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El Camino safe for a 16 year old?

My daughter desperately wants me to buy her and El Camino as her first car. Obviously I am concerned about the lack of safety equipment. In town driving only for now.

Thanks for your input!

Forget it, not remotely safe for a new driver. No safety equipment, and if she’s ‘desperate’ she’s not sounding too rational in how she’ll drive it.

Driving as a teen is probably the most dangerous thing she will do in her life, it’s not her choice unless she’s paying for everything. Here’s a good site for safety info:

Just the transition from front to rwd as well as all the idiosyncrasies of an older car puts an inexperienced driver at risk. IMO, only experienced drivers should be running around in traffic with these older vehicles.

She doesn’t care about transportation, she is much more concerned with “coolness” and image…Both are bad reasons to base a car choice on…At this point, most of them are junk, Bondo Buckets…

I would not put a teenager in a vehicle older than her/him.

It’s OK except for the people who you just know will be riding in the cargo area. They will be the first to get ejected from the moving vehicle. You don’t want that to be her first traffic violation. If something like that should happen, it could wreck the rest of her life. There isn’t much to grip back there as there may be in a pickup. The truck isn’t much safer. A four passenger vehicle is needed for a young driver.

No way would I put a new driver in a car that old.

An El Camino is not safe for a 16 year old, a 26 year old, a 41 year old, or a 54 year old. Get the picture?

Do you know the guy who wanted to give his 16 year old either a Suzuki Samurai with an 8" lift or an Olds 442?

A 16 year old should buy her own car or take the bus.

While I would agree that a 16YO should take the bus, or earn and buy her own, it’s not really practical. Almost everyone I know got their first vehicle from their parents, and it was normally also just a “you can use it when we’re not” type of thing.

It’s always up to the parent of course, but I would suggest safety over her desires. Sure, it would have been cool to be one of the few kids on the block driving a hot car to school, but the simple fact that I was driving a car at all put me leaps and bounds ahead of 1/2 the other kids there. I realize it’s somewhat different today, but there are a heck of a lot of busses on the roads for it to be too much different.

Parents can’t always be friends and give them what they want. Parents give them what they need, and let them rant for a while. They’ll get over it.

I would get her that El Camino.
Get it painted in her favorite color, maybe air brushed unicorns.
Fit it out with a fancy sound system and a DVD player and captain’s chairs in the back.
Oh! One more thing: have the motor removed.
Park it in the back yard where she can hang out in it with her friends.

I have 3 suggestions, depending on how much power you want her to have:

  1. Chevy SSR (2003-2008). They aren’t exactly cheap, and they have a V8. That’s a lot of power, even in a pick-up truck with a 4800 # curb weight. But it probably most closely matches the style of an El Camino. The gas mileage is probably a bit better than the El Camino.

  2. Chevy Avalanche (2002 to date). This is a big truck weighing in at 5700 #. But the size should help protect her in an accident. It will cost about 20% less than the SSR for the same year truck.

  3. Chevy HHR (2006 to date). This is the most sensible alternative. It is essentially a Cabalt station wagon. It was available from 2008-2010 in SS trim. This provides significantly improved handling and decent acceleration. I’ve has HHRs as rental cars, and they are OK. I prefer the cobalt sedan to the HHR, but you seem to be looking for a truck.

Lastly, who’s her daddy (oops… mommy)? You control the money and have the final decision. I’d go for any of these trucks before an El Camino. You might consider a Silverado or F-150, or Ram which will be significant improvements over the El Camino. They are standard pick-ups, but the are the standards of the industry. The Detroit 3 ignored cars for a while, but they made so much money on their pick-ups that they lavished all their engineering talent on them.

From what I remember reading, the SSR was a dog, even with the V8. All show, no go.

Circuit, you do know that the ElCo is, at most, a 3 passenger vehicle, right? How could you put captains chairs in the back?

Also, an ElCo isn’t the WORST thing a teen could want for their first vehicle, could be asking for a Porsche or Corvette. Get a rusted out V6 version and let her have it. She’ll likely not want to drive it.

I had one when I was older a bit than 16, though not much. I wrecked it on California coast highway due to a DR from Louisiana letting his unlicensed kid drive the car, the kid got freaked out by a car coming up the hill, slammed on the brakes, and as I rounded the hairpin turn realized too late he had stopped dead in the highway. The downhill slope and dew on the road increased my stopping distance, I did not hit him hard, just enough to flatten out the point of the bumper and push the radiator enough to get shredded by the fan. We got towed to Carmel, and if you are in the car being towed there is no way to tell the driver you have to go to the bathroom. If you see a Pepsi bottle with yellow liquid, don’t drink it!
Why not, we survived, one less vote for the safety police!

She is actually paying for 1/2 the car herself so we are both discussing what to buy. An El Camino was not my first or 50th choice even, but I wanted an unbiased opinion as I didn’t want to dismiss it out of hand if it were deemed safe enough. I’m not her buddy, I am a parent who is willing to consider her opinions even if they seem daft to me. She agreed that if it wasn’t safe she would not want to drive it, it was just and idea. I’m not a pandering parent but I’m not a “it’s my way or the highway” type either.

We both had a laugh at circuitsmith’s comment. She said “only if it comes with a hot tub option”.

Wish we had a subway or bus line but no such luck…

Thank you all for your input.

Now, on with our search!

“We both had a laugh at circuitsmith’s comment. She said “only if it comes with a hot tub option”.”

Just fill the bed with water and pump hot air into it with the truck’s heater system. You just need to run a plastic hose from the heater blower to the water. Lots of duct tape will make a tight seal! That’s what Red Green would do.

As much as I like El C’s I would not recommend it for your teen. When she is on her own and of legal age she can decide for herself if she wants to risk driving in a car without air bags, crumple zones, etc, etc. For now, decide for her, put her in a more modern car.

You could meet her half-way: Subaru Brat!

If you can find one…Make sure it has the rear-seats option…

The Baja was a 4 door cruck(car-truck)

i am going to put my 16 yr stepson in a 79 el camino, he needs the experience like i had with old cars, plus he has to signal with his arm, he he