“Classic”, “vintage”, and “antique” cars may sound the same for those who are new to the world of these timeless marvels, but as much as they sound similar on the surface, there are some noteworthy differences. Many people, however, use these terms interchangeably when describing old cars, which may not be the best way to go about it. Whether you are planning to buy a classic salvage car for your next project or just curious to know the difference between these three widely misused terms, this article is for you. Read on as we bring out the key differences between the three terms.

Classic cars

The title “classic” car is typically given to a vehicle that is 20 to 40 years old, and still has its original design and specifications intact. Having said that, if you are planning to buy a classic car in the state of California, the rules are a bit different. The state doesn’t differentiate between classic, vintage, and antique cars. According to the California DMV, if a vehicle was manufactured after 1922 and is at least 25 years old, it will be considered a “historical” vehicle.

Antique cars

The “antique” car title generally applies to vehicles that are over 45 years old. Having said that, the classification of an antique car differs from state to state, and many states also have a special type of license plate for these cars. Also, just like classic cars, for a car to be classified as “antique”, it should have been repaired and maintained in a way that its original design and specifications are retained.

Vintage cars

People often get confused between vintage and antique cars, as some vintage cars may qualify as antique cars, but that of course does not mean that all vintage cars qualify to be called vintage. While different groups have defined different limits for a car to be considered ‘vintage’, generally, the title is given to vehicles manufactured between 1919 and 1930, but for some categories, the age range is up to 1925. It’s worth mentioning that, unlike classic and antique cars, a vintage car can be classified as such despite having undergone modifications.

The Last Word

We hope this article helps you understand the finer lines between classic, antique, and vintage cars. If you are looking to buy one of these timeless beauties but budget is a constraint, we’re here to help. AutoBidMaster is a trusted online car auction platform that gives you access to the largest auto auction inventory in North America, no dealer’s license required. We have helped thousands of people buy their dream cars at affordable prices, and you could be the next. Register with us to participate in our online salvage cars auction in California and bring home your dream machine. If you have any questions, simply call +1 (503) 298-4300, Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PST) or email support@autobidmaster.com.