Car Blog Showdown: Early-’60s Convertibles

1964 Shelby Cobra

1964 Shelby Cobra

Here’s our latest Car Blog Showdown. This week tgriffith and jgoods were each invited to select their favorite early-’60s convertible. Which is your favorite?

jgoods’ 5 reasons why the 1964 Shelby Cobra is his favorite early-’60s convertible

  • It actually did have a soft top (I’ve seen one in the flesh), but you wouldn’t want to use it.
  • There’s no greater American sports car status symbol than this.
  • It’s fast, drivable (the 289-cubic-inch version, not the 427, which is a lot more demanding), and gorgeous.
  • 271 stock hp can get you to 60 mph in the mid-4-second range (the 427 will blow your pants off).
  • The early Cobra foibles were mostly gone by ‘64.

tgriffith’s 3 reasons to avoid the 1964 Shelby Cobra:

  • Sometimes you just want to cruise in style, but the Cobra’s not a cruiser.
  • Do you really want a car that looks like it should have a big wind-up handle on the back?
  • jgoods says there’s “no greater American sports car status symbol” than this, but it’s only half American. The other half is British.
1962 Oldsmobile Starfire

1962 Oldsmobile Starfire

tgriffith’s 5 reasons why the 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire is his favorite early ’60s convertible:

  • It’s a comfortable, classy cruiser with leather, power steering, and power seats.
  • The Starfire is one of the finest designed American classics of the 1960s.
  • Oldsmobile’s quality at this time was nearly unbeatable.
  • The 394-cubic-inch Rocket engine provided plenty of power.
  • Its chrome wrap-around trim provided a look like nothing else on the road.

jgoods’ 3 reasons to avoid the 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire:

  • It’s a very big hunk of iron.
  • It looks like the fighter plane after which it was named, not a car.
  • Try to find a good one.

What’s your favorite early-’60s convertible? Why?


  1. well, i do agree with griffith why the 1962 Oldsmobile starfire is one of the best ’60’s convertible. The design is classical and unique at the same time. However, looking for this particular model is hard to find these days.

  2. Having actually driven this stuff, I’ll give my three favorites.
    1. 1962-1964 Thunderbird Convertible. Classy, classy, classy. The rear deck opens backwards, engulfing the top, and then a metal cover opens to complete the trunk line to the back of the seats. Mine was the 1962 sports model in fire engine red with a black leather interior and the fiberglass tonneau to cover the back seats. Absolutely classic and the best “chick magnet” (sorry ladies, but true) that I ever owned.

    However, must fun was:
    2. 1963 Corvette Roadster. The split-window coupe is a classic that seems to overshadow the roadster, but the 1963 roadster remains one of the best driving Corvettes of all time. This was the Corvette after they fixed the chassis shortcomings but before they got in the race to provide nothing but mindless horsepower.

    And the most impressive was….tada
    3. 1961 Cadillac Convertible. My best friend’s mom just had a thing about convertibles, and we often were driven to school in the biggest, pinkest, fin-iest car I’ve ever seen. It was gargantuan, from the huge tail fins to the garage-door-sized doors, and the slippery seat-beltless leather interior was like a carnival ride when this big boat healed over into a corner. Back then, this car commanded attention just as it does today.

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