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Winter is a good time to invest in a convertible. How so? Well, the appetite for soft-top motoring is lower at this time of year, giving you a better chance of bagging a bargain than in summer, when everyone wants a drop-top for those wind-in-the-hair thrills.
Andrew Burford is the owner of what might well be the ultimate convertible on British roads.
When the Mini collector John Fisher takes his Tweed Grey 1966 Austin Convertible for a spin he often encounters one of the following questions - ‘did you cut the roof off it yourself?’ or ‘why hasn’t it fallen in half?’ To which the answer is always, the work was undertaken by Crayford of Westerham in Kent - and their standards were renowned in the UK and overseas.
With spring finally here and summer on the horizon, now is the perfect time to look at buying a soft-top for some summer fun. Whether you prefer your classic car to have a dash of the high-life, sporty, quirky & fun, stylish or big & brash, we think we’ve found 10 cars that will compliment your lifestyle. From turning up at a country house to driving some of the great ‘B’ roads of the UK to turning up at the beach or a festival, there really is a convertible for all.
The clocks have changed, and there is a certain crispness in the air – in short, it is that time of the year when many classic sports car enthusiasts start considering a coupe rather than a convertible. However, the Sunbeam Alpine GT, with its detachable roof and soignée lines, really was the best of both worlds – assuming you only required two seats.
John Langford has recently taken delivery of an Austin convertible, one that is resplendent in Speedwell Blue. Here is a car that offered virtually everything to the discerning motorist, from the Art Deco fascia to the well-upholstered bench seat. The fuel bills amount to precisely nil, and the sole drawbacks of the J40 are the limited top speed - and the fact that anyone over the age of nine will not be able to fit in it.
Chris had two reasons for buying his Cashmere Gold Austin Metro Vanden Plas. Firstly, he is a fan of the Kingsbury-based coachbuilder, and also owns a VDP 1500. Secondly, he has also been a Metro enthusiast ‘since the launch at the NEC in 1980...queuing up at the stand waiting to sit in this award-winning car’.
While you might have classic car insurance in place to protect you against any mishaps, you don’t really want to be claiming on your policy for something that was avoidable. That’s why we’re bringing you some tips on how to care for your classic convertible’s hood.
Last year we featured Adrian’s Viva De Luxe “Brabham” but, incredibly, this is not the rarest car in his collection. In March 1968, Crayford Engineering transformed five of the HB range into dropheads. Each was based on the SL90, finished in white and wore Cosmic Mk. I alloy wheels’. Luton officially approved the conversion, and they were distributed solely by the Leeds Vauxhall dealership Wallace Arnold.
There’s a lot to be said for owning a four-seater classic convertible, as opposed to a two-seater. Above all else, they offer an element of practicality – so if you want to go away for the weekend, there’s room for luggage as well as three passengers.
Auctions are a great place to pick up a classic car. Depending on which end of the market you’re operating in, you might be able to get your hands on a bargain or that rare gem you’ve always wanted. But to come away with a good deal, you’ve got to play your cards right.