How Old Is a Classic Car?
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In 1908, Henry Ford’s Model T became the world’s first widely available motor vehicle. People quickly became enthralled with the power and design of the new technology and have remained obsessed with the sense of freedom and adventure that driving a car provides ever since. Many car enthusiasts collect older models because of their appreciation for the vehicle’s design and construction. These cars are often called “classics”; however, there is some debate about what makes a car a classic versus antique or vintage. For car fans, pinning down how old a classic car is can be an important element of car collecting. Learn about what makes a car a classic and how to keep the classic cars in your collection in tip-top shape.
What Makes a Classic Car Classic?
Defining the age of a classic car is more complex than you might imagine. The three classifications for older car models are classic, antique, and vintage, and the qualifiers for each type of car vary based on who or what organization you are talking to. Official car clubs, car enthusiasts, insurance companies, and state DMVs each have their own definition of how old a classic car is.
The Classic Car Club defines a classic car as a high-end car made in America or Europe between 1915 and 1948. This definition of classic is much more rigid than the general understanding of the word classic when it comes to cars. In fact, this definition overlaps with what many consider to be vintage and antique cars. Most insurance companies define classic as a car that is more than 20 years old but not more than 45 years old. This widens the definition of a classic car to models made in the 1980s and 1990s. Some collectors would not consider these cars to be classics, and every state has its own definition of a classic car when registering the vehicle.
Most people and organizations agree that cars registered as classics should not contain modern updates, and any restoration work should keep in line with the car’s original design and materials.
Classic vs. Antique and Vintage
When comparing classic cars to antique or vintage cars, consider the general understanding of a classic car, as well as antique and vintage models.
- • Antique
Most cars are considered antique if they are over 45 years old. Antique cars generally have designations that make them historic, whereas classic cars do not. Antiques are the models that were popular in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, such as Jaguars, Mustangs, Corvettes, Cadillacs, Model Ts, and so on. Like classic cars, cars that are considered antique are restored with materials and specifications that match the original design.
- • Vintage
Most organizations consider cars that are made between 1919 and 1930 to be vintage. Vintage cars have few modern conveniences like air conditioning or automatic transmission. These types of cars are rarer than classic or even antique cars. Popular vintage car models include the 1929 Hudson 7 Roadster and 1920 Rolls Royce Phantom Limousine. Vintage cars are appreciated for their distinct appearance and retro driving experience. Historic status is also given to vintage cars to differentiate them on the road.
How to Care for Your Classic Car
As a car collector, you put a lot of time, money, and thought into how you take care of your vehicle. No matter if you consider your car a bonafide classic, an antique, or a vintage model, keeping your car in good shape is a priority. To keep your classic car in show-ready condition, follow these handy tips for taking care of your car.
- 1. Maintain Critical Areas
Monitor critical areas of your classic car, including engine components and paintwork. Always make sure your car has the right amount of oil and change it out every 3,000 miles to avoid damage to your motor. If your classic has air conditioning, make sure to flush the coolant once a year to avoid harmful deposits that corrode the system. Keep the car away from water as much as possible and treat rust spots quickly to prevent damage.
- 2. Keep It Clean
Classic cars require a little more upkeep than other cars. Plan on cleaning your classic about once per week. Hand wash the exterior of your car using special soap for classic cars and an ultra-soft sheepskin washing mitt. Every six to eight weeks, take time to wax your car after cleaning it, and then protect your vehicle with UV-blocking car covers for classic cars until you take it out for a drive.
- 3. Store It Properly
Part of caring for your classic car is ensuring that it is stored correctly while not in use. Park your car in a place that keeps it out of direct sunlight and harsh weather that can corrode the vehicle. The best way to store your classic car is in a garage with a floor made of concrete or asphalt with good drainage, preferably indoors.
Even if your car is kept in a garage, cover it with a custom car cover that is fitted to your classic car to keep it free from indoor elements that might damage the surface or windows. The Black Satin Shield at CarCovers.com is our softest option and ideal for protecting your classic car’s clear coat from dust and debris from your garage. The elasticized hem at the front and rear ensure a snug fit, and double-stitched seams give the cover outstanding durability, backed by our 10-year warranty.
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Care for Your Classic Car
Although the parameters determining how old a classic car varies depending on the source, the most important person to make that distinction is you. A classic car is old, but more importantly, it is meaningful because it brings you thoughts of care-free cruising and innovative history. No matter if you have a vintage, antique, or classic car, make sure you keep it protected and running as long as possible with a high-quality semi-custom or custom car cover from CarCovers.com.