Shopping for a Convertible with Manual Transmission

HELP! My dear old Saab 9-3 is getting older by the month and I am starting to think replacement … something smaller this time. But it seems like car mfgrs are eliminating their manual transmissions right and left. Are there any cool convertibles around (slightly used is OK) with manual transmission?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes to mind. You can get a new one for about $23,000. You can also get a 2008 Porsche Boxter for about $30,000. Older versions will have a lower price. But if you are in a spending mood, a new Boxter is $48,000. The Boxter is clearly a better handling car, but you have to drive them to decide if the difference is enough to justify the extra cost.

BMW 3 and 1 series would be an option.

Here’s what an ‘advanced search’ for used convertibles with MTs for $20-30k turned up on
Boxster, 911, Mustang, 3 series, M3, Z4, Audi TT, Honda S2000, and Corvette.
Try it for cars near you, in your price range.

I have a Porsche Boxster in the garage, along with my gf’s Chrysler Crossfire.

There is the Mercedes SLK320 and SLK300.

Mazda and BMW have already been mentioned.

Nissan 370Z Roadster and Infiniti G37 convertible also.

There’s the Mustang and Camaro convertibles, both have manuals.

And there are a lot more out there.
How wide can you open your wallet?


I would look at the Honda S2000. If it is too expensive, I would look at a Mazda Miata.

Edit: How about a Mustang convertible?

In addition to the others previously mentioned, I’d add VW New Beetle and Eos. As a former Miata owner, it’s the best value for the money and my first choice. Plus, it’s RWD – essential for a sports car.

I am starting to think replacement … something smaller this time.

Mini Cooper

You would probably like the Mazda Miata for the price and the looks. I like the price and the looks don’t really matter to me. It does look like a cool car.

Miata. Case closed.

Drive one. It’ll take a week to get the smile off your face.

Mazda seemed to get everything right with the Miata. It’s as much fun to drive as an MG and as reliable as a old Toyota pickup.


And they’ve been smart enough to stick with the original idea and just keep improving on it. Lotus should be so smart.

“…Lotus should be so smart.”

But Lotus builds a street legal race car. The Miata, even the 2004/2005 Mazdaspeed version, just can’t keep up with a Lotus. They serve completely different markets.

If you owned an old SAAB, I’ll second the Ford Mustang. 6 speed manual have enough gears for you ? They are larger but much more comfy than Miadas. It may not be smaller, but will be easier to live with in day to day use. Your passenger(s) will appreciate the difference also. If you drove a SAAB, the Mustang will handle significantly better, if not on par with a Miata. .
The Mustang may be the best value in all round sport convertible with a manual trans, or any trans for that matter you can buy.

The Mustang is a very cool car, and will feed your need for speed (if you have one) with a V8 engine and a tremendous world of aftermarket speed goodies. It is probably similar in size or larger than your old Saab, though. If a two seater with a tiny trunk is okay with you, and you are not obese, the Miata is hard to beat. It will not satisfy a voracious appetite for speed or provide the rumble of a V8 the way a Mustang can, but it is an excellent handling, good looking, reliable car. I mention the obese part because I am six feet tall and 260 pounds and find the cockpit of the Miata to be more than a little tight. Legroom is ample, head room is infinite with the top down, but the car is so narrow I have to slam the door on myself. After driving one, though, it really does take a week to get the smile off your face.