I hear this all the time, “ I just want to get a beater car for a $1000 so I don’t kill the clutch of my dream.” My advice is don’t bother, a car you own is an asset, granted its an asset that depreciates due to amortization but an asset nonetheless.
Even if you drive it till the head cracks or shatter a gear its still worth $200-$300 in scrap if nothing else
You are going to scour auto tempest or craigslist looking for a beater that hopefully isn’t a stone cold lemon, (-$1000). Being that kind price range used car would be in its early to late teens, a practically guarantee its going to need to repair to pass a inspection/emissions, unless you expect to drive less than legally. Now you fixed the bare minimum (-$200), registered (-$350) and inspected the hooptie ($35), learning to shift smoothly and not drop the clutch every time someone honks at you, all the while dreaming of that WRX. Finally you are able to handle rush hour on the FDR and rev matching, you can make out other sticks on the road, you know you’re ready to go check out your dream car, but what of your five speed Mrs. Robinson? Want to recoup some of that money your spend to curb your learning curve cost. Here comes the tedious process of selling your used car, questions and views, and of course the parade of low ball offers.
Instead of taking the long route take a lesson, spend a fraction of the above mentioned cost and know enough to get your dream car and get right on loving it.