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Classic car is a term used to describe an older car, but the exact meaning is subject to differences in opinion. Some groups are very general with the term, considering any older car to be a classic. Others, including the Wikipedia:Classic Car Club of America, maintain that 1959 is the last year for a car to be a classic, while in the UK 25 years or older is often the general definition.


Classic Car Club of America

The Classic Car Club of America defines a CCCA Classic or is as a fine or distinctive automobile, either American or foreign built, produced between 1925 and 1959. Generally, a Classic was high-priced when new and was built in limited quantities. Other factors, including engine displacement, custom coachwork and luxury accessories, such as power brakes, power clutch, and "one-shot" or automatic lubrication systems, help determine whether a car is considered to be a Classic.[1]

Any member may petition for a vehicle to join the list. Such applications are carefully scrutinized and rarely is a new vehicle type admitted.[2]

This rather exclusive definition of a classic car is not universally followed, however, and this is acknowledged by the CCCA: while it still maintains the true definition of "classic car" is its, it generally uses terms such as CCCA Classic or the trademarked Full Classic to avoid confusion.

United Kingdom

There is no fixed definition of a classic car. Two taxation issues do impact however, leading to some people using them as cutoff dates. All cars built before January 1, 1973, are exempted from paying the annual road tax vehicle excise duty. This is then entered on the license disc displayed on the windscreen as "historic vehicle" (if a car built before this date has been first registered in 1973 or later, then its build date would have to be verified by a recognized body such as British Motor Heritage Foundation to claim tax free status). The HM Revenue & Customs define a classic car for company taxation purposes as being over 15 years old and having a value in excess of £15,000.[3]

United States legal definition

Legally, most States have time-based rules for the definition of "classic" for purposes such as antique vehicle registration; for example, Pennsylvania defines it as "A motor vehicle, but not a reproduction thereof, manufactured at least 15 years prior to the current year which has been maintained in or restored to a condition which is substantially in conformity with manufacturer specifications and appearance."

Antique Automobile Club of America

The Antique Automobile Club of America defines an antique car as 25 years old or older.[4]

Modern classics

The Porsche 944 may be considered a modern classic.

These vehicles are generally, anywhere from 15–25 years, but are not accepted as classics according to the Antique Automobile Club of America definition.

Classic car styling

There was a worldwide change in styling trends in the immediate years after the end of World War II. The 1946 Crosley and Kaiser-Frazer, for example, changed the traditional discrete replaceable-fender treatment. From this point on, cars of all kinds became envelope bodies in basic plan. The CCCA term, "Classic Car" has been confined to "the functionally traditional designs of the earlier period" (mostly pre-war). They tended to have removable fenders, trunk, headlights, and a usual vertical grill treatment. In a large vehicle, such as a Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, or in a smaller form, the MG TC, with traditional lines, might typify the CCCA term. Another vehicle might be a classic example of a later period but not a car from the "classic period of design", in the opinion of the CCCA.


Drivers of classic cars must be especially careful. Classic cars often lack what are now regarded as basic safety features, such as seat belts, crumple zones or rollover protection. Vehicle handling characteristics (particularly steering and suspension) and brake performance are likely to be poorer than current standards, hence requiring greater road-awareness on the part of the driver. In certain parts of the US, using a classic car as a daily vehicle is strongly discouraged and in some places even prohibited.[5]

Some groups have recommended[by whom?] to retrofit classic cars with seat belts. Retro-styled (colour-coded with chromed buckles) 2-point and 3-point seat belts are manufactured according to current safety standards. Fitting modern tires is also a suggestion to improve the handling.[6]

Some classic cars owners are reluctant to retrofit seat belts for the loss of originality this modification implies. There have also been instances of cars losing points at shows for being retrofitted with seat belts.[7]

Despite these concerns, classic cars are involved in relatively very few accidents.[8] (Which is probably due to their owners taking extra care of there 'prized vehicles than a normal motorist & generally being more road aware as a driver.

See also

References / sources

External links

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Classic cars. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia