3 character convertibles from € 10,000 to € 20,000

Arturo Rivas
Peugeot 504 TI, Saab 900i and Triumph TR7
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Driving a convertible is always a public performance. It's hard to hide in an automobile that has only a low windshield to protect against privacy and weather. The driver's dark sunglasses also do not protect against being scrutinized by passers-by and motorists just as critically as the mobile pedestal in which one is sitting. Who then in an Alfa Spider, T riumph TR4 or even Mercedes 230 SL is on the road, it did not do anything wrong, but does not collect any special points for a very special, more individual vehicle style.

Arturo Rivas
The Peugeot 504 is the beau of the trio: Its body was created by Pininfarina.

3 special convertibles from 3 decades

Our 3 convertibles with which we take a trip to the wine town of Strümpfelbach near Stuttgart offer that. Park a Peugeot 504 TI Cabrio, a Saab 900i 16 Cabrio and a Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé. The visual impression alone makes it clear that there are 3 very different forms of open-top automobiles represented here - plus from 3 different decades.

Let's start with the Peugeot 504 TI Cabrio. Its body can be described as the most balanced and elegant of the three candidates. The reason for this lies in the ingenious, already since the Peugeot 403 from 1957('Columbo' convertible from the US crime series) existing collaboration with the coachbuilder Pininfarina. The technical basis of the convertible, which was presented in 1969, was, as with its two predecessors 403 and 404, the 504 sedan introduced a year earlier.

Joy and sorrow with Pininfarina

The body of the Peugeot 504 TI was created by Pininfarina in Italy on a chassis that was shortened by 19 centimeters. This results in the classic proportions with a short front and long rear overhang. Wide double headlights in the low front end of the car give the stately, 4.36 meter long convertible a touch of sportiness. Unfortunately, the Pininfarina bodies, which were reinforced in the chassis area, were only sparsely protected against rust. Especially after the facelift in 1975, the beautiful Frenchman was often marked by ugly rust bubbles.

Our white Peugeot 504 TI convertible from 1982 was used as a pure fair-weather car from the start and looks like new thanks to the completely renovated interior . It is one of those models shortly before their retirement in which the manufacturers pulled out all the equipment registers to make saying goodbye as difficult as possible. The lavishly upholstered seats and the cockpit enhanced with wood veneer could even come from a Maserati.

101 hp meet 1,235 kg

Technically, too, the Peugeot 504 TI with its two-liter injection engine and standard five-speed gearbox is up to date. Accordingly, you can travel confidently and relaxed in it. Thanks to the low waistline, there is a particularly intense and airy convertible feeling.

The powerful engine, smooth power steering and the precisely shiftable gearbox leave nothing to be desired. The fact that the Peugeot 504 TI 101 PS only moves 1,235 kilograms is noticeable in the performance: a top speed of almost 180 km /h is still a good value today. headline__article - beta '> Saab 900 Cabrio offers all the comforts

However, if you want an electrically operated convertible top, power windows, central locking and seat heating, the much younger Saab 900i 16V Cabrio from 1991 better served. However, the Swede cannot completely hide the fact that it was originally a two-door hatchback sedan.

Their debut took place in 1978, so that the Saab 900 Cabrio, which appeared in 1986, can definitely be described as a classic. Partly because a large fan base has been enthusiastic about it since the start of production until today. And that despite (or because of?) Its look, which can be described as a bit strange.

Especially theThe steeply rising waistline, which also ends in a large spoiler encompassing the rear, has a - let's put it kindly - unique. But there are other peculiarities that make the Saab 900i 16V convertibles produced by Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland, real popular.

Arturo Rivas
Sliced ​​top seller from Sweden: The Saab 900 Cabrio came 8 years after the sedan.

Curiosities from Uusikaupunki

This is how the ignition lock in the Saab 900i 16V convertible sits on the center console. To protect against theft, the ignition key can only be removed when the reverse gear is engaged and blocked. It takes about 20 minutes to attach the three plastic shells that serve as tarpaulin and take up almost half of the trunk in a stylish bag. And the two doors reach down so far that you don't have to climb a sill to get in. Is the four-seater convertible then stable enough at all?

We are trying it out now and are happy about the most important characteristic of the Saab 900i 16V convertible: its strongly curved, steep windshield and the soft safety style of the late 80s Years designed cockpit. Together with the sedan-shaped seats, this results in a sublime driving experience with a good view of the road and the sky, which is often denied in modern convertibles due to the far back window frames.

Of course, the relatively modern one drives Saab 900i 16V convertible with its 126 hp completely problem-free and comparatively quiet. And of course the body remains almost as stable as the 900 sedan despite the lack of outer sills. Otherwise it wouldn't be a Saab either.

Triumph TR7 looks much younger than it is

Let's switch to the last participant of our spring tour, the Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé. The Briton was also originally a coupé with a fixed roof, which was introduced in 1975, initially in the USA, and a year later in Europe. Despite good sales figures, many Triumph fans were disappointed that there was no roadster.

This is what the British Leyland brand association brought to the triumphbelonged to 1979 after. Nevertheless, at the end of 1981, the British stopped producing coupé and convertible due to lack of demand. In addition, the TR7 series suffered from quality problems due to many strikes and constantly changing production facilities.

In 2015 the Triumph TR7 - at least as a coupé - celebrates its 40th anniversary. Nevertheless, its body with the flat muzzle and the pop-up headlights looks much younger, although the massive black bumpers are more in line with contemporary tastes and US safety requirements.

TR7 without speed ambitions

The dashboard of the Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé is completely lined with hard plastic and has 6 easy-to-read round instruments. The seating position on the non-original bucket seats is comparatively high, but the steeply sloping engine hood is still out of sight. According to British tradition, the modern OHC engine delivers good torque between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm - ideal for lazy convertible strolling. At higher speeds, however, it seems sluggish and overwhelmed.

In return, the Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé shines with outstanding maneuverability and a relatively comfortably tuned chassis. Another plus point is its extremely low distribution, which individualists particularly appreciate. Every appearance of a TR7, whether coupé or convertible, is always greeted with great amazement and the inevitable “Yes, is there still one?”.

Arturo Rivas
Has only few friends so far: The wedge-shaped Triumph TR7 is still looking for fans - but it is also available at a reasonable price.

This is how much the Peugeot 504 TI, Saab 900i and Triumph TR7 cost

Let's start with the cheapest offer: The Triumph TR7 has yet to earn its fans. Of the around 20,000 built Drophead Coupés, the less well-preserved ones are available in condition 4 from around 2,200 euros, as market watcher Classic-Analytics reports. In the well-kept condition 2, around 10,000 euros are due. The price level is stable to slightly decreasing.

By far most of the Saab 900 convertible were built in this trio:Between 1986 and 1994, 48,894 units rolled off the production line - all versions including turbos. Despite the wide choice, the Swedish convertible is on the up and up. The prices are rising, good condition 2 copies are around 16,000 euros upwards - turbo versions are another 2,000 euros more expensive. In state 4 there are 4,700 or 5,800 euros in the list.

This means that the Saab 900 almost reaches the level of the Peugeot 504 convertible, which has only been built 8,165 times. With the French, the prices drop slightly. A state 2 vehicle costs around 19,000 euros; if it is to be a V6 model (1974 to 1977), budget around 18,000 euros (condition 4: 4,000 or 4,100 euros).


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