition ascMcLaren follow:-

      1984 = 50
      1985 = 257
      1986 = 245
      Total = 552

      Colors: Porsche Guards Red, ASC White, Jet Black, Paris Blue Met., Atlantic Blue Met., and Sterling Silver Met.
      Roof Colors: Black Cloth; Navy Cloth; Sand Tan Cloth.
      Wheels Colors: Navy, Gold or White Mesh

      Mr. McLaren (I own 3)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't help but to notice that a lot of Chryslers populate the list!
      But wait, you forgot the Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder, the car that started the hardtop convertible craze, or how about this one: the TVR 280i. Sold in America for a short time during the mid 1980's it looked similar to a Triumph TR7/TR8, and just as unreliable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a really great top ten list. That Dodge Dakota is a thing of beauty, I can't believe someone thought that was cool enough to make. However, today I would totally drive it for its novelty. Anyone can post their own list to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I must once again represent the late AMC Corporation.

      - Early 1980's Eagle "Sundancer", and Concord coupe conversions
      - Lots of AMC convertibles from the 60's, American, Rebel (and Rebel SST!), Ambassador, etc.

      This list was rather mainstream.

      Other that were my faves, but not obscure enough to be "forgotten":

      - 80's Buick Riviera, pretty car with or without a fixed roof, also Eldorado
      - Dodge 600ES Turbo, the most sporting of the K variants
      - The Suzuki Samarai is somewhat forgotten today
      • 5 Years Ago
      I had a 1989 Chrysler TC exactly like the one in the picture. Same color and interior combination. My father left it to me when he passed away and I kept it in the garage for 8 years. Eventually sold it to my brother.

      Car had tons of turbo lag and a rather large steering wheel for a relatively small car.. Like all TC's it had leaked water through the roof at some point and the porthole windows in the hard top had permantely fogged up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Uh, there are people that don't know the Avanti?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I didn´t.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Had Avantis in the neighborhood I grew up in. So, yeah, I knew them well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I remember when I first saw the Dakota convertible in a Car and Driver magazine. I thought it was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I worked at a Chrysler store in the 90s and we had one in the used car inventory. Black in color and low mileage. It was really fun to drive, and people always asked questions about it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was definitely a fan of the Dakota convertible. Sad to say, I saw one being (ab)used as a work truck in Jersey a couple years back. Boo!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Very surprised to see the Dakota Convertible on the list. That truck was one of the products I thought showed Chrysler's innovation. Thumbs down to Autoblog - BAAAADDD Call.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, no Yugo Cabrio?

      And I had no idea Toyota made a Paseo Cabrio until I saw one a few weeks ago. Makes me miss my 85 VW cabriolet
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd say this list is accurate! Thanks for the memories. I wish you'd given production numbers for each of the 10, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Regarding the Capri, it was chopped by ASC because the Mustang was as well. After the early '70s, convertible Mustangs weren't built on the assembly line until the SN-95 came in in 1994. The likely reason that the Capri convertible was so different was because it was starting with the fastback body, not the notchback like the Mustang.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, the Mustang top installation was done by Cars & Concepts and most of the car was built at the Ford factory before being shipped out to C&C. But yes, the Capri was done at ASC because the project started with an outside designer not backed by the factory, and it was easier to convert the hatchback body than it would have been to take a Mustang convertible and replace the hood, front fenders and doors and fabricate blistered rear fenders to make it a Capri. Also, the ASC/McLaren cars were 2-seaters with the top stack folding into where the rear seat used to be; the Mustangs had rear seats.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hmm....Have an Avanti coupe though, and when this bad economy is over it will be back on my bucket list to get a convertible version, hopefully an 02' thru 04'.My dad bought a TC brand new in 89'. Today it is getting picked up from the shop with a new head gasket (only 45k original miles though). It is going to my son for his high school graduation present. Bought an extra 89'TC for backup parts. My brother drove a Dakota convertible for about 4 years. Only seen two since that. Chrysler T and C, drove one new at the dealer. Mark Cross interior...whew super cool. Yeah this list is one the "off side" but heck, I won't see another at the stop light
        • 5 Years Ago
        What year Avanti? (I have a '72 coupe)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Guy around the corner has two TC's. Wants $4500 each. One of them has been wrecked recently, and the other is missing stuff used to fix the other.

        Needless to say, he can keep them. Both 3.0l V6's.
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