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Kiltox’s 1994 Vauxhall Astra Cabriolet! 10/05 - COLLECTION


Kiltox
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I’ve owned a handful of convertibles over the years:

*2003 Mazda MX5 1.6*

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Bought from a dodgy guy on Penny Lane in Liverpool (it’s not as fancy as you’d expect) after seeing a Gumtree advert. Was possibly the cheapest in the country at the time. Aux belt snapped not on the way home but during the “come out in my lovely* new car” drive with my OH. Major brownie points for that one. 

Obviously it was rusty as fuck, wobbed and painted over to a degree of professionalism that meant it only showed itself a couple of months later.  Drove superbly though as you’d expect. There’s a reason people froth themselves over them on Pistonheads- superb cars to drive. I’m not sure it’s made better by being a convertible though - it was fucking horrible to drive with the roof up. 

Rust took over and I sold it for spares. 
 

*1998 Rover 216 Cabriolet*
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This pub car park scene circa 1998 (actually 2015) sums it up well. Fine looking things but these are proper shite convertibles. K series powered of course. Bought for absolutely buttons from a chap in Dudley that was ex-Rover and had owned this car from when he still had a main dealer workshop to work in!

Absolutely superb - I mean it was utter shite in the way it drove but that meant the whole focus was on the top down experience.  Nobody fucking cares how it handles when it’s sunny and the roof is down. Absolute bliss.   Sold it to @Six-cylinder because of a too many cars not enough space situation but regret it almost every day. 

*2002 Porsche Boxster 3.2 S*
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Made it to the fuckin’ big time here lads! This 2002 Boxster S is easily the biggest “kerb appeal” car I’ve ever owned. Sounded fucking amazing when you kicked the arse out of it and let all six cylinders do their thing and handled well beyond my driving ability. A cracking car and, despite being leggy, was well sorted.

Thats not to say owning an old Porsche isn’t fucking ruinous though - these really are expensive cars to keep well. The roof stopped folding one day - £130 later a new relay was procured and it was sorted - one hundred and thirty pounds for a fucking relay. This was minor compared with a lot of other Porsche parts!

I loved it but it was actually a bit too loud and fast for the top down action - I’ll go out on a limb here and say a Cayman is probably a better car. Utterly grim to drive with the roof up, much like the MX5. Also worried about it every time I parked it up, even though I owned it alongside a brand spanking new Duster that cost 1.5x as much!

*1998 Rover 216 Cabriolet*
No, you’re not seeing double, I bought another one

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Ex @gadgetgricey, it developed the famous OMGHGF before I even collected it. 

In fairness although I’m championing the shite convertible here, the CVT gearbox almost made it too shite. Nowhere near as nice to drive as the previously featured manual.  Leather interior made it worse than the previous one which had cloth. 

Sadly I fucked it trying to do the HG job myself and it was scrapped. Real shame. 

*1998 Mercedes SLK 230*
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Ex @Jim Belland @RichardK, now with @Tickman last I heard. Won it in a roffle. 

SO FUCKING YELLOW but an absolute riot. Almost made worse by the Mercedes complexity though - it shat it’s camshaft sensor and stranded me at a set of lights once. Never really gelled with it after that but it was a fun thing. 

*1997 Renault Megane Cabriolet*
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Another yellow peril - @Rave helped me save it but I didn’t really manage to get much done with it. Was a bit of a dog and I’d definitely like to meet a better example one day! @320touring helped me offload it to a Renault bothering friend of his so hopefully it’ll live on!

All in all, I definitely think I enjoyed the shitter convertibles more than the ones that actually command respect like the Boxster or SLK. 

What say you?

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I've owned 2 convertibles.

A 1974 mk4 Spitfire.  It was shit. It was 1985. My first car. 

And a 1997 mk1 mx5. Technically my wife's (hence the private reg plate) 

New second hand wings are almost ready to go on. New discs, pads and fitting kit, ordered today. Hope to get it in for an MOT before June. 

