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First car-new driver... help me choose!

I will be returning to the USA next year after living abroad most of my life. I have never had the need for a car and have not had a license since I was in HS.
I have always been in love with the Dodge Dart, (yo Tommy!) but after reviewing the safety specs, or lack thereof, have decided I need a classic car with the cool look of a dart, but something that at least has seat-belts.
I just won a go-kart race, so I figure I might have the skills to drive well after all!

So, help, please…what is the car that you, fair readers, would suggest?
To consider:
First time driver/owner
Female (har har)
Teacher ( used car might be in order)
Single (needs to be able to catch a guy’s eye!)
fun to drive!

Thanks for your help!

Rather than jump wildly back into the car ownership world and waste your money on a teacher’s salary, I suggest you go sanely and slowly and forget about Dodge Dart wantabees and just buy something like a genuine classic for a valid reason…a Corolla, Civic or compact from Ford.
Catch a sensible guy’s eye with a sensible purchase! Beware of initial “fun to drive” aspects of many cars. They get down right tedious on trips. Besides, any decent handling car should be fun to drive that long without.

Mustang convertible.

“I need a classic car with the cool look of a dart…”

Are you sure? I’ve been looking at new cars lately and compacts have gotten so much better over the last thirty five years. I’m certain a newer car would be much more fun to drive. And the safety improvements are just amazing. Why settle for just seat belts when you can have side curtain air bags, active head restraints, ABS brakes, and whole works that’s standard these days on just about every car. If I were you, I would read reviews from Consumer Reports and find something that combines “good enough” cool with practicality and modern safety and handling.

An important consideration is where you will live. If you live in Wisconsin, a regular RWD convertible might not be the best choice for you, especially as a novice driver, because of snow. If you live in California, get a Miata. It’s already a classic, but with modern conveniences and safety features, and it will feel like driving that gokart.

Agree with UncleTurbo. Mustang. Convertibles are girls cars so OK if you want one but a Shelby 500 coupe will get the guy’s attention.

Really? You mean to say if you guys saw a hot girl driving a Yugo you’d ignore her?? I can’t say I would. It doesn’t really matter what she’s driving…what matters is how she looks (from the top of the door up). Besides, how many have actually ran into a girl, when you’re in separate cars, and then met up because of the car?

If you see a Miata going down the road, most will assume there’s a woman behind the wheel. If she’s driving reasonably, you won’t be put off. If she stops and you see her get out, you may get interested.

Besides, if the car looks like it may need you to be a man, you may want to help - be the knight on the white horse. THAT one I’ve used…and it’s worked. :slight_smile:

Ah, to be young and stupid again…

insurance will be the killer of some of these ideas. If we knew your budget, we’d be better able to help. ALWAYS check insurance for the car before you buy it

Forget the ‘classic car’ for a daily driver - you don’t sound like a mechanic. New cars are 100X better anyway for daily use. And yes we need you know how much $$ you have for this. But look at 2000 or newer, plenty of fun vehicles out there.

You mean to say if you guys saw a hot girl driving a Yugo you’d ignore her??

Honestly, I’d probably be far more interested in the car, and trying to figure out how the hell it’s still on the road. :wink:

Let the man have the nicer car. You won’t have to even use the Yaris on a date. He will refuse to ride in it. Just pretend to be impressed.

Start off with something affordable. Save all the glitzy wheels till you get more( experience) seat time.

Mazda Miata.

Having owned a Dodge Dart, I can assure yoiu that even with good care these cars needed a lot of maintenance and repairs.

For the first 50,000 miles (where today’s cars need little work) we did the following:

  1. Replace front brake drums
  2. Replace all 4 shock absorbers
  3. Replace distributor shaft!
  4. Replace lower ball joints
  5. Replace front brake shoes
  6. Turn starter armature
  7. Rebuild carburetor
  8. Replace torsion bar spring anchor
  9. Replace ignition switch
  10. Fix gear shift, tighten steering box

Al the above in addition to changing oil and filter and greasing the vehicle every 4000 miles, and going through 3 sets of those skinny 700x13 bias ply tires.

All this took place between April 1965 and June 1967.

As you can see, this is not the car for you. The ongoing headaches of nursing an antique car that was, even when new, not remotely up to today’s levels of quality, takes all the fun out of owning such a car.

Ours had the 273 V8, heavy duty suspension, bucket seats, and quick power steering. My wife loved to drive it! I drove it from Buffalo, New York to Boston in one afternoon and got there before the bar at the hotel closed.

You can get a 2009 Cobalt LT with about 20,000 miles and auto transmission for less than $14,000 from a dealer. A comparable Honda Civic LX would be a little less than $16,000. We have a 2009 Cobalt LT and like it a lot. The kids always want to drive it. I’d start out with a used car, but new enough that it will be reliable and won’t need much maintenance. Neither car has a timing belt, so you won’t be saddled with a $1000 expenditure to replace it. I wouldn’t get a car more than 4 years old. As you get more proficient at driving, you can consider a newer car that suits your style.

I don’t think catching a guy’s eye is as important as you having fun driving the car. Though, not being very experienced driving, I would suggest a convertible because it has a nicer feel while driving “safe.” This is also a good way to get noticed while in a parking lot because everyone around can see you.

“lostinjapan” don’t listen to these guys. They are all living out their fantasies at your expense because their better have won’t let them buy Mustangs, Miatas, Vettes and or car toys. :=( Get a small reliable compact with mileage you can live with.