If you want to learn whether you have a piece of art or just an old clunker at home, you should learn the various car classifications: antique, vintage and classic. Each class has its own meaning and mastering these is one of the most basic concepts of learning this hobby. While some of these classifications are open to interpretation and can vary, there are attempts to create conformity. In fact, in some cases there are state laws that regulate how these words are used. In other situations there are definitions set by car collector groups.
All states waive certain fees and tests for vintage cars. Most states waive those same fees and tests for classic cars also. But determining whether you have a vintage or classic car can sometimes be confusing.
An antique car is a classification that is often set by state law. States often have a special type of license plate for these cars. For that reason they set rules stating what qualifies as “antique.” In most cases it is a car that’s over 45 years old. Generally the car should be maintained in a way that keeps it true to the original manufacturer specifications.
It must be in its original or original restored condition and in working order. Antiques may be defined differently than this depending on the state you live in, so it’s best to check on local classifications.
A 1966 Ford Mustang is one example, but antiques can include more unusual vehicles such as:
– Light trucks
– Farm tractors
This classification definitely overlaps with antique cars. The definition of classic car is actually quite similar to that of antique cars. A car must be at least 20 years old, but not more than 40 years old to be considered a classic car. It should again have been repaired and maintained in a way that keeps it true to its original design and specifications. In other words it should not be modified or altered. In addition, many add a stipulation that the vehicle should have been manufactured no earlier than 1925.
Classic cars vary just like antiques do and a Foremost example is a 1986 Chevy Camaro IROC Z28. Classic cars can also include:
– Foreign and American sports cars
– Muscle cars
– Station wagons
There is also overlap between vintage cars and antique cars. Some vintage cars quality as antique cars, but not all vintage cars are antique and vice versa. Different groups set different cut off points for what qualifies as a vintage car and what does not. Generally, cars that are considered Vintage were manufactured between the years of 1919 and 1930, but some end it at 1925. Unlike the other two classifications, having had modifications does not necessarily keep a car from being a vintage car.
As with any hobby, having a common vocabulary helps when you delve into the world of classic cars. Getting the distinctions between antique, classic and vintage cars down is an essential first step in helping you to communicate with other enthusiasts and is a good foundation on which to build.