 

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Owned a few convertibles… and tend to agree with the statement. Bit then most of mine have been a bit shite in some way! 

This MX5, was shonky, a bit knackered and I loved it… 

85D0AF3C-F08F-4DC6-8D93-BE7F8659E8C4.jpeg
 

This MX5 was well sorted, great condition and all round lovely… it left me cold. 
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I liked my £300 Saab… despite it being a bit ‘tired’…

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The TF… time will tell… but its a nice one, maybe that doesn’t bode well… 

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Is this really a convertible? If so, it’s far from refined, it’s not smooth and certainly not sporty… so surely shite… I love it! 
0A6871E3-797D-4FF8-816E-39B451F2CB56.jpeg 

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12 minutes ago, RoverFolkUs said:

An MG F or TF is high up on my list to see what they're all about. Especially after seeing salvage rebuilds uk from youtube get £4900 for one at auction last week, I better act before the ship sails on them! Never thought I'd be saying that about an MG F 😅

Definitely worth a try… (he says having bought one a month ago…)

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Rover 214 convertible bought off an AA man that had sorted the engine hgf, great to drive knowing that the headgasket had been sorted . Never had any problems until a head on with a Volvo 740 shortened it enough to write it off 😪

 Mx5 MK1 bought for less than a cheap night on the piss with a curry for afters. Parked it up for years coz I had tooo many cars at the time . Eventually lost my storage , took it for a last chance saloon MOT , failed on a bulb and a sticky caliper . Sorted that then found the love for it in a warm spring and hot summer . Ran without fault for years , fell out of love with it when a fkd back stopped me getting in easily , being 6ft 2in didn't help either .

Had a long term loan/try before I buy on a Volvo cabrio , it failed on a lot of things , roof, gearbox, wheel bearing , brakes , didn't buy it but would try another as it seemed to tick all the boxes .

Shite cabrios ...I would

 

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Yep, also had a few in my time.

Classic Saab 900, NG 900, 9-3 X3. MGB rubber bumper, EOS X2 but the best for fun (not comfort) was a bright yellow SJ410.

But that was over 20 years ago, so having something that almost rolled on islands added an element of danger.

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I've had an aluminium Reliant Regal with detachable fibreglass roof.

Dutton Pheaton x 2.  Robin Hood ,  MGB,  Currently a Saab 9-3.  Plus probably other short stays that I've forgotten

All had problems bar the Robin Hood. 

Loved them all, but no fun in the rain except the Saab, which laughs at the weather.

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I have owned 3 Convertibles and still own them and they account for 75% of my fleet. I wouldn't call them shite though.

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2 seaters are of no use to me as I have a family, as are models with a tiny boot. 

I won this in a roffle in February 2019 frkm @320touring.

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It went straight through its MOT needing only a wheelbearing and since then all its needed is a second hand damper, timing belt, exhaust, thermostat and a few braking components. I recall the first time I cracked the roof open on the drive and saw the actual sky whilst sitting in a car. I've never looked back! 1.8 N/A so it isn't fast but it's a brilliant cruiser and the dated-when-new design means it looks really retro now. Only about 0.1% of the population know or care what it is though.

Saab 93 Turbo auto. 

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Forum bike, bought from @SRi05 in December also owned by @Wack and saved from scrap a few years ago by @NorthernMonkey , drives perfectly,  lovely nick and has plenty of room. Auto roof works great, even if it sounds like a cow taking a dump whilst operating. Quicker than its 150bhp has any right to be. Rewired the driver seat and replaced the thermostat. Repair costs so far therefore £30 for 6 months. Brilliant! MoT.  today though....

Same again from @Jazoli except manual and remapped to 210bhp by Noobtune.

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Oh and a gorgeous colour. Bought for my wife, she loves it. Plenty big enough for us. My auto feels faster but then I've only really driven it up from the Lakes, haven't been able to get a shot since!

