These more seasoned sorts are also more likely than younger car buyers to have the extra $5,000 that the folding top tacks on a car's price tag.
If you are one of us oldies whose fancy turns to toplessness in spring, you shouldn't wait until then to buy one. Indeed, the best time to get one is right now.
The prices and selections will be better in the dead of winter, suggests Tom Flynn, Pacifico Ford's general manager. If you order one now, you can get exactly what you want, have it in plenty of time for spring, and save money in the process.
"We'd rather have you order the car" instead of buying it off the showroom floor, Flynn explained. "That way, we have no floor-plan expense [the interest the dealership pays on its bank-financed inventory], so we can give you a better deal."
Why don't we check out some ragtops, and see whether any appeal. In the interests of practicality and affordability, let's limit our survey to cars with a backseat, and to the least expensive version of each model. Because the Asian carmakers are not particularly interested in a niche market that represents only about 1 percent of vehicle sales, our selections will be limited to the domestics and a European, all of them well under $40,000. In ascending base price order:
Chrysler 200 ($27,200). The Chrysler convertible is an attractive open car whose strong suit is its backseat roominess, something few of its competitors have. While competent for real-world use, this front-driver doesn't handle as well as its compadres.
The base engine and transmission is a 173-horsepower four and a four-speed automatic, which team up for EPA mileage ratings of 18 city and 29 highway. If I were buying this car, I would spring for the optional six-speed automatic and nifty 280-horsepower V-6.
Ford Mustang ($27,200). This base Mustang is a pretty car that derives plenty of motivation from its 3.7-liter, 305-horsepower V-6. If you have even more need for speed - and an extra $32,000 - you can opt for the 650-horse Mustang called the Shelby GT500.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard; a six-speed automatic is available. The base manual has EPAs of 18 and 29.
Chevrolet Camaro ($30,660). This retro-styled muscularo is powered by GM's excellent, direct-injected, 3.6-liter V-6, which develops 323 horses in this setting. EPAs come in at 17 and 28. Like its fellow pony car, the Camaro is offered with a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-gear automatic.
Like the Mustang, the base Camaro shares its stable with a big-buck beastie boy: a 580-horsepower guy with a $59,545 tag.
BMW 128i ($36,900). This may be the smallest and cheapest Bimmer ragtop, but it's still lots of fun. A 230-horse V-6 and a slick six-speed manual gearbox see to that. A seven-speed automatic is optional, as are a couple of turbo V-6s rated at 300 and 320 horsepower.
Contact Al Haas at email@example.com.