• Pinterest

It’s June, which means hot, sunny weather, so now’s the perfect time to fetch yourself a cheap little drop-top to really enjoy the season. Here’s a great place to start your search.

Boxster image

Prices are still low for this one, but values could be moving since the new Boxster is only available with a four-pot.

Porsche Boxster (1996-2004)

The original Boxster is everything most today’s cars aren’t: Light, small, naturally aspirated and without electronic nannies. Traction control was optional up until 2001, and turning it off was as easy as touching a button. Today, Porsche uses two fewer cylinders in its dedicated roadster but added a turbo to make up the difference. Older models can be had for around $10,000 in decent condition, which is a real bargain to get into an exotic mid-engine layout. Make sure to thoroughly inspect and get a detailed maintenance history if you do buy one, though, because like the 996 911, IMS failure is common. That’ll turn your cheap sports car into an expensive nightmare.

S2000 image

The AP1 generation is far cheaper than the refreshed AP2 typically, but the AP1 engine is the one that revs to 9,000 RPM.

Honda S2000 (1999-2004)

Honda’s high-revving rear-wheel-drive sports car is going up in value now, so if you want it cheap, the time to act is now. There are still plenty hovering around $10K, but a nicer example will probably run you a few dollars more. The first-generation models (AP1s) rev to 9,000 rpm — supercar territory, plus you’ve got Honda reliability on your side. Dropping the top and getting aurally treated to the upper rev ranges of the 240-hp 2.0-liter sounds like a superb way to spend the summer.

BMW Z3 image

Upgrading to the six-cylinder is worth it over the slower four banger.

BMW Z3 (1995-2002)

The BMW Z3 might be a car many forget about when it comes to shopping for a sporty drop-top, but it would be wise to consider it. While it doesn’t have the same performance prowess as the two previous cars on this list, it’s still a hoot to drive. With a naturally aspirated BMW inline-six available, there’s enough grunt to rocket through winding back roads. Unfortunately, this one is no cheaper than its competitors on the used market, and being an older German car, it won’t do any favors to your wallet if something were to go awry. The coupe version looks sporty and unique, but it has become wildly expensive compared to the convertible.

Miata image

Driving the Miata makes every other car out there feel huge and overweight. It’s hard to not have a good time behind the wheel.

Mazda Miata (1990-2005)

As the name suggests, Miata is always the answer. If you’re looking for a budget friendly summer sports car to tear up some country roads near you, here’s your car. Both the first generation (NA) and second generation (NB) Miatas are all the car a twisty road needs, and they cost pennies on the dollar compared to other convertible sports cars. They weigh next to nothing, and there’s bound to be a decent selection of them on your local Craigslist.

MR2 image

The MR2 was known as the baby Ferrari due to its mid-engine layout.

Toyota MR2 (1985-2005)

If you want to be different, you should hunt down a Toyota MR2. Either the first (W10) or second (W20) generation is your best bet at finding one at a decent price, but the third generation car can be found for cheap too. The last generation is still a good car, but the older ones are more charming. There’s no doubt the force inducted MR2s are awesome, but naturally aspirated versions will be cheaper and easier to find. Prices are still fairly low, far under $10,000 if you go for a higher mileage example, but it could be worth it to shell out a few bucks more for something with more life left.

Zac Palmer

Zac Palmer – Editorial Intern Zac Palmer has probably spent more time in a car than any other 21-year old in the country. He likes anything that can go around a corner, and is surely talking about a car wherever he might be.
See more by this author»