There is a strange point in the life of an auto enthusiast when practicality and safety suddenly overrule power and design... When you have to find cars for your kids. And there has been a sea change in this field of endeavor with Gens X and Y. They don't care nearly as much about cars as I did when their age, and when they do their values seem sadly twisted. I shudder to hear a 17 year old who cares more about the environment than about looking cool or going fast. Kids today!
A few years back when it came time to expand the Moore motoring fleet to account for teen drivers I found myself in a strange position—buying cars I did not necessarily want, and was not going to drive much. My first choice (or should I say our first choice, as my wife had an important say in all these decisions) was a Mazda Protege. That was tough as we traded in our beloved Miata M-Edition to buy the Protege. For the first, and perhaps only time in my life, I did not have a performance car of any type (that didn't last long and was actually how I got back into Porsche—another story sometime).
box shape of a BMW 2002 and the 1.8 liter engine from the Miata. As it was for our daughter I went with automatic transmission. And there was my big mistake, making assumptions
Anna Lea was different than most of her peers. Not only did she want her license the day she was eligible, soon afterward she announced that she wanted to learn to drive a stick shift. Hallelujah! There was an enthusiast in the family!
Of course we already had the Mazda. So we waited a year or two. But just as Anna was about to head off to college she somehow conned me into trading in the Mazda on a Jetta GLS with the 1.8 turbo, sport suspension, and a five speed manual. She named the car JJ and the rest was history (I'm not sure I have actually ever said no to her, come to think of it).
|JJ the Jetta|
|A Chrysler manufactured in Mexico. Say no more.|
This last week, with only 72,000 on the odometer, the Cruiser was done. Facing thousands of dollars in computer and suspension repairs it was dumped at Carmax in the middle of a horrible rain storm. The appraisers missed a lot, dodging the deluge, and offered us far more than hoped. I think they were sort of surprised we took the offer, and then they were startled to see the car up close in the delivery lane. I suspect some other poor customer got low-balled later that evening to make up the difference.
And so I was off on the inexpensive, used car hunt. At first I looked at a 2006 Saab 9-5, then a 2004 BMW 2004. If it had been for me I think either would have worked. But it wasn't for me, and that shopping is actually harder. An inexpensive Camry was also considered, but it had too many miles.
—and has an easily accessible AUX jack.
I guess he sort of cares about cars after all, his parameters are just different than mine.
What cars have you bought for your children—and have you managed to raise car enthusiasts?