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So, I am buying my soon to be 16year old son a car. I have settled on a budget of 25k USD. After much ado and discussion, my wife (what a saint) chimed in and said, "I am tired of seeing grey-haired men driving cool looking cars". She suggested an older porsche!!! So, we are seriously considering a 2000 to 2002 996. Needless to say, my son is on board. This will certainly go a long way in the "cool" factor and "chick" factor for my near 16 year old. I guess I am buying him the car I wish i had when I was that age. I know it is insane of me, but for 25k, would he/I rather get a nice late model Honda Accord, or a 10 year old 996 with the aero kit??? With all of that said, we do have some things to consider that I would like feedback on. This car will not be garaged. it will not be babied. It will be driven every day (at least 30 miles roundtrip to his school). I expect in three or four years it will not look as good as it does not...but so what...have fun. I have rationalized my expectation on maintenance (plus or minus 3k per year) with the thought that it will not depreciate as much as said Accord. The questions I have are:

1) Fear of total engine failure (too much reading about IMS/ RMS issues?

2) Should we focus more on lower miles or later year...e.g. is a 2003 with 65,000 miles better than a 1999 with 30,000 miles or vice versa?

3) What about Cabriolet versus Coupe (remember...never going to be garaged...also, is one safer than the other)?

4) Interior color...does it matter...my son likes black?

5) What am I missing...what should we be considering?

I am interested in any thoughts on this. By the way, the insurance is no worse than any other cool or semi cool car (e.g. 2007 Mustang GT, 2004 E46 M3, etc.). It isn't even much worse than that Accord I mentioned. Being 16 is the issue, not so much the car...so what the heck!

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I was at the Porsche dealership last month and one father just bought his son a new turbo GT3 after graduating from college with a 4.0 average - that was the deal, he get a 4.0 and dad would buy him whatever car he wanted.

I would have loved to have a 911 when I was 16. In retrospect, probably best that I waited a few years till the testosterone levels declined to a reasonable level and my driving skills came up to a reasonable level. Your son may be an exception to the rule and not to mention the stats that insurance companies collect about teenage drivers. Personally, I'd get him a less powerful fuel efficient car that he could learn on first, then dangle the pcar carrot out there for a reward for accident / ticket free driving when he graduated, turned 18, got into college, etc., etc.. You should visit www.wreckedexotics.com and read some of the stories about teenage drivers with high performance vehicles...

Whatever your decision, I wish your son all the best. He's lucky to have parents like y'all. Be safe!

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If it were my son, I'd buy a Boxster, for the following reasons:

1) Very easy to drive, much more so than a 996. Even better if it has PSM (and clip the wire on the diabling switch);

2) Much cheaper than a 996, for lower miles, etc;

3) Only one passenger. For a teenager, this might involve less getting into trouble;

4) Just as safe as a 996 -- side air bags, etc;

5) Possibly lower insurance costs, though that will still kill you -- $2k/year or more, and I would recommend supplemental PI.

For $25k, you can get a pretty low mileage 986.

Whatever you buy him, get him a day at a professional driving school.

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Just to play devil's advocate for a minute:

Remember that these soft performance tires have a life of about 12 months, maybe not even that with a 16-year-old driving, and cost about $1,000 per set -- although you may be able to get the fronts to last twice as long as the rears.

An oil change takes 9 quarts of synthetic oil, so it's $100 versus $30 for a regular car.

Parts like the MAF, water pump, alternator, brake pads, starter, etc. will generally be $100 or so more than a Ford or Honda and are almost guaranteed never to be in stock at the dealership, so even if it's an emergency, there's a delay, and you almost have to rely on mail order anyway for fair prices.

I've had my 99 for about 3.5 years and in that time I've had to do 2 sets of rear tires, 1 set of front tires, replaced a cracked oil filler tube, replaced a water pump, replaced a MAF sensor, replaced a convertible top control module, and replaced the air-oil separator. Old cars have issues no matter how much they're babied.

