By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

August 15, 2022
how old is a classic car

How Old Car is a Classic Car?

What age makes a 'classic'?

A ‘classic’ is something different for everyone. For some people, it’s a sports car; for others, it’s an old pickup truck. But what about a motorcycle? If you look up the definition of a ‘classic’ online, you might find yourself confused. Some say it’s just a car built before 1960. Others say it’s a car built before 1980. And still others say it’s anything older than that. What does all this mean? Let’s take a closer look at how we define a ‘classic‘ car.

The term ‘classic’ originally referred to cars built before World War II. In the United States, the Federal Highway Administration defines a ‘classic” as a vehicle built before 1950. This includes vehicles built before 1940, such as Model T Fords, and those built before 1930, such as Model T Cadillacs. So, a ‘classic' car must be built before 1950.

But there are exceptions. Vehicles built before 1920 qualify as a ‘classic‟ under California law. And according to the National Association of Automobile Dealers, a vehicle qualifies as a ‘classic',‟ even if it was built after 1950, if it meets certain requirements. These include being over 40 feet long, weighing less than 3,500 pounds, and having a seating capacity of fewer than eight passengers.

So, what about motorcycles? Motorcycles are generally considered to be ‘modern‟ because they weren’t invented until the early 1900s. However, many consider them to be ‘classics‟ because they follow the same principles as automobiles.

They use four wheels, they have engines, and they seat one person. Because of this, most states require a motorcycle to be registered as a ‘classic.‟

how old is a classic car

Why classic car rates can be lower

The cost of buying a classic car varies depending on several different factors. These include the type of car, how old it is, where it was bought, and whether there is damage to it. If you want to sell a classic car, you'll need to factor in the amount of money you're willing to spend on repairs. 

Is a 20 year old car a classic car?

A 20 year old car isn't necessarily a classic car. There are many factors that go into defining a classic car, such as the type of vehicle, the condition of the vehicle, and the style of the vehicle. Most importantly, though, a classic car is something that represents a certain era in automotive history.

Many people consider a classic car to be any car manufactured before 1975. Some people define a classic car as any car made before 1950. Others say that a classic car is anything built before 1965. Whatever definition you choose, a 20 year old car is definitely not a classic car.

Some feel that a 20 year old car is definitely a classic car, but it depends on what kind of car it is.

Some cars are made to last forever, like the Ford Mustang, and others are built to be reliable and durable, like the Chevrolet Camaro. Regardless of the type of car, though, a 20 year old car is still a great choice for a collector.

These vehicles tend to hold their value much better than newer models, and collectors love buying these cars because they represent a piece of history.

how old is a classic car - how many miles

How many miles should a 20 year old car have

Most cars that are 20 years old would have approximately 200,000 miles.

The number of miles a vehicle needs depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of driving you do

Most modern vehicles can last over 15 years, although some may last much longer.

So, if you drive 10,000 miles per year, you will log10k miles per year. In my case, I have multiple cars and only drive my cars in rotation so the yearly mileage may be lower like 3k per year. This calculation assumes that you drive evenly throughout the year.

Also the weather plays a part, if you drive mostly during the summer months, you could add more miles to your odometer than if you drove only in the winter.

If you can find a car under 100k miles, that would be a good find. As long as the maintenance service has been on time, the car should continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

Can a car last 20 years?

The lifespan of a vehicle depends on many factors, such as the type of material it's made of, how much it's driven, and how well it's maintained.

Most vehicles built since the 1970s should last at least 15 years without major repairs.

Some manufacturers recommend replacing parts like tires and brake pads every year or two, depending on driving conditions. Other components like shocks and struts should be replaced every 5–7 years. Car fluids should be changed every few years and also add fuel stabilizer if you are storing the car for an extended period of time.

If you drive your car regularly, check the owner's manual to see what maintenance schedule it recommends. 

Should I keep my classic car?

The used car market is hot right now. If you own a classic car, you should definitely consider selling it. There are many benefits to selling your classic car, such as getting cash now, avoiding depreciation, and potentially earning extra money. However, there are also drawbacks to selling your classic car.

