The demise of the convertible has been predicted many times—drafty even with the tops up, they said, and unsafe. On April 22, 1976, a white Cadillac Eldorado rolled down the assembly line in Detroit wearing an “End of an Era” sign. “Like the running board and rumble seat, the convertible is an item which history has passed by,” said Edward Kennard, then Cadillac’s general manager. But it wasn’t true—within a few years, Chrysler was making drop-top K-cars, and Buick had a convertible option on the Riviera.
European car makers—Triumph, MG, Fiat, Volkswagen—never stopped making convertibles. Today they’re a small part of the overall auto marketplace, but with good representation among performance brands. Here are a few of the high-end choices available for fun in the sun in 2021 and beyond.
2021 Ferrari Portofino M, $229,950
Talk about wind in your hair. The front-engine Portofino M is powered by a 3.9-liter, 612-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 engine and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that can get the car to 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds. There’s even a “race” setting for track encounters.
The Portofino M’s top goes down in 14 seconds, even with the car moving at low speeds. The interior is swathed in Italian leather, and to keep passengers comfortable with an open top, there’s a wind deflector and neck-warmers with three heat levels. The Ferrari has a back seat, but it’s tiny and best used to store luggage for weekend getaways. Actually, Portofino—a little jewel of a port city on the Italian Riviera—is a pretty good summer destination for one of these.