True car fanatics will know about the three ways of classifying a vehicle correctly: classic, antique, and vintage; however, even people who have spent their entire lives working with cars can get confused over what makes each classification different from the rest. Fortunately, we can help shed some light on the matter.
We constantly work with all three types of cars and grapple with the question of which is which on a daily basis so we can explain the difference to our customers. We realize that people can be incredibly discerning when it comes to car selection, as they should be. The classification of vintage cars is the source of the most confusion and the best place to start.
The Historical Difference
Vintage cars, as everyone can see from a comprehensive catalog of vehicles, differ very little in terms of quality from antiques and classics. The cars are consistently beautiful, reliable, and have a history attached to each one across all three categories.
Owners of vintage cars often have vehicles with model years between 1919 and 1930. The automobile industry was going through an interesting transition period that focused more on comfort, as well as more efficient controls. This was because most industrialized States were investing in nationwide roadways that made unpaved roads an almost non-existent concern.
Vintage cars were the first to get car heating, in-car radio, foot pedal brakes, hydraulic actuated brakes, and power steering. This era of American automobiles also saw the introduction of the octane rating for fuel. The introduction of Ethyl also allowed vehicles of this period to reach much faster speeds than what was possible before.
The Practical Difference
Another difference that sets these vehicles apart from others lies in the statistics of the vehicle underneath the parts and most specifications – insurance. This is a very specific and important distinction to make, as vehicles under the vintage classification are not required by law to meet modern testing and fee requirements.
Because of the small historical window in which a vehicle can be called vintage, the criteria that appraisers use is much stricter than what most collectors and drivers may be accustomed to. The condition rating of the vehicle, for example, depends on a point system that places a specific car in one of six categories. Category I is considered the best (almost better than new), while Category VI vehicles are hardly worth mentioning.
These distinctions can go a long way in terms of discussing insurance terms and requirements. Owners of higher category cars can use the condition of their vehicle as leverage to settle on better terms on their plans. This is an advantage that a very small percentage of drivers can enjoy. Become part of that fraction and get a vintage car of your own. Take your time choosing a car and talk to us about questions you might have.