Selling a classic car may mean giving up ownership of the vehicle, which could affect your insurance rates and the resale value of the car. Also, if you plan on keeping your classic car for a long period of time, you may end up spending too much money maintaining it.

So, if you're considering selling your classic car, it's a good time to consider selling.

According to an Investopedia report, the classic car market has increased. The Top Index has grown significantly since last year, despite having been affected by the COV­ID-19 pandemic. It grew 6.19% in Q1 of 2020, and 2,7% in Q2 of 2021.

What age does a car become tax exempt in the US

The IRS considers a vehicle to be a collectible if it meets certain criteria. These include having been manufactured prior to 1957, and being worth $2,500 or more. Cars that meet these requirements are eligible for a special tax exemption.

 However, if you own a vehicle that doesn't qualify for the exemption, you may still be able to deduct the cost of repairs and maintenance.

To figure out if your car qualifies, check with the IRS. If it does, you should file Form 8814, Collectible Vehicle Expense Deduction.

how old is a classic car - paying taxes

Do you have to pay tax on cars over 25 years old

You may be able to deduct the cost of buying a classic car from your taxable income. However, you should check with your accountant to see exactly what rules apply to you. Generally speaking, the IRS allows owners of vehicles worth $25,000 or more to write off the full amount of the vehicle's purchase price.

Owners of vehicles worth less than $25,000 can only claim a portion of the vehicle's original purchase price. This deduction is limited to 50 percent of the vehicle's adjusted gross income. Adjusted gross income includes any capital gains made during the year. Capital gains include profits realized from selling assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and collectibles.

Do classic cars go up in value

Classic cars are great investments. There are many factors that contribute to the value of any vehicle, but the biggest factor is condition. Condition refers to the overall state of the vehicle, such as the exterior paint, interior materials, mechanical parts, etc. A vehicle that looks good and runs well is worth much more than one that doesn't look good or run well. Another major factor affecting the value of a classic car is rarity.

  1. Rarity 

    Rarity refers to the number of vehicles like yours currently available. Rare cars tend to sell for more money than non-rare cars. However, rarity alone isn't enough to drive the value of a classic up significantly. Other factors include demand, supply, and the current economic climate.
  2. Demand

    Demand is determined by the popularity of the model year, while supply is measured by the total number of vehicles produced during that period. Supply tends to decrease over time, while demand increases.
  3. Economic Environment

    Finally, the economy affects the value of a car. If the economy is bad, fewer people will be able to afford luxury items, and thus fewer people will be buying luxury cars. Conversely, if the economy is good, more people will be able to buy luxury cars, driving up the value of those models.

In addition to these factors, there are many other things that affect the value of a classic. Some of these include the type of body style, engine size, transmission, color, options, mileage, and more.

These variables must be taken into account when assessing the value of a classic, just as they would be when purchasing any other kind of vehicle.

BuyCarBlog Classic Car Buying Rules

Buying a classic car is one of the most exciting things you can do. There are plenty of benefits to owning a classic car. They are often cheaper to maintain and repair than newer cars. And they are usually easier to drive.

how old is a classic car

For starters, it makes you stand out from the crowd. People notice you driving down the street in your cool vintage vehicle.

It's also an investment. If you invest wisely, you'll be able to drive away with a nice profit after a short amount of time.

Finally, owning a classic car gives you bragging rights. Everyone knows that you bought a classic car, and everyone wants to talk to you about it.

So, if you're thinking about buying a classic car, here are 3 tips to help you get the deal done.

#1. Know What You Want

Before you go shopping, think about what you really want. Do you want a fast sports car? Or would you rather have a slow, reliable sedan?

Do you want a convertible or a coupe? Do you want a two door or four door? Do you want a manual transmission or automatic transmission?

Think about these questions and write them down. Then, when you go shopping, you won't waste time trying to find the right car for you.

#2. Find a Deal

Now that you know what you want, it's time to find a dealer. This is the person who sells cars. They may be located online or in a brick and mortar location.

When you visit the dealership, ask to see several vehicles. Ask about financing options. And don't forget to bring cash.

