In specific industries and groups, the distinction between like things is incredibly important and should not be confused. To those outside of the industry or group, terms can seem trivial. When it comes to discerning the difference between classic and antique cars, the definition is actually pretty simple, though seemingly interchangeable to those unfamiliar. It’s easy to understand the confusion about how to use these terms whether involved in the industry or not. Most use the terms classic, antique and vintage synonymously. Though inside the trade, organizations’ ideas can still vary, most agree to the general idea that classic cars are over 20 years old. Antique cars refer to special characteristics that allow for historic registration and most are over 45 years old. Cars built between 1919 and 1930 are considered vintage. To add to the confusion, states, insurance companies and car clubs classify differently as well.
Public Opinion: In general, classic and antique cars are associated with any car that looks old and luxurious for their time, the ones we often see in old, classy movies. However, the important distinction between classic and antique cars is often misunderstood by society. As a result, these two terms are mistakenly used interchangeably. Thus, if you are a collector of old cars or simply want to gain more knowledge in the field, it is crucial to understand differences between old and antique cars by taking into consideration other factors and opinions other than the public one.
States: It should be noted that in the US, each state has its own requirements for a car to be considered old or antique. In California, for instance, there is no differentiation between old and antique cars at all. California DMV states only that Historical Vehicles are the ones of at least 25 years old manufactured after 1922, and Horseless Carriages are the vehicles having no less than a 16-cylinder engine and manufactured between period of 1922 – 1965. However, according to most state laws, while a car should be over 45 years old to be considered as an antique car, the age of a classic car should not be less than 20 years, yet not to exceed 40 years. Additionally, in most states, unlike classic cars, the classification of an antique car is exclusively made by state law and verified by a special type of license plate. Furthermore, an antique car is supposed to preserve the original machinery, design, as well as functioning technique of the manufacturer. It is notable that many unusual cars, such as light trucks, motorcycles, and farm tractors are often classified among antique cars. Likewise, classic cars may also include a wide variety of vehicles, including but not limited to corvettes, convertibles, muscle cars, sports cars, and so on.
Insurance Companies: Insurance companies normally do not separate classic and antique cars strictly. According to the famous vehicle insurer and lending agent Hagerty Group, for example, all the cars manufactures between 1900 and 1979 can be considered both classic and antique.
The Experts on Classic Cars: Finally, to understand the difference between classic and antique cars in a broader sense, it is indispensable to study it from the perspective of the professionals in the field. The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) provides more concrete definitions of these two categories. According to the latter, only vehicles made between 1915 and 1948 can be considered classic. Yet, this is an indispensable, but not sufficient factor for a vehicle to be considered classic by the CCCA. In addition, these vehicles have to be quite expensive, being produced in a limited quantity, as well as completely restored, and fully functioning.
If you are looking to get started on restoring your classic muscle car contact us today for a consultation and quote at 561-729-0911