Home Cars Summer is Around the Corner: 20 Inexpensive Classic Roadsters

Summer is Around the Corner: 20 Inexpensive Classic Roadsters

Vukasin Herbez March 6, 2019

  1. Renault Floride/Caravelle

You might see some of the cars from this list in traffic since all of them are quite common in America. But, you will have to dig in deep to find a Renault Caravelle in your daily commute rather than in car shows or museums. However, it was so popular, Renault managed to sell 117,000 of them during the 10-year production run from 1958 to 1968.

Based on the mechanics of Renault’s economy 4CV model, the Floride/Caravelle was a cool roadster with a rear mounted the four-cylinder engine and 2+2 seating configuration. Renault intended to call the car the Floride for sale in the USA. However, later they decided to name the model the Caravelle for their U.S. buyers and the Floride for the rest of the world. Interestingly, most of their cars ended up in America, even though the British roadsters of the ‘60s made the Renault look outdated and slow.

To be honest, despite looking elegant, the Caravelle was slow since the biggest engine was a 1.1-liter four-cylinder only producing 55 HP. However, if you are desperately in love with the French charm of this little convertible, are not in a hurry and want a car nobody else has, then the Renault Caravelle is for you. You can find them for around $10,000, which is quite affordable for such a rare model.

  1. Honda S2000

Honda introduced the S2000 in 1999 and discontinued it in 2009. However, you can consider the S2000 to be a ‘90s model, even though they presented it at the end of the decade. This model was a true driver’s car with all the important features. It came with lightweight construction and ideal weight distribution. Honda added a powerful, rev-happy engine and razor-sharp handling.

And, all of that came in an elegant open-top package. Under the hood was a 2.0 or 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine pumping out 240 HP, which was the main selling point of the car. This little gem of an engine featured a 9000-rpm red line and four valves per cylinder. But it was the famous Honda V-Tec system that provided all the power in high rpms. And best of all, it created a wonderful screaming sound.

Thanks to its intelligent engineering and light weight, the S2000 provided a respectable performance. And drivers universally praised it for its perfect handling. During its decade long production run, Honda sold over 110,000 of these fast, little roadsters. You will be pleased to know that you can find one today for a fair price, at around $6,000.

However, look for unmodified examples since those stock S2000s will be the most desirable. And there is one more thing you should know. The S2000 is a tiny car with limited interior space. So, if you are over six feet tall, you will probably have problems fitting inside.

  1. Mercedes SL R107

You may think the R107 doesn’t belong on this list since the Mercedes SL isn’t exactly a small convertible. However, if you look at it carefully, you will see that this generation fits the bill perfectly. The first reason is that it is strictly a two-seater convertible. Secondly, it is an old school model they built with the highest standards of quality.

Thirdly, it offers a lot of enjoyment, power, and comfort for the money. And the fourth and final reason is that it’s a great summer cruiser. In fact, the SL R107 is a good investment since the prices of classic SL models are constantly on the rise. Better yet, this generation was in production from 1971 to 1989, so it is quite common.

The engine choices include one six-cylinder engine and several V8s, including the range-topping 560 V8. You should find a 450 or 500 V8 engine since they are the most popular. Also, they offer the best combination of power and efficiency.

Mercedes sold over 237,000 of those elegant convertibles during the 18-year old run. And believe or not, almost two-thirds of them were U.S.-spec cars. That is why you won’t have any problem finding the right example for you. However, be ready to pay around $25,000 for decent examples of this Teutonic power roadster.

  1. Sunbeam Alpine/Tiger

One of the most interesting yet forgotten models in the classic roadster class is the Sunbeam Alpine. It was an English two-seater convertible Sunbeam built from 1959 to 1968. Sunbeam is a classic English brand, long gone from the market, so only a handful of enthusiasts remember them. However, the Alpine is an attractive car with dependable, conventional mechanicals and a small 1.5 or 1.7-liter four-cylinder.

Over the years, Sunbeam built over 60,000 of Alpine roadsters, so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. So, for under $20,000, you can find a nice example of this interesting car. However, if you are looking for a more serious machine, look for the Sunbeam Tiger. This model looks identical to the Alpine but packs a 260 or 289 Ford V8 engine under the hood.

And all that power gives it a much better performance and soundtrack. Before he worked for Ford, the legendary Carroll Shelby designed this model. Even though the Tiger is significantly more expensive and rarer since they build only 7,000, it has a cool history. Also, the stellar performance is well worth the investment.

  1. Honda Beat

The spiritual successor to the classic Honda S600 roadster is the ‘90s Honda Beat. Honda introduced it in 1991, selling it until 1996. The Beat was a small, nimble roadster with just 660 CCM of displacement and producing 63 HP.

In the typical Honda fashion, they naturally aspirated and equipped the car with a five-speed manual transmission. At just 1,656 pounds, it was immensely fun to drive. Honda built over 33,000 Beats in its five-year production run.

Summer is around the corner, so these are the 20 best classic roadsters you can buy today. Did you choose your favorite? They come in a range of prices that are sure to rise, so get out there and start shopping for one now while they are still affordable.

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