By on January 15, 2016

1968 Comparison Test (2 of 26)

Hi folks,

I have a ’15 Subaru WRX and a ’68 Ford Mustang. I pick my daughter up from daycare everyday. When the weather is nice, I drive the Mustang.

My wife and I are thinking of having a second kid, which would render my Mustang unusable since there’s no middle seat and zero space behind the driver. I’ve been lurking on a bunch of model-specific sites and on The H.A.M.B., but I can’t find much info on classics that will fit two car seats comfortably, at least one of which would be rear-facing.

My other limiting factor is that my garage is shallow, so anything over 200 inches long is a tight squeeze. That knocks out most of the big cars I thought of first.

Any suggestions on cars from ’49-’74 that have tidy exterior dimensions, but ample back seat space? I’m partial to Fords and Mopars.

Steve Says:

When you said Mopar, my very first thought was a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger. At 196 inches, it will fit perfectly in your garage and the rear seats on these vehicles are surprisingly spacious. Check this out.

But here’s the rub: There has to be a strong love connection with you and the vehicle, and I’m frankly not Carnac the Magnificent when it comes to reading your personal Taste-O-Meter. I prefer to be in the big car world when it comes to classics, which is why I bought a 1979 Cadillac Deville D’Elegance for $500 last summer. Of course, I got the car with a wrench sticking straight out of the carb and enough tattered headliner to enshroud a mummy. Then there were the headlights held in place with cardboard inserts, the A/C system that didn’t actually blow, the paint job on top of the old paint job, the falling trim, the surface rust, the … damn it! Why do I still own this rolling turd?

If it were my dime, I would spend a quarter and find a Dart that’s been well kept, maybe something similar to this late model Dart. I would stick with a sporty car that was as common as Coca-Cola back in the day, just like your Mustang.

This is a tough one, though, with your restrictions of 200 inches or less, a classic car that can be a daily driver, and a big back seat. Anyone else wanna give it a shot? Maybe a 1990 Caravan with fake hood scoops. What says the rest of you?

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138 Comments on “New or Used?: Should This Mustang Man Get a Minivan?...”


  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I don’t have a family but if I did I certainly wouldn’t transport them in an such an old car that doesn’t have modern safety features.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      This is my thinking. If you’re willing to prioritize family over the mustang, prioritize their safety as well. There are plenty of decent rides that won’t bore you to death that will also protect you and your family should the occasion arise. Why not look for a decent marauder or a new era charger? Those will both have much more modern protection and still have some V8 power and classic go-straight muscle car handling to keep you entertained.

      And down the road you can always go back to the classics if you still feel the need or end up with more space to accommodate.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      +1 on this. Classic are nice if you have extra garage space, but carting around your kids….a modern car is essential.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I would recommend getting a Toyota Sienna AWD Swaggerwagon for the family, and still keep the classic.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        I’m assuming he’s not wanting to cut bait and take a loss on a 2015 vehicle already. If that’s not the case, then yeah, ditch the Subaru and get something brand new/very recent for family duty and keep the vehicle you really want.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          There are times when a person just has to bite the bullet. Getting the right set-up now should save beaucoup bucks down the road.

          From my own experience, four kids and a wife, we got around the issue with a TravelAll, and then later a 9-seater Olds Custom Cruiser stationwagon aka mom’s car.

          It also meant that MY DD was some piece of excrement on wheels held together with bailing wire that I kept going until it fell apart at which time it was replaced with another piece of excrement on wheels.

          Best car is always for the fam! No two ways about it.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            As a hay farmer, it’s my solemn duty to issue periodic reminders that it’s spelled “baling,” and the brick of hay that comes out of the end of the *baler* is a *bale.*

            Also, baling wire has been almost nonexistent on any farm since twine took over. We like wrapping bales in something that can be cut with a pocketknife.

            Not that any of that actually had anything to do with your comment…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Are you really a hay farmer? That’s your job?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with Ubermensch. I’m not sure how your family works but my thought is whomever is picking up the child(ren) should be driving the new car that day.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      The OP definitely needs to consult with his wife about this plan. Frankly, I’m surprised that she hasn’t nixed carrying the first child around in something so old as the Mustang. I would be amazed if she condoned carrying 2 children in something without ABS, airbags, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        gfarnham

        My wife is a full partner in all of our financial decisions. She also recognizes that managed risk is part of life. This “ZOMG!!!!!! Any car with fewer than 8 airbags and traction control will instantly murder your whole family if you look at it askance!” attitude is kind of alarming.

        • 0 avatar
          wumpus

          You do realize that the ’68 Mustang didn’t come with rear seatbelts nor front shoulderbelts (at least my mom’s ’67 Le Mons didn’t). This isn’t a car with “just” two front airbags. This is a car where any concern for safety was quietly taken outside and shot before it alarmed anyone.

