Chevrolet Corvette: Jonathan Brown said it nicely: “C6 manual transmission Corvette coupe or convertible. I keep the roof off all spring, summer, and fall…nothing like the roar of 436 horsepower with the top off on a beautiful sunny day.” We agree.
Porsche 911: As the reader points out, “Any day is a good day for a 911.” Sold. If we’re picky we might take a late 1960s 911S for classic summer cruising, and a modern 997 for the rest of the year. Picky and pretty rich, that is.
BMW 335i Convertible: Powerful, luxurious, and still engaging to drive; the 335i convertible offers the best of the BMW brand proposition with the added bonus of topless fun. The retractable hardtop means your summer fun can last past the summer months, too. Thanks to reader Eddie Chen for the tip.
Pontiac GTO Convertible: If your summer needs lead you down the classic muscle car route, it’s hard to do better than a drop top Pontiac GTO. Expect to spend at least $35K for a decent driver, or much more for the more highly cherished/rare examples of the breed. We’ve always been partial to the stacked headlights found on the gen-one cars. Thanks to Brendan Ward for his great taste.
Mazda MX-5 Miata: Be it the now iconic first generation roadster that took the world by storm, or a 2011 model year MX-5 will all of the bells and whistles (and more power), few enthusiasts would argue that the Mazda Miata is much less than the perfect summer car. Thanks to the many Facebook fans that suggested this one.
Mercedes-Benz SLK350: The all-new SLK has inherited the same good looks and laid-back high performance of the outgoing model, making both excellent choices for a dreamy summer car. (The less said about the first-gen SLK, the better.) We particularly like the lavishly comfortable seats, and the perfect wind protection for when those night drives turn a touch chilly. Thanks to David Caleb Pitt for this one.
Suzuki Samurai: Suzuki’s small, Jeep-like Samurai was a bit of a hit in the 1980s and 90s, largely because it offered one of the most affordable ways of going for a top-down drive. These days, if you can find one that hasn’t been modified with a massive lift kit, or fitted with a small black V-8, you should be able to pick up a decent Samurai for well under $2000. Reader Michael Williams knows a summer driving bargain when he sees one.
Porsche Boxster: Everything we love about convertible driving, with the stamp of enthusiast approval that only Porsche can bring. The Boxster was fundamentally designed for days long (weeks?) drives in perfect weather, on perfect roads, and at great speeds. Not as accessible as the Miata, we’ll grant you, but worth the extra cheddar if you can manage it. Great pick, Chuck Bailey.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: Though many of us think of bad or dangerous weather when we talk about the Evo, certain WR Facebook fans beg to differ. And, truthfully, there’s real merit to the idea of blasting across our favorite back roads with blue skies in the background and green grass as far as we can see (windows down, of course).
Mini Cooper S Convertible: Really the best low-cost convertible option to the Mazda Miata since, well, since the Miata was introduced. (Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky fan boys can direct their ire to the comments section below). Cooper S offers forced induction thrills, a marginally useful backseat, and cheekier looks than the Mazda, too. Good call by “reader” Luciana D’Andretta Wynne here.