What Makes a Car an Antique?

Classic Car Dealer

Are you wondering what makes a car an antique and not just old? Knowing the difference allows you to determine its value, if you have one you’re planning to sell. This could mean making a couple of hundred more dollars or thousands more.

Experts on antique cars from Utah have varying definitions, but most agree on the following:

The age of the car

The simplest and general definition of an “antique” car is that it’s old. Most experts agree that a vehicle must be around four decades old to meet its criteria of an antique. Other than age, cars that fit this category must undergo maintenance that stays true to the manufacturer’s specifications. On the other hand, a “classic” should be around two decades old but not more than 40 years. It should also follow the original specifications and design, even after repairs and maintenance work over its lifespan.

An expert’s definition

Clubs have their own definitions of what an antique car is. One such club is the Antique Automobile Club of America. The latter has been around since the mid-1930s, and they categorize antiques as cars that are more than five decades old. They also state that classics are from 25 to 50 years old.

Defined by states

Some states have their own classifications and definitions of what a classic or antique car is. They follow their own number of years, use of the vehicle (for parades, car shows, etc.), and maintenance or repair methods. If you meet your state’s specifications, you could get special rates or historical plates.

Insurers and lenders

Companies have their own definition; knowing this allows you to get special rates. One company cites that lower quality standards in certain decades would disqualify a car from getting into the classic or antique categories. Ask the company what their specifications are.

These are the ways cars get into classifications. Knowing these definitions gives you an idea of the value of the old car you own, especially if you plan to sell it, restore it or use it in a certain way.