Summer soft-top/classic - Marc
Hi all. Over the last month or so I've been mulling over the idea of buying a classic/soft-top for summer use. Budget around 3-4k, dry use only and garaged. The idea would be for it to be a keeper.

I've narrowed my choice down to three. Within budget I reckon I can get excellent examples of either a Triumph TR7, a rubber bumper MGB or the MkI Mazda MX5 - pop up lamp Lotus Elan copy.

All three have excellent spares backup but there are cons with each :

TR7 - Rust, build quality, performance
MGB - Rust, engine out clutch replacement, potential overdrive problems
MX5 - Not very British is it...

As you can see/know the sensible choice is the Mazda all day long. I am put off with the idea of constantly battling rust on the two BL cars...but I like the idea of running one.

What does everyone think. Anyone got any experience of running one of these.

Summer soft-top/classic - b308
The rubber bumper MGBs go for less than the chrome bumper ones, so you should get something decent, I quite like 'em, but many don't... and its dead simple to work on and parts are plentiful...

Not keen on the TR7 myself, though the soft top looks much better than the hard top... and the engine is the most complicated of the three... again there are specialists who provide parts fro all the old Triumph sports cars...

The Mx5 should be reliable, but, like the others does rust, just not quite as much, I believe...

Personally, it would be between the Mx5 and the B for me, probably the Mx5 edging it, but spending that amount of money on an old car the key thing is getting it professionally checked out before buying.
Summer soft-top/classic - teabelly
MX5 will be the best choice. It is a classic british style sports car but with japanese reliability.

Triumph vitesse 2 litre soft top is also another choice if you want classic british. Reliable if used regularly too. Adding a kenlowe fan and electronic ignition helps greatly with reliability. Friend of mine used to run his nearly every day, even through winter.
Summer soft-top/classic - 1400ted
I had 3 ragtops, although none of them were sports cars. Not being a ' speed demon ', I had a very nice 63 Herald 12/50 in powder blue with white top and tonneau. Once belonged to Coronation Street actress, still very popular on TV.
Had a couple of Hillman Super Minx convertibles...full 4 seaters...last one burgundy with fawn top.
Used them all year round, with top down if it wasn't raining. A good heater, flat cap and scarf kept you snug.
Not to your taste, probably, but good fun.
What about an Alpine, or an earlier car, plenty of ragtops from the 50s.

Good hunting.

Summer soft-top/classic - Avant
Older BMW Z3s come in at about the price you're aiming for - well worth a look.
Summer soft-top/classic - Andrew-T
There are still a handful of Pug 205 CTi's around - in fact there is a nice one on AutoTrader just now with 45K miles. Don't bother with the CJ, that's low-spec and a bit girly.
Summer soft-top/classic - Pugugly
I have to say a TR7 or even and 8 might be tempting. What about a TR6 - cracking looking cars still !
Summer soft-top/classic - Marc
Thanks for the replies all.

The TR7 is my first choice. I remember them from when they were current - more modern looking than anything else on the road at the time, albeit a sheep in wolf's clothing it would seem. Never had a good reputation though and the technology/performance seems lacklustre compared to previous TRs.

As a youngster in the 70s I always thought the MGB looked past it's time ie dated, but recently I had a good look at an MGB (GT) and liked what I saw but repeated horror stories about terminal structural rot in sills and castle rails etc puts me off.

The MX5 seems the sensible choice but I think it defeats what I actually want to do.

"What about a TR6 - cracking looking cars still !"

Agreed. Not on my budget though!
Summer soft-top/classic - mike hannon
Although it saddens me to say it I should forget the MG and - especially - the TR7. The Mazda is the only really sensible choice if you want to keep the car but use it only in the summer.
Old cars break down and rot even when they don't go anywhere. If you want to own a soft top old car you are in a different ballgame and ought to think about spending quite a lot more money.
Here's a couple of choices out of left field though, for your suggested budget, if you can't bear to go for the Mazda (and if you drive it you'll like it!) - a Honda CRX, the sort that had the folding top in the 90s before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, or an Escort XR3i cabriolet perhaps. A friend of mine had one of those back along and it was a little cracker.
My next door neighbour and good friend (not always the same thing) has just treated himself to a really nice 1996 BMW Z3 and he's made up with it. It cost 5k though. And he gets a bit snotty when I ask him for a cut and blow dry...

Edited by mike hannon on 18/07/2009 at 07:58

Summer soft-top/classic - perro
>>> What about a TR6 - cracking looking cars still ! <<<

This forum is starting to make sense ;)
Summer soft-top/classic - perro
This is worth a look although I'm no fan of the rubber bumper,
You need to spend big bucks to get a good restored example so for your ££££ - yes, the MX5 would be my choice - my neighbour 'specialises' in them but - he's in Cornwall.
The TR7 soft top is a worthy classic, but there again can be a money pit so with your budget I'd give it a miss.
P.S. there's a nice V8 MGB on eBay for £27,995.00 if you're interested :)
Summer soft-top/classic - Alby Back
In amongst a lifetime series of practical but relatively boring estates, hatchbacks and saloons I have occasionally treated myself to a convertble over the years. Some of the prettier ones were fun but a fairly disapointing drive in reality. They all gave a natural sense of freedom of course but were often badly flawed dynamically which rather took the edge off them.

The only one which never failed to deliver raw pleasure was the Westfield. Cramped, sometimes impractical of course but for sheer unadulterated petrolhead fun...... The visceral noise, the pinsharp handling, the neck snapping acceleration......... it was outstanding.

Most repairs and maintenance could be done at home given the mechanical simplicity. We took it on three week European tours on several occasions and even used it on sunny, if cold, winters weekends. Once drove it through Kielder forest on hard packed frozen snow. We were blessed during our ownership of it with living in a very rural part of the Scottish Borders where many fabulous driving roads abound and traffic varies from light to negligible. The perfect environment for such a toy.

I miss it so, but it would have insufficient seats for our current needs.


Edited by Humph Backbridge on 18/07/2009 at 11:17

Summer soft-top/classic - Marc
Interesting you should mention Westfields HB. I liked the idea of that one also. Although starting prices seem to be about 5k.

I read up a fair bit about these on the internet last week. What put me off is that apparently the weather gear is not so good, so if you get caught in the rain you will get wet. Fine for a weekend blast but not so good when wearing a suit for work and you get caught out...
Summer soft-top/classic - Alby Back
Believe me you would forgive it almost anything ! You don't get wet exactly with the hood up. Just a bit damp.......

Try a test drive in one. Trust me.....

Summer soft-top/classic - legacylad
How much would a privately sold mk1 Elise cost now? I ran my '97 R plate for 3 years, bought new after a substantial wait, in all weathers throughout the year, and it was a paragon of virtue. Almost as much fun as the Spitfire of my youth.