7 Classic Cars to Consider for Your Teen Driver

The momentous day has finally arrived, and your teenager has succeeded in getting the coveted driver’s license which translates into a certain amount of independence at least when it comes to transportation.

Since most parents will not want to hand over the keys to Dad or Mom’s car, parents may find themselves wanting to purchase a suitable but reasonably priced car for their teen. This may be especially true if your child is heading to college.

Classic cars offer a viable alternative to new cars and can be much more reasonably priced. You may be able to find a sporty and showy car for under $10,000 which in today’s car market is a real bargain, especially when you will still need to add in insurance costs. 

Plus, there’s a certain style that a classic car in good condition emanates when driven to school, so your teen may have quite a bit of fun while driving one. Finding parts may occasionally prove to be challenging, but not impossible with a bit of resolve.

Undoubtedly, there may be a bit more maintenance and the occasional breakdown that causes your teen to call for help. Safety features like airbags or traction control hadn’t yet been invented with classic cars, although good defensive driving and common sense can compensate for this.

Insuring a teenage driver can be costly with the cheapest way usually being adding the teen onto a parent’s insurance policy. However, college students studying elsewhere are able to register a car in a different state, so it may be worthwhile to check insurance rates out of state if possible for a better deal.

1.    Ford Mustang 1965

This car is not only a classic but an icon. Although Chevy produced the 1960 Chevy Monza, the 1965 Ford Mustang is generally considered to be the first car designed with a younger driver in mind. 

The sporty Mustang coupe was a huge success and affordably priced at $2,368.00. Its first redesign took place two years later after Ford had already sold a whopping 1.2 million cars.

2.    Volkswagen Scirocco or GTI

Fast forward to 1976, when Volkswagen transformed the lowly Golf hatchback into a global performer. Weighing in at under one ton, the Volkswagen GTI was beloved for its easy handling. The 1.6-liter 110 HP motor moved for 0 to 60 Mph in a mere 9 seconds. 

Talk about staying power, still going strong in the 80s, this Volkswagen saw its debut as American made by 1983 in the manufacturer’s first U.S. factory. It still places in the “hot hatch” category.

3.    Ford SVO Mustang

For teens that think the 1965 Mustang is old rather than classic, consider the revamped Ford SVO. The original Mustang was facing fierce competition from a new generation of Mazdas, Nissans, Toyotas, and Porsches, so Ford took a try at revamping it before ditching the Mustang altogether. 

Surprise! The 1980s Mustang featured a 200-hp engine that easily competed with V8 engines. Turbocharged with great handling, this Mustang roared back into the market. 

4.    Nissan Pulsar NX 1987

The 80s were a great decade with designs aimed at younger drivers and the Nissan Pulsar NX was one such car. Specifically designed for American young people at the manufacturer’s San Diego design headquarters, this NX was the first modular production car in the world featuring a hatchback and a removable T-top. 

For the in-crowd, the car could be purchased with a removable top for $500 known as the SportBak, so the car instantly transforms from a coupe to a long wagon. Unfortunately, it was pricey starting at approximately $11,000, so it eventually left the U.S. market after 1990. Nonetheless, as classic cars go, it has a unique design and is undoubtedly versatile.

5.    Honda Civic Si/CRX Si of the 1980s

Efficiency, reliability, and fun, describe these classic 91 Hp engines that are an iconic fixture in U.S. Street racing. With a short wheelbase and weighing in at under 2000 lbs., the Honda Civic was first brought to the U.S. in 1985 as the CRX Si and the following year as the Civic Si. 

If you can find one, your teen is sure to get noticed. If you can’t find a 1980s Honda Civic, consider one from the new millennial. The Honda Civic 2006 is worth a look.

6.    Volvo 240 and 242

Available as a coupe, sedan, or wagon, these Volvos, also known as “the Brick”, are a terrific choice for a first car. It’s dependable and safe for worried parents and when dressed in classy wheel and tire combos, is literally an automotive fashion statement.

7.    Mercedes-Benz 190D

When looking for a reliable car, you can’t do much better than a Mercedes. If your teen likes classy, this car may be the one to choose. It’s not sporty, and it may not be among the fastest classic cars on the road happily for Mom and Dad, but it probably won’t leave you stranded either. 

Just imagine starting your car ownership with a Mercedes. Can it get any better?

When setting out to buy a classic car for your teen, set your budget before you leave home. Consider how much use the car will get and if more than one family member will be driving it or if it’s going to college with your teen. Buying a first car, and a classic car at that, is a huge moment in your child’s life, so consider how much driving and how far your teen will be driving to evaluate if a classic car is a wise choice particularly when it comes to road safety needs.

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