Too old for one car (mid life crisis)

I?m approaching 40 and I?ve decided that I need two vehicles now. I?ve driven the following cars so far:

1978 Ford Fairmont (9 years old when I got it in HS)

1985 Chevy Celebrity (My worst car; even the clock didn?t work)

1985 Dodge Aries

1992 Mazda Prot?g? (My first new car when I got out of college, My sister drove it into a flooded roadway and got stuck in the flood, had all kind of electrical problems for years ; finally I gave up on the transmission in 1999 after having it rebuilt twice. )

1999 Camry that I gave to mom b/c she needed a reliable car.

2001 Camry --very boring car.

I know I need a pickup with a crew cab for every day use: commute to work, get groceries, pick up timber and mulch at Home depot etc?I?m thinking of a used Dodge Dakota. But, I need a sexy car too. I would like a late 1950?s early 60 Mercedes 190SL or 300SL, that I could never afford. What two combinations of Pickup and sports car do you thing are good and why?

You have not told us how wealthy you are. A used Mercedes that old costs more to keep up than a new Cadillac to keep on the road. And gas will go up to $4 again within a few years so if you use the Dakota to commute to work you will spend fortune on gas. You’ve picked 2 vehicles that are unsuitable for commuting.

If you are building a new house from scratch owning a pickup might make sense. Other wise, one of those fold up small trailers wil go behind almost any car.

It’s difficult to recommend anything to someone going through a mid-life crisis, but here goes:

Assuming you can afford to keep two cars, I would buy a 4 year old Mazda Miata sports car. They’re reliable and a lot more fun to drive than an old Mercedes (many 300SLs have no power steering, power brakes or or A/C), and would cost about 10% of what it takes to keep a 300SL or similar machine on the road. I had friends in the early 60s who drove these cars and they were very expensive to service even then! A rebuilt engine for the cheapest 4 cylinder Mercedes is about $14000!!! Budget $4000 for a brake job.

By contrast, all Mazdas are economical commuter cars, easy to service and won’t break the bank.

As far as the hauling is concerned, buy any old low mileage crew cab pickup you have a place to park. But only drive it occasionally. Go for 2 wheel drive and the smallest standard engine. Simple trucks are cheaper to maintain.

We would normally ask what your significant other wants in the way of transportation, unless you live by yourself.

If this advice seems somewhat harsh, it’s because posters here like to give you good advice without sending you into personal bankruptcy!

2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird. 2 seat convertible, very sexy - the ladies will love it, pretty quick (the '03-'05 have 30 more hp than the '02), fairly new so it will be reliable. Perhaps best is good one’s now are about $18-22K, they were $45K new, and they are holding value better than the average car so less depreciation. In 10 years it will still be turning heads

Why are you thinking of a used Dakota ? You have extra money burning a hole in your pocket that you’d rather use for repairs over a Ford or Toyota ? A used 2wd Toyota extra cab 4 cyl or crew cab in v6 is reasonable. Then it’s a Miata…or
What’s wrong with boring. An Accord two door is sporty and you can commute with it and go with a regular cab Toyota/Ranger PU. Ranger is I feel, the cheapest way to go over the long haul for PUs. You will not be happy riding in it every day.

You could get a 2005 MB SLK350 for about $25,000 from a dealer or a 2005 CLK320 convertible for around $20,000. You might also find a 2005 BMW 330Ci for around $20,000. Is that a reasonable price? What about a 2005 Corvette hatchback for $25,000?

The one that combines sport and pickup utility is the Chevy SSR, but that’s not available as a four-door.

Well from my bias…

I will second the Miata. Compared to your bland driving history (sorry) you will find it very different. Not as sexy as a 300SL, but a ton of fun. The Miata is a blast to drive, easy to maintain, and cheap to own. If you liked the Protege you should love the Miata. You could find a clean 90’s Miata for well under ten grand.

Depends on what you want to spend. Porsche’s are always nice! BMW roadsters are nice too!

As far as a pickup, I suggest you look at the Tacoma based on great reputation for reliability

I went a bit overboard with the truck…

Pickup: F150. Look up Dodge reliability if you’re still considering the Dakota.

Miatas are a good choice for club racers, and they’re cheap. But you don’t seem to actually care about the car so much as the image, and Miatas fail there, so something in the Mustang family is probably the most economical choice. S2000s are excellent performers, but less well known. P-cars are obvious if you have the money, but you’re talking Caymans or 911s, which are pricey. Boxsters are … Boxsters. Avoid them. M-cars by BMW are a personal favorite, but again they’re not cheap. It would seem people in your situation gravitate towards 'Vettes, and the C6 is a true supercar, particularly in Z51 or Z06 guise, but those are still going to be pricey. Lotus again aren’t cheap, but are the real deal on a track, and certainly are head turners. And with Toyota powerplants, they’re reliable (for English cars).

How about a turbocharged Subaru Baja? While its carrying capacity is not very big, it does combine the concept of a pickup truck and a high-performance car.

Good thought…or the Baja on steroids; a Honda Ridgeline. PUs are a "real " sports car to some. This is always fun, spending someone else money

This is a very nice car. I wonder if it could become a classic in years to come.

Indeed Mazda dose make nice cars. Especially, the RX7 and 8. I’ll have to check out if they have these as convertibles. The classic MB is out of reach right now. I can’t afford it. The significant other will be leaving in a month and she has a explorer. I was thinking of having a nice sports car that i drive occasionally and a truck that i drive everyday. But now I’m thinking of reversing that.

I totally agree with Docnick. The Mazda Miata is a blast to drive and a very reliable car. Depending on how much $$$ you want to spend, very low mileage models can be found all the way from the basic cloth interior model all the way up to the top of the line with leather and all the bells and whistles. Here locally, there was a 2008 model with the retractible metal roof and only 3500 miles advertised for under $19k. I recently drove a 2007 Grand Touring model with the 6 speed manual and had the time of my life…and I’m 64 years old!!! There’s a reason the Miata is so highly rated. Finally, the RX7 and RX8 are hartops only…no convertible. Further, the rotary engine is known to use oil. I’ve also driven these cars and they are not nearly as much fun as the Miata. Just my opinion.

I totally agree with Docnick. The Mazda Miata is a blast to drive and a very reliable car.

I agree with that!

How about a Honda S2000? Not many people are aware of this car, but it is very reliable and sporty… perfect for a midlife crisis.

The chief concern here is that this car was made for Japanese-size drivers! The average American is big in all directions by comparison, and most drivers find it a tight fit. If OP is smaller than average, I would gladly recommend it!

Since not many were sold, parts may be harder to get and the Miata is defintely a better commuter car.

I thought I wanted a Miata, but my wife found out that the Miata is reliable. She told me that the Miata is a car for wimps. Real men aren’t afraid to push their cars off the road when they break down. Real men also spend week-ends working on their cars to try to make them run right. (One of these days, I’m going to buy a Miata anyway).

You said the “significant other” was leaving in a month. Better wait 'till the next one moves in, than decide.

I have an '08 Miata and spend the weekends either driving it or tinkering with it for fun. You can get a new 08 soft-top for less than $18k depending on your area and on the sales at the time of purchase. Check out for questions.

Some might say now that things are working out for you, and you still have money left for buying cars, don’t move another one in or you may not have money for buying cars.

With those two cars, you should be able to visit.