What’s the Best Midlife Crisis Car?

A midlife crisis is said to occur at an age where one begins to realize you are half-way through your life, and you start to question things like your career, your current situation, your goals, perhaps your marriage, all the fun things that you are missing, what you want to do with the rest of your life, and a lot of other confusing things. A serious midlife crisis can lead to acting out the confusion through unfortunate decisions such as having an affair, quitting one’s job abruptly without a backup plan or abandoning your family. Fortunately, there are less drastic ways to deal with this malady, such as trying to incorporate more fun into your life.

I have always enjoyed driving, so for me, this translated into the search for the perfect midlife crisis car. Half of the fun was in the research. I took a look at what types of fun vehicles were available in my price range, examined my options, and researched what other men and women were doing to treat the symptoms of midlife crisis through the purchase of a shiny new toy on wheels.

Some went the classical sports car route, like a Porsche Cayman or Corvette, but these were a little out of my price range if I wanted to also feed my three children. I discovered that many chose a Jeep Wrangler as their midlife crisis toy of choice. This is not surprising, since the Jeep Wrangler offers 4-wheel drive, a convertible option and a drive train strong enough to climb a telephone pole if required. The mileage isn’t great, but in times when gas prices are down like they are at the moment, this is a fun choice.

A lot of men who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s choose muscle cars, like the Dodge Charger, Chevelle SS, Plymouth Barracuda, Pontiac GTO and V-8 Mustangs and Camaros. Others go for the really old classics, like the 1934 Ford shown above. These types of cars can require a lot of time and money to restore, upgrade and keep running.

Many men, and women, choose a two-wheel form of vehicular fun such as a Harley Davidson motorcycle or a Japanese crotch rocket, although I think the midlife crisis crowd in the US is more likely to go for the Harley. It’s made in America, or at least it has been for a long time. Motorcycles are a blast, the ultimate expression of freedom on the road, the wind in your hair, if you still have hair (in states where there is no helmet law), bugs in your teeth. Now that’s my idea of real fun.

So, when I reached the ripe young age of 45, my wife told me I was too damned busy working and raising a family to have a midlife crisis. This got my attention, but it did nothing to allay those feelings inside me that I was missing something, some magical thing that would bring me joy like I had never known. 

I skipped the abandoning the family, looking for younger women, quitting my job and running away things, and went right to the shiny new vehicle thing. So I told my wife that I was going to buy a shiny new Harley Sportster to ride on the weekends. She told me that I had three daughters to support, a motorcycle would get me killed, and if I bought one she would kill me (which was kind of confusing, but I digress).

I went to a couple of classic car shows, talked to some of the owners who told me how much time and money they had invested in their 1960’s muscle cars and various antique vehicles, and it was apparent this would not fit into my budget, or my busy schedule.

I tried on a couple of new roadsters, the Subaru BRZ and the Mazda Miata, but they were way to snug for my six-foot-seven-inch frame. I even went over the top and tried out a Corvette and a Porsche Cayman, even though they were out of my price range, and they didn’t fit my large frame either, so I didn’t feel too bad about not being able to afford them.

At this point I was getting frustrated. I discussed my dilemma with my wife, and she sent me a link to an article that reported that in Europe many people in midlife crisis were choosing to buy Vespa motor scooters to ride around the country side. Concerned that she was serious about buying me a Vespa for a midlife crisis vehicle, I accelerated my search for the perfect midlife crisis car.

I discovered the hot hatches, the Honda Civics, Subaru WRX (sadly no longer available as a hatchback) and VW GTIs. I eventually settled on a new Subaru WRX, with plenty of horsepower, AWD and a six-speed manual. While that car didn’t solve all my problems, bring me to a higher level of consciousness, or fulfill all my spiritual needs, driving it on a daily basis did bring some joy into my life, and I do get to feel the wind in my hair, especially if I stick my head out of the window.