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The 2016 Maxda MX-5 Miata Review: All cars are designed for a particular purpose. The MX-5, popularly known as the Miata, is meant purely for fun. And at that, it’s supreme. It’s a pure two-seat roadster, in the spirit of the European sports cars of the 1950s and 60s. Drop into the low bucket seat, flip back the manual cloth top, and take off and feel the wind in your hair.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2016 Maxda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Review: I sampled my first Mazda Miata in 1992. It offered the charm and fun of the British Austin Healeys of my childhood, reborn in a modern, reliable car. I dropped the top whenever I could and swooned over the experience of blasting along a curving back road. That feeling remains in todayís car. Now in its third generation, the Miata, now known as the MX-5, is still a car that you wear, rather than one you sit in. Driving it with the top down on a nice road can really change your mood.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2010 Mazda MX-5

Audi A5 Cabriolet Review: Thereís nothing quite like dropping a convertible top and cruising around on a sunny day, or a warm summer evening, with the muted hum of the engine in your ears and the sights and smells of the world at close range. The new A5 Cabriolet takes over for the A4 as the compact four-passenger convertible for the Audi franchise.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet

Ford Mustang Convertible Review: Nine million owners and 45 years after its auspicious debut at the New York Worldís Fair in April of 1964, the Mustang is still Americaís favorite muscle car. The 2010 model, restyled and upgraded, is true to the legend, and continues to offer ďa steed for every need.Ē

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2010 Ford Mustang Convertible

Saturn Sky Review: Itís no secret that Saturn cars wonít be around much longer. This General Motors company started with a great idea: ditch the baggage that comes with other GM brands and build cars to compete head-to-head with the imports.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2009 Saturn Sky

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Convertible Review: Forgive me if I sound a little guilty. You see, I just spent a week with a very special car, and it was wonderful. The only thing is it was not very kind to the environment. For a week I didnít care though, and neither would you Iíll bet, if you had a chance to drive it around yourself. 

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2008 Saab 9-3 Convertible

Convertible Review: Forgive me if I sound a little guilty. You see, I just spent a week with a very special car, and it was wonderful. The only thing is it was not very kind to the environment. For a week I didnít care though, and neither would you Iíll bet, if you had a chance to drive it around yourself. 

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet

Sports Car Review: It's hard to believe the Nissan 350Z was introduced five years ago as a 2003 model, but it still looks fresh as ever. If only we could all age this gracefully. Consider me, for example. Compared to five years ago, today I have half as much hair and twice as much gut. I'm aging just like milk on a Houston sidewalk in July. But somehow the 350Z remains drop-dead gorgeous after five years on the market. Odd, isn't it?

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2008 Nissan 350Z Roadster

SPORTS CAR REVIEW: Audiís little two-seat sports car created a big impression when it arrived along with the 21st century. Strikingly clean and modern inside and out, it made the most of its modest Volkswagen platform and won a whole new set of fans for Audi. After years of minimal change, the TT has been redone.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2008 Audi TT Roadster

Convertible Review:  As a guy who worships two-seat sports cars and has owned a few Miatas, you'd probably expect me to gush over this car, the new Mazda MX-5.

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AutoWire 2008 Mazda MX-5

San Francisco: Pontiacís G6 convertible looks beautiful and performs well, a far cry from the brandís days as a home for gussied-up Chevyís. It adds some much-needed excitement in the Pontiac lineup. Inside, the G6 has a mid-size cabin thatís comfortable and higher quality than GM has produced in recent years.

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AutoWire 2007 Pontiac G6 Convertible

San Francisco: White paint, white leather and a white cover for the convertible top give this special edition VW New Beetle a monochromatic look, and only 3,000 of these will be produced.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2007 VW Beetle Triple-White Convertible

San Francisco:  The Pontiac Solstice is a classic front engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster in the tradition of the MGB or, more appropriately, the leader of them all, the Mazda Miata, or as itís known today, the MX-5.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2007 Pontiac Solstice

San Francisco: I always feel special when I get a Jaguar to drive. As soon as I open the door and slide onto the soft leather seat my personality changes. It is as if this is the type of car I am supposed to be driving. My whole body lets out an audible "ahhhhhh."

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2007 XK Jaguar Convertible

San Francisco: There's a reason most cars aren't sold as convertibles. The roof on modern cars doesnít merely serve as a metal umbrella to protect you from the wind, rain and muck from the road. It's also an integral piece of the car's structure, giving it strength like the flying buttresses on a medieval cathedral.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser

San Francisco: What does sporty mean to you? One defining trait could be low to the ground. How about two-plus-two seating (room in the back for grocery bags, pets, and infants only)? And with plenty of power too!  For me, a manual transmission is almost a given. Oh, how about racy looks? And, to top it off, take the top off! The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder would seem to fit the entire bill.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

San Francisco: The new Saturn Sky takes GMís celestial division where no Saturn has gone before. The sharply styled two-seater convertible is the most exciting thing from Saturn since the debut of the company itself in 1990.

