What Makes a Car Classic

Age of the Vehicle

In most cases, the age of a vehicle determines if a car is a classic.

  • Antique – A vehicle more than 45 years old.
  • Classic – A vehicle made at least 20 years prior to the current year. This definition is accepted by most state DMV’s.
  • CCCA Classic – A “fine” or “distinctive” automobile, either American or foreign built, produced between 1925 and 1948 as defned by the Classic Car Club of America.
  • Vintage – A vehicle made between 1919 and 1930.

Classic Style

The design of cars is generally divided into the following era’s — horseless carriages or veteran cars, brass or edwardian cars, vintage cars, classic cars (pre thru post war), muscle cars. The modern car era begins in the 1980’s where design was dictated by fuel efficiency and safety. Distinctive features were abandoned and cars even by different manufacturers began to look the same. The modern “classic” returns to the bold design of yesteryear. Some have marked this as a corporate ploy to dupe buyers with nostalgic redesign. But others see this a as a return to proper design sensibilities, after a 20-year hiatus.

Cult Following

Whether corporate ploy or design revival, the status of a modern classic is really determined on Saturday in garages and car shows all across America.  Drivers are looking for clean lines and distinctive looks. They want cars and trucks that stand out  from the rest. If auto makers fail to provide it, these drivers will weld, grind and paint their way to a new era of “classic.” Only time will tell which new designs will find fanatical followers who will keep it on the road for 40 years, instead of the scrap yard compactor.