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I've got a dilemma here. My 14 year old Daughter and I are both getting pretty excited over the idea of finding a project Stang this summer and restoring it together, hopefully to be complete by her 16th birthday. However, I've been having second thoughts about this plan due to safety concerns with a new driver in 35 year old technology.

I know there are quite a few VMFers out there who've done projects with their kids. I'd be curious to know how you all feel about the safety factor. I'm familiar with the various mods I can do to make an old Stang safer, such as shoulder belts, high back seats, collapsable column, gas tank divider etc. Even with all these mods, it won't be as safe as a newer car, and that kind of puts a knot in my stomach.

I need advice, guidance and wisdom here folks! I REALLY want to do this with my daughter, but I need to feel comfortable with the safety thing. So what do you think?

DanM
66 Coupe, check her out at http://www.66CoupeNW.stangnet.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education" - Albert Einstein
 
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I think I would go with a 68 model for the safety concerns(still has the early classic look) That is what I plan on doing.
I would add Tank Armour and the metal barrier behind the rear seat. I would also toss the original seat belts(too old)
and replace them with Simpson 2 inche'rs.
I am also looking at a way to add beams into the doors for side impact protection.


Greg B
 

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I had a 73 coupe for a short while, and I wouldn't have any safety concerns with that car. It has shoulder belts, padded dash, modern disk brakes, high back seat, and a real trunk floor. But I would suggest you find one that's already restored because they're alot harder and more expensive to restore, and don't bring as much when they're done. The one I had was REALLY nice. It had new bc/cc Bright Red paint with a white vinyl top and white interior. It had a 351c w/ C6. The air worked and it only brought $4500.

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I wouldn't have a problem with it because I have been in accidents in a 'Stang and a newer vehicle.

I refer to most cars these days as "RubberMaid" because the panels give so easily. Just go try and gently push in the door panel of your car.

My '67 is my ONLY car. I drive it everywhere w/o much fear of injury in an accident. I haven't even done the safety upgrades you talked about yet.
The bottom line is... If you feel safe enough to drive it, why not your child.

I have also considered adding door beams to my '67's.
 

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Boy Dan.... Your having some good thoughts there... If she's going to be on I-5 much etc. really is a consideration....Here on this side of the mountain ,I don't think it would be as big a deal. ( but still a consideration) Would she be real disappointed in something newer? Even something mid-70's would offer better protection...or a little mustang two, T-tops ,cheap ta buy and maintain...... Just a thought

Ken
99GTP
97 Yukon
68 GT convert

Ken
 
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Hard question dude. Been there with mine, sons and daughters, and no matter what you put em in you're
still gonna have concerns when they take off. Comes with the territory.
One thing I would strongly suggest is driver training, and I don't mean the ride around the block at 35
school stuff, I'm talking race training. There's a big difference between thinking you know what you're doing
and really knowing what you're doing and the only way to learn that is training on a track and skid pad. All
my kids had it, and while I give the Lord all the credit that none of them has been in a wreck, I've been with
them on several occasions where the correct reactions kept us alive. Don't let fear steal something from
you and your daughter that will last a lifetime. Just my 2 pence worth.

66 Coupe, 289/2v, C4, CA Red
 

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Been there, done that. Bought my daughter a then new Honda Civic for use in high school. Then I started to see the newspaper photos. At first, I only incidentially noticed the pictures of wrecked cars with injured kids was occasionally or frequently a Honda Civic. Then, I started to try to figure out if the photo of a car torn apart by a pole of some kind was in fact a Honda Civic. There is nothing quite like worrying about your kids when they are out of your sight.

The bottom line is, if you have a reservation about giving a particular car to your kid, what is that reservation and how can you satisfy yourself that it is the right car before giving it to them.

For my daughter the solution was, and it was an expensive compromise, another new car though more stylish for her, and heavier, structurally stronger, ABS brakes, and side beams in the doors for me.

For my son, I eventually had him driving a '64 260 V-8 Falcon Futura convertible. Did I install disc brakes, you bet!

Kind of long, but this one is emotional.



Russ

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I know the delima, Dan. Been there with my kids. I feel perfectly safe with my 17 year-old daughter driving in her '69 now, though. We added high back seats and 3 point belts, and it already had power steering and power disk brakes (factory).