          That said, if you manage to find a strong mounting point for child seats, your orphans might make it through a crash without injury. – Note: I’d keep the Mustang (but I’m not a father), but don’t underestimate the difference between a modern car and a “unsafe at any speed” variety. Its certainly better than a motorcycle (maybe. With period brakes and tires vs. a modern motocycle it probably would be worse, but I hope those are modern).

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      As a Dad, I am going to have to second this motion. Get a new car with safety features. While it is nice to be able to wrench on an old car, one serious accident, and owner will regret it.

      Honestly, if you can swing 203″, I would get a 2011 Dodge Caravan. The V-6 in those make 283hp, thus making it a real sleeper, and it is pretty easy to get kids in and out.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Yeah but the t&c/caravan truly stink to drive and have very poor build quality. I had one this summer while our family car was under the knife and the boys loved it. My wife and I were at each others throats meanwhile over who’s turn it was to get stuck in the suck-mobile. Screw the kids. I don’t think they should really have constant access to in-car tv anyway. Once the oldest experienced that it was a never ending stream of requests.

        They do have good power, but the transmission was always in the way, it wallowed around every corner, was not convenient to park and torque steered everywhere. I only liked it when I was abusing the interior hauling around wheels seats and other goodies. It made me want a transit cargo van.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The T&C also performed poorly on the small frontal offset crash test.

          My wife will barely ride in one, even though a 2014 T&C is probably safer than our 2004 Sienna.

          I’m eagerly awaiting pricing on the Chrysler Pacifica plugin hybrid. 30 miles of electric range would cover our average day quite nicely, and we can save gasoline for road trips.

          (I really *want* a Bolt, though.)

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Video comparing MY2015 minivans on the then-new small frontal offset crash test:
            https://youtu.be/TZC8Ykl1esE

            Avoid the Quest and the T&C. Sienna and Odyssey are better.

            Hopefully the Chrysler Pacifica will be designed with this test in mind.

        • 0 avatar
          carlisimo

          Yeah, the Grand Caravan/Town & Country (what a stupid name) are terrible, but resale value is so low that a used one is hard to pass up.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      My kids adore my ’63 Thunderbird. I won’t deny them that joy.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Same with my e30. “Daddy the wagon is boooring…” even with all my improvements. Kid is spoiled and doesn’t know it.

        Keep the Mustang! While they are rear facing, well, they are just climbing out of the goldfish stage of developement. The Mustang experience is wasted on them. Sooner than later the oldest will be in a booster. That’ll free up enough space. Meanwhile the larger classics have none of the charm that the pony brings to the table.

      • 0 avatar

        There is risk in life and there’s joy in life and sometimes (maybe most of the time) they are not exclusive of one another.

        As a father of 3 I have no trouble occasionally carting my kids in older pre safety cars. I’m not taking a family vacation in one but picking them up at school sure. My oldest son in particular has ridden in plenty of older 4wd’s and a few old cars as well.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “I don’t have a family but if I did I certainly wouldn’t transport them in an such an old car that doesn’t have modern safety features.”

      It entirely depends on the type of drive you have. I wouldn’t drive my kid daily in an old Mustang at 80mph on I80, but take a few surface streets to go 5 miles or whatever, yeah, I wouldn’t have a problem with that in basically anything. Hell, I might do it in a bike and trailer on occasion. And you can quote all the “most accidents happen close to home” or whatever stats you want, that’s how it is.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Old mustang on the freeway is fine. But if you get T-boned at 40MPH by somebody blowing a light two blocks from your house, any old car is going to be a deathtrap.

        That’s where a modern minivan with side-curtain airbags is going to save your lives.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Here’s some perspective on how a classic car would fare in a collision with a modern car:
          https://youtu.be/YHp1GAFQzto

          The IIHS staged a collision between a 1959 Chevy Bel Air and it’s 50-years-newer equivalent, a 2009 Chevy Malibu. The difference in crash survivability is drastic.

          There’s a lot of hand waving about how much safer modern vehicles are all over the comments section. This video makes it much clear what that statement means.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Wrap them in bubble wrap.
    Never micro wave in plastic.
    2nd hand smoke will drop you dead – fast.
    coal is evil.
    Lead Paint.
    Aluminum pans.
    Eliminate ALL risk now.
    You will comply. We are the Borg…….
    Sheeeesh. Come on.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Its not about eliminating all risk.

      There’s a lot of cheap safety available in this world.

      For instance, putting on a seatbelt is cheap safety, because it’s already there and designed in to the crash protection systems of the car.

      Car seats are also cheap safety. Less than $199, and your kid is changed from a potential projectile to the safest person in the car.

      Driving a relatively modern vehicle? They’re more reliable, faster, and safer than the classics. Less charming, though. I’ve never owned a classic car, but I imagine that TCO difference between owning, say, a 5 year old car and a classic are more similar than most people would like to admit. This is probably cheap safety, too.

