The Difference between Classics, Vintage & Antique Cars

Daniel Classic Cars

Many people might think that a car is just a machine for transportation. However, a car enthusiast knows they are much more than this. For many auto buffs, vehicles represent a way of life. This is especially true for the older vehicles that remain from the past. When it comes to older vehicles, knowing the difference between a classic, vintage and antique car is very useful. The following information will explain how they all vary.


General Information about Automobile Classification of Older Cars



Generally speaking, an older automobile is classified according to the year it was manufactured. Many states have laws which define the categorization of vehicles for insurance and DMV purposes. Car clubs even have their own rules for defining older automobiles.


While there is no set guideline for categorizing an automobile, there are some agreed-upon standards. Vehicles that are 20 years or older are usually called classic vehicles. An antique vehicle is older than 45-years-old. Vintage cars are vehicles that were built between 1919 and 1930. There are some gray areas to these standards. Also, some vehicles can be put within two of these categories.


Information about Antique Cars


Each state has their own set of laws which define an antique car. A person will have to check with their state’s DMV or insurance company to figure out the definition. Here are some more in-depth rules about antique vehicles:


  • They must be kept in their original condition or they must be as close to their original condition as possible. Modified vehicles beyond a certain point can longer be classified as an antique car.


  • Antique vehicles must have special license plates.


  • Owners will also have to order special parts for their vehicles. This means that vintage vehicle owners will have to have the parts special made and ordered.


  • Insurance rates for vintage vehicles will also be higher because the parts and cars are rare.


Information about Classic Cars


Classic cars are vehicles that have been manufactured between 20 and 40 years ago. These vehicles typically have spare parts and the insurance is not that high for them even though they might be discontinued models. Many car organizations, lawmakers and enthusiasts require that classic cars be kept close to their original condition to receive this classification.


Information about Vintage Cars


Generally speaking, a vintage car is one that has been among the first vehicles ever produced in the history of automobile manufacturing. Vehicles produced after 1930 tend to fall in the classic category because there was a shift in design at this point. Some lawmakers and organizations state that the cut off time was in 1925. Vintage cars typically have high insurance rates and owners will have a hard time finding spare parts for them in the event they break down. Also, these vehicles require special license plates.


Keep in mind that the standards presented here are general guidelines. Vintage, antique and classic vehicles can be trucks, vans, cars or even tractor machines. Each of these different vehicle types has their own unique style and their own unique look. Don’t forget, that these vehicles are rare and they will require money, knowledge, and upkeep to maintain them.


Read More