ELs and EF are a little too old for the govt fleet. Maybe one in a bluemoon.
I was thinking of buying one but Ive been informed if I was going to buy the 4L, I might as well buy the 5.0L as both these engines like a drink. You'll notice an awful difference in fuel from a laser to an ef. Ultimately its up to you, just be careful as 12K is a lot to an 18yr old.
But then again, to buy any car in your own name with an engine size like that will have the insurance companies heading for the hills.
Getting the car lowered will often become a problem for insurance if you go down that path. Personally I don't like it, it might look "ful-sik bro" on the road but then you've just lost most of its off road capacity. The difference to handling from lowering is at best negligible, and more psychological than actual.
Putting oversized rims on will default your insurance too - see the thread going by missxr.
Exhaust system will set you back maybe $1400 or more, depending on the brand (remus/wolf) and if you wish to extract it whilst your at it.
Upside is parts are cheap, its a good large distance car (providing you havent got it sitting 6cm off the deck). Ive got 2 jap cars and they cost me a nice mint for servicing and parts.
have a look at www.redbook.com.au
for the depreciation specs for the model.
1996 FORD FALCON
EL Sedan GLi 4dr Man 5sp 4.0i (Rel. Sept)
average kms 120,000 - 150,000
trade in price guide* $6,200 - $7,800
national average price - private sale* $7,400 - $9,600
price when new (RRP) $29,594
be able to pull up an xr6ef for around 12k too, prolly in good nick but rounf the 160km mark.