If your son or daughter was swiftly approaching the legal driving age, what sort of vehicle do you think would suit them best? That's the dilemma CCT's publisher faced recently. In this particular case, his son had just turned 15. Having been raised around world-class street rods, off-roading, and NHRA Championship Drag Racing, he has been a gearhead for almost all 15 years.

Now, Dad has owned just about every type of Chevy (or GMC) light truck imaginable, sporting each style of cab configuration. His choice for everyday transportation is a late-model Chevy extended-cab, though he also owns a crew-cab setup for serious towing, as well as a Suburban. The options for "Junior's first ride" were numerous. Early musclecars were considered, as were some late-model varieties, then the whole picture became clearer by the day. Every consideration came under scrutiny-overall vehicle safety, initial cost, practicality, ease of maintenance, the all-important cool factor, and the price of yearly insurance premiums.

Browsing the used-vehicle market, the wise choice turned out to be this '79 Chevy 10-Series pickup, and here's why. The initial cost was $2,500. In Southern California, that's not a bad price for a reasonably clean truck with lots of potential. From the crash-worthy perspective, understand the size of this truck, the fact that it's got a complete chassis (as opposed to today's unibody cars), and realize it'll only cost $1,200 per year to insure with a young driver in the seat. These are all valid concerns. Here, the family in question is not about to cut corners or make any compromises whatsoever in its quest to put this kid in traffic. He's already earned the privilege to drive, and he fully understands (and appreciates) why his folks are totally committed to making the right decisions on his behalf.