Skip to content
Call Now: 1-310-223-0474

What Is Considered an Antique Car?

Are you a keen antique car enthusiast or someone who is looking to invest in a rare car in the near future? If so, you may be wondering, “What can be considered an antique car?” You may have also heard the terms “classic car” and “vintage car” and are unsure how these differ.

Well, we are here to help decipher these terms for you. In this article, we will explore what makes a car antique, how this differs from classic cars and vintage cars, and what we should consider when purchasing an antique car.

What Makes a Car an Antique?

In general, the term “antique” encompasses many different eras of automotive history. This includes the Veteran car era, the Vintage car era, and the Brass Car era.

Antique cars often hold historical significance, representing a specific era in automotive design and technology. They might have been innovative in their time or played a role in cultural events.

Many antique cars require restoration or maintenance efforts to preserve their historical character. Iconic antique car models include the Ford Model T, Cadillac V-16, and the luxury Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

However, the definition of an “antique car” varies greatly between countries and even states within the same country. So, let’s take a look at some of the common definitions and key differences:

How is an Antique Car defined in America?

The Antique Automobile Club of America defines an antique car as a vehicle that is at least 25 years old.

How is an Antique Car defined in the EU?

Within the 27 member states of the EU, generally speaking, an antique car is defined as being one that is over 30 years old.

A common term used to describe antique cars in some EU countries is “old timer.” For instance, in Germany, “old timer” registration plates can be registered to cars over 30 years old, allowing them to receive certain tax benefits. To be classed as an “old timer,” vehicles must meet certain criteria to demonstrate their originality.

How is an Antique Car defined in Australia?

While there are no specific criteria for defining an antique car in Australia, Australian Classic Car Clubs agree that an antique car is one manufactured prior to 1990, i.e., over 30 years old.

How is an Antique Car defined in the UK?

The term “antique car” is not widely used in the UK, so its definition can often be misconstrued. However, the UK defines any car aged 15 years or more, with a current market value of at least £15,000, as a “classic car.” While a vehicle more than 40 years old, with “no substantial changes,” is recognized as a “historic vehicle” and is exempt from tax and an annual MOT.

Understanding the Terms “Classic Cars” and “Vintage Cars”

The terms “classic” and “vintage” are sometimes used interchangeably with “antique” to describe older vehicles. But what does this terminology really mean?

Classic Cars

Generally speaking, any vehicle manufactured over 20 years ago (i.e., either in or before the 2000s) is considered a classic vehicle. This means that classic cars are typically slightly newer than antique cars.

However, the definition of classic cars also varies across countries and states. For instance, the Classic Car Club of America defines classic cars as those produced between 1915 and 1948. Meanwhile, there is no clear distinction between classic, antique, and vintage vehicles in California.

A classic vehicle generally has some cultural significance, for example, specific relevance to the time period in which it was made or a connection to a particular celebrity. It could also be a car that has won specific races or other competitions.

Classic cars are often known for their timeless design. They should have a unique and attractive appearance that stands out from other cars of their era. Many of the features of classic cars are not seen in modern cars.

The category “classic cars” could include a wide variety of different types of vehicles, including convertibles, sports cars, and muscle cars.

Vintage Cars

When is a car considered vintage? A vintage car is typically defined as being manufactured between 1919 and 1930, which sets them apart as considerably older than both classic and antique cars.

Since vintage cars are rarer than classic and antique cars, they are generally more valuable. Vintage cars are typically distinguishable by their sleek and simple design, along with a lack of modern features, such as power steering and air conditioning.

The category of vintage cars is often loosened to include cars that are slightly newer; for instance, the term “post vintage cars” refers to vintage vehicles that were produced after 1930 until the end of World War II in 1945.

Is That Really All of What Makes a Car an Antique or Classic?

How do we determine what can be considered a classic or antique car? Is it simply a matter of age, or are there other factors at play?

When determining whether a car can be considered vintage, antique, or classic, as well as the date of manufacture, car enthusiasts may consider factors such as the car’s rarity, historical and cultural relevance, and its overall condition. They may also take a closer look at the car’s design, engineering, and performance.

Definitions of classic and antique vehicles can also vary depending on your location. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what makes a car an antique.

It’s important to note that any car that has been modified or is produced as a replica vehicle cannot be classified as a classic car, antique car, or vintage car. For example, retro-inspired cars that are produced using modern technology and materials or overhauled using them cannot be recognized as “classic.”

What to Consider When Buying an Antique Car

Buying an antique car can be an incredibly rewarding and profitable choice. You are literally investing in a piece of automotive world history! Encouragingly, notable and rare cars tend to hold their value if they are well-maintained.

