While car clubs across the continent all have differing criteria for registering classic cars, a good starting point for calling any car classic is around twenty years old. But your mother’s 2002 Toyota Camry may not make the cut just because it passed another year on the road.
Age Alone Does Not Define a Classic Car
When you find a beautiful 1990 Ford F-150 for sale, can you really call it a classic? Its age is not the only determining factor. Experts use a variety of criteria to decide if a vehicle should be considered a classic.
How Old is a Classic Car?
Generally, 20 years old will get you in the classic car area. Some car clubs also have antique as a category. The ride may need to be manufactured before 1975 to be eligible, but that date will change with the passing of time. Vehicles produced before 1930 fall into the vintage category.
How rare was the car?
Value and interest increase if the car was part of a limited run. Sometimes a common vehicle like the F-150 is released with a premium trim line that adds to a particular truck’s unique appeal. Hand-stitched leather seats, the debut year for a new engine or technology, and special paint jobs help to mark it as a collector car. Specialty rides like the Dodge Viper or Nissan 300ZX sometimes fit the mould of an instant classic, even though they are more modern cars.
The model becomes rarer as more of the original production runs head to the recycling centre.
Popularity Grabs Attention
Everybody loved the 1979 Pontiac Firebird. Even though hundreds of thousands rolled off the production line, the few that have made it to the 21st century have become a rare and much-loved ride. As such, you can expect a popular classic car to have more value than a rarer but more ordinary entry at the local car show.
Luxury Appointments Score Big in the Classic Car World
A base model of the 1989 Honda Civic will have a hard time earning a classic car badge. It is over 30 years old, but there is nothing truly special about the car. It has a better chance of being called a classic or collector car if it has all the latest toys featured on the model year. Power seats, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone air conditioning, and pin-striped paint jobs could add to its cache.
Low Mileage Helps
If a car still has the original engine, transmission, suspension, and frame, its value increases as a collector car. Higher mileage puts more wear and tear on original equipment. A vehicle used just for picking up groceries or visiting the country club once a week is more likely to be considered a valuable classic.
Historic and Iconic Machines Easily Become Collector Cars
If a car is produced in limited quantities and comes with a wealth of pop culture or sports buzz, it can join other classic cars much faster. The 2006 Ford GT is considered a classic car even though it has not hit the 20-year benchmark. Ford built a limited quantity and promoted the vehicle as a celebration of the original 1966 Ford GT40. Cars driven by iconic Hollywood heroes like James Bond attain collector status instantly as fans flock to snap them up at the dealership.
The Old Family Toyota is Likely Not a Classic Car
The fuel-efficient commuter car that you drove for ten years and then gave to your kid to drive until it just wouldn’t go anymore will probably not earn a classic car badge. It would need to undergo a full restoration to bring it up to show standard. Once it is ready to be judged at your meet, then you may want to register it as a classic car. But you will need to prove its worth beyond the blue book value to any potential buyers or your insurance company.
Selling or Insuring Classic Cars? Do Your Research to Determine Reasonable Value
As you can see, simply listing an old car as a classic does not mean you can get top dollar for your clunker. If you own an iconic ride from the previous century, it is wise to consult an experienced classic car appraiser to find its true market value. They will help you understand what restoration work needs to be done to earn higher bids at the auction or if you might be overpaying for your classic car insurance.
When it comes to insuring your classic car, Wayfarer Insurance Group offers policies for modern collector cars up to 24 years old and antiques at 25 years and over. Call to speak with one of our expert brokers to find out if your car is classic.