The term Antique Classics is used in reference to old cars. According to Antique Automobile Club of America, an antique car is generally defined as a car over 25 years of age. However, the exact legal definition for the purpose of antique vehicle registration varies widely from State to State.
With about 12 years being the normal design life of modern cars, 25 years is about double and therefore a car that’s reached 25 is a rare survivor, and probably not economic to maintain as regular transportation.
The term Classic Car is often used synonymously with the term Antique car, but the formal definition of that term is restricted to specific high-quality vehicles from the pre-World War II era which began with the Great Depression in 1930 and ended with the recovery after World War II in 1948. The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) defines the term Classic as a “fine” or “distinctive” automobile, either American or foreign built, produced between 1925 and 1948. A Classic was high-priced when it was introduced and was built in very limited quantities. Although, by 1930’s most of the manufacturing technologies had already been invented, certain factors like including engine displacement, custom coachwork and luxury accessories, such as power brakes, power clutch, and automatic lubrication systems, help determine whether a car can be considered a Classic.
Some exemplary pre-war Antique Classics are our experts at Leland West Insurance say are:
- 1934–1940 Bugatti Type 57. The Type 57SC has become the singular classic car.
- 1934 Citroën Traction Avant. Has the distinction of being the first mass-produced front-wheel drive car,
- 1936 MG T series, a sports car meant especially for American soldiers fighting in the war.
- 1938 Volkswagen Beetle, the most-famous automobile of all times. It was a pre-war design that continues to exist even in the present times.
The CCCA Club keeps a thorough list of the vehicles they consider Classics, and while any member may petition for a vehicle to join the list, such applications are carefully scrutinized and very rarely is a new vehicle type admitted. They also acknowledge the fact that their rather exclusive definition of a classic car is by no means universally followed and hence they generally use terms such as “CCCA Classic” or the trademarked “Full Classic” to avoid confusion.
After 1930 the number of auto manufacturers came down sharply, as the industry consolidated, and developed after the war more advances in engine design were made, like the compression V8 engines and modern bodies from General Motors, Oldsmobile and Cadillac brands.