But before you consider taking the plunge and investing in an antique car, there are certain things that you should consider:

  • Firstly, you should think carefully about your budget and what you can realistically afford to spend. Antique, classic, or vintage cars vary greatly in price depending on make, model, condition, rarity, and historical significance, and don’t forget to factor in additional and ongoing expenses such as restoration, insurance, and maintenance.
  • Do some thorough research to find out as much as you can about the antique, vintage, and classic models available. Careful research will help you to select the model that is best suited to you. Will you choose an antique car for driving or a classic car to exhibit at car shows?
  • If you’re in the market for an antique car, it’s important to seek out reputable sellers and auctions. Do your research and look for dealerships or auction houses that specialize in selling antique cars. Attending local classic car shows and events can also be a great way for potential buyers to meet sellers and interact with the classic car community. These events can give you an opportunity to see a variety of antique, classic, and vintage cars up close and talk to collectors about their experiences with buying and owning a classic car.
  • When purchasing an antique car, make sure you carefully check out the condition of the vehicle. Look for rust, hidden damage, and potential mechanical issues, including problems with the engine.
  • Make sure you obtain comprehensive documentation for your purchased classic car, including a detailed service and restoration history. Ensure that your chosen vintage car has a clean title and is registered correctly. Be aware of any import restrictions or special registration requirements for vintage cars.
  • Make sure you obtain suitable classic car insurance for your vehicle.
  • Buying an antique, classic, or vintage car is a long-term commitment. Be prepared for the time, effort, and money involved in maintaining and enjoying this unique piece of automotive history.

How Old Does an Antique Car Need to Be to Obtain Classic Car Insurance?

Maintaining an antique car can prove costly, especially if you have to source rare original parts. For this reason, it is always a sensible idea to get suitable Classic Car Insurance for your prized antique car.

Fortunately, classic car insurance is generally cheaper than standard car insurance for modern cars. This is because insurance providers recognize that antique cars are often driven less, resulting in lower mileage. Moreover, antique car collectors tend to take extra care of their antique, classic, or vintage cars and drive them more carefully to maintain their value. They also store such cars in secure locations, such as a garage, to protect them from any potential damage. As a result, classic car insurance policies often come with lower rates and can be a great option for those who own antique or collectible cars.

To qualify for classic car insurance and registration, a classic vehicle should be at least 20 years old and in keeping with its original specifications and overall style. This means any restoration or maintenance work, including that to the engine and interior of the car, should, of course, be carried out carefully to maintain the integrity of the classic vehicle while avoiding any modern additions!

Are There Any Special Incentives for Owning an Antique Car?

Depending on your location and the specifics of your particular vehicle, classic automobiles may be eligible for some benefits. This could include a reduction in registration fees, potential tax breaks, special license plates, or exemption from specific emission requirements.

In certain regions, you may be granted access to special events and even designated historic or classic vehicle parking spaces.

Shipping an Antique Car with CFR Classic

Are you planning to ship your antique car to a destination around the world? At CFR Classic, we understand the unique needs of transporting such valuable and irreplaceable vehicles. We have a vast amount of experience, shipping more than 2,000 classic and antique cars, trucks, and other vehicles overseas every month.

When shipping an antique car overseas, it’s important to understand the relevant import and export regulations, as they can vary significantly from country to country. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in delays, additional costs, or even the seizure of the vehicle. At CFR Classic, we have the skills and experience to navigate these regulations and help ensure that your antique car is shipped safely and legally to its destination. Our team can help you understand the regulations that apply to your specific situation and guide you through the entire shipping process from start to finish.

Our enclosed containers provide unparalleled protection, while our team of experienced and dedicated drivers ensures your classic car arrives safely and precisely on schedule.

Contact us today to find out more about our classic car shipping services.

Joey has spent his entire teen and adult life in cars. Joey's father owned a Jeep store, and Joey had his own used car lot that he ran himself from age 22 until I was 30. At 30 years old, Joey got "out of" the car business and joined CFR Rinkens. Joey started when there were only 9 people at CFR, but the company grew to over 150 employees during his time there. When Joey started, CFR Rinkens was shipping about 40 vehicles per week from Los Angeles. Joey established locations in Houston, Miami, and New York and within the first year, CFR went to shipping 150 cars per week. Joey started as a customer service rep and later moved up to sales manager, operations manager, and marketing manager. Joey then moved to Europe for two years and spent the entire time traveling through Europe meeting with clients. In 2022, Joey and his partners purchased CFR Classic from CFR Rinkens and he returned to California to watch over the operation more closely.

Our shed plan library represents our commitment to providing shed plans that are well designed and as a result help you to have a good shed building experience. We are the top shed plan site on the internet and we provide an easy way to buy shed plans to get your shed building project off the ground. Dormer Storage Shed PlansBuilding a dormer on your backyard shed is the perfect way to add more light inside and create a truly stunning shed on the outside. Traditionally the dormer roof was invented to add space to an existing attic space for a sleeping or storage area. In our shed plans the dormer roof adds additional storage space and light. Find DIY projects, free woodworking plans, and home improvement tips. Build your next project with our easy to follow plans, Chicken Coop Plans