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What Is A Classic Car?

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Last Reviewed: September 29, 2016

Some would say a classic car is between 20 and 45 years old, built in limited numbers and often equipped with power brakes, power clutch, custom coachwork and lubricating systems and luxury accessories. Typically the classic car was manufactured post World War II until about 1972. It really depends on who you ask because opinions vary on what makes a classic car classic or an antique car antique. Not all states have the same idea as to what a classic car is and when it comes to licensing it really depends on the state your registering with. Here is our definition of the Classic Car Era.

1964 Ford Thunderbird

1964 Ford Thunderbird

The estimated amount of American built classic cars that is accepted as a classic car by the Classic Car Club of America is around 1,366,843. Over half of these are Cadillacs and Packards. The remainder of these vehicles are made up of 37 other American classic car manufacturers. Some of the classic cars accepted by the Classic Car Club of America are listed below:

  • All Alfa Romeo Models
  • All Bentley from 1919
  • Buick 1931-1942 90 Series and 80 Limited
  • Cadillac All 12?s and 16?s, All V-63 from 1923, all 1925-1935, all 1936-1948, All 63, 65, 67, 70, 72, 75, 80, 85, 90 Series, 1938-1947 - 60 Special, 1940-1947 - All 62 Series
  • Chrysler 1926 through 1932 Imperial and Series 80. Includes Series CG, CH, CL, 1932-1939 Custom Imperial Series -CL, CX, CW, C-3, C-11, C-15, C-20, C-24, 1940-1948 Crown Imperial - Includes Series C-27, C-30N, C-33, C-37, C-40 Newports and Thunderbolts,1941-1948 Town & Country
  • Hudson 1929-Series L
  • Jaguar 1946-1948 - 2-1/2 litre, 3-1/2 litre (Mark IV)
  • MG. 1935-1939 SA 1938-1939 WA
  • Rolls-Royce All from 1919

We at define a classic car as vehicles built between 1946 and 1972, also known as the Classic Car Era. The classic car era started with Detroit making a major shift from "bigger is better" to "smaller is more efficient". Automakers started looking for materials lighter than steel to increase the horsepower to weight ratio - which gave birth to the muscle car. A classic car with more power resulted in higher speeds, calling for better roads and more roadside conveniences. Gas was relatively cheap, octane was high, and the classic muscle cars and hot rods ruled the road. You will find hundreds of classic cars for sale in our classified ads and dozens of classic car dealers in the business directory.

1964 Chevrolet Belair

1964 Chevrolet Belair

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Car enthusiasts and collectors love classic cars and use the term indiscriminately to mean "memorable". Typically they are referring to cars made in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's but not always. During that time designs were flourishing as manufacturers strove to differentiate their models from the competition. Cadillac, Ford, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile turned out car models that were distinct and could be easily identified, like the long hoods and short decks on the Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang. However others might also call the Model A Ford a classic!

At we feature a huge selection of classic cars for sale including muscle cars, hot rods, roadsters and vintage cars. But keep in mind that the safety standards of most classic cars are poorer than todays safety standards, and they handle much different too. For example most classic cars lack seat belts, crumple zones, rollover protection and perhaps even turn signals. And many also have relatively basic steering, suspension and brake systems when compared to today's vehicle.

* Pictures are from ads on and may not be used without the vehicle owner's permission.