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I've had a few

Mk1 Golf Clipper

Mk1 MX5

Pug 306

Pug 307

Pug 308

Megane Mk1

And the Saab 9-3 above

I'm currently  technically without one (the wife has her 308 still) but next year I'll be buying a modern ish Merc or BMW cab (probably). 

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Suzuki Samurai (does that count?)

Chrysler leBaron V6

Fiat X1/9 (again, does it count?)

Toyota MR2 T-bar (as above; owned it twice)

Saab 900 V6 (three times!)

I must be due another one soon.

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9 hours ago, Kiltox said:

Fuck yeah! Is the PT Cruiser the ultimate shite convertible?

I honestly don't know - but it's gotta be in with a shout? I consider it akin to a Fiat Strada convertible...

But I've always loved convertibles. My mum had a silver Golf GLi (0RR 690W) and that set the tone, so as soon as I got my driving licence I was off shopping...

1992 - 1979 Renault 5 Cleveland Convertible. Hacksaw job on a 5TL, claimed by McLaren engineers (felt like the buggies, not the cars). Two thumb screws, undo header, roll roof back to fibreglass-covered scaffold-pole roll-over bar, many poppers around the side, etc. - the chopped-off roof was covered by a large fibreglass moulding that also covered the upper edge of the chopped-in-half tailgate, so for that to open you unlatched it, let it fall a couple of inches on two pegs in the sides, then opened it and propped with a cut-down bonnet prop. I dearly wish I had pictures of it - it was white, and after I closed the bonnet onto a spanner it got a green bonnet. MBH 772V.

1993 - a pair of green 1979 Citroen Dyane 6s from Leitholm, And an honourary convertible in the shape of a Fiat Panda 4x4 with twin sunroofs.

Also a 1978 Toyota Celica Sunchaser liftback which is apparently still kicking around the Borders looking like some sort of zombie car.

1994 - Fiat X1/9 Gran Finale (and later if we're counting big sunroofs, 1978 Beetle with full-length ragtop).

(nearly bought 1986 C Talbot Samba with 9,000 miles on it)

1995 - my mum's old D-reg Golf GTI one with Zender kit

1996 - VW Beetle 1200 Karmann (1302 IIRC - dark blue metallic on a K-plate) (yes of course I wish I still had it).

1998 - Citroen Visa Decapotable (B911 DGP)

2000 - Peugeot 306 Cabriolet 1.8S - my first brand-new cabriolet

2001ish Suzuki Vitara, red

2004ish Suzuki Vitara, black

2004 - VW Beetle Cabriolet

2007 - Toyota MR2 SW20 Goodwood Green, and my partner had an MX-5 Mk 1

2009 - Sunbeam Alpine SV GT

2009 - Mercedes 500SL (J500 SSL)

2010 - Volkswagen Golf Glipper J-plate

2010 - MG F VVC

2011 - Reliant Scimitar SS1

2011 - Rover 114 Cabriolet (M109 CWK)

2012 - Mercedes SLK (S824 LLX, the one of yellowness)

2013 - Mazda MX-5 Mk 1 of flying aubergine colours

2013 - Saab 900S Convertible

2017 - Mercedes SLK 320 - (Silver one of rustiness)

2017 - Saab 9-3 Convertible

2018 - Rover 216 Cabriolet (Ada) (plus a very enjoyable borrowing of @Six-cylinderand @Mrs6C's white Vitesse)

2018 to 2021 THE DARK TIMES.

But even then I got cabriolets...

2019-20 I had a Mercedes C 250 d Convertible as an approved-used long-term test car (15K miles). AdBlue went wrong four months out of six and in the fifth month a colleague borrowed it and hit a pothole, then we got lockdown. Utterly frustrating. Aside from that it was really nice, very refined and economical.

Also several Jeep Wranglers, though the best one had a full-length sunroof rather than folding or removable tops.

2021 - Not mine but it's here, Spitfire Mk 3. And one day it will move again and look pretty again (prettier than it ever has).