#3. Negotiate

After you've found a dealer, negotiate the price. Be sure to ask for everything that you want. Don't settle for anything less than what you deserve.

Remember, you're paying for the car, not the dealer. Make sure you get the best deal possible.

If you follow these three steps, you'll be able to save yourself thousands of dollars and still get exactly what you want.

Market values

The market value of a vehicle is determined by how much it could sell for at auction, what similar vehicles sold for recently, and whether there is any special demand for the particular model.

A vehicle's condition affects its market value; poor quality cars often sell for less than good ones because buyers assume they will break down soon. Also, a car's price tends to go up over time as technology improves and manufacturers introduce newer versions.

In addition, some people buy vintage cars specifically to resell them later. This usually involves restoring the car to showroom condition, and selling it again at a profit.

Vehicle prices fluctuate depending on many variables, including the following:

  • The type of car. For example, a sports car might cost more than a family sedan.
  • Its age. Older cars tend to command lower prices than modern vehicles.
  • How well it runs. Cars that run poorly sell for less than those that perform well.

Bonus Tip: Research Vehicles Online

Researching vehicles online is the easiest way to compare prices between models and dealerships. You can save hours of driving around town comparing prices and features.

When researching vehicles, be sure to read reviews written by previous owners. This will give you insight into whether the vehicle has been reliable over the years.

A good place to start looking up values is eBay, where sellers list their vehicles based on the current market prices. This allows buyers to see what others paid for similar models. However, it's important to note that the price of a classic car fluctuates over time, so you shouldn't rely solely on eBay to find out what your car is worth.

Another option is to check out sites like, which lists information about classic cars such as model, make, year, and owner. Some owners post pictures of their vehicles, while others provide detailed descriptions of their cars' features.

You can also use a site called to look for classic cars for sale. Craigslist is one of the most popular classified ads sites on the web, and it's free to use. Many people buy and sell classic cars on Craigslist, so it's a great resource to learn about the market for your particular model.

If you don't want to do much work, you can always hire a professional appraiser to give your car a valuation. Appraisers typically charge anywhere from $100-$200 per hour, which isn't cheap. But if you want to know exactly how much your car is worth, this is probably the best way to go.

Key Differences Between Classic, Antique and Vintage Cars

In our modern world, we don't think about how much things cost anymore. But there's a big difference between buying something cheap and paying too little for something you really love.

Old cars are one of those things where you're usually better off spending more money now rather than later. Here are some key differences between classic, antique and vintage cars.

What Does It Mean When a Car Has an "Antique" License Plate?

A car with an “Antique” or ”classic” license plate doesn't necessarily mean that the vehicle is over 60 years old. In fact, according to the DMV, a vehicle can qualify for an antique license plate even if it's under 60 years old. However, a vehicle must be registered as an antique vehicle to receive an antique license plate. If a vehicle isn't registered as an antique vehicle, then it won't qualify for an antique license.

How Much Is a Classic Car Worth Today?

If you're looking to sell a classic car, you might find yourself asking, "Is my car worth anything?" Well, the answer depends on several factors including the model year, condition, mileage and options. For example, a 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible could easily fetch $20,000-$30,000 depending on the condition. The modern used car can be bought for 10k or less. 


There is no one way to determine the value of a classic car. But there are online resources that can give you some guidance. One such resource is This site offers a free tool called "Car Valuation Wizard." You enter information about your vehicle including mileage, make, model, and year. Then it gives you an estimate of what your car might sell for. For example, if you entered a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible with 60,000 miles, the site estimates it could sell for $2,500-$3,500.

The site says that the average price paid for a classic car is $4,200. So, while you won't find a precise number here, you'll get a ballpark figure. And that's good enough for most people.

Historic Status with License Plates

Each state sets its own rules regarding what type of vehicle qualifies to receive a particular historic status license plate. In some states, any vehicle that meets the criteria may qualify for one. Others require a special designation like vintage, classic collector, street rod, antique, etc. There are even more historic statuses available including vintage, custom collector, street rod, antiques, and others.

Though there are still more historic status options available, these are the ones you’re likely to see. If you want to check out more, here are some resources to help you find the perfect design.

