Since 1886, when Karl Benz patented the first gas-fueled car, we’ve been fascinated with the motor vehicle. And since then, car enthusiasts have been buying and collecting vehicles of all makes and models.
Are you ready to start your own collection?
You don’t need much inspiration when it comes to classic, antique, and vintage cars. Maybe it’s the post-World II car your grandfather kept in the garage, only taking out for a drive on Sundays or special occasions. Or maybe you’ve always been in love with the look of pre-World War II era
vehicles and can’t wait to get your hands on one to restore it.
Before you jump right into buying your first collector car let’s look at what makes a vehicle a classic and what you should be looking for when making your first purchase.
Calling a car a “classic” means it falls into three distinct categories: vintage, antique, and classic.
Vintage cars are those vehicles that were manufactured between 1919 and 1930. Built right between the end of World War I and the fall of the stock market, vintage cars were more about comfort than good looks – their unique style is easily recognizable when you see one of these on the road today.
An antique car is over 45 years old and defined by the era in which it was manufactured. Pre-World War II era cars included new features that the vintage car didn’t have, such as enclosed vehicles and a sleek, streamlined appearance. Post War era vehicles were bigger and more powerful…and more affordable for the average consumer.
Classic cars refer to vehicles that are at least 20 years old but no older than 40 years. So that 1973 BMW 3.0CSL that you just can’t part with because it was your first car – it’s now considered a classic car worth a hefty bit more than you paid for it back then.
If you’re considering buying a classic car, make sure you know what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. Vintage, antique, and classic cars come in all kinds of conditions that determine how in demand they are and how much work you’ll need to put in to make one drivable and valuable. Many classic cars are in such poor condition from damage and rust that they’re only valuable as parts for restoring other vehicles.
Still, other classics are classified in fair condition, which means you’ll need to put in some mechanical and restorative work to make it fit for the road again. Classics in good condition will be in operating order, so you can take it for a drive – that is after you do some minor mechanical work and restoration to make it almost as good as new.
The two best classifications for classic cars are those in excellent and show condition. For an “excellent” classification, you can anticipate this collector car to be completely restored to top quality – but you better expect to pay a good chunk of change for these valuable cars. The same for show vehicles. These cars are in mint condition after being in storage for most of their
While the price tag of excellent and show condition classic cars might be out of your budget, don’t let that stop you from buying your first classic. There are numerous reasonably priced cars that you can afford, all that are more familiar to you and maybe even more meaningful as they remind you of your own youth.
In this case, you might want to look for vehicles manufactured in the mid-1970s or throughout the 1980s. Some of these vehicles are in high demand as “classics” and only expected to increase in value if they haven’t already. For instance, the 1983 Ford Bronco, that vehicle it seemed everyone owned, was originally about $10,000. Today the Bronco is valued at up to $18,000, depending on its condition.
What can you do to call yourself a collector?
Continue reading below to find out more about classic car values and how easy it is for you to be the collector you’ve always dreamed of becoming. And join one of the many classic car clubs across North America for more tips and advice as you find other car aficionados that share your passion for the open road.