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Question

What Defines A Classic Car

Answer

The age of a car defines if it is considered a classic car. While there is no firm authority on the age which determines a classic car, in most cases the standard is 20 years or older from the current year. A car that is in demand may increase in price as it gets older. The companies which publish blue book prices of cars have traditionally separated their publications into individual books for used versus classic cars.

During the year 2015, NADA Guides published the following:

Used Car Guide
7 Years of Pricing for Passenger Cars, Light-Duty Trucks and SUVs from 2008-2015

Older Used Car Guide
12 Years of pricing for Passenger Cars and Light-Duty Trucks and SUVs from 1996-2007

Classic Car Guide
70 Years of Used Pricing for Passenger Vehicles, and Light-Duty Trucks from 1926-1995

In this example, NADA Guides defines Classic Cars for the years 1926-1995 which is 20 years or older.

You might ask yourself, is any car a classic if older than 20 years? The simple answer is, yes. This is the case regardless of how desirable the manufacturer, model or year of the car. You will find that the definition of a classic car is based on the year versus how desirable the vehicle may be.

So, a mini van manufactured by Ford in 1994 would be a classic car by definition. You will find the used value in the classic car guide versus the used car guide with newer models.

While the definition of a classic car is determined by the year, ultimately how desirable (and valuable) a classic car may be is determined by many more factors. This includes supply and demand, manufacturer, model and condition of the vehicle. In reality, that old mini van might not be worth much even though it qualifies to be included in the Classic Car section of the most recent blue book guide.
May 27, 2015

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