      P.S. My van has a 269 horsepower engine in a ~4500lb vehicle. I’d put that against a lot of classic cars on the drag strip, just so long as I get to take the kid stuff out before the race.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    London Taxi! (LTI TXII)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TXII

    Wait.. I just reread where the OP said ’49-’74.
    To haul your family in?! Is you crazy?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    A new CX-5 will outperform these classics in nearly every way. As an added bonus, your kids will have a much better chance at staying alive, and all the other parents at daycare pickup won’t think you are a complete moron.

    On the other hand, maybe you can find an old, beaten Gixxer 1000 with bald tires and strap on a couple of car seats…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Cars from ’49 – ’74 <200 inches are no fun. That was prime time for giant cars, man!

    However, spacious and cool and 4-seater, unusual, and under 200"…

    http://www.oldcaradvertising.com/AMC%20Ads/1966%20Marlin/1966%20Marlin%20Ad-01.jpg

    The AMC Marlin. It’s even kind of a Mopar, eventually.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree on the Marlin. I would add the first gen barracuda as well, I see one at our local library from time to time with a car seat in the back.
      For me I think a Jeepster commando would be a fun left field choice.

  • avatar

    Chances are: he already decided

    I’m in the market right now for a CTS or XTS lease.

    CT6 isn’t available yet.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      ????

      And yesterday I had a salad for dinner.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        What kind of salad?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It was baby romaine, mixed red/green, organic. I buy the organic because it comes in a box and keeps better than the bag stuff – not because I care about being organic. Also it has no stalks.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well, what did you put on the salad? Not just lettuce leaves, right?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Little bit of bacon bits, some cheddar cheese, and some tomato olive oil foccacia croutons which I discovered under the Private Selection name at Kroger. And some very thinly chopped pepperoncini.

            Topped off with Ken’s Light Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing.

            And the leaves are so young they don’t have hard stalks, just tear the leaves up and eat. Nomnom.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No stalks? No way.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Private Selection stuff at Kroger is pretty good. It makes me laugh though because there is nothing “private” or exclusive about it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s private because you hide it in the cabinet, embarrassed that you bought a store brand.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            #storebrandsmatter

            I’m okay with many of the Kroger store products. When I lived on the west coast, Safeway brands too. On the other hand, Meijer brand cheese and cereal tastes unfit for human consumption. My daughter says that Meijer brand toasted oats are “Cat Cheerios”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Haha, cat cheerios. I don’t buy cereal now, but when I did I stuck with the main brands. There was always something slightly off about a value brand cereal. One thing or another to let you know it wasn’t real.

            (I don’t eat cereal any more because Cinn Toast Crunch and Oreo O’s were my jam. I ate too much of them for cereal was my dessert, and was putting on weight – literally. Oreo O’s are long gone now anyway.:( )

            I don’t mind PS things, and they have good ice cream as well. I stay clear from any Walmart/Sams brand thing, bleh. I don’t shop at Meijer here because it’s more expensive than everything else. I dunno how they’re in business still. They’re worse than Biggs/Remke which is already mostly gone.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I cannot have Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the house because it will be gone in less than 24 hours. I don’t eat cereal anymore, unless you count oatmeal. The wee one likes Cheerios though. I think they give her corn chex at school sometimes too.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m sort of like:

            Have a big bowl of cereal.
            Is there more in the box?
            If yes, eat.

            Until gone! It’s bad.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You should come to the meetings.

            My name is 28-Cars-Later and I have a Cinnamon Toast Crunch problem.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Group chant: Hiiii twenty-eight.

          • 0 avatar

            I have the same cereal issue my kids love cinnamon toast crunch too my wife instituted a rule that we had to eat 2 healthy boxes of cereal before we can open another cinnamon toast crunch to keep things sane.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Who are you and what have you done with HELLCAT?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What was with the hanging off body parts under that Mustang anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      Sobro

      Trac bars? http://www.summitracing.com/search/part-type/traction-bars

      I don’t think it’s THAT hard to find a vintage car under 200 inches. The 57 Bel Air was exactly 200 inches long.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I roll a 57′ resto mod. Fits in the garage. Has four seat belts. My two boys both under the age of 12 would be devastated if I sold the 7.

        It’s not like the OP is going to be using the old car as a daily. What’s the issue here. Use the Subie when you have both and the classic when you one.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m not sure why the safety people are freaking out becuase this just sounds like an occasional, sunny-day use car.

    He only wants something he can put his entire family in for cruising around.

    If he was asking about baby trailers for a bicycle or going on a hay ride would you all be telling him to buy a CRV?

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      It’s absolutely imperative that all kids grow up without risk – that way, when we’re elderly and depend on them to manage the world’s business, they will make rational, risk-conscious decisions and we can all feel good about raising them in a fictitious, risk-free fantasy.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      I don’t think anyone’s freaking out, but given the facts, it makes sense to me. He’s already stated that the cars he actually wants won’t work for him. So right off the bat, he’s got to compromise. If he’s going to get something he doesn’t really want, might as well get something that’s somewhat sensible for the time being until either he decides he can live with a smaller back seat or his situation changes (money and/ or space).