Then, you have the motor issue. Nobody has a way to predict when and why the IMS will go. I didn't know about the issue when I bought my car and after I found out I spent the first year stressing over it. I finally stopped caring. However, you have to realize that at any time through no fault of the driver, you might have a $14k bill to replace that motor. You might be able to pull off a salvage engine swap for $4 - 5k, but then you're just putting yourself in the same position with a different unknown motor.

It's a fun car, but after owning one as an adult, I understand why my parents put me in a 4 cylinder Ford Mustang when I was 16.

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This is not the right car for a 16 year - at all. He doesn't have enough driving experience to safely drive a powerful car like this. Even with PSM there is a big engine at the back of the car that will punish you if you are silly when driving. Also, expect him to hit a few other vehicles and objects while parking etc.

Maintenace is much more expensive for these cars - I figure you are not super wealthy otherwise you'd by a 2011 997. 3K a year is probably a little low given the amortization of tires and brakes and oil changes, plus anything that breaks.

Of course, none of by business and not my decision, but a car like this just sends the wrong message - in life you need to earn toys like these by earing money. My kids are getting Honda's.

Simon

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You are an amazing father to want to get your son a 996. But here's my 2 cents.. I would have killed myself in a 911 when I was 16. No question I would be dead. I learned to drive in 40 hp VW bugs. I learned to drift in a bug. All of my friends had VW's. When it rained we would go look for wet spots to slide in. I crashed all of my bugs but at a speed that that was not too high lol! But I learned to drive and what "over the limit" meant. I was not more or less of an idiot that any other 16 year old. But I know if I had a 250hp sports car things would have gotten ugly.

I have to second the other poster and say start out with something with less power. He needs to learn how to drive. How about something cheap so he will appreciate getting the Porsche later? A Honda? A Scion? If it has to be a Porsche idea of an older Boxster is a good one. Not too much power and very forgiving handling. Driving school is a brilliant idea. Once he has proved that he can be responsible and handle the Boxster (and his hormones) then you could move up to the 996.

I'm not trying to bust your sons balloon but I have a friend who thought it would be cool to buy his young son a Cobra Mustang. Sadly he (the boy) was killed street racing the first month.. When you are a 16 year old male you are stupid.. period... Everyone in his high school is going to want to race him in that car. Do think he will be mature enough to handle that?

Just my two cents. Whatever you decide you are very cool parents! Just be careful what you give him to play with.. A Porsche at 16? Maybe not a good idea...

All the best

Edited by phillipj

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If you do it. PLEASE PLEASE get him into a PCA driving class or classes. You can replace cars and parts. You can't replace your son.

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So, I am buying my soon to be 16year old son a car. I have settled on a budget of 25k USD. After much ado and discussion, my wife (what a saint) chimed in and said, "I am tired of seeing grey-haired men driving cool looking cars". She suggested an older porsche!!! So, we are seriously considering a 2000 to 2002 996. Needless to say, my son is on board. This will certainly go a long way in the "cool" factor and "chick" factor for my near 16 year old. I guess I am buying him the car I wish i had when I was that age. I know it is insane of me, but for 25k, would he/I rather get a nice late model Honda Accord, or a 10 year old 996 with the aero kit??? With all of that said, we do have some things to consider that I would like feedback on. This car will not be garaged. it will not be babied. It will be driven every day (at least 30 miles roundtrip to his school). I expect in three or four years it will not look as good as it does not...but so what...have fun. I have rationalized my expectation on maintenance (plus or minus 3k per year) with the thought that it will not depreciate as much as said Accord. The questions I have are:

1) Fear of total engine failure (too much reading about IMS/ RMS issues?

2) Should we focus more on lower miles or later year...e.g. is a 2003 with 65,000 miles better than a 1999 with 30,000 miles or vice versa?

3) What about Cabriolet versus Coupe (remember...never going to be garaged...also, is one safer than the other)?

4) Interior color...does it matter...my son likes black?

5) What am I missing...what should we be considering?