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AutoWire 2007 Saturn Sky

San Francisco: Volkswagen is finally redoing their cars after years of consistency. While the new Touareg SUV and Phaeton super sedan appeared, the bread-and-butter mainstream vehicles soldiered on for years with little change. Well, thatís over. The Jetta, Golf (now Rabbit, again), and Passat are completely redone. And to top it off the old Cabrio is supplanted by the exciting new 2007 VW Eos convertible.

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AutoWire 2007 VW Eos Convertible

 

San Francisco: That late, great, lamented San Francisco band The Tubes satirically asked, ďWhat Do You Want From Life?Ē One of my straight-faced answers would be ďA Corvette Convertible!Ē

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2006 Chevy Corvette Convertible

San Francisco: Sometimes I just do not understand the automakers. Take Pontiac for example. Pontiac has a long history of great names, names like Grand Prix, Bonneville, Catalina, Firebird, etc. Yet when they introduced their new, mid-size car a couple years ago they went for an all-new name; G6.  G6?  What vision does that invoke?  It makes me think of the G8 (Group of Eight; Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) minus two.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2006 Pontiac G6 Convertible

San Francisco:  Most diehard shoppers know about IKEA. This giant retailer is all about bringing Swedish style to the masses like a postmodern, minimalist Wal-Mart. When you go inside you'll walk through giant showrooms filled with funky pieces of furniture while techno music echoes around the building with strange beeps and whirrs, making you feel like you've stepped onto some weird Swedish planet where everyone wears black turtlenecks and eats lingonberry mousse. It's quite an experience.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2006 Saab 9-3

San Francisco:  Do you dream of driving a convertible, but donít want the appearance, noise, and security risk of a cloth top? Do you also want to be able to take three people with you? Until this year, youíd be out of luck. Now, Volvo has the solution to your problem, the C70 hardtop convertible.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2006 Volvo C70

San Francisco:  Itís not everyday that a beautiful car comes out of the General Motors design studios. And weíre not just talking a Corvette that is expected to look great. Weíre talking a drop-dead gorgeous convertible that looks good with the top up and exquisite with the top down. Say Hello to the new 2006 Pontiac Solstice Roadster.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2006 Pontiac Solstice

San Francisco:  Mazda single-handedly reinvented the two-seat roadster with the 1989 Miata, a "basic" roadster. Since that time the new for 2006 MX-5 Miata has grown in size and amenities and it still maintains a very loyal fan base.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2005 Mazda Miata MX-5

San Francisco:  Volkswagen's precious New Beetle is now available as a convertible starting at $18,770. Ever since Volkswagen introduced the New Beetle, it's been the cutest car on the road.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2005 Beetle Convertible

San Francisco: Hondaís S2000 roadster has been around for a few years, but you donít see a lot of them on the road. Not everybody wants to squeeze into its bolstered bucket seats in the narrow cockpit. Most folks want room for more than one passenger and they demand greater luggage capacity than the Hondaís five cubic feet (half of it stolen by the topís protective boot). Well Iím not everybody.

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'99 Volkswagen Passat Sport Sedan 2005 Honda S2000 Roadster

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San Francisco: I love the magic of convertibles. Chrysler's 2005 PT Cruiser convertible gets more attention than virtually any car in its price range. Two of the hardtop Cruiser's four doors were dropped for the ragtop version, so it remains a practical and stylish alternative to the mundane look of minivans.

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AutoWire 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser

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San Francisco: After years of losing money, General Motors, Saab’s owner, has put the pressure on its Swedish division to increase market share. This resulted in completely redesigned 2003 Saab 9 3 sport sedan and Saab’s best sales year in its history in North America.

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AutoWire 2004 Saab 9 3 Convertible

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San Francisco: After a four-year hiatus, Audi is offering a topless model again. The Audi A4 Cabriolet is designed to compete with upscale convertibles from Saab, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

AutoWire 2004 Audi A4 Cabriolet

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle

San Francisco:  It is hard to believe that it has been nearly five years since I drove my first New Beetle. Long awaited and gleefully received, the revived corporate icon has been a hit for VW and its dealers, and now for 2003, the New Beetle Convertible is back!

AutoWire 2003 Volkswagen Beetle

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2002 Ford Thunderbird

SAN FRANCISCO: In this world of sensible sedans, oversized sport utility vehicles, and high-tech sports cars with alphanumeric names, sometimes a car comes along that evokes earlier times. Certainly the name Thunderbird cuts through the commonplace with a familiar knife. After a four-year hiatus, the T-Bird returns to its roots in its configuration and style.

