1985 Dodge 600 ES Convertible
1985 Dodge 600 ES

The bad news is that fewer than one of every hundred cars sold in the United States is a convertible. (I will spare you the fractional math required to pass along the number of manual-transmission-equipped convertibles sold on our shores last year, but it’s fewer still.)

The good news is that American has a rich heritage of top-down motoring, and no downward pointing trendline can take that from us.

One question, however, is when did Americans begin buying convertibles because they were convertibles? Obviously the earliest automobiles were topless—but they did not “convert,” as no provisions were made for weather protection. If it rained while you were out in your Curved Dash Oldsmobile, you got wet.

For some insight on this matter, we turned to Collectible Automobile Editor-in-Chief John Biel, who explained:

There were some convertible-like cars in the Teens (I know Ford and Buick had them) with roll-up glass side windows and fully enclosing fabric tops, but they weren’t called convertibles. Ford used the name “Coupelet” for instance. Then in the mid Twenties the idea caught on again, and this was the start of the modern convertible. Packard listed a Dietrich-bodied two-passenger car it called a convertible coupe as early as 1925, and some independent coachbuilders may have been using the term for similar bodies around the same time. In 1927 Cadillac, LaSalle, and Buick all added weathertight (no snap-in side curtains) soft top cars they called “convertible coupes,” so the word was coming into common use for this type of car by the end of the decade. To confuse things, there were some cars with this same type of design that didn’t use the term convertible, but called them cabriolets. Others may have used the term convertible in conjunction with a roadster because, well, the top did convert. . . .   

There’s not much confusion about the cars seen below. We have collected 20 classic convertible print ads, and one bonus truck for good measure.

If you have owned a convertible at some point in your life, please tell us about it. The place to leave comments is down below.

More classic-car print ads

Classic Convertible Ads

1927 Packard

1927 Packard
1927 Packard Ad

What Was the Mercury Cougar Bostonian Edition? (Gallery)


1937 DeSoto

1937 DeSoto
1937 DeSoto Ad

X-Ray Madness! A Gallery of Classic Car Ads Featuring Cutaway Art


1949 Plymouth

1949 Plymouth
1949 Plymouth Ad

Rear-View Madness! Classic Ads Featuring the Backs of Cars


1952 Mercury

1952 Mercury
1952 Mercury Ad

Longroof Madness! More Classic Wagon Ads


1953 Ford Pace-Car Promotion

1953 Ford Pace Car
1953 Ford Pace Car Ad

Velour Madness! An Ad Gallery Featuring Classic Auto Interiors


1955 Buick

1955 Buick
1955 Buick Ad

Model-Year Madness! 10 Luxury Car Ads from 1987


1956 Chevrolet

1956 Chevy
1956 Chevrolet Ad

Action Madness! A Gallery of Classic Ads Featuring Cars in Motion


1960 Pontiac

1960 Pontiac, Art Fitzpatrick
1960 Pontiac Ad

Designer Madness! Fashion in Classic Car Ads (Gallery)


1961 Rambler

1961 Rambler
1961 Rambler Ad

Aviation Madness! A Gallery of Classic Car Ads Featuring Airplanes


1962 Chevrolet

1961 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
1962 Chevrolet Ad

Utility Madness! A Gallery of Classic SUV Ads


1962 Studebaker Lark

1962 Studebaker Lark Daytona
1962 Studebaker Lark Ad

Market Crash Madness! A Gallery of Depression-Era Car Ads


1964 Dodge

1964 Dodge
1964 Dodge Ad

Travel Madness! A Gallery of Classic Rental Car Ads


1975 Cadillac Eldorado

1975 Cadillac
1975 Cadillac Eldorado Ad

Memory Lapse Madness! A Gallery of Forgotten Car Ads


1977 Cadillac Seville San Remo Conversion

1977 Cadillac, San Remo, Convertible Conversion,
1977 Cadillac Seville Ad

CVCC Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Honda Ads


1980 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Hess & Eisenhardt Conversion

1980 Oldsmobile, 1980 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Hess & Eisenhardt Conversion
1980 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Ad

Luxury Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Lincoln Ads


1981 Volkswagen Rabbit

1981 Volkswagen, Convertible, Elke Sommer
1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Ad

Dynaflow Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Buick Ads


1985 Dodge 600 ES

1985 Dodge, 1985 Dodge 600 ES
1985 Dodge 600 ES Ad

Performance Madness! 10 Classic Car Ads Featuring Horsepower Numbers


1989 Saab 900

1989 Saab
1989 Saab 900 Ad

Hollywood Madness! 12 Classic Celebrity Car Commercials


1990 Ford Mustang

1990 Ford
1990 Ford Mustang Ad

Model-Year Madness! 15 Sporty Car Ads from 1984


1990 Rolls-Royce

1990 Rolls-Royce
1990 Rolls-Royce Ad

Worst Car Commercials: The 80s


Non-Car Bonus: 1981 Dodge D-50 Ragtime Mini Conversion

1981 Dodge D-50
1981 Dodge D-50 Ad

Check out the Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast

Classic Convertible Ads

Classic Convertible Ads Gallery

Classic Convertible Ads

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