Diego’s Top Auto Finds on ClassicCars.com Journal

This content discusses the author’s appreciation for convertibles and highlights four specific cars: a 1967 Buick GS 400 convertible, a 1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Anniversary convertible, a 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible, and a 1963 Dodge Polara 500. The Buick GS 400 has a new design with improved horsepower and styling. The Camaro Z28 Anniversary features a paint scheme reminiscent of the 1969 Pace Car and good track performance. The Cadillac Series 62 is known for its iconic fins and classic design. The Dodge Polara 500 from 1963 offers good performance with a longer wheelbase and improved styling.

I’m a big fan of convertibles. It surprises me that some people aren’t — who wouldn’t want the top down? In Phoenix, the sun is too much during the summer months but, if you’re from the Rust Belt, you want to exploit the good weather while you can. That may be the reason why Mustang and Cougar convertibles (per Marti Auto Works) sold best in regions like Buffalo and Boston.  

You may notice that one car here is not a convertible. It’s because I’m a big fan of open windows otherwise so, considering the NHRA-spec engine, there’s a lot of wind to be had. Which car moves you the most?

1967 Buick GS 400 Convertible
Buick ditched the “Nailhead” for an all-new design for 1967. For the Gran Sport, it went from a 401 to a 400, now offering 15 more horsepower and featuring the neatest air cleaner this side of Tatooine. Plus, the Gran Sport series now included a new GS 340 hardtop, which featured red stripes and highlights unique to the model. All this wrapped in handsome Buick styling.

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This Ivory 1967 Buick GS 400 convertible is one of 2,140 built, with 1,628 featuring the new TH400 three-speed automatic (much-needed after two years of a two-speed auto). With bucket seats and console, power windows, and the usual power accessories, this Buick is a comfy muscle cruiser that has the torque (440 ft-lb) at an impressively low rpm (3200) to handle pesky Porcupine Chevys.

1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Anniversary Convertible
I was living in Michigan around this time, and Anniversary Camaros (code Z4C) were popping up everywhere. Of course, the paint scheme was based on 1969 Camaro Pace Car regalia, which was hardly a bad look. Two-hundred eighty-five horsepower was on tap for the Z28, which doesn’t sound impressive today but take it to the track and you’ll be impressed. Good information is hard to come by, but around 4,300 Z28s featured the Z4C package.

And, of those, only 1,001 were convertibles. The Arctic White with Hugger Orange stripes is complemented by a white leather interior and 16-inch five-spoke alloys. Air conditioning is there via compressor or lowering the top. A sign of the era is the CD changer mounted in the trunk. The four-speed automatic seems antiquated today, but four gears get the job done for high mpg and low ETs. With 52,995 miles, this Camaro is hardly broken in.

1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
This car is famous for several reasons: it was General Motors’ response to Virgil Exner’s 1957 Forward Look, and it is THE production car with the highest fins ever. No other car expresses 1950s excess better than the 1959 Caddy, though the same claim could be made of the overwrought 1958 Buick and Oldsmobile models.

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It may surprise you that pink was not a stock color for the 1959 Cadillac — Wood Rose comes closest, but it still is far from Barbie’s favorite color. Cars like this Dover White over teal Series 62 (with power bench, no less) are much more representative of the Cadillac ethos of that time. The standard 390 powers this one, though you can add tri-carbs (standard on Eldorados) for more visual candy and power behind the wheel

1963 Dodge Polara 500
Nineteen sixty-three was a big year at Dodge. Dealers were upset by the 1962s — not so much because they looked odd, but because they were smaller than the typical full-size competitor. In response, Dodge rushed to produce the thoroughly full-size Custom 880 mid-year (itself a 1962 Chrysler with a 1961 Dodge nose grafted on) and, in the meantime, the 1963 “regular” Dodge featured a three-inch longer wheelbase and more conventional styling.

The upside to being a little smaller than mainstream was that performance was quite good. Get the top-of-the-line Polara 500, complete with bucket seats and console, and add the 426 Ramcharger, aka the Max Wedge, and you have a winner. Better yet, Dodge made a running change and improved upon the 426, which makes this hardtop one of seven Stage IIs built.

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