Who's right (first time buyer)

I am a college student who’s major is electrical engineering. I am a first time buyer and I was wondering who right me or my father. My dream car is a 1966 or 67 Ford Mustang GT Coupe and I want that to be my first car. My father wants me to get something midsize and newer model like a honda. I like older cars because they are made out of real metal and sturdier but my father wants me to get something dependable. Remember that college students don’t have much money so maintenance and other expense are a major factor. Who’s right me or my father. P.S. I don’t mind driving a “bucket”

“Right” in what way?

You will be far safer and far less broke with your father’s choice. Cars of the era you’re considering tended to disintegrate in high-speed crashes, despite being made out of “real metal”.

Dependable, reliable, easy parts availability and easy to repair at your age and financial situation should win out over a Mustang GT. That leads down to Corolla, Civic, Elantra, or some mid size car, not Mustang GT. After you are richer, you can consider a 67 Mustang GT. They are generally restored, eat fuel out the kazoo, and parts availability may be an issue.

Your Dad’s right, but if it’s your own money do what you want. I assume you will be doing all of the maintenance and repairs yourself. You will get plenty of practice if you can find the parts. Sometimes my 69 and 71 Buicks could go a month or two without a repair and that was in 1980.

Save the Mustang until you make your first million.

Ed B.

It’s a toss-up IMHO. The older cars may require some maintenance type items (points, condenser, etc.) than a late model but on the other hand an older car is ABC simple to maintain and much cheaper.

As an example, price a distributor cap and plug wires for a 67 Mustang against a set of plug wires only for an 08 Mustang and you’ll see what I mean.
One can buy a lot of early maintenance stuff for far less than the price of a single MAF sensor or ECM.

The later ones will have disc brakes, air bags, etc. so one could make the argument they’re safer than the old ones. On the other hand, an older car driven properly, with a 3 point belt harness, is perfectly safe IMO.

If you’re wanting an early, or even a late Mustang GT, fastback, or heaven forbid a Shelby, you need to start saving money now because they’re pricy.
Back in 1974 my brother in law bought a 68 Shelby GT500 for 400 bucks and it was a super straight, nice running car. Those days are long gone now and that same car will bring a 100 grand now.

Unfortunately, finding your dream car in good condition is probably going to be absurdly expensive-- those are very in demand cars.

I will say that if you are a mechanically-inclined college student who doesn’t drive too many miles (so the safety and mileage issues are arguably moot) and has alternative transportation options available, the old car isn’t a bad option. The '86 Honda I’m using primarily for transportation right now gets better mileage is more reliable and is probably safer than the '72 Dodge truck I drove in college, but there wasn’t much that could go wrong with the dodge that I couldn’t fix myself in a few hours. A lot of “minor” repairs on the Honda end up being all day affairs or longer or many hundred dollars of paying someone else to do it. Sure they’re infrequent, but if any of these had cropped up while I was at school, I probably would have been carless for the rest of the semester.

But like I said above, those 'stangs are going to be out of your price range. If you haven’t worked on old cars before, maybe consider a cheaper old car-- a pre-1980 or so full-size 2wd pickup can likely be had for pretty cheap and they are generally pretty reliable and still have good parts availability but function more or less like a classic car.

If you commute, though, I agree with your parents.

Despite the romantic image of pony cars of that vintage, their reliability, handling, braking, and safety were truely abysmal by today’s standards. No “crash zones” to absorb impact, no air bags, no collapsable steering columns, no side-impack door beams, barely-competant drum brakes, and lots of other missing features.

And we spent a lot of time maintaining those cars. They needed routine tuneups including fooling with ignition points and lubing the chassis. And carbuators had their own eccentricities. Those of us that wree there (in the '60s) have fond memories, but have also lived the truth.

Your dad is right. But keep the dream. Perhaps after you get out of school and established to where you can have a “toy” you’ll enjoy the dream more.

