What kind of car should a 16 year old chaser buy?

Well, the time comes in a young mans life when he gets his license and his own car - and the time has FINALLY COME for me 8)

Now, what kind of car should I buy? My boss has a 96 Mustang available for like $7,000, but I wouldn't mind springing for a Mercedes-Benz, in the $15,000 range. Which is somewhat stupid, but does anybody else chase in a Mercedes? I would imagine they get pretty good MPG, but not sure. As for Mercedes, this is what I would be talking about: http://www.automart.com/vehicledetail/adid...z/e320/utica/mi

Anybody else out there able to recommend me to a good chase vehicle with good MPG? Also, what does everybody think of chasing in a Mercedes (like the one listed above)? Good or bad idea?
If you are settled on a car and not an SUV....

I'd say a Honda Accord, I had one... loved it. it had the V6 so not anemic in the power dept. awesome mileage (about 22)

I prefer an SUV for the room, power and 4wd just in case. I know you said good gas mileage but what is good in your eyes? I've been into hotrods and offroad vehicles all my life so anything over 15mpg is freakin great to me. My next chase rig will likely be a 4x4 V8 Grand Cherokee ZJ. these are the early ones up untill 99.

Mercedes? As long as you dont mind hail dents in it go for it. I would imagine replacement glass is expensive. even rocks picked up in strong winds can easily knock out glass, not just hail. how about maintenence? can Joe Shmoe at the corner service station repair the thing? likely not.
I would recommend a good vehicle that gets great gas mileage and has low miles on it. Remember that your going to be putting a lot of miles on the vehicle and I saw 89,000 on that Mercedes. I know that chasing in a Mercedes would be a great statement, but go for substance, not style.

I was looking for a vehicle for a friend and came up on a 2003 nissan extended cab pickup. It had a 4 cylinder engine and had only 15,000 miles on it. Yea, I know that's not much power but rest assured the gas mileage will compensate for that. It looked brand new and the dealer wanted 14,999 for it. It was really a very nice vehicle. Maybe not a heck of a lot of style but as far as substance goes you get a dependable vehicle with great gas mileage and low miles to boot.
Nick, you should look at the rules for getting your license under 18
in Michigan. I would check out the following links below.

Your First Michigan Driver License

Graduated Driver License (Under 18

Eligibility and ID *****VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION*****
Under Graduated Driver Licensing, teen drivers under age 18 must complete two segments of driver education classroom instruction and meet the requirements for each of the three GDL licensing levels.

Related Documents
GDL: A Guide for Parents PDF icon

dang i took a short summer drivers' ed class with the high school football coach teaching it and got my license when i turned 15....simple.

now that I'm older and was once 15-16.... I'm glad it's harder for them to get licenses :lol: Not sayin' you're a bad driver nick but I know how alot of them are. Hell at least we didnt have many of us with cell phones back then to distract us while driving.

that said, i like jason's suggestion as well.
Not sure on their quality, but I've heard some swear by Subaru's. Good handling, AWD (good for back roads chasing), and can be suped up a bit to be zippy. Also, buying an expensive car when you know you're going to be chasing is a bit...I dannow, senseless? I'd go for something cheaper at first.
The four-door sedan seems to be what I see the most of on the plains each year. Generally these are vehicles with great gas mileage and are front-wheel drive.
If I were to be in the market for a new chase vehicle right now I would have two primary vehicles in mind. One is a Dodge Intrepid and the other is an early 2000's Jeep Cherokee.
Intrepid: Good gas mileage, lots of room, good dash/console space for all my crap, front-wheel drive, large windshield (good and bad!) and huge trunk.
Cherokee: A Cherokee is what I chase in right now. It offers four-wheel drive, great ground clearance, okay gas mileage, plenty of power, good storage space, and you can tow a trailer if you want to throw a small one on for chasing a hurricane (we fill our small trailer with 5gal gas cans). Also, the inline 6cyl will last forever if you service it regularly.

Both of these vehicles can be picked up for a little over $10K with low miles (30,000 or under).

Nick, you mentioned a mustang as a possibility. I have owned a mustang and loved the vehicle. I have to tell ya though, they are VERY dangerous in the rain regardless of the tires you have on. The rear-end is very light in those vehicles and hydroplaning was always an issue.

Last, I have a buddy who is in the "reclusive chaser" category who chases in a Land Rover Discovery. What a great vehicle for chasing! But.... He gets a rather cold response from other chasers while in the field. The way I see it, if you can afford to chase in it, go for it!
Anyway, this might be something to consider about the Mercedes as it could be considered a status challenge to some.
Honestly, I'd rather use the $15k (if you can spring that much) and go for a new vehicle. At least then, you have a warrenty for at least a few years and typically 30-60k. If you go used, try and find something with low miles that still has some warrenty left on it.

I'd check out a ford focus.

Originally posted by Aaron Kennedy
I'd check out a ford focus.
The Focus will be the first car I look at when it comes time to trade in the ol T-bird. I really like chasing in my T-bird though. If you don't have passengers (or only one), it works out well. I get about 26mpg on a V6 and apart from some cosmetic issues, she's still a great piece of machine.

The Focus is a small car, but very roomy. My friend has one and she gets great mileage. She's put a lot of miles on it and has had very few problems (except she's a magnet for idiot drivers). I'd definitely recommend you get something fuel efficient, replacable, and domestic - resources can be pretty limited out in the plains.
For $15k I'd pickup a used Toyota Camry. Roomy, safe, and really reliable. My family owns 4 (had 5 before) of them. I had a '93 Camry wagon, and it had 255,000 miles before my brother inherited it. It still runs like a top.