We will make those same mods to my 16-year old son's '65 project as we go. I have a little more concern on the '65, but only because of the speering column.

Other than the speering column of the early ones, I think they're just as safe, if not safer in the Mustangs. They don't tend to crumble like all the new tin-foil cars out there, and I've never been a proponent of air bags (stats show more people have been injured/killed by air bags than saved by them).

When the kids help to build the cars, they learn them from the inside out, learn their strengths and weeknesses, and (at least so far for me) drive them accordingly. (my daughter babies the hell out of her '69 ... Dad has to take it out on weekends to blow the carbon out /forums/images/icons/cool.gif)

If you always do what you've always done,
You'll always get what you've always got

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Is your daughter strong? Well you better get power brakes and power steering then. SWMBO couldn't even turn the Regal's wheel when the PS went out. Also, old cars don't drive like new ones regardless of upgrades. She may not even like the car once she drives it. I've heard of this happening to a lot of people. I'd stay away from a vert for safety reasons, and I'd follow other's advise about the 68 or later non spear-O-matics. A coupe would be a good car because it offers extended rearview visability over a fastback. How about a 68 coupe and put shoulder belts in it? If you like the later models then by all means find one of them. They are safer and the Mustang II's handle a lot better. Would you consider a Fox body? How about a Ford Galaxy? I don't think anyone has ever been hurt in a car that big /forums/images/icons/smile.gif oh, but the back seat is too big... forget about that /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

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Hey, I don't have any kids,I'm only 25, but I was a kid driving a mustang at 16. I had a 67 coupe with a 302 in it. It was a junker and I wanted to paint it to look good. Nope, dad made me spend all my money rebuilding the brakes and steering first because beauty is worthless if its not safe.

I would say definitely add front disc brakes and shoulder belts. When I added disc brakes to the front of my car, it was like night and day comparing the two. That was one upgrade that is worth it if it costs twice what I paid.

Mustangs can be a bear to handle in wet or snow because of the light weight and rear wheel drive. I scared the crap out of myself on more than one occasion driving beyond my ability. I finally went to a Kmart parking lot with a couple inches of snow and taught myself how to quickly and safely recover the rear end braking loose and the whole concept of counter-steer. Its really not a big deal once you know how to recognize it, not be suprised, and properly respond to it. Had dad sent me to one of those driving schools it never would have been an issue.

Also, one other thing to consider. I saw kids when I was in high school with their new cars just beating the crap out of them. Spinning tires, speeding tickets, reckless driving, etc. I always took better care of my car because it was something my dad and I built together, and I didn't want to mess it up...I think it meant a little bit more to me than a new civic or escort would have. A new car may have a stronger door or softer dash, but the psychological advantage of the kid not being too reckless at that age will help out more than you'd think.

68 Fastback, 302 4-v
 
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I bought my 68 coupe when I was 17, right after finishing high school. One of my good friends had purchased one about a year earlier, so I spent a lot of time driving or riding in what was then 20 year old cars. Even through the hormone-blurred vision of a teenager, we were still careful when driving our cars. In fact, we drove his mom's 83 GT quite a bit harder. I think driving a car that rattles and shakes a little bit as you go reminds you to be more alert and not as risky. Also, after working on the car herself, she will be more inclined to make sure nothing bad happens to her work!

68 coupe - Soon to be daily driver (I hope!)
 
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my vote is for the mustang. but if ud rather have a honda civic with a weedeater muffler then.....
 

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When my son turned 16..I turned over my Mach to him..he drove it for about 2 years..beat the hell out of it..*LOL*..by the way..it's the same Mach I still have..and my son is now 30..*LOL* damn I am getting old

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I drive my '69 with the kids in the car often and have the same concerns...I think the most important safety feature (given that the car is in good mechanical repair) is an alert and trained driver. So I'd second the recommendation for a real driver training course. Also as already stated...without serious dough, an old car will not handle like a new car. You could consider a late model like a 5.0 or an SVO which still have a "cool" factor to them...but the urge to drive them irresponsibly may be greater than with a classic.
 
