Sunday, October 9, 2016

DT Exclusive: 1998 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Whatever happened to the convertible family sedan?  Some of the earliest cars featured seating for a family of 5 (or 6) and little weather protection, and domestic convertibles were a staple of production in the 1950s/1960s, but sometime in the 1970s they faded out of style.  Most available today are part of some luxury brand (and priced accordingly) but one of the only affordable convertibles from recent years is a regular at the Thrifty rental desk and straight outta Detroit.  Find this 1998 Chrysler Sebring Convertible here on DT offered for $1k via seller submission from John T.

Nobody is going to admit that he/she is a Sebring enthusiast, but if you are looking for a dirt cheap convertible with seating for a small family, the Sebring is a good bet if you just want to enjoy the sun.  Details from the seller:
I bought this for my then-girlfriend as a surprise in'08 as her 'backup car,' since she wasn't that much into cars and had never had a convertible. She then proceeded to put 80k on it because she got hooked on the convertible thing. We drove each other nuts in the interim and broke up, but I've kept an eye on the car (oil, brakes, tires etc) for her ever since. She got another, newer, redder Sebring, so this one has to go. She gets kind of emotional about selling cars, so she sold it me (yeah, that means I've bought it twice) so I'd spare her the trouble of the sale.

It's the "Limited," which means all of the option boxes got ticked, and dash it all, most of them still work! Actually just about all of them.

The Usual: 170k, 2.5 V6, AT PSPBPWPSeatsLeatherChrome etc. No accidents, clean title.
The Bad: 170k, a split just appeared in the driver's seat cover, one wheel leaks a bit where the chrome is doing its thing on the aluminum at the valve stem, probably due for belts and hoses again (I did them all when we got it), brakes and tires not long after that, the cover on the steering wheel is shot (hence the elegant AutoZone item) and the instrument illumination is intermittent, going on and off randomly. Either that, or I need to read the owners' manual. Rattles like Steve McQueen's B-17 at the end of The War Lover over bumps, but that's apparently normal for these cars. Seams are starting to pull on the top.

The oil light flickered on last week at hot idle in traffic. Hmmm... Is it the pressure sender or time for 30 weight?

The Good: Runs like a top, everything else (top, windows, seats, etc.) works fine. Passed smog this summer, but I dragged my feet on this and it expired last week, so I'll have to get it done again. Reg is paid until 10/17.

Can I get a grand for it or does it get donated to my local PBS station? I need to get this out of here so I can get back to work on my 501 Elite!

Also, it's just dawned on me (odd how this can slip one's mind, eh?), but that little bugger never left XGF stranded in 8 years and 80k. It might be the best car I ever bought. Twice. Other than my Miata, of course.
Click here to e-mail the seller directly if you have any interest in this fine piece of American engineering.


  1. Location? Location? Location?

    1. It's obvious from the license plates the car is located in the Madagascar.

  2. On the Peninsula, south of San Francisco

  3. These cars are crap. Stop in at any auto parts store and ask what are the cars they would never buy. This is one. The DT site is going downhill with these kind of picks as I can find a dozen Sebrings on any CL.

    1. (reply removed by author)

    2. Seller here: They're actually not. The reason they're practically free is because people THINK they're crap, even though they have no personal experience with'em, just uninformed guesses.

      Hey, it's no e46 convertible, but for next to nothing, you get a comfortable convertible, and like I say, this one's been the most reliable car I've ever bought.


    3. Yeah, I wouldn't call them crap. My MIL donated one to my daughter and as much as I'd love to hate it, it's a pretty decent car. Course, hers only has 40k miles on it and looks like it just came out of the showroom. They don't sell for much so it's a great car to just drive into the ground.

      Now the Intrepid with a 3.7, THAT was a crap car.

    4. Daily Turismo was born "downhill" from all the other guys - we've always focused on cars that represent a good value, regardless of price point. For a sporty car around $5k - $10k we'll tell you to look for a BMW E36 M3, for $3k we'll say find a non-thrashed Miata. For $1000 you are not going to find anything remotely nice in the sporty world, and you could do a whole lot worse than this Sebring!


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