The Ford Focus seems to be a good car as well. We've never had any problems with ours (2003 ZX5). The stock Goodyear RSA tires like to hydroplane though, so I'd get those replaced.
IMO I think for a 16 year olds (regardless of gender) first car needs to be a car that runs great but is cheap $$$. Why? Because most 16 year olds drive like sh*t. I remember, it was not that long ago...

Seriously though, Nick if you are going to roam the plains get something dependable, safe, and get roadside assistance (AAA - lifesaver). That’s all you need. You are chasing with a partner next year I hope?

BTW: Just send me your stuff and I will do it for you. No need to bang your head over it (You know what I mean) :wink: .

Take care,

It somewhat depends on what suits you for the ten months or so of the year when you aren't chasing much. If money is at all an issue you'd be wise to check with your insurance agent for their input, too -- don't tell them you're a juvie stormchaser with a resemblance to Johnny Depp! :wink: Some cars cost more to insure than others, especially hot cars driven by young drivers.

I put 30k miles a year on a Focus and am also quite happy with it -- 30 mpg long-term, big trunk, mechanically ok, and a somewhat comfortable back seat. I bought it new about four years ago with the 100k mile extended warranty, which included road service benefits and no-hassle service at any Ford dealership.

A good friend is very happy with Toyota (Camry, Corolla). They get excellent mileage and drive well. With small sedans console space is limited and you have to get very creative with mounting stuff if you ever have a front seat passenger.

I'm thinking toward a point in a few years when my Focus reaches 150k+ miles (hopefully) and we want a "nature photography" friendly vehicle. TTI I'd love a hybrid SUV like the Escape, Highlander, etc.
The replacement glass is pretty expensive and is very hard to install. The glass is also not usually stocked by most glass shops. I will give you the prices.

Front Windshield: $290 keep in stock
Driver Front Door: Dealer only item. Would cost about $240 and take a week to get in stock
Passenger front door: $170 in stock
Passenger rear door: $170 order (3 days)
Driver rear door: $170 order (3 days)
Driver vent: $255 dealer only item about a week
Passenger vent: $140 in stock
Back glass: $600 dealer item about a week

Other than the price of the glass and the $100 oil changes that car will be very dependable, wont kill you on gas, will have power, will be cheap to insure, is very safe and will last a long time. I would check on the electical system. I have heard that the altenators on some of their E models don't hold up well and could really put you in a bind if it went out.
Honda Civic - possibly Hybrid version...is the best I can suggest. And if you're worried about speed with that - I saw a lady doing 100 in one on the way to Omaha once.
Hey nick im 17 and if you can find one thats cheap I would recommend a Subaru...

All wheel drive helps alot, fairly good visibility with the windows and an optional sunroof, and if you can get one used like mine was there not very expensive and pretty mechanically sound...
Nick, man a mercedes!? might as well get a chauffer to drive ya to the storm, and just tell him to take a left at the wall cloud! :lol:

...but yes, my first chase vehicle at 16 was a 99' ford tauras, i have no idea why i sold that car, it had GREAT gas mileage and had plenty of room inside (it had the liftable middle arm chair)...im actually looking into going back to the car for next season, anyways, good luck with the car shopping!
Here is what's usually in the school parking lot, so that's the 16-18 year old range, take your pick Nick:

Hummer (newer H2's)
Cadillac Escilade (quite a few of those)
Jaguars (about 2 or 3)
Corvette (my friends, a 1997)
Mercedes Benz (several)
Mustangs (too many, from "apple green" to yellow)

Can someone say "daddy's car"? :roll:

My ride at the time: 1989 Ford Escort running on a whopping 3 cylinders :lol:
I'd agree with think long and hard about good gas milage. With the prices today it can hurt. I'm lucky on the road I get about 38 miles to the gallon (once got 40 don't know how). I have a 92 toyota paseo, but I'm not saying you should get that at all. A hybrid would be good to look at, but I think only foreign cars are hybrids now. That is a problem since foreign car parts are like 3 or 4 times more, at least for toyota. So, possibly find a really good american car with good gas milage. I'm just saying american for the parts, because eventually after chasing your car will need repair. Think of the parts for the mercedes, ouch!
I would guess that any parts and repair costs on that Mercedes are gonna be way up there. I'd suggest a slightly used Toyota or Honda. Those things are bulletproof.
Originally posted by nickgrillo

But, ummm... When you screw your car up, isn't that what insurance is for?

Yes. But you have a deductable. A deductable will usually be $500 or $1000. The higher your deductable the lower your monthly payments. The insurance company doesn't start paying for repairs until AFTER you have paid the deductable to the repair shop. Each and every time your car is damaged.

Also, every time you make a claim to the insurance company to have them repair your car you can expect your monthly payments to go up. After too many claims they will drop your insurance and you'll have to find another company. And since all the insurance companies share information about you they will charge you more than the original insurance company would have charged you.

So basically....you only use your insurance company for car repairs when the damage is major (like my $12,000 collision with a deer).

A couple busted windows will be cheaper in the long run if YOU pay for the repair yourself than to make a claim to the insurance company.

Remember...aint nothing free in this world... :D

ps: a busted engine because the car is old is not covered by insurance..it wasn't an accident. In general fixing broken parts on cheaper cars is cheaper than fixing broken parts on more expensive cars (bmw, mercedes, etc). Not always..but in general.