2021 - BMW 323i Convertible

2021 - Mazda MX-5 Convertible

2022 - Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible

Honestly I feel like I've missed some, but I have tried - but not owned:

Samba, 205 CJ, Ford Escorts, MG B, Midget (I did own an Austin Healey Sprite of the Midget-shaped era but it wasn't complete, so doesn't count), Astras of several shapes, Volvo C70s, Mercedes CLK (early), Megane hardtop, 206 hardtop (awful thing), Sebring hardtop convertible in the states (but a weird one that looked like a soft top), 911 Targa4, 500C, Fiat 124 (Abarth) and MX-5 NA, NB, NC and ND both roadster and RF... Mini (hacksaw jobs, proper LAMM convertible and New Mini).

The dream was to get hold of an Evoque Convertible but I failed.

Oh and Citroen Pluriel, nearly forgot that one...

Based on all of those, I reckon the Peugeot 206 CC is the ultimate shite convertible in that it's actually shit in every way - awful to drive, unreliable, cramped, aesthetically challenging... the only thing I can think of that challenges it is the 307CC.

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10 minutes ago, eddyramrod said:

Suzuki Samurai (does that count?)

Chrysler leBaron V6

Fiat X1/9 (again, does it count?)

Toyota MR2 T-bar (as above; owned it twice)

Saab 900 V6 (three times!)

I must be due another one soon.

There's a £2K MOTd red LeBaron on Facebook locally. I was asking after it before I spotted the black Cruiser and decided RHD more modern shite was better. LeBarons used to seem creepy to me, strong small-town DJ doing all the teenager's parties vibe - but that's the later covered lights, 4-pot ones. 

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I've had 3.

e21 Baur. This isn't my one but other than the engine mine was the same down the wheels. My one was the 320 non injection.

These are kind of a weird setup, the back half is normal floppy top and the front half is a targa top. 

1980 BMW 3 Series 323i E21 Baur Cabriolet - Special Car For Sale (picture 1 of 37)

Shite Yellow peril Saab 9-3 non turbo. I really didn't like this it was slow and had horrendous scuttle shake. It kind of put me off floppy tops for a bit,.

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Z4. I wish I'd kept this as it was a nice car by the end.  It was fast and handled great. I found that with the smaller cabin it didn't feel quite as exposed as did in the SAAB with the roof down in town. 

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Not had that many convertibles really considering the number of cars I've owned over the years.  Three Saabs, three MGFs, a couple of Golfs, a couple of MX-5s, and a Morris Minor-based 1930s style special, and that's about it unless you count 2CVs.

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35 minutes ago, Kiltox said:

I really want one of these even though I know it’ll be awful

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The thing is, aside from the reinforcement brace under the seats meaning rear passengers need detachable feet, they're not awful at all. Proper hydragas, fizzy 1.4 8v, precise (for a Metro) gearshift, decent pedal placement (R6 > Metro), and a well engineered electric roof. For the size of car they're very refined and nice to drive.

Comical boot and folded top appearance but where else would it go?

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Every year I've said I fancy a disposable convertible for a few months... 

Sadly it's more of an arse as I'd have to sell or store rhe current car, insurance and etc

Plus the tidy £600 saab 93 floppy tops with enough tax and test (was back in those days rhe dreams used to happen) are long gone now.  A convertible corsa, yay... 

Me and @gnomeot had it all planned out several times

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One day last week I drove 3 different convertibles, a1982 Corniche, a Portofino and a 1997 SLK, all topless of course. The Ferrari was the least pleasant, too fast, too sheltered only a bit of wind noise at higher ( custodial) speeds to remind you it’s a convertible. The Corniche , was lovely as usual and just suits me down to the ground- big, slow, cumbersome and a show off. But my favourite is my youngest’s  SLK , I wish my Mrs had one instead of her Boxster, it really is a brilliant and underrated car, fast enough, comfortable enough and I don’t feel stupid driving it.

