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Question of the Week: What car would you recommend for a young enthusiast?

a well used toyota corrolla manual. why? because they are gonna crash it. and you would rather crash that than a classic car.

You gotta have a collection. We all end up there. But start modest, don’t get trapped by the project of your dreams. Contrast is fun. And driving slow cars fast is fun. For example, right now on BaT are what I’d go for if I wanted to start again. They are polar opposite classics in many wonderful ways. One is a 1954 MGTF (great condition, decent suspension and steering, and the windscreen folds down to double your perceived speed). The second is a 1970 Karmann Ghia (Italian style on infinitely tunable mechanicals) with a hard hat. This pair will go for less than 50k.

No question - Mazda Miata - 1st or 2nd gen - easy to work on, affordable, reliable, parts and tech support easy to find, doesn’t take up too much space in the garage, plus it’s a convertible - top down motoring is more fun than top up motoring - no question (see former blog on that subject)…and a LOT of fun to drive on twisty, winding two lane roads…once you escape from suburbia with it! I’m a British sports car guy - but I’m also in my 60’s…for a young enthusiast guy with limited budget and circumstances described… Miata is the right car nowadays!

Considering many of today’s kids grew up in the 80’s my recommendation would be Mustang lx coupe with a 5liter and 5sp. It was a bang for the buck car years running . After that a GMC Typhoon, or any Buick R type cars a Regal Grand National

By definition, young means the 60s and 70s cars we are familiar with are older than they would be and therefore not as intuitive to them. I would recommend starting with a car from their early days and close to their comfort zone, whether it be domestic or foreign, fuel injection or carburetor.

Lots of answers based on one’s preferences etc but not taking in consideration the financial status, driving needs or esthetic preferences young people have. For those folks who enjoy classic cars( and have kids), the path may be more direct for those young classic car future owners ( unless they just dislike their parents’ cars). For others, affordability comes first, followed by esthetics ( theirs). Daily drivers may never be some of classics folks are proposing and somewhat modern ( Miatas, Hondas , Toyotas, later Chevys Fords and the likes) make more sense mostly due to driving needs and economics,let alone parts availability and time/ ability to work on them

as i remember - the Probe had the highest US insurance due to drivers going way beyond their limits. it would be a pretty funny Hagerty insurance suggestion to recommend a car prone to crashes - but absolutely a comfortable car. the whole question of what to recommend is a funny one since you end up buying what is available and gets you excited. i am about to insure my 1973 Volvo 1800ES: no Carbs, Swedish safe, and appreciating (finally) in value. if a youngster would purchase a 4 speed (overdrive) version they could even keep up with modern traffic… Roger

I’d want a fun car with AirBags, Fuel injection. A Older Subaru WRX would be a lot of grins, no issues!

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Miata MX 5 keep away from very early ones 1994 is a good year however a word against insurance companies
There are many totaled Miatas and salvage titles about not because they are ruined but because they are low cost the smallest accident the insurance writes them off. Due to this reason clean title Miatas are becoming rare specially NA series
Advantages
twin overhead camshaft injected engine five speed gearbox ABS braking, cruise control, convertible and hardtop air conditioning, prices on the rise and currently can be bought for as little as peanuts ($3k) parts are plenty and cheap and easy to repair a lot of aftermarket modifications are available
Disadvantages they are small and difficult to spot in traffic only a 2 seater

My advice to a novice getting into the car scene is make sure you dont get in over your head right from the get go. Know what your skill level is and what it’s going to cost you to get the ride you want. Buying a rusted out ,seized motor basket case is not what you want. Get together with your local car guy`s . Join a club. As the saying goes " Birds of a feather flock together ". These guys will help steer you in the right direction .

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No one has mentioned an Alfa Romeo Spider for summer months and completely the opposite end of the spectrum I do like the 240 series Volvo with a stick. Had many Alfas and a couple Volvos as a kid and kind of gave the Volvos the “AMG” treatment with turbo wheels, Ansa exhaust, etc. great reliable and safe winter car for your kid.

A Miata. And then a second Miata. Preferably first generation.

Keep in mind that people are interested in cars that push some buttons for them. Some of the cars people mentioned are not cheap to buy or maintain. I would suggest a Miata or a older Honda civic if they are more interested in a fun to drive car with great aftermarket parts support, or a pre-1970 Chevy with either a straight six or small block if they are looking for a older car. I say that because most are not that pricey and parts are cheap and easy to find. If they want to be different than the crowd, then a air-cooled VW is a great car to learn on. I would even say a Chevy Corvair isn’t a bad choice for those who like something different. They’re cheap to buy, they have an interesting history, and surprisingly they have parts support.

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1977-1979 Coupe Deville, Bullet-proof 425 V*, big and with chrome bumpers.

Beetle, Yes. Obtain a copy of “How to keep your VW alive for the complete idiot” a set of cheap tools and a floor jack and you will have all you need to keep the young enthusiast busy for years. Safety is my only concern, so my second pick would be a NA Miata. At least those has an airbag.

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Two of my sons have hot VW GTIs with one of them being an all wheel drive VR6. My other son had an early 90s Civic, but now views cars as just transportation. His daughter, my granddaughter, loves my Austin-Healey, so maybe it skipped a generation! Having owned a variety of 60s Brits myself, they were/are a reflection of my times, so something more contemporary would likely be more suitable, but again it all depends on the individual’s age. I have also owned a couple of NB Miatas; were very reliable and never had any problems with either one, and they get good gas mileage. Hot hatches would probably be more usable and practical. My biases would be either Honda, Mazda or Suburu. Never again a Nissan, and Toyotas to me seem boring.

How about rescuing an old AMC (American Motors) or Rambler. . . . . .by and large, they’re cheap, easy to work on, and parts are actually plentiful and easy to find. However, resale value is limited. . . . .if it’s not a rare or attractive model (i.e. convertible or station wagon or muscle car) than don’t count on reselling the car for more than you’ve invested. Also (despite Rambler’s image as the “economy car” of the 1960’s / 1970’s. . . . . .Classic and American models), they also produced glamorous “cruisers” (Javelins & Marlins), luxury cars (Ambassadors), and muscle cars (AMX’s), so there’s a wide variety of different models to suit everyone’s taste. Of course, I’m biased (as president of Pacific Gold Rush Ramblers, the Nor. California chapter of the national club, AMC/RC). That’s another “plus” (for collecting and restoring old Ramblers); there are Rambler club chapters all over the country and old geezers like me ready to help out a younger collector with restoration activities and parts.

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Key here is to build enthusiasm, not a car. I’d echo the sentiment of KISS. Inline 6 with a 5/6 speed and convertible if possible, otherwise sedan or coupe is fine. BMW ticks the boxes - Z3/Z4 3.0, E46 330i, E36/E46 M3 or E34 M5 for the original sports sedan and has strong network of forums for purchase, maintenance, upgrades along with BMW Car Club of America. Can purchase good to excellent drivers for less than the cheapest of new cars out there. VW R32 is interesting too but expensive vs E36 M3 or E34 M5

You would have to first ask the “enthusiast” to define his/her budget, likes/needs (sports car, sedan., etc.) and how they would define what age range they consider “vintage”. With those 3 answers it wouldn’t be hard to make a sensible recommendation and many of them will be the same. Without them we are each making recommendations for own unique hypothetical “young enthusiast”. The results will vary widely and will basically be meaningless.

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