Help, My High Schooler Wants a Classic!


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Recently, we had a young lady and her dad visit our lot.  “My daughter has passed by your lot several times this week admiring your classic cars, but I do not feel comfortable about getting her one,” then he looked at me as though he were pleading for help.  As much as I LOVE a sale, I’m also a parent and completely understood where he was coming from.  This is what comes to mind…no airbags, no seatbelts in some cases, no passenger side mirrors, no back up cameras and no alerts you are about to hit something.  And classic cars are just not meant to be daily drivers. ( They CAN BE, but you really have to stay on top of them.)  Amplify this with today’s phone distractions and it doesn’t take too long before YOU start shaking your head no as well.  Classics are meant to be owned by people that know what to expect from their car and how to care for it, AND have the monetary stability to care for it.  But my solution to this is, why not look at today’s traditional cars that are  designed in the light of their classic ancestors and check them out for grading from reliable resources? I use Consumer Report Magazine, IIHS, KBB and Edmunds just to name a few.   To fit your budget, look at a car that is a year or two old, because a brand new car quickly depreciates.  If possible, take the car to a mechanic you trust to make sure it has been well maintained by the previous owner(s). Then keep all manuals and work orders, so the day you want to sell it, you can sell it with confidence, and back up your pricing.  Or who knows, you might keep it for twenty-five years, and get an Antique license plate for it!

It may also be fun to guess what a future collectible car might be.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  My husband’s first car, a 1977 Gremlin certainly did not.  But that does not stop us from smiling, and looking back fondly as we see one of these survivors on the street.  I just want to say up front, I am not an expert on cars.  I just got thrown into the car business, through my husband’s semi- retirement plan, but “I’m enjoying the ride.”

Muscles, Peace and Love

So right out of the gate, I think of modern classics.  I think of Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers and Challengers.  While all these seem to offer anti-lock brakes, airbags and passing car test ratings, most of these used car models do not have back up cameras, so you may have to purchase one additionally from an outside source.  I think back up cameras are important to our young drivers and even our seasoned.  ( I myself owned a 2011 Porsche Panamera that did not have a back up camera and felt it really needed one because of the poor visibility of the hatchback.)  There are also blind spots to deal with so make sure to take a thorough test drive and do your homework.  Some of these models do come with a blind spot warning system, such as the Charger.  Another point to consider with these cars is the recurring theme of horsepower, and all I can say to our young people is, “with privilege comes responsibility.”  All these cars were manufactured in the spirit of the great muscle cars, and I think they can be driven with as much pride as their predecessors.  This all being said, I would still not feel comfortable about purchasing one of these models for the first time driver, however, I would consider it after they have had a year or two under their belt.

For a tamer, quirky alternative, with less horsepower are cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle.  I’m dating myself but I can remember Herbie the Love Bug on the bis screen and I’m thrilled that there is a modern rendition of these endearing little cars.  And let’s face it, our young people want something that looks fun and matches their personality.  We all know, no one purchases these cars for their horsepower.  And hey, as a parent, that’s “A-OK!”  Personally, I would love VW to bring out a new version of the 1971 Microbus.  The brand new models of these cars do come with rearview cameras and back up detections, though the manual models did not get a great overall score in Consumer Report Magazine, hardcopy April 2016 edition.

Another Alternative is the Mini Cooper Countryman.  These rated much better than the Beetle in Consumer Report.  Again, I’m not looking at the horsepower, I’m looking at the appeal it has.  Like the Beetle, this car too offers an endearing quality.  As small as both these options are, you can fit four for the ride.  These cars also come with safety equipment.  Another appealing factor, these cars come with customizable options that make them unique and personable to the owner.  You can either tap into your inner hippie, or tap into your inner preppy.  It may take a little work for cars that are one or two years old, but it can be done.  However, be reminded that in doing this, the price will go up.  There are some really good prices for 2015 and 2014 used car models so shop around. If I had to guess, I’d say these might make it to being a future classic ride.

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For the sporty type

Maybe mom and dad can get something for themselves in the process of starting the new chapter of their lives.  The Mazda Mx-5 has gotten good reviews and sites a 25 mpg combined consumption. They have a great little throwback look taking me back to my Fiat Spider days, and again if you go back a year or two you can get a good deal on this sportster! As Mazda says, “Zoom, Zoom!”

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2-door Sport  Convertible Front angle medium view photo
Image found on KBB where you can read more on this model.



For room, and recreation,I like most compact sport utility vehicles particularly the Kia Souls.  My husband laughs at me for saying that, but  I asked him for feedback on these boxy toy like vehicles.  He is a former C.O.O. who grew the largest used car dealership in the states and has over 30 years in the biz ,so I think he’s a good source.  While he agreed they were a great car with some really great advertising, ( who can forget those hamsters?) the used car sales of these cars were just not that strong.  But that does not make it a poor product.  The 2013 models and newer have been sited as being well equipped with 24mpg in the city and 30  for the highway.  I see them out on the street and they immediately catch my eye as a fun, youthful looking car.  Sales are connected to incentives, so cars that you may not favor on style and equipment may do better in the market, than one you have been leaning towards.  And that’s what seems to have happened with the Kia Soul in the used market.  Consumer Report gave the new  Soul a very favorable rating and they are very affordable cars. And both the Kia Soul and Mini Cooper Countryman got favorable ratings on IIHS . I say check them out!

There are certainly a lot of modern cars that capture the spirit of the old classics we love today.  The bottom line is, your budget dictates models and years of cars you may be looking at.  Then you can look at safety, being top priority of course, followed by reliability and mpg.  Buying a car is serious business.  It’s not like buying a pair of shows.  It’s buying a product that gets absorbed into your daily routine.  So make sure it’s a good fit.  Aside from reading articles and visiting dealerships, stop people in parking lots and ask them how they like their car. If they’re not in a hurry, I find people love giving feedback.

And if you need any direction on purchasing a car, whether you buy from us or not, contact John as he has the experience  with all kinds of models. John always says that you should not be forced to buy what the dealer has, but rather have the dealer go find what you want. Our dealership was designed to take the legwork out of finding the car that you are in the market for.




Classic Cars of Palm Beach wants to hear from you.  What do you think might be a future classic car down the road?  What car would you like to come back in a brand new model?  Send emails to