About Old Fashioned Cars

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Antique cars are traditionally defined in the United States as being cars that are 25 years or older, though the social connotation of the term often implies a certain image of a wood-spoked, low-ridding buggy with a canvas top. Rarity and demand are two of the most influential factors when determining the value of an antique car, but perhaps nothing is more important than the owner's personal nostalgia toward the car and the era that it represents.

Timeline of Antique Cars

  • Antique cars are often classified based on what year they were produced. Cars made in the 1890s to the turn of the century are referred to as "Veteran." Cars made from 1900 to 1910 are referred to as "Brass" or "Edwardian." Cars made from 1910 to roughly the mid-1920s are known as "Vintage." Cars made from the mid-1920s to the start of World War II (1939-1941) are known as "Pre-war." Cars manufactured from 1942 until 1969 are known as "Post-War." Cars manufactured from 1970 until the turn of the twenty-first century are known as "Modern."

Investing in Antique Cars

  • Like most investments, antique cars can be a gamble. Some are purchased for a few hundred dollars and net hundreds of thousands down the road, while others can see the exact opposite happen. The best time to purchase an antique car is when it is 20 years old, when its price is said to have "bottomed out." The car should have the original paint and chrome finish on it. Once you have made the purchase, it is wise to make any necessary repairs on it to restore it to as close to its original conditioning as possible. Many find this to be one of the most satisfying aspects of owning an antique car, while others choose to outsource any needed work. Of course, it should go without saying that the cars should be driven very rarely. Some collectors will not drive the car at all and will have it shipped on a flatbed truck to anywhere it needs to go. Whatever the method of behavior, the crucial factor in investing in an antique car is time. You have to know when the market is "up" and be ready to unload the car to make your profit. The antique car market is notorious for being wildly temperamental, so don't get too greedy or you could find yourself on the wrong side of a buyer's market.

Reasons for Collecting

  • People collect antique cars for all kinds of reasons. Some enjoy buying a broken-down scrap of metal and embarking upon the challenge of restoring the auto to its days of glory. Others find satisfaction in the craftsmanship and care put into a product by a bygone industry that has long since abandoned such lofty manufacturing standards. For many, antique cars are just another form of investment and they keep the auto up on blocks until they feel the market is just right. But for most, antique cars are an initiation ticket into an exclusive fraternity of auto shows and car parades. Like many hobbies and passions, like-minded people come together in a social network to share their love for antique automobiles and often this social aspect becomes the most beloved thing about collecting.

Famous Antique Cars

  • Some of the most famous and easiest recognizable antique cars are the 1922 Ford Model T, the 1957 Ford Thunderbird, 1953 Cadillac Coup De Ville, 1970 Pontiac GTO, 1955 Volkswagon Type 2 Van, 1967 Ford Mustang, 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, the 1981 Delorean DMC-12 and the 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Other Ways to Be Involved in Antique Cars

  • You don't just need to be a car enthusiast or heavy investor to get into antique cars. Many people who are passionate in the area got their start through association. Some of the most popular auxiliary collections revolving around antique cars are photography, stamps, toy and matchbox cars, hood ornaments, trade magazines and value charts.

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  • Photo Credit Matt Stoller
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