View Full Version : Youngsters and cars

01-01-2005, 02:46 PM
I just managed to talk my eldest son out of buying his friend's tricked-out 1992 Acura Integra for $9,000. Instead I am trying to steer him towards a Saab or even an older Benz......any other thoughts or suggestions? I would like to find something european and reliable. I had considered an older 3-series BMW but those are notoriously tail-happy, and he is not the most skilled of drivers.

01-01-2005, 04:22 PM
I've heard Mercedes are difficult to work on and parts are expensive.

01-01-2005, 06:31 PM
Good move. I always recommend staying away from modified cars, unless you're talking a reputably built racing car (cheaper that way!).

Much as I like older Saab 900s, they can be hideously expensive to fix, in part costs at least. Dealerships used to charge $600 just to look at the car...no tools laid on the vehicle, just to get it in the shop. I would imagine that your son would either be doing his own maintenance or using a good independent shop.

And I hate to say it, but BMWs and Mercs of a certain age can be just as pricey. Even more so if he's interested in upping performance (sounds like he is). If this is going to be a daily driver, I'd recommend reconsidering that Acura (or a stocker of similar vintage).

BTW, how old is your eldest son? If he's a 16 year old with a part time job, an old European car might be too expensive to keep on the road.


01-01-2005, 07:02 PM
Not sure why you would want an older european car, just the repair bills are enough for me to stay away from them, and their a little to complicated for most "backyard mechanics" to fix.If I had to pick a cheap,reliable,and fun car I'd have to pick a mid 80's muscle car. F-bodies car a bargain right now for what your getting and will continue to increae in value like their older counterparts. Same goes for Mustangs of the same age and Corvettes as well, although those can be a little more expensive. Either way definatly stay away from that modified Acura!

01-01-2005, 07:40 PM
I've got to agree with what R6MGS says above about older European iron. I've got a 93 Volvo 850 and, when I first started reading this thread I thought I would recommend an 850, especially a turbo as they are pretty quick and a kid might like that. Also, they ride pretty well, are very comfortable, and have all the ammenities, plus there are some nice performance oriented upgrades available for these cars from a few places if he would ever want to personalize his car. Howver, they are not Japanese reliable, better than a BMW or Benz of similar vintage, and not quite as expensive as them or a Saab to fix, but not cheap either. Some of the things I've had to do to this car, if I hadn't been able to do them myself, I probably would have sold the car by now due to maintenance costs. There is a pretty well known list of problems with 850's that almost all of them suffer from sooner or later, and the prices of fixing those things can get steep if he's not handy with a wrench.

If he likes sports car I'd say look for an older (late 80's vintage) 300ZX, RX7, something like that. They have great looks, and even the turbo versions are dirt cheap these days, plus they have good reliablility. I had an 87 300ZX turbo for a few years, it was my gift to myself for graduating from college, and it was a hoot, I loved that car. Insurance might be high on a car like that though (it was for me, even back in the early 90's) if he's young, as well as on something like an F-body or a Mustang as was mentioned. In that case I'd look for a Japanese "pseudo" sport coupe, like a celica or a non-modded integra, something like that. I'd never buy a heavily modded car though, you just don't know what the other guy has done to it or how it's been treated after the mods were made. Good call on trying to steer him clear of that.

01-01-2005, 08:12 PM
He is 21 in a few days' time, and is currently driving an Escort, so I can understand his yearning for something nicer. He has had a couple of accidents and a ticket, one accident wasn't his fault and the other car drove off, but the first was a serious injury accident in which his girlfriend was badly hurt. That and a ticket or two rules out anything overtly sporting for insurance purposes. That and the fact that he would be getting a loan for the car, so the Integra being older than ten years is out.....in addition, it is only worth a couple of thousand tops, no matter how many modifications the owner has made. At the end of the day it is still a twelve year old Acura.

I had thought of a Mustang, but you don't see many of those in Wisconsin during the winter.....not the most tractable of cars in the snow, plus his lack of skills would make it more than a handful. The BMW 3-series is out for the same reason.

