Car classifications: Is it a classic, antique, or vintage?

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While it may not seem that way to the untrained eye, there are a lot of differences between classic cars and others, such as vintage or antique cars. The car classifications are important and interesting to note for those as interested in classic cars as we are here at Pioneer Auto Show. So what are the differences between a vintage car, an antique car, and a classic car and what are the car classifications that make a car classic? Here are the definitions of classic, antique, and vintage cars.

Antique Car Classification – This sort of classification is set by state law and each state is unique in the special type of license plates that it gives antique cars. Because the states set the laws, it can vary from state to state, however, in most cases, a car must be over 45 years old to receive the antique car classification. The car should also be maintained in a way to keep it true to its original specifications form the manufacturer, or if they’ve been modified, they must be modified back to its original manufacturer specifications.

Classic Car Classification – While the definition tends to vary around the world, in order to be deemed as a classic car, a car must be at least 20 years old, however it can not be more than 40 years old. If it has had repairs done to it, the repairs must have been done in a way that keeps it true to its original design and specifications and it should not have been manufactured earlier than 1925. In a way, classic cars can also be considered antique cars, but not all antique cars are classic cars.

Vintage Car Classification – Some vintage cars can classify as antique cars, but like classic cars, not all antique cars are vintage cars. Generally speaking, vintage cars were manufactured between 1919 and 1930, but some may end at 1925. It is okay for a vintage car to have had modifications to it; this will not prevent it from being a vintage car, unlike antique and classic cars.

At Pioneer Auto Show, we have over 275 classic cars and other antiques. Stop by and get a little history of these cars and see if you can spot the difference and what makes them classic, antique, or vintage. We’d be happy to share our history with you and give you a lesson in car classifications.


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