      You certainly don’t need to (and shouldn’t) bubble wrap your kids through life. Putting your family in a 50+ year old car on a regular basis seems like a risk that’s easy enough to avoid and isn’t coddling. Now if this guy’s ride to and from school is only a mile or two, sure go for the old car. But I see plenty of crazy on my 7 mile commute daily that would make me nervous for kids’safety. Given the mass of the average car on the road these days, any classic will lose in a crash.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Any suggestions on cars from ’49-’74 that have tidy exterior dimensions, but ample back seat space?”

        That’s the question he asked. He didn’t give nearly enough background information (distance to the daycare, etc.) for people to start jumping on their high-horse.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          This us a question that cannot be answered by anyone other than the OP. Nobody buys a classic car for any logical reason. You get one for emotional reasons. It’s the car you want, not the car I or anybody else wants.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      As a father of 2, I am a firm believer in letting my boys take risks to learn from experience, even if it means they get occasionally hurt from jumping off too high a ledge. My sons are controlling their own risk exposure and need to learn how to manage it.

      On the road, however, other drivers control a large part of the risk. I could never live with myself if my son was maimed or killed because I had him in a classic car that crumpled like a wet sponge if someone ran into me.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Ford Falcon, Ford Fox body (Fairmont, Zephyr, etc, intoduced in 78 so it can be had pre-80), Dart/Valiant, not sure about the length of a Fairlane.

    I usually find myself more attracted to the Mercury and Plymouth versions of cars back then, but its not like Id turn down a Ford or Dodge version.

    You can find these cars out west for decent money, especially if its less-desirable a four door version. Im sure youd prefer a V-8, but Id rather have a nice Inline 6 if it were my choice. :-) Id probably get a Ford with the 6, one I can upgrade with a better head, fuel injection, etc from our friends Down Under.

    But, you and your passengers will be killed every time you drive it, so, there’s that…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Oh yeah the ejector seats lack parachutes in those years. Bummer.

    • 0 avatar
      gfarnham

      Thanks for the suggestions. I built a hot fox-body while I was in college, and I miss it dearly, but life is too short to own the same car twice. I found a nice 4 door Valiant that I was interested in, but it sold less than two hours after the guy posted iron Craigslist.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’m not at all understanding why you want to use such an old car as a daily driver, the newer ones drive much better, but if you must, how about a shagalicious short wheelbase Dodge conversion van?

  • avatar
    7402

    3rd gen Dodge Dart (1963-66). 196 inches long. Available with two or four doors, convertible, hardtop, sedan, and a wagon. Later ones were available with front disc brakes and seat belts. 4.5 L (273) V8 available throughout. Proceeds from Mustang should yield funds to buy a pretty nice one.

    Me? I’d spring for wagon and do a resto-mod with a more modern drive train and upgraded brakes.

    • 0 avatar

      FINALLY!

      A comment that makes sense.

      Most of the rest of these come off to me like… “SACRILEGE! IT’LL KILL YOUR KIDS!!! HOW DARE YOU CART THEM AROUND IN AN OLD CAR!!! YOU’RE GONNA DIE! DIE! DIE!”

      I feel stupider for having read them. Sorry.

      Old Dart or Valiant? Sounds like a plan and they were well-built. Maybe a Falcon wagon would be a good alternative. Resto-mod idea is best of all. If I could go that route and had to keep it to Ford or Mopar under 200″…first pick would be a ’49-’51 Ford. Mod motor for reliability, modern discs and suspension, and don’t forget the seat belts.

      BTW I don’t see any body parts hanging under the ‘Stang in the pic. I do see traction bars…

      Dan’s comment below about keeping the Mustang and springing for a Taurus SHO may be an option to consider if space permits. I’d just go with a early model. Make sure you get any service records. Auto trans in ’93-up models were weak spots. Keep out enough $$ to bulletproof the thing (or have it bulletproofed – these are a royal bitch to work on) then drive and enjoy.

      Shoot us an “after” follow-up…I, for one, will be interested to see.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I’m in the camp that says looking for a roomy classic under 200″ (I have the same limitation in my garage) doesn’t make much sense over buying a newer car. I’d actually suggest something like a BMW 530i from say, 2000, which is a future classic and more safe. That E39 body style still looks fantastic whenever I see it.

    Even a Cutlass/Skylark/GTO/Chevelle from 1970 is over 200′, and they are just barely ok in the back seat. 1970 Challenger is under 200″ but back seat sucks. There just isn’t much out there that will work well unless it is a four door that isn’t really a classic.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    By all means keep the Mustang (especially if you own it free and clear) but there are many other options for kid hauling.

    With 2 kids you don’t necessarily have to go minivan a large sedan can do the job well too. Current generation Taurus SHO and Hemi Chrysler 300s are depreciating nicely.

  • avatar
    omer333

    You’ve got a 2015 WRX to go along with that sweet ‘Stang? Then you my friend, are golden. You’ll have plenty of room for both kids in the WRX; the minivan or something else is just overkill, unless the ‘Rex is your wife’s car.

