Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
Spring means looking at convertibles and when doing so, you should obviously look at a Mazda Miata. End of story.
That’s just far too simple, though, and this is Used Car Face Off, where it isn’t fun unless there are two obtuse choices to look at. There are a slew of awkward-looking convertibles, so I could bring up gems like a VW Rabbit Convertible or Chrysler PT Cruiser. And yet, I think these are the oddest of the category.
The W-body Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was one of those cars no one was asking to be turned into a convertible, and yet somehow it sold to some people. Like a Rabbit, it had a basket handle rollbar that did everything it could to sabotage the looks. Without it, you could almost imagine the soft-top Cutlass looking good. Maybe.
As derided as they were, there’s a reason you still see a fair number of W-bodies roaming the streets, as the mechanicals are reasonably strong and now cars like this 1993 Cutlass Supreme convertible are coming out of Florida hibernation. With attractive alloy wheels, a 3.4-liter V6 and black leather upholstery, it does make up a decent package, especially with just 45,000 miles. Old Cutlass Supreme convertibles don’t go for much more than $5,000 either, so it’s actually quite reasonable if you don’t think about it too hard.
What isn’t reasonable is this 1988 Jaguar XJ-SC. For a kickoff, it’s an ’80s XJS and that’s a setup for endless frustration, even if it has a classic V12 engine. The XJ-SC, though, is a rarity for obvious reason. Devised as a way to give the American market an XJS convertible before the factory could, the coupe was turned into a 2-seater and sent to a coachbuilder, according to AROnline, where an odd T-bar wa constructed that also left the roof rails in place so people could have a sort-of-open Jaguar again. The result is an odd arrangement of removable panels and a half-folding roof.
OK, even in this situation an XJS is more alluring than a Cutlass Supreme, it has twice as many cylinders and the interior looks better, even if it has automatic seat belts. Six grand isn’t too bad for one with 73,000 miles either, and it looks in fairly good condition. But, seriously, it’s not a looker.
Still, I’d take it over the Olds and admire the oddness of it and defend it against smug Mercedes SL owners. But could you take the awkwardness?