Is a cute old British car worth the hassle for a first-time car buyer?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm getting ready to purchase my first automobile this summer, and I have my heart set on an old, British sports car. I'd either like an MG, or a Triumph Spitfire. However, my parents aren't exactly thrilled because they feel old sports cars need too many repairs and are unsafe. I just want to drive to and from work, but I do want to know if cars like MGs and Spitfires are just a hassle.

RAY: A car like that is not just a hassle, Kellie. It's a complete and utter hassle, as well as a money pit, a death trap, and source of continual and painful frustration.

TOM: But you should definitely get one, Kellie. They're wonderful cars!

RAY: In their favor, they are among the safest cars you can buy. They're always sitting in the driveway with the hood up, and you can't get much safer than that. And the busses you'll be taking instead do very well in the crash tests.

TOM: Don't listen to him, Kellie, he has no sense of the romantic. He doesn't remember what it's like to cruise down the road, the roar of the engine in your ears, the sun on your face, and the wind tangling knots in your hair.

RAY: Very funny. I do REMEMBER what it's like to have hair for the wind to tangle. But when you painted this scene, you neglected to mention the smell of burning oil wafting up your nostrils, and your AAA card clutched fearfully in your sweaty palm.

TOM: Oh, picky, picky. I've owned both of these cars, and everything my brother says is true. But despite that, I have nothing but wonderful memories of them. Go for it, Kellie. Do it while you're young. You may never have another chance to do anything this stupid again!

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