Best Place for a Test Drive - 2004
Ragtops Museum and Special Events
Ragtops has come a long way from its early days, when it began in 1980 as three classic cars for sale outside a West Palm Beach gas station. Now the two-block-long business in West Palm Beach is packed with antique autos as part of its permanent museum collection or waiting for a good home. Ragtops sells about a dozen cars a month to collectors, who pay anywhere from a few thousand for an old MGB to six figures for rare finds. Ragtops salesmen don't give test drives of the precious rides easily, but the informed consumer can find a way behind the wheel. It might help to know the difference between a carburetor and a fuel injector, wear something from dad's closet, and mention that home in the Hamptons you've been meaning to buy. Ragtops allows cars to be cruised through the neighborhoods nearby, requiring a leisurely pace, but it'll still get your blood flowing to throw the shifter on one of these beauties. Take, for instance, the 1950 Austin A-90 Atlantic convertible, a tiny, cherry-red drop-top with a swooping back end and tan interior -- and a $38,900 price tag. Ragtops also stocks modern classics like the $89,500 Lamborghini Countach, a 1989 model that'll cause its driver to dress Miami Vice-style. Sure, it's nerve-wracking to test-drive a car that costs as much as a condo, but there are few better places to be on a fine Florida day than behind the wheel of a Marlboro-red '65 Stingray. The classic 'Vette might cost $46,500, but the test drive is free.