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What is the difference between a classic, vintage and an antique car?

Here at Overdrive, you will know that we specialise in classic car repairs.  Sometimes we find that some people find it hard to define the difference between certain types of cars. This is why we ask what is the difference between a vintage car, a classic car and an antique car? The definitions do overlap a tad but we define them below.

Cars have always been a symbol of luxury and prestige, and many enthusiasts are drawn to the classic and vintage cars of yesteryear. However, the terminology surrounding these types of cars can be confusing. What exactly is the difference between a classic, vintage, and antique car? In this blog post, we’ll explore the distinctions between these types of vehicles and the factors that determine their classification.

Starting off with the classic car, what defines this type of car? Well, to be honest, everyone appears to have a different definition. But it is widely known as being a car that is older and that has enough historical significance to make it into a collectable.

It is a vehicle that is cherished for its style, design, and long-standing appeal. While the definition of what constitutes a “classic” can vary depending on who you ask, there are certain qualities that most people can agree on. Classic cars have a timelessness about them – they never go out of style. They also have an enduring quality, meaning they’ll continue to be sought after by collectors and enthusiasts for years to come. Even if you’re not a car enthusiast yourself, chances are you can still appreciate the beauty of a classic car.

Classic cars can come from any era, but they’re usually associated with the golden age of automotive design – typically spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s.

These cars often have features that are no longer seen in modern cars, such as chrome detailing, curved lines, and round headlights. Classic cars can also have unique design elements, such as fins or sweeping curves that were popular during their era. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, classic cars may have historical or cultural significance, such as being associated with a particular time period or celebrity.


A Vintage car is a car that was manufactured between 1919 and 1930. These cars are often considered to be collector’s items, and they can often be quite expensive depending on their condition. Many people enjoy restoring vintage cars as a hobby, and there are many clubs and organisations devoted to these cars.

The term “vintage car” is sometimes used interchangeably with “classic car,” but there are some subtle differences. These cars are characterised by their simple design and lack of modern features, such as air conditioning and power steering. Vintage cars were also produced in much smaller numbers than classic cars, making them rarer and more valuable.


An Antique car is a term used to describe a car that is more than 25 years old. The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) defines an antique car as any vehicle that is at least 25 years old. This can include cars, trucks, trains, motorcycles, and even bicycles! However, this definition is not set in stone and can vary depending on the context. In the United States, for example, the Antique Automobile Club of America defines an antique car as a vehicle that is at least 45 years old. Antique cars are typically characterized by their simplicity and lack of modern features. They may also have unique design elements that were popular during their era, such as wooden spoke wheels or hand-crank starters.


Determining a Car’s Classification

The classification of a car as classic, vintage, or antique is not always straightforward. Many factors can come into play, including the car’s age, rarity, historical significance, and cultural relevance. In addition, the definition of these terms can vary depending on the country or region. For example, in the United Kingdom, the term “veteran car” is sometimes used to describe cars that were manufactured before 1905.

Ultimately, the classification of a car comes down to its overall value and appeal to collectors and enthusiasts. A classic, vintage, or antique car can be a valuable investment, a piece of history, and a source of pride for its owner. Whether you’re a collector or simply an admirer, understanding the differences between these types of cars can help you appreciate their unique qualities and appreciate their place in automotive history.

There are many benefits to owning an antique car. For starters, they’re often easier and cheaper to maintain than newer cars. In addition, there’s something really special about driving a car that’s been around for decades and has a lot of character.

If you’re interested in learning more about antique cars or joining an organisation like the AACA, be sure to do some research online or talk to your local automotive experts