There’s a lot of hand holding going on at college today isn’t there? If you’re in college and already have a major you’re probably well over 18. If you’re the one who happens to be flipping the bill-buy whatever the heck you want. I owned a Mustang in college myself and was happy to have it. I also paid for it with my own money. My parents couldn’t care less what I drove.

That said this Mustang GT you want will cost you $20,000+ if it’s in nice shape. If you’re thinking you’ll get a fixer-upper for cheap, those days are long gone. Your assesment that the mustangs were sturdy and made out of “real metal” is sort of unfounded. A modern Honda Accord will obliterate a 1960’s mustang in an accident and is heavier to boot. In fact you’d be hurting in a high-speed wreck with a new Mini Cooper in that 1960’s mustang. Take a few classes in mechanical engineering and you’ll get the idea.

Why not just get a Honda Civic EX or an Acura RSX like every other college kid? At least it’ll probably be there when you go the parking lot unlike the 66 Mustang, which is so easy to steal thieves will use it as a training vehicle for new thieves haha.

Never fall in love with something that can’t love you back…Your “Dream Car” is just a Ford Falcon with slightly different sheet metal. They are unibody beer-cans.

Find one and drive it for an hour. Then drive a modern car.

The Mustang is a great looking car. Have you driven one? If not, do so and decide if it handles well enough for you. Remember that it is several generations old. Today’s econoboxes have roll cages, ABS, traction control, and oodles of electronic controls that are much more reliable than the Mustang’s mechanical controls. As an EE you should know that electronics are more reliable than mechanisms. At this point, you should be more interested in inexpensive transportation. But then, we are people, and subject to irrational desires. That’s OK, too.

Investigate the Mustang and see what it would cost to buy one. Just start with asking prices for Mustangs that will pass any required inspections and can be licensed immediately. As a student, you don’t need a hobby this demanding. If you still think that you ant it, put together a plan to show Dad. If you decide to change your car, come back and we’ll talk about it. Right and wrong? No, it’s just different priorities.

Buying a decent 66/67 Mustang is going to cost you a LOT MORE then a new Honda is. If it costs less it’s probably in very poor condition.

The use of the term “real metal” is not something I would expect from a electrical engineering student. You should have just said,I like older cars, and leave off the “real metal,sturdier” tag.

Sorry, I gotta agree with the majority here. I had a '65 Mustang as my first car - what a rustbucket. It (and I) survived, passed it on to my BIL who ended up having to jump out at 45 mph when the fuel line let go and the fire came back through the rusted out ‘fire wall’. These were not well built. The early ones also have a ‘drop in’ gas tank. Get rear-ended, and gasoline can be ejected into the passenger compartment. Not good. If you want an ‘old’ Mustang, try out an '85 or so. Lots around, much lower price, lots of parts.

Thse 66 Mustangs had the worst unibody construction. They were very prone to rust right out. They worked alright. The front suspensions were kind of a joke but not too bad of a joke. They got good gas mileage in their day and weren’t hard to maintain unless you wanted to change your own front springs (unless there are major differences from the Fairlane). They are easy to maintain in a lot of ways but I would rather drive the 2000 model.

THe Mustang is really cool, but, buy something more practical. Don’t make your dream car your first car or it will become your nightmare car. You need to build up to a collectible car. What I mean is build up more knowledge about automobiles, gain repair skills, become financially secure. Then search out a project car to have fun with.
Your Pop is giving you good advise.

One other thing, hone your driving skills because early Mustangs are horrible to drive when it is a little slick out on the road.

Congratulations on asking for opinions. When you graduate ,get your Mustang. In the meantime, “father knows best”

"Cars of the era you're considering tended to disintegrate in high-speed crashes, despite being made out of "real metal"."

Not true, in fact that was the problem with them, they held together, it was the occupant that got disintegrated slamming around the interior of them. We had a 93 Honda that got rear-ended by an old Buick. The honda was totally destroyed but we all got out alive, injured but alive The Buick didn’t have hardly a mark on it,save the broken headlights, but the driver died.