Vintage -- the Peugeot 403 convertible | drive it

The Peugeot 403 convertible made its debut at the 1956 Paris Motor Show.Visitors were overwhelmed by its marriage of Italian class with French elegance. The body styling was done by the legendary experts at Pininfarina. Typical for the pontoon form were the bulge on the hood and the suggestion of fins at the rear with the vertical rear lights. In total some 1.2 million Peugeot 403s were built --- although only 2,000 of them were convertibles. Probably the most famous one was the car driven by Peter Falk in his role as lieutenant Columbo.

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Vintage. The Borgward Isabella Cabriolet | drive it
In 1954 carmaker Borgward launched its most popular model: the Isabella. Founder Carl Borgward had the sedan converted into a slick coupe specially for his wife. The latter caused such a commotion that the Borgward Isabella Coupé went into volume production in 1957. There was also another version.Body supplier Karl Deutsch was a popular choice at the time for converting regular sedans into flashy convertibles - and Borgward's Isabella was no exception. The result was a very exclusive affair, as only two dozen convertibles based on the Isabella coupé were built. Drive it! discovered one of these rare specimens.

Vintage: Hebmüller Convertibles - Borgward Hansa 1500 and VW Beetle | drive it
The Borgward Hansa 1500 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1949. It blew away the German competition from the likes of Opel and Mercedes. They only had models based on old, pre-war models from the 30s in their sales lots.The Hansa was produced as a sedan, station wagon, box van and even a four-door luxury convertible, with a Hebmüller car body. The same manufacturer also transformed the VW Beetle into an iconic convertible. We take a look at the two heavenly creations from the 50s.

vintage: NSU RO 80 | drive it!
It was Europe's Car of the Year when it was introduced, and a flop with car buyers. But in many respects, the innovative NSU Ro-80 was years ahead of its time.When NSU, traditionally a maker of small cars, introduced the Ro-80 in 1967, the company hoped to establish itself in the market for up-scale mid-sized cars. The Ro-80 was powered by a 1-liter rotary engine that produced 115 hp. It had front-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, disc-brakes on all four wheels, and a clean and distinctive aerodynamic shape. Unfortunately, the rotary engine initially had major reliability problems and the car was never a success. Even so, its timeless design and many innovations make it a true milestone in automotive history.

vintage! Mercedes 280 SE 3.5 convertible | drive it
A big V8, four plush leather seats and a fold-back roof. In the early 1970s, the Mercedes 280 SE 3.5 Cabrio represented the pinnacle in luxury convertibles.The understated elegance of Mercedes' flagship convertible had no real rivals. A Jaguar E-type was too cramped; a Rolls too stuffy; a Ferrari too exotic. And with its 3.5 liter V8, the car was exclusive. Just 1,232 units were built. Today the model is a coveted collector's item worth many times its original sticker price.