    DO NOT GET RID OF THE MUSTANG!

    • 0 avatar
      gfarnham

      The WRX is great for kid duty and is staying. I replace my toy car about every two years, so I’ve got no emotional attachment to this particular Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        well if that’s the case, bring a tape measure when you check out your new car.

        personally though, I’d keep the Mustang. I get wanting to cruise with the whole family, but trust me as a father of two children, the older kid might like having something that is for just you and her.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Ah, that should have been stated up front…

        Not sure on the size, but why not check out a new (er) Challenger?

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Keep the Stang and ditch the WRX for something fun but larger. They won’t be in car seats very long in the grand scheme of things. A minivan works but is in no way required for 2 kids. Pretty much any midsized car, small CUV, or whatever can take a rear facing car seat. Don’t over think this. A GTI would probably suit you fine.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Don’t avoid the bigger classic bc of safety. That’s your call, and frankly the commute to school is usually pretty tame in many neighborhoods. Avoid it bc heavy classics suck balls to drive unless they are restomoded out of the category.

    Compared to your relatively small mustang you will have a suggestion box instead of a brake pedal. There will be no acceleration (0-60 in yes). I grew up with a bunch of cars from that era swimming through my mom’s hands. They sucked.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      Most minivans brake and accelerate faster than most 1968 mustangs. Today’s minivans do 0-60 in 7.0-8.5 seconds. A base 1968 Mustang hardtop did 0-60 in 14.1 seconds. A 1968 Mustang GT with 4-speed manual and V-8 went 0-60 in 8.9 seconds. I couldn’t find any braking tests to use as a comparison.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    If you have the space for three vehicles, I suggest that you keep both of your current cars and buy a used minivan. Used Honda Odysseys over 5 years old don’t seem to be going for any more than used Honda Accords of the same year and with similar equipment. Honda Odysseys have one of the highest percentage of 200,000 mile vehicles on the road. That means that if you buy one with 100,000 miles it still has more than half its useful life left.

    While you don’t need a minivan to haul around 2 kids, I think you’ll find that no other vehicle is better at it. Putting the kids in separate rows is really nice on long trips.

    As to safety: I understand your attachment to old cars, but could you really live with yourself if your old car was involved in a fatal accident that would have been survivable in a newer vehicle? Any vehicle made in the past 10 years is going to be safer than any vehicle of your Mustang’s era.

  • avatar
    omer333

    If the guy posting this question is hot to trot to ditch the WRX, I have a brand-new 2015 Accord Sport I will trade, straight-up. We’ll have to figure something out with Honda Financial and whatever bank he’s using for the Subaru.

    I guarantee the Accord will fit his needs nicely.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      What don’t you like about the Accord that would cause you to ditch something you recently purchased?

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        I can’t explain it. I do like it, but I’m not in LOVE with it.

        Ah, the “L” word. It’s such a funny thing.

        I will admit that maybe what keeps me from LOVING the Accord is the CVT (I was looking for a manual-transmission car, even though the CVT isn’t bad, I just want to row my own since I don’t really deal with heavy traffic) and it’s a car I look at and think “Maybe if I do X or Y or Z, I’ll like it more.” And that’s kind of a bummer. I will also admit to regretting not getting a WRX instead of the Accord.

        Maybe I’m fickle or crazy.

  • avatar
    tedward

    As far as what to get…a wagon. I have the German equivalent to your garage in many ways and making one of them a wagon is the only way to keep fun and overshoot on utility. Roof racks you can reach, room for two seats, a trunk that can fit dogs or huge strollers folded up. Two kids means three times the luggage as one, not just double.

    I went with a base SportWagen 2.5, the vw option is always there new and used but Volvo did what was essentially a focus rs wagon for a little while. A friend has one and it is pretty cool, he also has two kids. Saab 9-5 wagons are pitifully cheap. There are always used audi wagons available. I’m assuming you want a stick so all my recommendations have those available.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    1960 Corvair 4 door 180″ seats 6?–the wagon may be the same length.

  • avatar
    319583076

    How many of you safety uber alles commenters think it’s OK to keep the classic and drive it yourself, i.e. – no kids?

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      I don’t get the backlash against people considering the safety aspect of this decision. The guy asked for opinions, some of them happen to be different than yours…

      That said, I’m without my own kids and would have zero problems driving a deathtrap old car with no modern safety equipment. That’s part of being an auto enthusiast. But that would be my choice to make and my consequences to suffer should I send up in a crash. I personally wouldn’t put kids in an old car on a regular basis or for long trips due to the safety concerns. Kids don’t get to choose what car they ride in, or understand the safety aspect of it. If I want to risk my own life, that’s one thing. But I don’t really care to risk a whole family’s safety.

