I bought my first car; it was a miserable experience. My uncle & cousin had bought it and fixed it up. Then my cousin moved back to TX and my uncle didn't need it. My mom told me about it b/c she thought it would be good for me and then she wouldn't have to drive me to work, which was 30 minutes away. So I gave my uncle $1000 for it out of my savings and it was nothing but trouble. Something to do with the carborater idle needing adjusting *all* the time; the engine or whatever would get too much gas and the car would stop -- wherever it felt like stopping, often at an intersection with a ton of cars behind me and I literally could not push it. I hated that car. I spent another $1000 trying to get it fixed, with no help from my parents at all, no guidance, wouldn't even come with me to experience the problem, the stalling out, every time I drove the car for more than 20 minutes. I would have to leave for work 1 hour before I was needed b/c if the car stalled out I would have to wait about 20-30 minutes before it would start again. Did I mention I hated the car? And that my parents were NO help to me at all. I was 17 and that car didn't make it but 1 year with me. What did they expect me to know or do without some parental help?
My second car I loved. My parents did give me this one. I was 20 (my friends & parents drove me wherever I needed to go for almost 3 years b/c of my lack of vehicle during this time) and I drove it for 6 years. It was my dad's; a 94 ford thunderbird. He wasn't able to get in and out of it anymore. He drove it almost 6 years before me. We put about 150K miles on it together. When it finally died, it had had a good life. It was taken care of and the body and interior were still in good condition; the guy that got it was happy. He has his own car of the same make and model and he figured between the two of them he would have enough parts to keep 1 of them in good condition for another few years. It was a good situation for us all.
ETA: My first car experience was so horrible that I have vowed never to let my own DD get into the same situation. I would rather buy her a car -- used is fine or maybe one of my older cars if I have more than 1 at that point -- than for her to be in the situation I was in. Up until that experience I had been raised that kids buy their own car and that's even what I did. But I do think kids should be responsible enough to contribute to the car.