Classic Car Qualifications by Major Insurer

Insurance companies use several factors to determine whether or not you qualify for a discount on your auto policy. These include things like the type of vehicle, the amount of miles driven per year, and even the make and model of the car. Here are some of the most common questions about classic car insurance.

How Much Does Classic Car Insurance Cost?

The price of classic car insurance depends on a number of factors including the type of vehicle, its value, and what kind of coverage you want. Most people don’t realize that there are multiple types of classic car insurance. You can choose either comprehensive or collision coverage. Comprehensive covers the vehicle itself, while collision coverage protects against damages caused by accidents. If you plan on driving the car regularly, you might consider purchasing both types of coverage. Collision coverage typically costs less than comprehensive coverage.

Can I Get Classic Car Insurance With An Older Vehicle?

Yes! Many insurance companies offer discounts for older vehicles. For example, Progressive offers up to 10% off for vehicles that are 15 years old or newer. Other companies offer discounts for vehicles that are 20 years old or older. Be sure to shop around for the best deal.

How does classic car insurance work?

Classic cars are expensive to buy and maintain. They require specialized care and maintenance. If something happens to your classic car while you're driving it, you could end up paying out of pocket for repairs. This is why many people choose to insure their classic cars.

Insurance companies offer classic car insurance policies because there isn't much competition in the market. There are only about 2 million classic cars registered in the United States. These vehicles make up less than 0.5 percent of total vehicle registrations. As such, most insurers don't want to invest too much money into marketing to those customers. Instead, they focus on selling policies to owners of classic cars.

Most classic car insurance policies cover damage caused by accidents, theft, vandalism, fire, flood, windstorm, hail, lightning, and falling objects. Some even include coverage for collision, comprehensive, and liability. However, some policies exclude certain types of damages, such as collision, comprehensive, and/or liability.

The price of classic car insurance varies based on several factors, including age of the vehicle, deductible amount, number of insured drivers, and location of the policy holder. Most policies cost around $200 per month.

If you decide to purchase classic car insurance, here are some things you should know:

Classic cars are one of the most expensive types of vehicles to insure. They are often driven by wealthy individuals and therefore tend to attract thieves. However, if you follow these three steps, you may find yourself with a classic car insurance policy within minutes.

#1. Find Out What Type of Classic Car Insurance Policy You Need

Before purchasing any type of vehicle insurance, you first need to determine what type of coverage you need. This will depend on whether you plan on keeping your car for several years or if you intend to drive it occasionally.

For example, if you plan on driving your car every weekend, you will probably need comprehensive coverage. If you plan on using your car once a month, you will probably need liability coverage.

#2. Determine How Much Coverage You Need

After determining what type of coverage you will need, you will need to decide how much coverage you need. For example, if you plan to drive your car every weekend, then you will need comprehensive coverage.

However, if you plan on using your vehicle once a month, you may only need liability coverage.

Finally, you will need to determine how much your premiums will cost. Premiums vary depending on the amount of coverage you select.

#3. Shop Around for the Best Deal

When shopping for classic car insurance, you should compare quotes from multiple companies. Doing this will allow you to find the best deal possible.

Remember that premium prices vary based on the company you choose. Therefore, you should shop around until you find the lowest price available.

In addition to comparing quotes, you should also ask your agent questions regarding the specific policies offered by each company.

  • Will my current auto insurance cover me?
  • Do I qualify for discounts?
  • What happens if I file a claim?
  • What is salvage value?
  • What kind(s) of coverage do I receive with my policy?

By following these three simple steps, you will be able to purchase classic car insurance in no time.

A Final Word

In conclusion, buying a classic car is a dream for many people.

However, it doesn't have to be expensive to own one. In fact, you can often find a nice used model for less than $10,000. That means you can afford to drive around town in style without breaking the bank.

The trick is finding the right vehicle for you. There are plenty of options available, from sports cars to muscle cars to vintage classics. So whether you want to cruise through town in a sleek Ferrari or roll down memory lane in a classic Chevy, there's bound to be a model that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Good luck!


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Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

About the author

I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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