      Now giving up that mustang would be a terribly hard decision for me to make, and I’d personally try to make it work with the Subaru before selling it. I’m not familiar with the subaru’s back seat, so I don’t know how realistic it is, though.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The guy asked a pretty specific question about which classic cars he might consider that would accommodate his family. He got responses telling him to buy a CX-5 and a Grand Caravan. The B&B here need to get over themselves.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Agree. Some people are unable to be of any assistance in question situations.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Amen.

          Personally, I’d cut a hole in my garage so that I could fit the 208″ ’63 Riv in there.

          How about an early-mid 60s Olds F-85, Pontiac Tempest, or Buick Special? Maybe too small?

          Also, mid-60s Ford Fairlanes are under 200 inches. That was a size bigger than his Mustang.

        • 0 avatar
          gfarnham

          Ironic part is we already have a CX-5, I just didn’t think my wife’s car would be relevant to the discussion. I just kind of figured the B&B would understand that when I asked about replacing my current classic with another classic, that keeping the modern cars was assumed.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They don’t. They’re d!cks. Judgy McJudgersons don’t want you to enjoy yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh I hate those McJudgersons.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Last week, I drove my daughter to daycare in a regular cab truck. I’m surprised no one called CPS.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You were so lucky. I think you can get the chair for that these days.

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            It always happens. I’m guilty here too. The reality is that I can’t find anything under 200″. The 1965 T-Bird I was going to suggest is 205″. I spent lots of time in the back of one as teen.

            I recall the 69-70 era Nova having a decent back seat but you aren’t a GM guy. So here is my actual recommendation 68-69 AMC AMX (or just a Javelin depending on budget). It’s 177″ and the back seat is usable.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            As I said above, since this is not something done for logical reasons, nobody can give you advice. A classic is something you buy on an emotional level.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Hey, Steve Lang,
          I just got a job teaching the developmentally disabled how to juggle. Which brand of chain saw do you recommend they start with?

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          Well my thinking was he already said all the cars he wanted didn’t fit his garage. I agree jumping to CUV’s and minivans is not the way to go.

          Anyway, he gave more info which definitely supports getting another old car.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Because the “risk analysis” most of these people think they’re performing is a load of garbage. Most drivers and vehicles will never be involved in ANY accident. Of those that are involved in accidents – many of them are non-fatal accidents at low speeds with mitigating factors, i.e. – braking and steering to avoid impact.

        The real risks of fatal auto accidents are extremely low. This phenomenon is called “probability neglect”. People imagine a terrible consequence, i.e. – dead children, and then choose irrational actions without carefully considering the magnitude and cost of mitigating the actual risk.

        My point asking this question is: how many fathers would enjoy driving this Mustang without your kids? Because if you’re afraid of killing your kids in an accident, you should also be afraid of killing yourself and how would you justify taking a father away from his kids just because the Mustang was more fun than a minivan?

        If you are properly managing risk, you will control ALL potentially fatal risks, not simply those that effect your children.

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          Well maybe some people feel that way, but that’s certainly a black and white view of it… There’s certain safety precautions you take because the risk is big enough to warrant consideration. Then there are risks you take because you still have to live your damn life. I’m not worried about someone telling me safety precautions are an all-or-nothing affair, or else I’m doing it wrong and shouldn’t bother. Trying to control ALL risks is an impossible and stupid task. People can judge what they want to do.

          They guy said he needed a bigger car and that he likes older cars. He said the older ones he looked at didn’t work. I assume he was considering the extra space to be 1)a comfort thing and 2)a safety thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “How many of you safety uber alles commenters think it’s OK to keep the classic and drive it yourself, i.e. – no kids?”

      It’s fine.

      Taking the kids for an occasional joyride in the mustang is fine, too.

      But that doesn’t make it the right tool for kid hauling on a dialy basis. Modern safety and convenience is widely available and affordable on a car-guy budget.

      Skipping 50 years of automotive progress just because you can isn’t doing right by your kids.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    Two suggestions, probably neither of which will you like.

    1. Don’t have another kid. Consider the expense of raising the little
    darling to age 18 (or beyond); consider the state of the world into
    which you will be bringing this kid, both current and future; consider
    the possibility that you could be bring a psychopath or a severely
    physically retarded kid into the world – are you ready for that,
    financially and emotionally?

    2. Buy your self a 2003 – 2007 Accord sedan with a V6 and 6mt; this
    car has plenty of room for child seats in back, is not a maintenance
    nightmare, and is FUN TO DRIVE. Plus, it’s better than any old Ford
    or Mopar (having had old Fords and Mopars and newer Accords, I speak
    from experience).

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I like your post and have had similar thoughts on the state of the future. But on “bringing a psychopath into this world” I’m fine with it as he/she can just join the club of the ones already in charge. On disabled children, the odds of this have gone down considerably. One simply needs to research his genetics and his female’s family history. Still a possibility I’m afraid, but a slight one if done correctly.

  • avatar
    gfarnham

    Okay, so this was my question that I emailed in a while back. I left out a lot of details in the interest of keeping it short, and because they frankly weren’t relevant the core question: can anybody recommend a compact or midsize classic with a spacious back seat?