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AutoWire 2002 Ford Thunderbird

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2002 Chevrolet 35th Anniversary Camaro SS Convertible

SAN FRANCISCO:  It’s kind of a shame, celebrating thirty-five years and the end both at the same time. Maybe that’s why Chevy isn’t heralding the end of the Camaro (and it’s corporate stable mate the Pontiac Firebird). But that’s the reality. After 35 years of slugging it out with Mustang (and Barracuda, Challenger, and sometimes Javelin) GM is giving up, throwing in the towel, calling it quits for the Camaro and Firebird.

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AutoWire 2002 35th Anniversary Camaro SS Convertible

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2002 Honda S2000

SAN FRANCISCO:  This cannot be healthy. I’ve been driving cars long enough to know that when a car’s engine is shrieking like a banshee, either something is desperately wrong with its innards or you are about to make it go blooey, ‘cause you are revving it way past its redline. One glance at the digital dash, however, reveals that despite your gut instinct, you have not even begun to explore the upper reaches of this engine’s rev range. Welcome to the 2002 Honda S2000.

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AutoWire 2002 Honda S2000

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2001 Mazda Miata Special Edition

SAN FRANCISCO: Aren’t anniversaries great? Nothing generates nostalgia better than reaching a historical milestone. Mazda knows this, and is taking full advantage of the tenth anniversary of the most popular special Miata: the original British Racing Green edition.

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AutoWire 2001 Mazda Miata Special Edition

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2001 Saab Viggen

SAN FRANCISCO:  Sweden’s Saab got its start building airplanes just prior to World War II. The name stands for "Svenka Aeroplan AB." Saab’s first car, the Saab 99, didn’t appear until late 1949. Its aviation heritage was clearly seen early on, including a drag coefficient of only 0.35, impressive even today. The same aviation heritage shows up in the latest Saab 9-3 Viggens, whose namesake, the Viggen JA37, is Saab’s high-performance jet fighter plane. Incidentally, the drag coefficient of the Viggen sedans today is only 0.31! Like all Saabs since day one, the Viggen’s styling is unique. so you don’t have look at the Delta-wing badges to know that this is a Saab, and a special one at that.

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AutoWire 2001 Saab Viggen

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2000 Honda S2000 Roadster

SAN FRANCISCO: The S2000 is one of the most anticipated sports cars in recent memory. Honda has built some of the most wonderful fun, performance cars. The Acura NSX, Acura Integra Type R, Honda Civic Si, and the late, lamented Honda CRX Si. But when Honda announced they were going to build a true sports car, a roadster, a rear wheel drive roadster, the world waited to see what the Honda magic would bring forth.

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AutoWire 2000 Honda S2000 Roadster

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2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

SAN FRANCISCO: I thought I would miss the whine of the turbo four-cylinder that made the Mitsubishi Eclipse such a blast to drive. But here it is, a year after Mitsu replaced the Eclipse's turbo with a 200-horsepower V6, and I don't miss the whine at all.

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AutoWire 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

 

2000 Mercedes Benz SLK Roadster

SAN FRANCISCO:  Fits like a glove & It’s Irresistible. Two expressions I heard myself saying every day, as I belted myself in for a ride of sheer pleasure. Once you slip behind the wheel of the new Mercedes SLK, there is harmony. I will address the sound system later, but I am talking about harmony of woman, machine and nature. And with the color being Imperial Red, I was dressed to kill. This is what addictions are made of.

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AutoWire 2000 Mercedes Benz SLK Roadster

 

2000 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

SAN FRANCISCO:  The 2000 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible continues to be one of the best buys, overall, in the sports car class. It is a fine example of the Corvette All-American heritage, featuring sexy good looks, ultra-fast acceleration, road-hugging performance and, best of all, comparable affordability.

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AutoWire 2000 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

 

'99 Volvo C70 Convertible

SAN FRANCISCO:  Summertime, and the livin' is easy..." Yeah, right. I remember when the living was easy, back when I didn't have to work. You know, way back when I was a kid and summertime was vacation time. But summer's just another bunch of workdays now. So anything that comes along and makes life just a little bit more fun, anything that makes me feel even a day younger, is more than welcome.

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AutoWire '99 Volvo C70 Convertible

 

Mazda MX-5 Miata 10th Anniversary Edition

SAN FRANCISCO:  While the Miata was redesigned significantly for 1999, Madza did not change the car's winning character, just made it better. The most noticeable change is the eye-type headlights that replace the pop-up ones. The grille, really an air intake, is a bit larger and door handles are now body color. And while the styling is a bit rounder, the overall dimensions are retained. It is still less than 13 feet long.

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AutoWire '99 Mazda Miata Anniversary Edition

 

'99 Mercedes Benz SLK
230 Sport Convertible

San Francisco:  I don't get to test too many sports cars, what with my limited schedule, but somehow I seem to luck out every now and then. This year my luck held and I got to drive a Mercedes Benz SLK 230 Kompressor Sport Convertible for a week. Sometimes life is just too good.

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AutoWire '99 Mercedes Benz SLK 230 Convertible

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