Good first car

Im 19 and thinking about buying my first car. I want something more exciting than a camry or civic. I have been looking at late 80’s 500SL’s, Porsche 944’s and 924’s and Corvette’s, but they seem iffy and tough to maintain. My budget is about $10,000 (not including insurance). Any suggestions?

I’d go for a 2004 Ford Mustang.

All of the cars you list except for the Corvette will be very expensive to repair and maintain. The Corvette is a car any decent mechanic can work on and has seen before, not so much for the more exotic cars you list. I’ve worked on several Corvettes, but never any of the other cars on your list, and many mechanics will say the same thing. Another thing to consider with all the cars on your list is that insurance will kill you, especially at 19 years old. Even if the insurance doesn’t kill you, the performance of some of these cars and your lack of driving experience will probably do you in. A newer Mustang is an excellent suggestion. Performance is very good, even with the standard V6 engine, and if you must have the V8, your insurance will still be less than with any of the other cars you are considering. They are also, like the Corvette, common enough that any decent mechanic will have experience servicing and repairing them.

Budget another $10,000 for the insurance.

Don’t worry about safety, though, because any of these cars will spend 99% of the time in pieces in your driveway.

The cliche “You live and learn” comes to mind here.

For $10k you can afford something newer with airbags. The cars you list will bankrupt and/or strand you. How about a Civic Si?

Your eyes are bigger then your budget. $10K…a small compact. If your car buying budget is that low, what makes you think your gas/insurance budget will be very high ? I wanted a Porsche or Vette at 19 once too…I still want one 40 years later and I’m no closer to getting one.


Always wanted a Vette. But never had that much money to spend on a toy. I’d really like a early 70’s Vette. Find one that needs some restoration and spend a couple of years having fun restoring it. Maybe when I retire in a few years.

See if you can find a Honda S2000 from 2000 with 100k miles on it.

Do yourself a favor, and head to your local Toyota dealership. Not for the Toyota’s, but for the Scion’s. the TC is a nice little ride, and you can get one a couple years old for that money.

Save yourself the expense of big wheels - they’re a couple grand per set, and don’t do anything positive for your ride, and you may find yourself quite happy.

The cars you’ve listed are not “iffy”, they’re a DEFINITE mistake for someone in your financial situation. IMHO the S2000 would also be a mistake. While it has Honda quality, it’s not designed to be economic to operate and will be a ticket magnet for a young person.

I think Chaissos had the best suggestion, if you want something sporty on your budget look for a tC or a Civic coupe, or something of that sort. You may WANT something more sporty, but you’ll soon learn that the cost of owning a car isn’t just the purchase price.

I’m thinking of a honda accord. Used ones with low mileage aren’t too pricey and they have a decent amount of power. Opinions?

The Accord is a far cry from your original list, particularly in the sensibility department. Ironically, most people would say the Civic is more exciting than the Accord. The four cylinder engine has enough power for the car (and won’t go fast enough to get you killed), while the V6 has more than enough, and the extra expense and difficulty of servicing it will make you wish you didn’t have it. V6 Accords also have an unusually high failure rate for automatic transmissions. How you went from Porsche and Corvette to Honda Accord is beyond me, but by all means, the Accord is a wonderful car, and your insurance will be much more affordable as well. I also agree with the others, though, that if you want a fun to drive, sporty looking car that you should take a look at Scion. They are very reliable with Toyota powertrains and very reasonably priced. In fact, they are marketed at the demographic to which you belong, so you will probably like them.


If you’re mechanically inclined and can do almost all of your own service work then they’re not a problem. Otherwise, they could turn out to be a problem because you’re talking 20+ year old cars here.

An ex brother-in-law of mine got the urge for a Porsche 944 some years ago and sold his beautiful '76 Corvette so he could buy someone’s flogged 944 beater. Within 2 months he was kicking himself soundly and regretting selling the Corvette.

Of the ones you mention, I’d say go for the Corvette. With 10 grand you should be able to find a nice low miles Vette because there’s a lot of them around. My personal preference is '83 and earlier ones with the arched fenders as they look more like a “real Vette” so to speak.

The op was looking for an exciting and reliable car and the s2000 was such a machine. I made no assumption on how the op can keep the car going.

I had a scion once. It was big on the inside, it was cheap, it had some mechanical feel. But it was not sporty, not even the tc that I test drove. A celica gts is a way hotter car. The only scion that I would consider these days would be hachi rouku .

I’ve owned a tC for 6-1/2 years now. The tC isn’t a sports car, but it is a highly reliable, very usable and affordable sporty car. I call mine a “sporty car”. In fairness, mine has the TRD rear sway bar and a modified induction system (NOT the regular ‘cold air induction’ system), and those two simple mods made a clear difference. But it still isn’t a sports car. Never was, never will be. Yup, it’s cheap. I’m cheap. We go together well. I like leather, wood, and Berber carpets, but when it comes to spending money on it plastic and nylon fine.

The S2000 has Honda reliability and is definitely a sports car, but I don’t recommend it as a first car. Gas mileage will be poor unless very modestly driven, and repairs ehen they’re needed will be far more expensive than a tC would be. Besides that it’d be a cop magnet AND I have to wonder whether a young person would drive it safely. It’s easy to get in “over your head” wil a car like that.

The honda s2000 is a great option.

Do you guys know of any outstanding problems with 1985 vettes? Because I found a good looking one with 48000miles for $9000.

Any 1985 car will require lots of maintenance and repair - are you equipped for that? And performance back in '85 was pretty poor by 2011 standards, Vettes included. It would make a fun hobby car, but I wouldn’t want one as my one and only daily driver.