My thinking is starting to lead to a VW Jetta or Golf, say 1998 or a '99. Fits easily into his budget, not bad insurance rates, front wheel drive, and I already have a couple of Passats. Scenario number three is that my 2001 Passat's lease is up in February, buyout is about 12K.....he could buy that at the end of the lease and we know it's a good car, having had it from day one.......thoughts?

01-01-2005, 08:15 PM
Steve, given the cars history, I would think him picking up your Passat would be the way to go. Used cars are always a crapshoot, and having a known background is a plus.

01-01-2005, 10:27 PM
Yes, your Passat sounds like a good ticket. I don't know how they hold up, the Passats, but just about everyone I know that has had a Jetta or a Golf from the late 90's on has had problems, mostly electrical gremlins that have been minor annoyances but expensive to fix. My cousin has a 99 Golf, and her transmission let go last year with only 68K on the clock. Also, I have a friend who works for a local used car dealership and he says every Jetta they get in has to have electrical work. Shame to, because they are really nice cars to drive. Your son having an Escort, I can see how he would want something a little more upscale and sporting, can't say I blame him.

01-01-2005, 11:07 PM
If you can find one, my vote would be a Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS. Rock solid reliable, relatively cheap to fix, AWD traction, handles like a WRX, just not as fast. A '98 model should be less than 9K.

01-02-2005, 12:12 AM
Hey good suggestion Baxter, never thought of a Subie.....thanks, I'll look into it.

01-02-2005, 03:03 AM
Note: You want the '98-2001 (or maybe 2002) 2.5RS. The ones since then are more tarted up base models than budget WRX.

01-02-2005, 11:42 PM
Personally I'd try to stay away from older Jap cars as alot of them have rust problems F-bodies and Mustangs tend to be pretty good in the snow and are extremely reliable(almost 315,000km on my 84 Camaro and never had any major problems,original owner) insurance is not to bad as most a old enough to have no "book value".Also if your son keeps it nice when he goes to sell it it will have a good resale value, which would not be true for volkswagens,Saabs,volvos,Subaru ect.So I'd highly recomend an F-Body. Above all you should make sure your son likes the car he gets, thats most important /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Here is a pic of my 84 Camaro....It's been through every winter(Toronto Canada) since new and still looks like new!

01-04-2005, 09:26 PM
Ok here goes my couple of cents. I say go for an older German car, I am very happy with the 75 2002 BMW I bought awhile back. Cost $1000, and runs great. I rebuilt the carb, tuned it up, spent maybe 80 bucks alltogether on it so far. As far as the complexity of the engine goes its not complex at all, very straight forward, and for the most part parts aren't too expensive. Now if he is looking for a Mercedes, I say look for two things, one without fuel injection, and one without power windows, and such. Mid 60s Mercedes make excellent cars if you can find a fairly rust free one. Now on to other ideas, why not look at an LBC or a pre 86 Jag XJ6? Personally I'd stay away from Jap cars, but thats jsut because I've never been impressed with their build quality on their bodys or their very cheap interiors.