I am interested in any thoughts on this. By the way, the insurance is no worse than any other cool or semi cool car (e.g. 2007 Mustang GT, 2004 E46 M3, etc.). It isn't even much worse than that Accord I mentioned. Being 16 is the issue, not so much the car...so what the heck!

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OK...so you folks are indeed convincing me that this is a bad idea for many reasons. With that said, in general, my son despises Japanese metal. What is interesting to me is that looking at various other options in the used space (G35, 328, etc.) that might still hit some of the cool factor, many of these cars have cranked their horsepower up so much that their performance is nearing what a ten year old base 996 can provide. I am not sure they are much of a step down in performance or step up in safety. Even a new V6 Mustang can crank it up. He wants Euro looks more than anything (air ****, skirts, etc.). Cannot do a Boxtster as occasionally need to accomodate more than two in the car. Would love an E46 M3 but I suppose all of the same arguements apply. Looking for other options...maybe a 328 Coupe (07/08) with paddle shift...only 230 HP?

More thoughts?

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Guess it really depends on the maturity level of your son. A very close Friend of mine is a Doctor who bought his 16 YO son a 2000 M3. 2 years later and he has no tickets, no accidents, honor roll student and just picked up a ROTC scholarship. I grew up with high performance muscle cars of the 60's and wouldn't trade the experience for anything. On the other hand, we all know kids who couldn't handle the power and got themselves or others killed. In the end, if it were me and I felt my son showed the maturity and discipline then I would get him the 996! You can always take it away if he fails to live up to your expectations...

R/Tom

Edited by goldenwarrior1

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Having bought my 16 year old kids cars, may I suggest that you consider an older 4 door sedan like a volvo or a VW golf, and be prepared for the for the possibility of the car being wrecked within the year. I would also recommend that your child be required to pay their portion of the automobile insurance.

my 2¢ worth

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I will be in the same situation in a few years time, although I don't think I'll spend $25k for his car.

Any car can go as fast as it can with supercharger, turbos etc., but only certain cars that will be enjoyable to drive as well as being safe.

You are heading in the right direction with BMW 328s (get the Coupe). They are a joy to drive, and they have all the safety features that you'd like your son to have. Airbags, traction control, 4-star safety ratings, pyrotechnic seat-belts etc., etc. , and more importantly they are 'normal' cars.

For my son's first car, I'll get him a 318. Sure it's not fast or 'cool' looking, but at least it'll be safe and he'll be able to enjoy every drive.

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Threads like this make me happy I don’t have any kids; at least any that I know of……

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Back in the 90s, my dad put myself , my brother and my sister in our 1983 station wagon for six months to a year after we each turned 16.

Mind you, we were all three very responsible honors students and had six months of driving with a permit before getting our licenses.

Within the first three months I was driving to a friend's house fiddling with the radio, looked up and realized I was in the ditch just in time to hit a driveway that crosses the ditch which ramped the car up into the air Dukes of Hazard style, crumpled the front fender and bent two rims.

Within her first month my sister rear-ended another car in the school parking lot.

And within his first six months driving, my brother got run off the road racing the station wagon and slid into a fence post. (He was the wild man, but I can't lie, I raced the wagon as well. It had a 305 in it.)

My dad was never too hard on us about the wrecks. He'd say something like, "You learned an important lesson about paying attention and the responsibility of owning a car, and you did it pretty cheaply." Of course, then he'd make us pay for the damages to the station wagon, which were never more than about $200 or so because the scrap yards were practically giving away parts for that car.

A couple months later after no more wrecks, he'd buy us an inexpensive but nicer car. And you'd better believe we all took extreme care of those cars. Not one of them was ever wrecked.

Edited by JeTexas

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For what's it's worth, here's my two cents on what should be a lifelong memory for your son (wish my folks would have had the means and the foresight),

1) Fear of total engine failure (too much reading about IMS/ RMS issues?)

