At what age does your car become a classic?

Classic cars are something that are immediately alluring to almost any eye regardless of whether you’ve got a soft spot for all things automotive and it is impossible not to fall head over heels for some of the stunning steeds going up for sale. So, at what age does a car become a classic? Is it not an age thing? Or is it a combination of age and other factors. How about popularity among likeminded enthusiasts?

Everyone has their own definition and their own set of criteria. The one thing everyone can agree on is that for a car to be a classic it must be old, or does it?

Modern classic cars or youngtimers are generally older vehicles, ranging from 15 to 25 years, but are usually not accepted as classics.  In UK, the modern classic definition is open to the discretion often by Insurance Brokers and Insurance Companies who regard a Modern Classic as a vehicle that is considered collectible regardless of age. The usage of the vehicle limited to recreational purposes or restricted mileage is also considered. 

All cars built over 40 years ago are exempted from paying the annual road tax vehicle excise duty. HM Revenue and Customs define a classic car for company taxation purposes as being over 15 years old and having a value in excess of £15,000.  Additionally, popular acclaim through classic car magazines can play an important role in whether a car comes to be regarded as a classic, but the definition remains subjective and a matter of opinion. The elimination of depreciation can be a reason for buying a classic car and picking ‘future classics’ that are current ‘bangers’ can result in a profit for the buyer as well as providing transport. An immaculate well cared for prestige model with high running costs that impacts its value, but is not yet old enough to be regarded as a classic, could be a good buy, for example.

So, by the definitions above more cars are becoming old enough to be noteworthy. Some argue that the word ‘classic’ to refer to a wider range of interesting cars that aren’t being built anymore.  What’s your definition?

If we acknowledge that the chunk of automotive history considered ‘classic’ is moving, and that some cars will attain ‘classic’ status as they age, then our idea of what models can be called ‘classic’ is certainly going to change with time. In a few decades, people like us will fawn over the nostalgic sound of a parking assist beeper, while we show our incredulous children the primitive interface, we used to call a “touchscreen”.

In conclusion, there’s no rhyme or reason to what ‘classic’ means in everyday parlance. But if somebody tells you a car is a classic and you think that they’re wrong, remember that eventually, they’ll almost certainly become right. Overall, we believe a classic car is like beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder.


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