Need a reason why not to

My son is coming of age for a learners permit. I have a project that I built that was intended for him but I find myself wanting to do more. He will recieve a Suzuki Samarai all painted up with 5 inches of lift all reconditioned with offset oversized wheels and tires to avoid roll overs. The vehicle will only be driven on local roads, has 3 point harness seat belts, doesn’t exceed 55 mph and has a safety exo skeleton. I find myself wanting him to drive a 1969 442, I had one and would like for him to have one. Why should I not buy or build him a 455 4spd 2dr coupe. I watched my buddy give his 17 year old a 66 GTO tri power. Does this make sense? Looking for comments.

You know your son better than we do but I will say that a Suzuki Samarai can be rolled over, oversized wheels or not. The 5" lift kit just makes it all the more possible.
People roll Corvettes and Porsches all the time.

As to the muscle cars that also boils down to whether you think your son will handle the car properly; and in this case, whether you have a boatload of cash to do this with.
Just my opinion, but I think both of the examples you mention are a bit extreme for someone who is just getting a learners permit.

Did you have this 442 when you were a teenager? I remember being 16. I can tell you that if I had a fast car, I would have ended up either in jail or dead. So, yeah its a bad idea to give a teenage boy a fast car. If you want to give him the 442, wait until he graduates college. Hope your buddy doesn’t regret his choice later on…

You can do as you wish, but I do not believe in giving cars to children.

Your son will use a vehicle in a far more responsible manner if he has to pay for the purchase and the upkeep of the vehicle that he drives. This is based on my interaction with–literally–thousands of adolescents during 35 years as an educator.

As a 21-year old about the graduate college I completely agree with you. I had to pay for my first car when I was 16, and I still drive that very same 1989 Honda Accord as my daily driver. Meanwhile, almost all of my friends who were given cars are now on their third or fourth (in one case sixth!) car.

Looking back, i’m actually really glad my parents made me buy it myself, forced me to avoid a lot of stupid decisions I probably would have made.

Well atleast now we are talking… I like American Muscle but the car I had before the Olds was a 240Z, 1st ran the Jim Cook Racing 4 brl set up then graduated to the 3 weber dueces with the cannon intake. I did pay for all of my cars when I was younger, but when you have a boy that has never been a problem, never been in trouble, makes straight A’s, play foot ball and helps around the house I would feel guilty not rewarding him.

the muscle car has a lot of sheet iron but it is not a safe car in a collision. i would not recommend it for a daily driver. todays cars are made to crumple in a collision and absorb the impact thus protecting the occupants.
the call is yours

I do not believe in giving cars to children.

I also agree.  I paid for all my cars, including the $250 I paid for a Sumbeam Imp Dealer Demo in 1962, My son paid for his first car $300 and fixed it up himself.  I believe it gives a teenager more personal responsibility when driving, if they had to pay for the car to begin with.  It also teaches them that they need to be responsible.  I helped him with his car, but it was his car.  

Good Luck

Statistics say that your teenager is likely to be involved in an accident, and males are more prone to this than females. If you want to re-live your teenage years, giving a high powered car to a teenager is just a way of repeating the same mistakes - and an opportunity to add more.

May I suggest a low powered car with a 5 speed. That way they can drive like a racecar driver and never get themselves in danger. (OK, OK! Yes, driving is dangerous in and of itself, so we are really talking about reducing the damger.)

  • oh and teach responsibility by having them involved in the purchase. I bought my daughter a Mustang - 2.3L with a 5 speed! She would rev and rev and the car made a ton of satisfying noises, but just didn’t go that fast. She was required to have a job to be able to pay half the cost: Purchase price, plus insurance and she paid for all gas - I paid for routine maintenance. Accident damage was on her!

That car lasted 10 years and 100K without a scratch. She gave it back to me and I broke it! (Clutch linkage!)

When you give sonny boy one of these rolling death traps, please also leave a bottle of vodka and a loaded handgun in the glove compartment. Your son will really love you then!!!

Here’s a “reason why not to”: your son’s FUNERAL.

You’re Looking At Opposite Ends Of The Automotive Spectrum. Get More In The Middle.

One car is underpowered, short wheel-based, tippy, and I’m sure not the safest thing out there. The other is over-powered, handling probably not up to compensating for the hp, and definitely not the safest thing out there.

It’s great to have a dad who gives his kid a cool car, but I’d let him get some miles under his belt before moving out of the middle of the specrum where the safe cars reside.

Buy safety first for a new driver. You’re the adult here. There’s a reason why sixteen year-olds cost so much to insure and why rates drop as aging takes place (safe drivers enjoy much lower rates by age 25). Make an appointment to sit down with your insurance agent for some advice in choosing a first car and go online to NHTSA and IIHS-HLDI and do some comparing.

"I have a project that I built . . . " Why not get the safest “project car” in your budget that the two of you can refurbish and use as a teaching tool ?

I picked out an Impala LS 3800 for my son when he was half way through college (he paid half). Not the coolest chick magnet, but not bad either, with Alloys, leather, spoiler, silver paint, premium sound, dual air bags and driver’s side side-air bag, ABS, etcetera. I shopped for safety first. He’s still running it to his post grad school first job.

Oh, and I agree, part of learning car ownership / operating is learning the expense involved. The boy should kick in some cash or hold off on a car until earning begins.


Indulgence is such a relative concept…

but when you have a boy that has never been a problem, never been in trouble,
makes straight A’s, play foot ball and helps around the house I would feel
guilty not rewarding him.

What good can come out of giving him a car?

Teenagers and cars have never been a safe mix. Giving him a car, rather than having him work to earn it, only increases risk.

Would you be able to live with yourself if anything ever happened to him?

I know a few dads who which they could roll back the clock and to not have given their kids a car.

Driving as a teenager is the most dangerous thing most people will ever do in their lifetime. Indulging your hobbies by giving your son either of these two cars is, in my opinion, a very bad idea. One is a known tipper, which you’ve made worse by the lift, the other is a fast, high-powered, and (by today’s standards) poor-handling, poor-stopping car with none of the modern (last 10 years) safety equipment. I know as a teen I drove my car as hard as I could, luckily it had a 170 cid 6!

“a boy that has never been a problem, never been in trouble, makes straight A’s, play foot ball and helps around the house”

I can’t begin to count the number of students who fit a similar description prior to being gifted with a car, but who slowly became the total antithesis of their former selves. In almost every case, grades dropped and in some cases their former interests–including athletics and family activities–soon took a back seat to cruising around in their car.

He sounds like a great kid, but don’t be surprised if he is not as terrific after a few months with that car.

You don’t need to reward somebody for doing what they’re supposed to do. Their reward will be that they become a responsible adult who is self-sufficient.

You’re asking for trouble with either option.

Ok, good discussion, I do agree with paying for your first car, I payed for mine, but in todays economy there are no part time jobs for kids, there just aren’t. The Suzuki will stay on a trailer for weekend fun, looks like a Tacoma pick up for him, and to the guy with the Vodka/Gun and funeral comment… hopefully you drive off a cliff :wink:

Is this post a joke? Or is it an entry in “The two stupidest cars for a teenager contest” ?

The Tacoma pickup is IMHO an excellent choice for a new driver.

Allow me to add the suggestion that you make it a 4-banger. The 4-banger is virtually bulletproof, has plenty of power for a new driver, and it’s much easier to work on than a V6 due to the extra airspace under the hood and the easier accessability of the parts. The 4-banger also has a chain, and unless you’re buying brand new, the V6 may have a belt.

Allow me to also suggest that it be a 2WD, again for reduced ownership costs. 2WDs are also less prone to rollover due to the lower Cg.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with your helping your son obtain a car since he’s apparently a good kid and you are willing to put your trust into his remaining that way. I bought my first car on my own while in high school and earning 1.25 an hour working in the maintenance department at the local university but to each his own.

I also do not consider the older muscle cars to be as dangerous as many may think. After owning a number of them way back when and putting a lot of miles on them in all types of driving scenarios I can say they were never a problem. Those older cars can be easily improved a bit with the addition of disc brakes, sway bars, etc. which are standard items today but back then were options. These cheap options were often things that the cheap customer did not want. Even the 60s era Corvettes had 4 piston disc brakes as an option and few people chose that option.

My preference would be a muscle car over the Suzuki but any kind of old muscle at all will be pricy.