Mazda Miatas, BMW 3 series, and Honda Civics. Most enthusiasts under the age of 21 have looked, thirsted over, or have owned one of these cars. But why have these three cars became the new 240sx, 944, and Foxbody?
Starting with the Civic, a 16 year old with an impact gun, some friends, a chromebook, and $4000 can make a sh!tbox Civic into the pocket rocket Ecoboost Mustang owners fear. While it gets harder and harder to find clean 90s Civics, beaten up ones are common and cheap enough to get repaired on the low. And with a D-series or B-series, HP mods are plentiful and easy. Unlike the previously mentioned 3 series, you really don't need a degree in astrophysics to slap a turbo onto a D16 in an EF Hatch. Added with the fact that insurance won't totally kill you, the Honda Civic makes arguably the best enthusiast car for a teenager.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the 80s and 90s 3 series. Hard to fix, not exactly the cheapest, and somewhat uncommon, the BMW 3 series is objectively a terrible car for a teenager. But the E36 has taken a new life in the drift and general street car community. I see more 17 somethings in 325is than any other demographic. And I'm not gonna lie, I love the E36. They're not terribly expensive to buy, they handle pretty well, and damn they look good.
Miata Is Always The Answer. Whats not to like. 2 doors, convertible, a stick shift, and pop up headlights. I can say the Miata has become the car for teenagers. Just look on Tiktok and Instagram. It's got the benefits of both the E36 and Civic. RWD like the E36, handles like the Civic. It's like Babys first 240sx, just not $15,000 like the glorious Nissan. While prices have begun to rise, especially NAs, deals are still abundant.
A lot of the popularity of those three can be attributed to social media. Tiktok, Instagram, youtube, etc. Donut Media's Money Pit Miata has absolutely influenced teenagers to get them, same with the 350z. And I can't wait to see more of those in my high schools parking lot.
I see it. But I also think you can add the Nissan 350Zs, and the Infiniti G and M series to the list. I bet these Nissans are cheaper than a clean E36 or E46 these days.