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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Makes a Car a Classic?

Before I started attending car shows and cruise nights, I’d assumed a classic car was one that was older than I was. At least ten years older than I was. It was a bit of a shock when I found cars from my early 20s on display. So what exactly defines a classic? It depends on who you ask.

According to the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) , a “Full Classic” car is one that was built between 1919 to 1948 (older than me—yay!). Not only that, but the car must have been produced in limited numbers and been expensive at the time—think Packard and Cadillac. You can find a list of the cars that they call CCCA Classics on their website.  You won’t find any Chevy Bel Airs or Ford Fairlanes here. No Model A Fords, either. But you don’t have to own a CCCA Classic to join the club or attend their events.

Fortunately for the average car lover, most clubs and events aren’t nearly as exclusive with their definitions, or we’d all have a lot fewer automotive beauties to admire. Many seem to consider any car more than 25 years old to be a classic, with anything built before the Second World War falling into the vintage class. Rules can vary as to whether modifications are allowed or not. Hot rods aren’t considered classics but are welcome at many of the same shows.

While I can’t see my first car, a used 1978 Plymouth Horizon, making anyone’s list of classics any time soon, you never know. HERE’S an article (with photos) on the sportier 1979 tc3 version. Nah. Not feeling the nostalgia. But I say if someone loved it enough to keep it, or to track it down and restore it, then it’s a classic. What’s your classic?

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