An Introduction to the World of Classic Cars

The world of classic cars is one of the most under-rated, yet magically exciting sectors of what is essentially a leisure pursuit. Certainly there are many professional firms and companies trading in the area of classic cars, but for the most part the industry is driven by enthusiastic followers of their own particular classic car passion.
Some parameters and definitions are required and this leads to the first problem: what exactly is a classic car? And how do you begin to identify Autotrader Au one? The answer is probably the old favourite that applies to all things of beauty and it is simply that it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
One person’s classic is another’s heap of junk, but there’s no doubt that we all know a true classic when we see one.
The earliest mechanically propelled vehicles are now, in the main, museum pieces that only rarely see the light of day. They are delicate relics of many a bygone age and evoke tremendous feelings of affection and attachment in those who love them.
Next are the classics that still represent a part of history long gone and comprise vehicles that can be nursed and nurtured by those who own, maintain and love them. Because of the dedication of these enthusiasts, the rest of us can enjoy the reward of exploring history, in much the same way as we would explore any part of the development of mankind through the ages.
Coming more up to date are the vehicles that represent the boom years of motor car design and ingenuity, before computer aided design took over and resulted in what exists now, i.e. all cars looking pretty much the same. Modern needs and demands for fuel efficiency, together with environmental considerations dictate how cars are now configured.
From modern techniques of design and manufacture we get cars that are incredibly efficient, but perhaps a little Hyundai Venue Build And Price boring and unlikely to mature into what might be called classic cars in the future. Time alone will tell.
Mechanical transportation has been around since the latter part of the nineteenth century so we have a wealth of history to draw upon. Generally speaking the most satisfactory way to classify and categorise classic cars is by reference to the year in which they were manufactured. We have to start somewhere!
Further classification must introduce a geographic component. The US probably represents the largest sector here, but the UK and other European countries contribute hugely to the rich tapestry that now constitutes the classic car world.
Vintage cars are probably still best defined as those built before 1930. So that’s a big part of the territory. Then come those built between 1930 and the end of World War 2 so, again a substantial sector. This era has been defined as the age of the “Post Vintage Thoroughbred”. Not a bad label by any means.
Once we get beyond World War 2 things become a little more subjective. In the UK there is the zero rate of road tax which applies to any car built before 1973. Somewhat confused because it defines a “build” date rather than a “registered” date, but that aside this sector is fairly easy to classify. So if it’s not vintage, and it’s not a Post Vintage Thoroughbred, but it was built before 1973, then it almost certainly is a “Road Tax Free, Classic”.
Coming further up to date there is definite confusion. There are classics being produced today, by small specialist manufacturers and even home build kit car fans. There are also the eccentric and bizarre that only their owners would ever define as classic.
When all said and done, no-one should be denied the entitlement to describe their own classic as such, and there’s plenty of room in the world for us all.
Long may that be the case and long may all of us with an interest in this really fascinating world of historic motor cars, find enough to feed our passion and excitement for all time.

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