Used Classic Convertibles For Sale By Owner

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Used Classic Convertibles For Sale By Owner

Types of Old-School Classic Convertibles

Classic convertibles are the pinnacle of open-air automotive glamour from their respective eras, offering exhilarating drives, elegant designs, and impeccable craftsmanship.

Here are the main subcategories of classic convertibles:

1. Antique convertibles: these predate the 1920s and were pioneering automobiles showcasing advanced engineering for their time. Prime examples include the 1904 Wilson Convertible Runabout, 1913 Peugeot Bébé, and 1915 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo.
2. Vintage convertibles: built between 1919 and 1930, these vehicles ushered in more refined features and elegant design language. Notable convertible classic car models are the 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I or sporty roadsters like the 1929 Ford Model A.
3. Classic convertibles: spanning the 1930s to 25 years old, this category contains many of the world's most iconic, prestigious marques at their peak. This includes the 1970 Alfa Romeo Spider, 1976 Cadillac Eldorado, and 1988 BMW 3 Series Convertible.
4. Modern classic convertibles: more recent high-end models that have achieved classical status due to their advanced technology, lavish amenities, and historically significant designs. Examples include the Ferrari 355 Spider, the 1999 BMW Z8 Roadster, the 1998 Mazda Miata, and the Jaguar E-Type convertible.

While there is some overlap or disagreement about the above categories, they generally hold for most classic car enthusiasts.

Advantages of Owning a Classic Convertible

Classic convertible enthusiasts like to own these vehicles for the following reasons.

1. Value
2. Nostalgia
3. Uniqueness
4. Simpler mechanics
5. Low insurance costs
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Appreciation in Value

Unlike most cars that depreciate steadily, well-maintained classic convertibles retain or even gain value as they age. Each year makes them rarer, especially classics in original condition or restored to their former glory.


For older generations who lived through the era, classics are a sentimental reminder of the styles and culture from bygone days. Seeing a classic vehicle like the Mercedes-Benz SL W113 or a Cadillac Eldorado may recall memories of a cruise down the highway with your friends. Even younger generations can appreciate classics as a snapshot of retro design.


Owning a classic convertible sets you apart from the crowd because of its distinctive design and increasing rarity on the roads. A classic convertible turns heads wherever you go with its unique styling that commands admiration and attracts envious attention.

Simpler Mechanics

The mechanical components of most classic cars are less complex than current vehicles, making them more accessible for owners to maintain and repair themselves.

Engines often utilize basic carburetion rather than computerized fuel injection controls. This makes tuning and modifications more straightforward.
Ignition points, condensers, and distributors are basic compared to modern computerized ignition control modules. They're easy to adjust and service.
Transmissions have fewer forward gears (3-4 speeds) and lack complex electronic controls. Shifting feels more hands-on and intuitive.
Electrical systems don't have the intricate network of sensors and modules found in new cars. Troubleshooting issues is more straightforward.
Interchangeable parts between same-era models abound. Finding compatible replacement components is easier.
No onboard engine management computers to diagnose. Mechanical issues can be identified through hands-on inspection and testing.

Lower Insurance Costs

Insuring a classic car often costs less than insuring a new vehicle.

There are a few key reasons for this:

Classics are typically not used for daily commutes, so fewer miles driven annually lowers risk. This is why most insurance companies offer discounted " pleasure use" plans.
Owners tend to be older and more experienced drivers with good records, representing lower risk. Safe storage also reduces theft and damage risk.
Limited usage means lower premiums for collision and comprehensive. Most owners select just liability coverage.
No need for expensive collision avoidance tech and replacement parts coverage.

Disadvantages of Classic Convertible Cars

A classic car, convertible or not, comes with the following disadvantages.

1. Fuel efficiency: classic cars tend to be gas guzzlers.
2. Unreliability: classic cars can be less reliable than modern vehicles due to their age and older technology. Regular maintenance and tune-ups are essential to keep them running well.
3. Expensive parts: parts for classic cars—especially for convertibles—are expensive, as they need to be custom-fabricated or imported from other countries.
4. Rust and corrosion: classic cars, especially those made before the 1980s, are more prone to rust and corrosion.
5. Comfort and convenience: classic cars lack modern comforts and conveniences, such as air conditioning, power windows, and infotainment systems.
6. Insurance limitations: some insurance policies for classic cars may not cover the car's actual value or allow daily driving.
7. Limited cargo and passenger space: cars were designed with performance over utility, so cargo capacity and rear passenger room are often limited compared to modern family vehicles.
8. Antiquated safety systems: no airbags, anti-lock brakes, crumple zones, or electronic stability controls.

Despite these disadvantages, enthusiasts go for classic convertibles because they love them. And we don’t blame them.

How to Research Classic Convertibles Pricing?

Classic cars are difficult to value. You can't just pop the VIN into our car value calculator or the Kelley Blue Book like a mass-model newer car!

Classic convertibles are worth whatever the market is willing to pay. That’s why most of them are sold via auction.

If you’re a potential buyer, go on auction websites to see what buyers are bidding. You can also talk to dealers who specialize in classic convertibles to see what they are listing their vehicles for. This research may give you a price range of what your target vehicle might sell for.

If you’re the seller of a classic convertible, auction your car yourself with our easy self-serve auction feature and see what buyers are willing to pay. You can set a minimum reserve to protect yourself.

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Classic Car?

If you’re a classic car enthusiast looking for any type of classic car for sale, you have the following options:

1. Buy from a classic car dealer.
2. Buy from an auction website such as Cars and Bids or Hemmings.
3. Buy from a private seller.

We’re big fans of buying from a private party. Historically, doing so has been more of a hassle, but we’ve changed the game. Buy on PrivateAuto with our easy self-serve technology, skip the dealer fees, and get more bang for your buck.

From instant payments to secure communications, we give you the power to drive the deal on your terms. That’s why we’re the best place to buy a used classic car online. We have a wide selection of non-classic perfect cars for sale as well.

Browse our full selection of vehicles for sale by owner.
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Where is the Best Place to Sell My Classic Car?

If you want to sell your classic car, you can get way more for it by going directly to a private buyer than you could with a dealer trade-in.

Classic car dealers have to buy low so they can mark your car up and make a profit. You capture that extra profit when you sell directly to the end user.

We give you dealer-like convenience in the palm of your hand so that you can sell your classic on your terms.

Auction your classic car yourself and see what the market is willing to pay.
Skip expensive and inconvenient escrow services with our escrow-like safeguards.
Get paid instantly with no transfer fees.
Steer clear of car scams with identity verification.
Keep your personal information safe with our secure platform.

Even better, you can list your car on other marketplaces. If you find a buyer, you can use our DealNow feature to invite the buyer to a fast-track dealflow that gives you all the advantages of our transactional infrastructure.

Create your listing on PrivateAuto now and see how easy selling your classic can be.

Classic cars FAQ

What is the best classic convertible to buy?

There is no definitive answer as it ultimately depends on one's personal preferences, priorities, and budget. There are three factors people usually care about:

1. Most prestigious: Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
2. Best value: Ford Mustang Convertible
3. Easiest to maintain: Mazda Miata NA

Which is the most reliable convertible car?

Do they still make convertibles?

What's the most popular classic convertible?

What's the most desirable classic car?

Are classic cars good for daily driving?

What is the best classic car to invest in?

What is the rarest classic car?