    So a couple points of clarification: we have modern cars that we drive most of the time, I am looking for suggestions on my toy car. the WRX is a great kid hauler and is going nowhere. My wife has a CX-5 that is also going nowhere, and that we use for 95% of kid transportation miles. I daily drove the Mustang to work, daycare, and home from April to July and put less than 1,000 miles on it last year. I am fully aware that a classic car is not as safe as a new car, but I also know that in the driving conditions I encounter, it’s a low enough risk that I am willing to take it.

    That said, does anybody have any other suggestions? I’ve been eyeing Darts and Fairlanes, but they seem pretty rare in my area, so I haven’t been able to actually take a car seat out and test-fit it yet.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I left out a lot of details in the interest of keeping it short, and because they frankly weren’t relevant the core question”

      Never, ever, EVER leave out any details on a TTAC question. The B&B love Jumping to conclusions.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I just suggested a Fairlane above, but they certainly aren’t as common as a Mustang. You’d have to search one out.

      • 0 avatar
        gfarnham

        Uncommon is good. My last two were a ’72 Skylark and a ’71 Ranchero. I like cars that the normals don’t recognize. The difference is I wasn’t looking specifically for those models when I found them.

  • avatar
    facelvega

    If you consider a Camcord to be a smart option and regard all vintage cars with suspicion and loathing, may I ask why you bother commenting on a car enthusiast website? Do you go to restaurant review sites and tell them Applebee’s has better portions and prices and is much less snooty? Did you used to have interesting cars before you gave them up so your kids could think of you as the kind of person who drives a Camry, while you in turn resent them for taking away your Mustang? Have you ever noticed that classic car insurance is much cheaper than that for new cars, because classic owners are much less likely to make any claims? And yes, by the way, I am a father, and as it happens have been a safety and security consultant to the federal DOT.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “why you bother commenting on a car enthusiast website?”

      Because cars offer many other areas for enthusiasm besides speed and cornering. Safety, comfort, outstandingly intelligent design of components, supreme reliability and , in the past, visual attractiveness come immediately to mind for me.

      Cars are something we are blessed/cursed with using every day of our lives. Those of us who’ve matured beyond the rudest forms of proprioception deserve as much say as do the eternal adolescents.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m an efficiency enthusiast, but practicality is.important too.

      As you can imagine, I rarely read or.comment on articles about supercars.

      The Camcorder/CRAV4 pretty much set the goalposts. Anything that can’t beat them in terms of reliability/practicality/efficiency/cost isn’t even trying. I don’t have much use for BMWs, for instance.

      But I love tinkering on cars (thanks, Dad!) and delving into the engineering. There’s a lot to be enthusiastic about!

      P.S. Power is boring. Where’s the fun in that, when the HP of your vehicle is limited by the size of your checkbook. You have to be smart to get efficiency in a particular task. I enjoy the mental exercise required to solve the puzzle.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is probably a unicorn but in MY61 to 63 there was a Buick Special Skylark Wagon. Wiki lists length of the coupe at 193 inches but has no data on the wagon, and the MY64 to 67 Skylark wagon is def too long. The Automobile Catalog source lists “1962 Buick Special Station Wagon 198 V6” as “characteristic dimensions: outside length: 4785 mm / 188.4 in, wheelbase: 2847 mm / 112.1 in” which would be well under the 200 inch limit if accurate.

    http://www.automobile-catalog.com/make/buick/special_skylark_1gen/special_1gen_wagon/1962.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Skylark#1961.E2.80.931963

    http://www.artvalue.com/image.aspx?PHOTO_ID=1772670

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I guess I don’t see the point in trying to make your classic car also somewhat overlap with a family hauler. Get a classic that you want without the silly constraints of fitting a rear facing car seat and a forward facing car seat.

    Is it even a problem putting a child’s seat in the front of an old car? The front passenger airbags are the reason you can’t do it modern cars. You’re already OK with putting your kids in pre-crash standard vehicles. The front and rear are going to be negligibly different when the vehicle’s crumple zone is between the front and rear seats anyway.

    edit: This piqued my interest a bit. Apparently, a Miata comes equipped with LATCH on the front seat, the rear anchor, and a disable switch for the front airbag. I wish my FR-S were equipped this way because that is how the kiddo and I would drive. There is no reason you can’t use the front seat in a classic.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I realize you’re probably not an expert but what is the deal between car seats facing forward or backward?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Infants and younger toddlers don’t have developed neck muscles and in many cases can’t really support their heads. Rear facing car seats do a better job for protecting infants’ necks and spines.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Newborns wouldn’t survive a sudden deceleration because their necks are too weak. Thus, rear-facing seats.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thx. So you’re coming home from the hospital doing 45 on whatever road, and have to come to a sudden stop to avoid a deer. The child is DOA otherwise?