- MY FEARS HAVE YET TO BE REALIZED IN THIS REGARD, THERE SEEMS TO BE NO WAY OF KNOWING IF THE CAR YOU BUY WILL BE AFFECTED THOUGH THERE ARE PRECAUTIONARY

2) Should we focus more on lower miles or later year...e.g. is a 2003 with 65,000 miles better than a 1999 with 30,000 miles or vice versa?

- BETTER TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE CAR THAN THE MILEAGE, IN MY OPINION. 65,000 HIGHWAY MILES IS BETTER THAN 30,000 WHERE 5,000 ARE TRACK MILES.

3) What about Cabriolet versus Coupe (remember...never going to be garaged...also, is one safer than the other)?

- I DON'T HAVE A GARAGE EITHER, BUT I DID INVEST IN A HARDTOP OFF OF EBAY AND I DO PUT A COVER ON FOR STORMS AND SNOWFALL. THE CABRIOLET BRINGS WITH IT ADDITIONAL COOL FACTOR FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS, BUT WITH IT A MAINTENANCE OVERHEAD.

4) Interior color...does it matter...my son likes black?

- GREY OR BLACK STAND THE TEST OF TIME, SOME OF THE REDS AND BROWNS LOOK CRAPPY ON THE OLDER CARS

5) What am I missing...what should we be considering?

3 THINGS:

- ADVANCED DRIVING COURSE FOR THE YOUNG MAN, THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH THE ENGINEERING ON THE PORSCHE THAT CAN GET HIS *** OUT OF PUSHING HIS DRIVING CAPABILITIES!

- REGULAR REMINDERS IN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS HIM HOW EXCEPTIONALLY LUCKY HE IS AND WITH THAT COMES RESPONSIBILITY.

- A BETTER STEREO SYSTEM, OR MODIFICATION TO UTILIZE iPod

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If he wants a European car how 'bout a few year old VW Passat or Audi A4?

There's no reason to put a 16 year old guy in anything terribly exciting or expensive.

A $25k budget for a first car? Wow.

I was thrilled with my $300 Datsun 210 when I was 16.

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No 16 year old needs a sports car. They lack maturity and driving skills.

You need to think long and hard about this. You would live a lifetime with regret if something happened to him. I see it on the news and in the paper allot. Buy him the biggest safest car you can find!

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Your wife is insane.

When I was that age I had too much fun exploring the limits of my VW Quantum.

After I wrecked it a few times I also enjoyed figuring out how to keep it on the road with parts from the local scrap yard that I could afford. And the many speeding tickets...

A sports car such as a 996 in the hands of a new driver is like arming someone with a gun without teaching them how to properly use it.

When your son is in his early twenties after a few years of driving under their belt... definitively better suited for a college graduation gift.

My two cents, buy him a VW

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Hi James,

I think it's amazing that you're willing to buy a nice car for your son. The most important disclaimer is that you (and your wife) know your son better than anyone else, so the fact alone that you're considering it tells me that your son must be quite mature and level-headed for his age.

Ultimately if your son is going to be irresponsible, most likely he will be in trouble in any car. My suggestion would be to establish rules for the use and care of the car, as well as what would it take for him to lose car privileges (tickets, grades, etc).

I agree with previous suggestions mentioned and perhaps take a bit of your budget (maybe downgrade to a Boxster instead of the 911?) and allocate it to Porsche driving education. If you're around for this, you can judge how your son's driving skills match the handling of a sports car.

Second disclaimer: I am not nearly as educated about Porsche as some other forum members, but here is my $.02:

1) Fear of total engine failure (too much reading about IMS/ RMS issues? From what I've read in this and other forums, it all comes down to proper maintenance and some luck. I would not allow this to deter me from purchasing a Porsche.

2) Should we focus more on lower miles or later year...e.g. is a 2003 with 65,000 miles better than a 1999 with 30,000 miles or vice versa? The Porsche mantra I've read is "but the newest Porsche you can afford". Either way, make sure you have a good mechanic and get a PPI.

3) What about Cabriolet versus Coupe (remember...never going to be garaged...also, is one safer than the other)? If you're in Atlanta, I'd say getting a cab would be nicer.

