BLOG: Five sub-£10K Classic Cabriolets

Classic Contemporary Cult Convertibles

Summer’s in full swing, so why not treat yourself to one of these five topless modern classic icons – all achievable under a £10,000 budget – and get some speedy wind in your hair?

There’s driving, and there’s driving with no roof – blasting along in a convertible car, smelling the ozones, hearing the burble of the exhaust, the birds in the hedgerows and feeling the full heat of spectacular summer sun… it certainly takes some beating as motoring experiences go.

And in recent years, the definition of what constitutes a classic car has shifted, with some classic insurance providers re-defining what a classic car is, as Gerry Bucke, general manager at specialist insurance providers, Adrian Flux says: “What constitutes a classic car can sometimes be a matter for dispute, but there is now a far broader definition, which includes classic cars as young as five years old. So, whether you buy your car as a 'project', a hobby or simply to have fun driving in, there are modern classic car policies out there now to suit the particular needs of new classic car owners.”

Such good value modern classic policies have opened up a whole world of amazing modern, reliable, sexy modern classic cabrios… and here’s five fine fillies worthy of your attention, and all for easily under £10,000.

1. Mazda MX-5 Mk1
The iconic Mazda MX-5 is the world’s best selling convertible – shifting over one million units worldwide, since its humble launch, amazingly now 25 years ago.

Its perfect ‘Jinba ittai’ (horse and rider as one) philosophy and combination of rear-wheel-drive, lightweight, agile chassis and lively twin-cam engines matched with Japanese reliability and affordability has made it a modern motoring icon, rightly so.

Mk1 examples, built from 1989-1999 can be found for as little as £1,000 now. But you can spend more and get one that’s been cherished, and in mint condition. It might even appreciate, given its legendary cult car status.

2. VW Golf GTi Mk1

1975 saw the birth of a car that spawned the “hot hatch” generation – the ground-breaking Mk1 Golf GTi.

Powered by a 1780cc four-cylinder Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection engine with 110bhp and 103lbft torque, it might seem lowly by modern standards, but in a shell weighing just 810Kg, the Golf GTi was fast, and handled like no other front-wheel-drive car had done before, famous for ‘cocking an inside rear wheel.’

Opening up the roof may have added a bit of ‘scuttle shake’ to the chassis, but the Golf Cabriolet – launching in 1980 and running to 1993 – was an instant 1980s hit. And it’s an appreciating classic nowadays, especially in rare special edition forms, like the Carat, CC, Wolfsburg and aptly named, Best Seller editions.

3. TVR Chimaera

Aptly named after a monster from Greek mythology, the TVR Chimaera is an absolute butch beast of a V8 muscle car, Blackpool-style.

Built between 1992 and 2003, it definitely constitutes being a modern classic and £10,000 will see you get a nice and tidy, 240-275bhp, 270-305lbft 4.0-litre version (low or high compression versions) that’s capable of roaring to 158mph and under five seconds to 60mph and sounding like the hammer of Thor in the process.

Based on the older, more sporty Griffith model and using the same Rover V8, the Chimaera was designed to be a grand tourer – hence it’s longer, more comfortable, has a better specification and is less stiff and aggressive. But don't be fooled into thinking this car is tame, or indeed that reliable. This is a serious ragtop, for enthusiasts with a love of spannering, or a good mate who is a mechanic…

4. Vauxhall VX220 (Opel Speedster)

Built at Hethel’s Lotus plant between 2000 and 2005 (and sharing much with the firm’s Elise model) this is the most modern classic of our top five.

Like the MX-5, the VX220 is rear-driven, and superlight (just 870Kg) and is fast in normally-aspirated 2.2-litre Ecotech form with 147bhp. But £10,000 will see you get a rare 2.0-litre Turbo model too, and that knocks out 197bhp and can rocket to 60mph in 4.7 seconds and onto 150mph, despite being 60Kg heavier at 930Kg. It’s a quick little car.

Festooned with praise by the motoring press at its launch (where legend has it more cars were written off than at any other car launch, so it’s a handful!), the VX220 is serious open-top fun and yet practical too: This is a convertible with a removable hard-top option, so it’s one you could use all year round no problem.

5. Porsche Boxster Type 986

Who doesn't want a quality modern classic, mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive Porsche cabriolet in their life for under £10K?

And the much-praised Boxster (Mk1 Type 986, built from 1997-2004) is easily affordable for under £10,000 – from the basic 201bhp, 149mph, 2.5-litre, through the 2007-launched 217bhp, 155mph, 2.7-litre and even now just including the full fat 250bhp, 3.2-litre Boxster S variant, which will nail 162mph and 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds.

You can pick a Boxster up now for as little as £3,000 and the driving experience is stunning – with exceptional balance, grip and poise from the 50:50 weight distributed chassis and stunning performance from the horizontally-opposed ‘Boxer’ flat-six cylinder engine, whichever model you get.

It might be seen by 911 owners as the car that ‘watered-down’ the iconic Stuttgart brand, but who cares about that when you’re blasting down your favourite B-road, with a Porsche steering wheel in your hand for modern supermini money?


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