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What Makes a Car Classic?

Vintage car
Image by smarko from Pixabay

As classic cars continue to grow in popularity, it begs the question – what makes a car classic? Ask different people and you’ll receive a variety of answers.

The most obvious definition of a classic car would be the year it was made, but is it simply the age of the car that brands it a “classic” or are there other factors to consider?

The age factor

Classic cars are primarily defined by their age. However, the further back you go, the more confusing it becomes. As hardcore car enthusiasts will already know, old cars can fall into four different categories – Classic, Veteran, Vintage and Post Vintage.

Veteran is the oldest cars in circulation, dating back before World War I. Vintage models are those which were built prior to 1930, while Post Vintage models could have been built anywhere from 1930 to the end of World War II. Logically, this would mean that a Classic car would be anything built after World War II.

In the UK, the definition of a classic car is confusing. All cars built prior to January 1st, 1976 won’t incur a vehicle excise duty, which means those are the main models considered classic vehicles. According to the HMRC however, a classic car would qualify as any model older than 15 years which is worth more than £15,000.

The lines get increasingly blurry when you look at the definition provided by car insurers. Some mark any car over the age of 10 years, a classic.

How personality and interest fit in


As the age definition is fairly vague, there are a couple of other factors that help to determine a classic vehicle. Take a look at classic cars and you’ll discover they all have two things in common – a unique personality and a lot of interest from car enthusiasts. A great example is the Porsche 993 GTW, which recently sold for a staggering £1.85 million.

Interestingly, the car doesn’t need to be an original to be considered a classic. Hobbyists are revolutionizing the classic car industry by purchasing used cars and converting them into classics. By investing in used models from dealerships like Motorpoint Limited, the profits to be had after converting the vehicle are substantial.

Overall, you do need to look deeper than just the age of a car to determine whether or not it can be considered a classic model. Personality and interest also play a major role and technically, any used car over 10 years of age could be reinvented as a classic.