01-05-2005, 03:47 PM
Hey Steve, Perhaps I can add something to the converstation being that I am probably closer to your sons age than most people here. I can fully relate to your sons desire of the Acura but at the same time, I agree that it might not be a good choice. Civics, integras, etc are about the hottest car a young 20's guy can have right now. When they are lowered and have nice wheels etc, even chicks know they are cool and nothing is better when you are 21 then to have a chick really dig your ride. However, I can empathize with your parental position wanting to keep your son safe (and yes, 9000.00 is DEFINITELY to much to spend on that car). When I was 16 my dad and I built a Midget from the ground up. From that experience I learned not only how to fix and maintain my car, but also to respect it and love it as something I had created. Once I had put that much of my own time, effort, love, money, blood, sweat and tears into a car the last thing in the world I wanted to do was be irresponsible with it. After that I got a 66 Mustang and it was the same thing. I loved that car, it was sexy, chicks REALLY dig classic muscle, it was the easiest thing to work on that I have ever owned and parts were never more than $40 for a stock replacement. Even if it weren't a stict "muscle car", a classic is still a classic. A Galaxy or a mid-sixties impala will still have big powerful V-8 without the dangerousness of thinking the car handles like an Acura because as fun and cool as a Mustang is, it'll take more than $9000.00 worth of suspension and brake mods before it handles as well as an Acura. Also, here in Portland, OR the worst we ever have to worry about is rain. Snow/ice and traction are never really an issue. With that consideration in mind, being that it doesn't seem like you're really into an american classic or a euro-style jap car and I would advise against the expensive older european cars (BMW, Audi, Saab, Benzo), I think the best bet would be an AWD Subie. Subaru's are realiable and the traction is unbeatable and as long as you don't get a hatchback, they are even pretty nice looking. Of course the 2-door WRX is a dream car of mine but it is more expensive yet and also an open invitation for crazy driving and showing off. Like my infinitely wise dad told me, "it doesn't matter if you have one-wheel-peel or AWD once you've lost control". Bottom line: if he loves the Acura and cares for it and drives it responsibly, it'll be the safest car he's ever owned. If he gets something he doesn't care about then it doesn't matter if it has 4 cylinders or 8, one-wheel-peel or AWD, 1000hp or 50, american, jap or british. I personally never drove quite so foolishly in my entire life as I did when I wished the car I was in was a mustang and it wasn't. Good luck to you and your son.

01-05-2005, 04:57 PM
Our family has a 87 Ford Turbo Tbird. Its a 4 cylinder with a turbo. Its a real fun car to drive with the turbo and you can get upto 30 miles to the gallon. Another car the family has is an 85 RX7 with a rebuilt motor and that its as fun as a barrel of monkeys. Just some other ideas.

01-05-2005, 09:11 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys, I will give consideration to what you said. The Subaru definitely looks favourite right now but it's early days yet.

Paul Slice
01-05-2005, 09:14 PM
For most of my 42 years I was strickly a American car man, Ford to be exact with the occasional LBC thrown in for fun. Never even concidered getting a Japanese car even though friends of mine were firm believers in them.In 1998 I bought a brand new F-150 extended cab pickup to drive to work as my job at the time had me in the office all day. It was a very nice truck, but when my job changed and I went back in the field then the F-150 was not practicle to park downtown(too big). I needed something that got good gas mileage and was easy to park, so I decieded to look for a used Honda instead of a small 4 cyl American car.I found a CRX-Hf in the Carolina trader for $2000 that met my reqiurements, so I bought it without knowing what a Hf was. The car had around 150000 miles on it yet it ran better than any American 4 cyl car that I had ever driven and it got right at 50 mpg. All I knew was that if the 60 hp Hf model ran and handled this well then the Si model was something that I would have to have.Got the Si and have bought and sold 8 Hondas since then and all were excellent used cars which I usually sold to friends or coworkers at around 200000 miles and all are still on the road. Last month I decided it was time for a change as I had been driving a 95 Accord for work the last 3 years and wanted a change, so I started looking for a Acura to take its place. I knew from the Honda forums that the Integra GSR was the car I wanted as it comes stock with 175 hp, redlines at 8200 rpms, only comes in a 5 speed and gets around 30 mph if you keep out of the V-tec. I found a 96 with 98000 miles thru car trader .com about 100 miles away and bought it for $5600. It is the best car I have ever owned, handles and drives great yet is the most powerfull 4 cyl by far that I have had. There are lots of stock Hondas or Acuras for sale that would make a perfect car for your son to drive, used ones are cheap and reliable yet sporty enough for a teenager to drive.I have attached a picture of the Integra that I just bought for less than 6 grand,and the less powerfull models are cheaper to buy. BTW, my favorite car of my collection is the CRX Si.(still love my 2 LBCs)

01-07-2005, 11:09 PM
What most of you are forgetting is this is a
21 year old male with a bad record, I was one
of those once, I remember paying more for
insurance per year than my cars cost... So
I bought an old Volvo, a 122 to be exact, dead
nuts reliable, after sorting out the electrical
work the PO did, it ran for nearly 10 years
before I sold it for $3500 to someone who "HAD"
to have it...