What Makes A Car A Classic?

When we write a blog post for our classic car storage blog, we take inspiration from a vast array of different sources.

Sometimes the subjects come from the news (as it did last week with our piece on Footman James), whilst other times they come from our own knowledge or the experiences and conversations we’ve had with customers as a classic car storage facility.

Today, however, the post follows on from things we’ve been seeing on Twitter lately.

Recently joining Facebook and Twitter (you can like us on Facebook here and follow us on Twitter here), we’ve been gripped by the latter in particular – so many fantastic ‘conversations’!

And several we’ve seen over the past week have been around the topic of classic cars and what actually classes as one.

Generally speaking, every car will be considered a ‘classic’ by someone around the world.  No matter how much some people will hate it, there’ll be plenty more who adore it for whatever reason and will constantly sing its praises.

But when we’re talking about actual classic cars – vehicles that are classified as classics by certain institutions, for example – there are several pieces of criteria that need to be met to qualify a car as a classic, depending on where you are in the world.

Over in America, for example, one of the key aspects of a classic car is that it has to be between 20 and 40 years old, according to the Classic Car Club of America.  Anything younger than this doesn’t qualify and anything older falls into the ‘antique’ class.

In the UK, there aren’t any set criteria as such.  However, there are several guidelines laid out by various parties that generally give a good indication as to when a car becomes a classic.

For instance, the DVLA have a category called ‘historic vehicles’.  This is for vehicles that were manufactured before 1st January 1973 and means they are exempt from road tax.

But although this date is due to increase to 1974 next year, many still consider it to be too old and there are plenty of vehicles built after this time that are generally thought of as classics.

Another way many people determine whether a car is a classic or not is to use the HMRC’s method – for company tax purposes, if a car is worth £15,000 or more and is at least 15 years old, it’s defined as a classic.

The problem here is that not only are some classics available which are worth well-under £15,000, but 15 years only takes us to 1998 – there are plenty of people who are still driving the car they had in 1998 and consider it to be relatively modern!

Therefore, the way a classic car becomes just that for many is through general consensus. There are no set rules and everyone essentially pitches in with their thoughts.  This does mean that sometimes you’ll see cars being classified as classics when that’s not really the case in most people’s eyes, but generally speaking these instances are kept to a minimum.

Speaking to various different people as a company offering secure car storage, we’re pleased to say that most tend to agree this way of determining classics works well.

Whilst there are some instances where more strict guidelines could be beneficial, they don’t leave any room for individual cases, meaning some of our most beloved ‘classics’ would stop being seen in magazines and at shows – and this is something we’re certain most would agree would be an absolute travesty.