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Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

3 Key Differences Between Classic, Vintage, and Antique Cars

If you’ve ever felt confused about the differences between classic, vintage, and antique cars, you’re not alone! Many people aren’t aware of the main differences between the three classifications.

Here at Classic Auto, we’re more than just a car insurance company — we’re also vehicle enthusiasts. Today, we’re excited to explain to you three key differences between classic, vintage, and antique cars so that you can make the right decision when purchasing a car or insurance on your existing vehicle.

Technical Definitions of Classic, Vintage, and Antique

The dictionary definitions of vintage, antique, and classic differ, and although these terms aren’t used exclusively to categorize cars, the definitions offer a helpful framework for understanding their differences. “Vintage” refers to something from the past that has notably high quality. “Antique” refers to something having a significant value because of its notable age and quality. “Classic” refers to something that has outstandingly high quality and is evaluated over an extended period.

When it comes to the classification of vehicles, defining a car as classic, vintage, or antique can sometimes be confusing because the vehicle may fit multiple definitions. For example, a car could be considered both “vintage” and “antique.”

Additionally, different states in America have their own qualifications for each term for insurance companies to provide the right coverage.

Another important note is that a vehicle’s price typically doesn’t indicate whether a car is considered classic, vintage, or antique. Vehicles are typically sold based on their condition, mileage, restoration, demand, and rarity.

Age Differences in Classic, Vintage, and Antique Cars

Unlike a vehicle’s price, a car’s age offers a decent indicator of whether a vehicle is considered classic, vintage, or antique.

A vehicle is considered a classic if it was manufactured before the year 2000 and after the year 1925. Another important thing to note is that classic vehicles need to abide as closely to their original manufacturing as possible. If a car owner heavily modifies their classic car, it may no longer be considered a classic. Cars from the 1980s and 1990s are frequently considered classics.

In order for a vehicle to qualify as an antique car, it needs to have been manufactured before 1975 in most states. Each state will have its own age qualifications to fit the definition, but the Antique Automobile Club of America considers antique cars 45 years or older.

Additionally, an antique car needs to have its original specifications, or someone can restore the vehicle to abide by the manufacturer’s specifications. It’s often challenging for collectors and motorists to track down antique car parts, so it’s acceptable for antique vehicles to have some modern replaced parts.

Vintage cars have an incredibly specific age. They need to have been manufactured between 1919 and 1930. Like with classic and antique cars, vintage vehicles need to mostly abide by the original manufacturer’s specifications to maintain their vintage status.

Historic Status for Classic, Vintage, and Antique Vehicles

One way motorists can distinguish between antique, vintage, and classic cars is by applying for Historic Status license plates. Your vehicle’s Historic Status will depend on your state’s qualifications. Some types of historic plates include:

  • Historic Vehicle Plates
  • Custom Collector Vehicle Plates
  • Vintage Vehicle Plates
  • Classic Car Plates
  • Street Rod Plates
  • Antique Plates

Some states also feature additional types of historic license plates, so visit your state’s website to learn more.

Examples of Antique, Vintage, and Classic Cars

Some examples of famous antique vehicles include:

  • 1932 Ford Roadster
  • 1938 Volkswagen Beetle
  • 1951 Oldsmobile Super 88
  • 1954 Rolls Royce Phantom
  • 1956 Porsche Speedster
  • 1957 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1968 Dodge Charger

A few notable classic cars include:

  • 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
  • 1974 Lamborghini Countach
  • 1974 Chevy Impala
  • 1979 Ford Bronco

Finally, iconic entries in the history of vintage cars include:

  • 1919 Ford Model T Sedan
  • 1921 Hudson Super Six Phaeton
  • 1924 Aston Martin Grand Prix
  • 1925 Flint Model E-55
  • 1930 Cadillac V-16

Get Premium Insurance on Your Classic, Vintage, or Antique Car

Whether you’re driving a classic, vintage, or antique car, you can count on Classic Auto Insurance to protect your historic beauty. We offer motorists affordable and robust insurance, and we also provide unique benefits such as agreed-upon value, inflation guard, rollover miles, and nationwide flatbed towing. Call us today at 888-901-1338.

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