How Long Until a Car is Considered Antique: A Guide for Vintage Car Enthusiasts

Discover the answer to the question “how long until a car is considered antique” in our comprehensive guide for vintage car enthusiasts. Learn more here!

As the years go by, some cars inevitably become a thing of the past. But for vintage car enthusiasts, owning and restoring classic cars is a passion. However, there is a common question among collectors and enthusiasts alike: how long until a car is considered antique?

In this article, we will explore the definition of an antique car, how it differs from classic and vintage cars, and the factors that determine the value of these vehicles.

What is an Antique Car?

According to the Antique Automobile Club of America, an antique car is any vehicle that is at least 25 years old or older. This means that any car manufactured before 1998 can be considered an antique. However, some states have their own definitions of an antique car for registration and tax purposes. For example, in Virginia, an antique car must be at least 25 years old and used for exhibitions, parades, or other public events to qualify for a special license plate.

Antique vs. Vintage vs. Classic Cars

While the terms antique, vintage, and classic are often used interchangeably, they actually have distinct differences.

A vintage car refers to a vehicle manufactured between 1919 and 1930, while a classic car is a vehicle that is at least 20 years old but less than 40 years old. Antique cars, as mentioned earlier, are at least 25 years old.

It’s important to note that the value of a vintage, classic, or antique car is not solely determined by its age but also by its rarity, condition, and historical significance.

Factors that Determine the Value of an Antique Car

There are several factors that determine the value of an antique car. These include:


The rarity of a car is determined by how many were produced and how many still exist today. The fewer there are, the more valuable the car becomes.


The condition of an antique car is also a major factor in determining its value. A car in excellent condition with original parts will command a higher price than a car in poor condition or one that has been heavily modified.

Historical Significance

The historical significance of a car can also impact its value. If a car was owned by a famous person or played a role in a significant event, it can greatly increase its value.

Brand and Model

Certain brands and models are more desirable than others, and this can affect their value. For example, a 1969 Ford Mustang is generally more valuable than a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro due to its popularity and brand recognition.

Tips for Restoring and Owning Antique Cars

Restoring and owning antique cars can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires a lot of time, effort, and money. Here are some tips for restoring and owning antique cars:

Do Your Research

Before purchasing an antique car, do your research to determine its value, rarity, and condition. This will help you avoid overpaying for a vehicle that may not be worth the investment.

Find a Reliable Mechanic

Antique cars require specialized maintenance, so it’s important to find a mechanic who is experienced in working on vintage vehicles. This can save you time and money in the long run by preventing costly mistakes.

Keep it Original

To maintain the value of an antique car, it’s important to keep it as original as possible. Avoid making modifications that can lower the value of the vehicle.

Join a Car Club

Joining a car club can provide you with a community of like-minded enthusiasts who can offer advice and support for restoring and maintaining antique cars.


In summary, an antique car is any vehicle that is at least 25 years

Uncover the secrets of antique collecting and learn about the unique stories behind each piece with our comprehensive guide to antiques.

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