What is a Classic Car?

What is a Classic Car?
Classic Car

Classic cars are much more than just an old car, but defining what a classic car is can be difficult.  Often, many people have their own ideas of which cars are classics and which are not.

Types of Old Car

There are multiple categories to classify old cars: veteran, vintage, post-vintage, and classic. Veteran cars were built before WW1, Vintage cars were built before 1940, and post-vintage cars were built between 1930 and WW2. So where do ‘classic cars’ fit into it?

A direct definition of a ‘classic car’ is a “post-WWII, pre-1980 model of technical or nostalgic merit”. However, sometimes the term classic car can refer to a range of interesting cars that are no longer built. Ultimately, it’s a difficult term to pinpoint, with many considerations.

The Age of a Classic Car

In the UK, there is a Road Tax Exemption on Classic Cars. This exemption originally applied to cars that are more than 25 years old, however, now it applies to all cars built before 1973. However, this leaves out some vital cars that many would consider ‘classic’, and includes other cars that we wouldn’t. For example, the Ferrari Testarossa was launched in 1984 and considered a classic yet a Austin Maxi wouldn’t be.

HRMC consider a ‘classic car’ a car that is worth £15,000 or ore and is aged 15 years or older. Again, this includes cars that most aficionados wouldn’t’ consider classics.  Essentially, if we only attribute a date to the term ‘classic car’, the classic car portfolio will constantly change and evolve as time goes on.  The age, therefore, cannot be the only defining factor of a classic car.

The Character of a Classic Car

A classic car must have an appeal, be it in aesthetics or with the history of the car. The primary indication that a car is classic is when the value increases with age. Nostalgia is very important with classic cars as this is often when their renaissance starts. Cars start to increase in value over time when they became fond memories, or if they had some impact on contemporary culture i.e. it had significant impact on motoring culture, was famous on TV, unique styling features etc. Fundamentally, age can start to improve value if people remember the cars- be it for positive or negative reasons. A car must have ‘personality’ in order to reach classic status, according to Hexagon Classics’ Chairman Paul Michaels.

The rarity and desirability of a car also contribute to the status of a car. A classic car simply cannot be down to the age of it. The provenance and character are key things that are considered when a cars’ status is classic. To be a classic car the must have a timeless element that incites excitements for decades to come.

View our range of classic cars here, to find one with the right personality for you.

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