Here are the 10 most desirable Italian convertibles ever made
Italian cars are some of the most sought after vehicles on the planet. They look the best, make the best engine noises and have the most exquisite interiors that scream elegance and style. Take the roof off any of them and they instantly become better in every way.
Convertibles are not just sleek machines for getting from place to place, but rather a vessel for experiencing the joys of driving while taking in the air. More importantly, the absence of a roof also allows the driver and passengers to experience the pure, pure sound of the exhaust – accentuated if the car in question is a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Maserati. These cars – especially the older ones – stir up emotions that make the driver want to push the car to the limit, making the most of the throaty V8 or screaming V12. Italian cars have this manner that makes them infinitely desirable, regardless of their reliability.
So whether it’s a classic Ferrari, a modern Fiat or a mid-2000s Maserati, Italian convertibles simply can’t be beaten in the soulful department by anything. Germany, Great Britain, France, America or Japan. With that, here are ten of the most desirable Italian convertibles ever made.
ten Alfa Romeo Spider
The Alfa Romeo Spider is one of the most recognizable Italian convertibles on the planet, with around 120,000 units produced between 1966 and 1994. The original Spider was based on the magnificent 1956 Alfa Romeo S3000 CM Superflow concept car, sharing much of its design elements.
The Spider was available with a series of Twin Cam inline-4 engines, starting with the 1.3-liter Junior version which produced 88 hp and ending with the 1.8-liter Spider Veloce, which produced 116 hp. The Alfa Romeo Spider is a magnificent piece of Italian design that is quite desirable thanks to its relatively cheap cost.
9 Fiat Barchetta
The Fiat Barchetta was a small convertible car sold by Italy’s largest automaker between 1995 and 2005. It was based on the Fiat Punto platform and featured a 1.8-litre inline-4 producing 130 bhp and 121 lb-ft of torque. All power was sent to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The Fiat Barchetta was a surprisingly good small car, rivaling the Mazda MX-5 in fun. Admittedly, it was only front-wheel drive, but its lightness and playfulness made it a great little car. Richard Hammond drove one across the Middle East, demonstrating its remarkable reliability.
8 Ferrari 308 GTS
The Ferrari 308 GTS is best known for its appearance on the crime show Magnum PI, driven by a mustachioed Tom Selleck. The 308 is one of the more affordable classic Ferraris as it developed a few issues as it aged.
The 308 GTS featured a 3.0-litre V8 – hence its name – but was also available as the 208 in Italy, with a 2.0-litre V8 to circumvent engine taxes. The 308 GTS is an excellent cruiser or project car, especially when all the electrical components are tuned.
seven Pagani Zonda F Roadster
The Zonda was Pagani’s first supercar and appeared in 1999. The Zonda remained in production until 2019, with occasional special editions or one-off versions. In 2005, a mostly redesigned version of the Zonda was unveiled as the Zonda F (named after Juan Manuel Fangio).
The Zonda F had the same engine, but new ECUs and exhaust systems, boosting power to nearly 600 hp from the AMG 7.3-liter V12. The F Roadster debuted a year later and looked even better, gaining just 11 pounds over the coupe. The F Roadster also had 640bhp and was a beautiful work of art – both to look at and to drive.
6 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
Lamborghini is among the most popular automakers on the planet in terms of fantasies and dreams. Luckily for us car enthusiasts, the Italian automaker builds less expensive cars that have now entered the more affordable realm – particularly the Gallardo.
The Gallardo was in production between 2003 and 2013, making it one of the longest production runs of any Lamborghini. It was available with a 5.0 and 5.2 liter V10, three different model refreshes and a manual or automatic. The Gallardo Spyder is among the most desirable as it offers an open top to hear the engine roar.
5 Maserati Gran Cabrio GTS
The Maserati GranCabrio was the convertible version of the regular GranTurismo, sharing engines and transmissions. The GranCabrio – and GranTurismo for that matter – was built on the same platform as the Quattroporte V, initially sharing the transaxle F1-style automated manual transmission, before being converted to a conventional torque-converter automatic.
The GranCabrio has the same 4.2 and 4.7 liter V8s as the Quattroporte, so one of the loudest V8 noises to ever exist is emitted – uninterrupted – directly to the occupant’s ears . It’s a glorious orchestra of automotive engineering.
4 Pagani Huayra Roadster
The Pagani Huayra succeeded the Zonda, although both cars were produced at the same time. The Huayra is technically out of production, with only the Huayra R still being made. In 2017 Pagani introduced the Huayra Roadster, one of the most striking hypercars ever made.
The Huayra Roadster was powered by the same twin-turbo 6.0-liter AMG V12 as the regular Huayra, but this time boosted to over 750 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. All that power is sent to the rear wheels only via a 7-speed automated manual transmission. The Huayra Roadster is one of the most sought-after Italian convertibles ever made, as well as one of the most expensive.
3 Ferrari 458 Spider
The Ferrari 458 is undoubtedly one of the best Ferraris of all time. The chassis balance that accompanies the naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 makes it one of the most enjoyable supercars ever made, both for track work and simply cruising along the Italian Riviera.
Ferrari made the car even better by removing the roof, adding to the car’s appeal. Somehow the 458 Spider was dynamically even better to drive than the Italia, with Jeremy Clarkson and James May continually praising its dynamics. The 458 Spider is an excellent car, in many ways even better than the 488 and F8 that succeeded it.
2 Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster
The Lamborghini Murcielago is considered by many to be one of the best Lamborghinis in history. It was equipped with the latest iteration of the legendary Lamborghini V12, introduced in 1963 in the 350GT. The engine has undergone multiple tweaks and updates, but has remained the same for over 47 years.
The Roadster was the best of the best in the Murcielago lineup, delivering an open-air experience to the gorgeous V12. The best of all? The Murcielago was the last large Lambo to still be offered with a manual transmission and well over 600bhp, massively adding to the appeal.
1 Ferrari 250 GT California
The Ferrari 250 line of cars includes some of the Prancing Horse’s most famous vehicles, including the 250 GT Lusso, 250 GTO and 250 LM. Then, of course, there’s the utterly gorgeous 250 GT California – a car produced specifically for the wealthy and elegant in sunny California.
The GT Cali was available in two different wheelbases – SWB and LWB – with the shorter version being the preferred one. He was equipped with the glorious Colombo V12 which displaced 3.0 liters – leading to the displacement of 250 cc (15.3 cu in) per cylinder. The Ferrari 250 GT California is probably the most sought-after Italian convertible, even at the astronomical price.