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            A sudden stop to avoid a deer is geologic time compared to a collision with another vehicle or, say, a tree. The latter is the point of the rear-facing carseat – and your seatbelt, for that matter.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            To build on this, rear facing seats hold the child at a different angle. When our convertible (basically means it can transition between rear facing and front facing as the child grows) seat holds the child in a much flatter position versus the front facing. A violent front end collision won’t have the baby’s head pivoting about the imaginary axis that would go through both shoulders if the baby is basically on its back looking toward the rear of the car. You could argue that the child is now more at risk from a rear collision, but the speed delta is usually pretty small in a rear end collision.

  • avatar
    319583076

    https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_levitt_on_child_carseats/transcript?language=en

    This would start a sh!tstorm if anyone actually bothered to read it.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’d probably buy a recent Dodge Charger and park it outside. That would be a good compromise between modern safe family car and classic muscle car. Find one at a low enough price and maybe you can keep the 68 Mustang in the garage. The other classic car option I’d investigate would be finding an interesting Mercedes Benz. They tend to be shorter in length with safety features ahead of their time.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    10 sporty classic suggestions around 200 inches or less and a roomier backseat than a Mustang and easy parts availability and modability:
    1. BMW 2002
    2. BMW 2800/3.0CS
    3. Corvair Corsa 1965-66
    4. Chevrolet Malibu SS – 1964-65
    5. Chevrolet BelAir V-8 – 1955-57
    6. Hudson Wasp 1953-54 – 201 inches
    7. Mercedes-Benz 450SLC
    8. Mercedes-Benz W108-09 3.5, 4.5 or 6.3
    9. Studebaker Avanti or Avanti II
    10. Volvo PV544

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I’m going to go a totally different direction here and suggest a 1st Gen (1974-1981) Dodge Ramcharger/Plymouth Trailduster. It’s under 200″, and I would think the rear seat would accommodate a child seat. You may have to rig up some method of lashing the child seat down though…

    The upside to an early Ramcharger is the removable roof – kids love open air motoring on a nice day and they can be fun to drive in their own way – not sporty like a car, but fun nonetheless. You can always add an aftermarket roll bar and heavy duty rocker rails that mount to the frame to improve the safety odds a bit.

    I would have suggested an early Bronco but they are probably too small, plus the prices on nice ones are eye watering.

    Some other thoughts along the same lines – there is always the full-size Jeep Cherokee made from 1974-1983. These are under your length limit and definitely attention grabbing, but you lose the removable roof. The smaller Jeep Commando gives you the removable roof, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen one that I can’t remember how accommodating the back seat is – probably no better than a 1st gen Bronco in that regard.

    Even though I’m not a GM guy either, I’ve always liked and respected the 1969-1972 Chevy Blazer and the rarer but somehow cooler GMC Jimmy (introduced a year later in 1970). These are great looking trucks (with an edge to the GMC in the looks department) and built like tanks with readily available parts and support. 1972 is the best year to go with since front disc brakes became available that year.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    The problem with your Mustang is that it was made to look good and not to fit people in the back – it’s basically a Falcon with longer hood and no rear seat space.

    So, you need to get a car that was not designed to be sporty looking, but to be a practical family transportation.

    So, no Mustang, no Camaro, no Challenger. Instead, you need to be looking at Darts and Valiants (and maybe the 67-69 Barracuda or Plymouth Duster/Dodge Demon – all of these have the same proportions as sedans they were based on and thus should be much roomier inside than the ‘Stang). Also, 1963-1965 Plymouth B-bodies (Fury and Belvedere) are just slightly over 200 inches and may fit. Yet they’re still like a Chager or Road Runner underneath, with brilliant suspensions (much, much better than your Mustang) and great engines.

    From GM, I would check out the Novas and maybe early model Malibus, as someone suggested above. Also, a Corvair, especially in 4-door guise, looked pretty roomy to me (although I’ve never been inside one). The second generation one is, in my eyes, even nicer as a four-door.

    Ford’s got a Falcon or 1968-1969 Torino for you. The Torino is 201 inches, which should still fit, and it’s quite a bit roomier than Mustang.

    If the pre-74 year wasn’t set in stone, I would also look at Buick Grand National.

    Also, if I understand correctly, you’re Canadian. Any chance you can find a Ford Cortina Mark 3 over there? They’re really tiny, but surprisingly big inside. Recently, I sat in a ’68 Charger and a ’72 or so Ford Taunus (Cortina’s German twin) and I was a bit surprised how much roomier the Cortina is, despite being four feet shorter.

    http://www.goodwp.com/large/201109/19928.jpg

    Or you can look outside US. Big Benzes and Jags are still under 200″, and, say, first generation XJ is truly a lovely car, very sporty for a big sedan of its age and much better handling than anything American of the era. W108 S-class is wholy different animal, but still very interesting and can be had with big V8s.

    Or maybe some kind of large BMW? E9?

    Maybe you can go even more radical, and get a Citroën DS? Small, yet large inside – if it was good enough for De Gaulle, your child will surely fit as well.

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