We’ve had CLK, New Beetle, 206CC, MX5, Eunos, Escort 1.6i, 205 CTi, Dyane, Spartan and Series Land Rovers with hard tops flung on the drive.  The worst , 205 hands down. Leaked, rattled , slow,and handled worse than a standard 205 let alone a GTi, the body flex was so bad I pinched my hand between the top of the doorframe and windscreen on a bumpy road.

The best was probably the CLK, but most surprising was the New Beetle, a very refined and comfortable cruiser, sold to @Six-cylinder and still in the fold somewhere, I think.

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I have had far, far too many over the years. From memory, and I am certain to miss a few:

American: Corvair ('65), Buick Electra 225 ('62), Pontiac Cruise ship (,72) Cadillac ('69 I think)

Vintage: Humber ('28), Austin 10, Austin 12, Austin 7 Pearl, Bullnose Morris Oxford, Model A Ford, Model T Ford

European(ish) VW Golf ('72), Saab 900 Turbo ('99), Saab 900 Turbo ('89 LPT, FPT, i), Pug 306CC, Triumph Spitfire (Mk1,2,3 4 and 1500) Triumph Herald, Triumph Vitesse, MR2 (2000 and 2001 both new), MX5 Mk2, Mini ('79) MG Midget (x a few) MGB (x many) Ford Corsair, and no doubt many others.

Currently on fleet: Saab 900i ('90) Saab 9-3 ('05) , Morris Cowley flat nose ('30 - special, no roof!), Mini half converted badly ('81) and of course the Cobra which in 10 years of ownership I have never driven with the roof on!

Think it is fair to say I like a convertible.

Edited to add Land Rovers (S1,2,3 and defenders), TR7, TR7V8 - OK going to stop adding them now. :-) 

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Good thread, @Kiltox ! 

Some might remember my 1990 MX-5, I owned it for something like 14 years - taught my kids to drive in it, took it to the 'ring (f*ck me, that was scary), trackdays, touring, went all over and loved it. But... I just got pigged off with rust and niggles and it went to @paulplom who eventually flogged it up to someone in Scotland, I think. 

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That pic was one of the last times I drove it far, that's at Llandow where we made a film about old v new MX-5s. On the way home the rear lights went so I drove c.200 miles at night with only the rear foglight on and a couple of petrol-station torches taped inside the rear lenses... shite-tastic! Turns out a mouse had eaten a wire, but I flogged it as I felt it was time for a change...

Not in any way shite, but you can do your own K series joke at my expense if you like ..

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And at the other end of the spectrum, I had this as a press fleet blag some years ago and can confirm that shite convertible are absolutely the best. I was far happier laughing off hairdresser jibes with the MX5 than looking like a flash twat in this;

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I really fancy an early Audi 80 cab, or a Pug 306 cab, please.  

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The newer Beetles really are one of the best all round convertibles you can buy imo (apart from the comically small boot access lid) They have zero scuttle shake and a decently quick and reliable roof that you can raise and lower at the traffic lights.

We’ve had two recently and will quite happily have a third as soon as I come across a reasonably priced 1.8t that’s not silver and has dead cow to sit on.

Other than those, in recent years we’ve had three MX5s, two SLKs, a CLK, two C70s, three Saabs, two MG TFs and a partly convertible (if you removed the rear roof) Freelander one. Indeed, five of those still remain currently…could really do to sell one or two!

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1 hour ago, beko1987 said:

Every year I've said I fancy a disposable convertible for a few months... 

.....the tidy £600 saab 93 floppy tops with enough tax and test (was back in those days rhe dreams used to happen) are long gone now.  A convertible corsa, yay...

Eeeh.... where have you been for the last 6 months man 😅

 

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14 hours ago, Kiltox said:

Fuck yeah! Is the PT Cruiser the ultimate shite convertible?

Narrowly pipped by the Citroen Pluriel I think you'll find 🙂

Very much enjoying my Saab c900 convertible although I don't think it's really shite these days, definitely proper classic.

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  • Kiltox changed the title to Kiltox’s 1994 Vauxhall Astra Cabriolet! 10/05 - COLLECTION

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