I enjoy feeling the wind hit my face, so I tend to lean towards convertibles. I even prefer open windows to air conditioning, something that irks my wife, though she usually wins considering we’re in Phoenix (or maybe I’m simply a smart husband?). So, what’s a pickup doing in a group of convertibles for this week’s AutoHunter Picks?
All I can say is that if you’ve ever ridden in the back of a pickup, it can be equally as enjoyable. Ralph Nader is probably cringing right now, but he has never been emotionally invested in personal transportation anyway so bully for him.
Which vehicle suits you at this very moment?
1955 Chevrolet Corvette
Nineteen fifty-five was the year that the Corvette received V8 power as an option. Of course, that was true for regular Chevy passenger cars too, but it was more profound for the Vette because it had been saddled by the decidedly un-sports car-like Blue Flame Six and automatic transmission. The six was still available but only seven were built out of 700 Corvettes; the new three-speed was surprisingly rare as only 75 were built.
Like most 1955 Corvettes, this Gypsy Red example is equipped with the V8 and Powerglide, but its color is not like most because only 180 were built. As the recipient of a frame-off restoration from Russ Corvette Restoration, this ’55 could be considered over-restored, so it’s perfect from every angle, including the engine compartment and underneath. If you want to parade a classic to the masses, this Vette is ready for your mirrors.
1955 Ford Thunderbird
The Thunderbird was never saddled with a six and automatic, nor did it ever purport to be a true sports car, so it’s not like MG owners were eyeing to move up to a Thunderbird. “A personal car of distinction,” claimed Ford in the brochure. Women also were prominently featured in Thunderbird literature that touted comfort, practicality, and convenience. Is it any wonder that Thunderbird production completely dwarfed Corvette’s?
This 1955 Thunderbird features the standard 292 four-barrel V8 and floor-mounted three-speed manual, which is a fine way to go among ‘55s. Did I mention the tranny features overdrive, which practically gives it a fourth gear? Raven Black with matching vinyl interior and white top look great and, like all Thunderbirds, it comes with a removable fiberglass top — believe it or not, the soft-top was optional.
1982 Chevrolet C10 Fleetside Diesel
Plenty of old trucks come across AutoHunter, but this is the first diesel I’ve seen of this era. My friends who tow trailers swear by them, and diesels are notoriously durable, so it’s a surprise they aren’t more common. I suspect they were quite pricey back in the day (not really much different than today), but diesel fuel also was much cheaper than gas back then, while today it’s flipped.
This diesel-powered 1982 Chevrolet C10 Fleetside pickup is powered by a GM-Detroit Diesel 6.2-liter V8 backed by a 700R4 four-speed automatic. Though looking somewhat plain in its monotone gray, this Bow Tie has several nice features including power windows and locks, AM/FM, air conditioning, and cruise control. I see this as an old truck for those who enjoy vintage yet need something that can handle the rigors of modern living.
1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible
It’s time to have some fun here instead of fuddy-duddy two-seaters or pickup trucks. Did you know that the Super Beetle (new for 1971) wasn’t about having a more powerful engine as much as a reengineered front end that included MacPherson struts, more maneuverability, and more trunk volume? I didn’t! It also appears that, in the U.S., all convertibles were Super Beetles.
This screaming yellow 1971 Super Beetle features a black convertible top with matching interior. Like most Super Beetles, it is powered by the 1.6-liter four/four-speed combo, which sounds perfect to me. U.S.-market Super Beetle convertibles also included the Luxus package which included map pockets, two ashtrays for rear passengers, full carpeting, passenger-side vanity mirror, and more.