There was a time in the US when convertibles were popular, followed by a period where there were almost NO convertibles to be had. The no-convertible years were a very sad time, where vehicular occupants could only be seen peering like moles through tiny portholes at the great outdoors which they were traveling through. Simultaneously, it was also a time where cars were huge, thirsty, and fuel supplies were short.
Not only were you no longer allowed to have the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, but because of various humorless and pasty government bureaucrats with their beloved limits of what people other than themselves could do, the power output on cars was reduced to what effectively amounted to Billy’s little red wagon.
Meanwhile inside your home, president Jimmy Carter publicly shamed everyone to turn the heat down to 65 or lower, and put on a sweater. These were the insult to injury subsequent to a previous administration (of Richard Nixon) who decreed that the national speed limit was henceforth to be 55 mph. There are still people traveling the highways of North Dakota that started their trip in 1973 who have yet to arrive at their destination.
What a time to be alive: No wind, no sun, no heat, no fun.
Sure, there was the sunroof in both pop-up and sliding varieties as well as well as the incredibly clumsy T-top which was supposedly safer than the convertible. This was ostensibly the reason they continued to exist while the drop-top disappeared from the scene. Really though, if T-tops were such a good idea they’d still be put into new cars instead of just leaking and filling trunk space when not in use.
In the mid-1970’s if you wanted a convertible, you had your choice, to turn a phrase, of any car you wanted so long as it was a Cadillac Eldorado. Let’s face it, unless you were a bank president or a better-than-moderately-successful pimp, you weren’t behind the wheel of one of those. Plus you also needed arms long enough for your knuckles to drag on the ground just to be able to shut the incredibly long and heavy doors. As you can see, the Caddy had a clearly focused demographic.
Just prior to all of the above noted regulatory and foreign policy shenanigans resulting in diminishing pleasure levels was the golden age of the muscle car, which happened to coincide with the last hurrah of the convertible for decades to come. Yes, I know Chrysler produced the LeBaron (and it’s Dodge cousin) in the 1980’s which came in a convertible, but it was a Chrysler in the 1980’s and seriously, don’t make me say more.
So those who had the means and motive also had the opportunity to buy a muscle car that was also a convertible in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The confluence of a powerful rumbling V8 with open air motoring was one of the more hedonistic features of the time, along with LSD, free love, and Jimi Hendrix. All of which largely disappeared or was outlawed at the same time. Wait a minute…I got gypped.
Those with foresight, or ESP, or whatever doors of perception that may have been opened pharmacologically held onto their convertible muscle cars, and broke right on through to the other side of the automotive “dark ages” of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Wind in hair, sun on face, lights and sirens of the fun police behind.
Take for example this 1971 Ford Torino GT. This Missouri-based drop head muscle car seems to have been preserved in amber, or at least in bright yellow, as sort of the last of the breed. With an old-school 302 V8 and an automatic transmission with on the floor shifter, this black and yellow inside and out example has been recently painted and interior refurbished. Seller reports power steering, power brakes and power convertible top. The fabric of which also appears in the photos to be fairly new as well. Front and rear suspension have been redone and the car currently has an asking price of $21,700.
For more information, you can click HERE to contact the seller on craigslist. Wind. Sun. Speed. Fun.