4) Interior color...does it matter...my son likes black? Just a matter of taste. And of how much care you put into it (stains, etc.)

5) What am I missing...what should we be considering? I'm assuming that money is not and will not be an issue. As mentioned before, maintenance is more expensive than other makes. Insurance for a Porsche being driving by a 16 year old must not be cheap. And again, you decide how you want to work with your son. If he is mature enough and an educated, responsible driver, why not?

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There is no way I would buy my 16 year old son a 996. Look back at your youth and see how much buffoonery you did at that age. I can remember many stupid events I did in a old car, if I had a 300+ hp car I would be dead. I was in 3 accidents (1 my fault) all while I was 16 (hit by a drunk driver, rear ended, and put a truck on it's side on the side of a mountain (driving to fast on gravel)). My almost 18 daughter drives my old 944 (and she has had two small accidents (backing into a car at school and taping a mail box). Get your son a SAFE/slow car (civic/focus) and let him get some experience in driving on a crap car before you get him a nice car when he graduates college. Just my 2 cents...

Rick

99 996C4

87 944S

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There is no way I would buy my 16 year old son a 996. Look back at your youth and see how much buffoonery you did at that age. I can remember many stupid events I did in a old car, if I had a 300+ hp car I would be dead. I was in 3 accidents (1 my fault) all while I was 16 (hit by a drunk driver, rear ended, and put a truck on it's side on the side of a mountain (driving to fast on gravel)). My almost 18 daughter drives my old 944 (and she has had two small accidents (backing into a car at school and taping a mail box). Get your son a SAFE/slow car (civic/focus) and let him get some experience in driving on a crap car before you get him a nice car when he graduates college. Just my 2 cents...

Rick

99 996C4

87 944S

+1 !

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Two sons; presently one out of university and one in the third year. During High School they car pooled so I purchase a mid 80's 420 sel (euro version of the Buick Roadmaster). That car made it through both of them and sold it for a $200 loss after their combined 6 year use. Both learned how to drive a large vehicle that required their attention at all times, both went through a driving school and I don't mean a driver's ed type class. They were both in accidents (not of their fault) with no injuries and I felt more at ease when they were out. After High School with 50% chip in from me, the first one ended up getting a Euro-635Csi from a stewaress that flew from LAX to Paris and had brought it into the states. Still has the car, 5 years later and gets all kinds of looks. The other ended up getting an Alfa Romeo Milano Quadrifoglio. They both take care of their cars and have fond memories of the Panzerwagon.

Moral: Kids are kids, are kids are kids. Most cars today have more than enough power to get them into trouble. Protect them first, educate them on how to drive then help get them the first nice car. But make them invest in their own car, otherwise its not earned.

My daughter is coming up for the first car - She says, hey how about a VW - I'm talking Volvo 240D if I can't find that 420 sel again.

Be the parent first, the friend ....... distant second.

Just my two cents.

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I have no stats to back this up, but it sure seems like nearly everyone gets in at least one accident between the age of 16 and 18. The chances of that accident being a high speed, substantial wreck seem like they would be greatly increased in a fast sports car.

Kids deal with a TREMENDOUS amount of peer pressure. Chances are good your kid WILL drive that car 150 mph. He WILL test it's limits on his favorite curvy road. Chances are he WILL drive drunk in it. Chances are he will let friends drive it.

To me... this decision has nothing to do with money, cool factor, reliability, maintenance costs or anything else. It has everything to do with your son's safety. Obviously I don't know him.... You do. I think it would be a rare teenager that could handle the responsibility that would come with that car. If your son is that guy, ok.

If I were you, though, I would base 100% of my decision on your child's safety. Good luck.

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seriously, what a completely goofy idea... sounds like it's important to you that your son be "cool", how ridiculous... i'd rather know my son was "safe" than "cool". the fact that you'd even consider a 911 for a 16 yr old kid is irresponsible. but, hey, to each his own... you and Diddy - takes all kinds to make this world go around...

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