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there are two issues here: 1) how she will drive in a classic mustang 2) how safe is a classic mustang for her to drive.

i'm only 24 but was driving a 56 chevy bel-air at 16 and a 68 mustang convertible at 17. i'm now fixing up a 67 fastback to be my only driver.

at 17 i was fearless and drove the mustang like a moron. BUT, i was a 17 year old male and i wouldn't expect the same from a girl. if anything, i'd expect her to baby the car as another poster said.

that being said, i've got reservations getting my 67 ready for being a daily. i trust my driving abilities now but i don't trust other people on the road.

i was sitting in the drivers seat of the 67 contemplating the safety of the car when i imagined the steering column going through my chest and out my back. yeah - nasty. i don't mean to be gross but let's hash all that is possible with one of these cars.

requisites in my book are:

-high backed preferably late-model seats
-shoulder harnesses preferably retractable ones
-collapsible steering column
-sufficiently small steering wheel to prevent face hitting the wheel in an accident
-power steering
-power disc brakes

tough call... i've already disallowed my girlfriend from getting a miata. i'm much happier having her in the 96 tahoe she's driving now even if it is a chevy. granted, this decision is compounded by the fact that she is a horrible driver.

even with all the safety add-ons that my 67 will have, i would not feel comfortable having a loved one use it daily. i was in an accident while in the back seat of a subaru legacy wagon and am convinced had that car been a classic mustang i would not be here to write about this now. anyone who tells you modern cars crumble like tin-foil is neglecting the fact that they're supposed to. the passenger compartment stays intact while the rest of the car absorbs the impact.

maybe you two can restore the mustang on the side and purchase her something reasonable for daily driving. those subarus last forever, handle great in all weather, and an early 90's model can be had for very, very little.

just my $0.02

-aaron
 
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I've pondered this myself over the years and have started my youngest son(17) in a 73 F250. It's about as safe as you can get on the road, he and his friends think it's cool, and with a 460 under the hood requires a level of respectability. With some experience coupled with a clean record for a couple of years will result in his own Mustang as promised.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Apparently, I've touched on a popular subject! Thanks for all the great advice folks. I'm still not sure what I'll do, but you've given me some things to think about. Several of you suggested that she will likely baby this car, which adds an element of safety. She's also a pretty responsible person, and we're going to spend the next couple years letting her thrash our old Blazer around the forest service roads, so by the time she's 16 she'll have some good behind-the-wheel experience. However, I worry about other drivers and situations out of her control. Neither she nor I have much interest in later model Mustangs. We'll either restore a classic, or forget the idea and put her in a Subaru or something (by the way, I agree that Subarus are good cars).

Hmmmm ... what to do, what to do ...



DanM
66 Coupe, check her out at http://www.66CoupeNW.stangnet.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education" - Albert Einstein
 

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My son drove his 69 SportsRoof from his senior year of high school. He still has the 69 seven years later, but augmented it with a newer car for a daily driver. If you don't buy a surplus M-60 tank, then a kid with bad judgement can do some serious damage to themselves. You've just got to trust your kid's maturity level and try not to insulate them from life. My daughter drove my 83 Bronco for five years. I didn't sit and worry about her being in an overturn accident in spite of the bad press 4X4's were recieving. She's a level headed young woman. Acceptable risk is part of living in a real world and kids have to grow into that fact.

Regards,
RagTop
 

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I would personally say that owning a 36 year old car has taught me a lot. Thus far it has taught me how to rebuild an entire braking system all the way to Mig welding in floor pans.(note: when welding in floor pans don't do it with a 1/4 tank of gas, i sure as heck didn't know the fuel line ran under the hump, luckly nothing went boom)

As for safety concerns. I personally would rather drive an older mustang than some of these rice grinders they have now. A lot of those smaller cars are less safe than my 36 year old piece of iron.

just my 2 cents

oh yah, power breaks and steering would help a new driver out lol. if they have driven with those features before, they are going to get real confused as to why it is so hard to turn the wheel. or that if they hit the breaks really hard the wheels will lock up and skid.

now this is growing up lol.
 

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I'd have to agree, it's kind of a toss up (safety factors vs. responsibility). I actually have a question to add. I am 23, just bought my 67 fastback and have to admit, I am a little concerned about safety for myself and woman. Everyone is talking about collapsible steering columns and tank armor. I have been looking in catalogs but can't seem to find anything. The only items I could find was the steel divider which doesn't do much for FB owners. Any pointers on where to find this stuff would be great (even better to find it at a good price)! :)
Thanks All,
Nate
 
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