So you like roadsters

Ah the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin. There’s something about a convertible. And with tons of fun ragtops to choose from, the roadster is an ever popular project car. Mostly based on the British sportscar model, they’ve come from all corners of the globe. You won’t be winning many drag races in these cars but you’ll be grinning ear to ear.

Note that many of the cars in the European section have convertible versions that would be perfectly at home in this section but I’ve tried to focus on dedicated roadsters here.

Mazda Miata:

The saying is that ‘the answer is always Miata’ and that continues to hold true regardless of question. Want a daily driver that you can Autocross on the weekends? Miata. Want a good base for a club racer? Miata. Want a good chassis for a V8 swap? Miata. The mechanically identical 1st and 2nd generations are the best project cars and dirt cheap. It’s hard to recommend anything else.

  • Purchase cost: 1
  • Maintenance cost: 1
  • Maintenance difficulty: 1
  • Rarity: 1

Alfa Romeo Spider:

The Alfa Spider enjoyed a decades-long production run and offers a good chassis with an incredibly lively engine. Sharing a common chassis with Alfa coupes of the era offers a lot of performance parts.

  • Purchase cost: 2-3
  • Maintenance cost: 2
  • Maintenance difficulty: 2
  • Rarity: 2

Fiat Spider:

Fiat’s answer to the roadster craze of the ’60s is this lovely little car. Notoriously susceptible to rust, not as many survived as the Alfa Romeos but they’re a great project when you can find them.

  • Purchase cost: 3
  • Maintenance cost: 3
  • Maintenance difficulty: 2
  • Rarity: 3

Triumph Spitfire:

The Spitfire might be the pinnacle of the British roadster. Produced for many years, widely available, and a hoot to drive. I know of more than a few Spitfires that have earned a restoration but haven’t gotten it because they’re too much fun to take off the road.

  • Purchase cost: 2
  • Maintenance cost: 3
  • Maintenance difficulty: 1
  • Rarity: 2

Triumph TRx(TR2-TR6):

This is the car that defined Triumph for many years. The TR series, produced from the early ’50s right up until Triumph’s demise, is a classic British roadster in every sense of the word.

  • Purchase cost: 2-4
  • Maintenance cost: 2-3
  • Maintenance difficulty: 1
  • Rarity: 2-4

MG MGB:

The MGB was MG’s competition to the Triumph TR series. Also take a look at the MGA and the MG T-series cars, though they’re often a bit more expensive and sought after. The rarer MGB GT is a hardtop and the rarest of all MGB GT V8 has the Buick-sourced Rover V8.

  • Purchase cost: 2-4
  • Maintenance cost: 2-3
  • Maintenance difficulty: 1
  • Rarity: 2-4

MG Midget:

The Midget, also sold as the Austin Healey Sprite, was the BMC competitor to the Spitfire. It enjoyed almost the same level of popularity.

  • Purchase cost: 2
  • Maintenance cost: 3
  • Maintenance difficulty: 1
  • Rarity: 3

 

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