The ‘80s was a period where safety legislation which almost made the open-top car obsolete. Fortunately for those with an appreciation for the wind in the hair experience, a handful of cars were officially listed for sale.
Lancia launched the spyder version of the Beta coupe in the UK in 1975 and retained for 7 years. Towards the end of its run, it was the cheapest open-top 2 door 4-seater on the market.
The VW Golf GLi and later GTI was the first of the FWD hatchback derived open cars. Launched in 1980, it remained in production long after the original Golf had ceased production.
Toyota tied up with the Californian based Griffith company to produce the Sunchaser Celica. Officially listed in the Toyota GB line up, it was over 2K more expensive than the normal version.
Citroen launched their Visa 11RE cabriolet in 1983. It was almost the cheapest open-top car on the market back then but undercut by their evergreen 2CV6.
For an additional £1000, you could buy a Talbot Samba. Based on the Peugeot 104, Talbots final car went out with some style to add a little glamour to an otherwise ordinary supermini.
Ford introduced the cabriolet for their MK3 in 1984. Of the facelift models, the majority were high spec models with fuel injection but the CVH models were also sold alongside them saving almost 1.5K over the XR3i cabriolet.
Fiat also added a cabriolet to their MK2 Strada in 1983, as the original had not been imported into the UK. Assembled by Bertone it retained their badge rather than Fiats and never powered with the desirable twin-cam engine.
Skoda’s importers pulled a masterstroke in 1985, by offering a conversion by Ludgate Developments Design in Kent, who converted the 120 coupe. It was replaced by the Rapid and remained on the price list until 1990.
The Vauxhall Astra followed its rivals lead by introducing a Bertone converted cabriolet in 1986. A GTE version followed. They were praised for the execution of the structural rigidity.
Finally, the roof came off the iconic Peugeot 205 and increased the appeal of an already excellent car. Pininfarina played a role in the build of the car. While not as strong as the Astra, it lost very little natural ability.