There are few, if any, pieces of hardware as emotive as the car. The story of classic and dream cars charts the progress of our own history and experience.
Everyone knows a classic car when they see one, even if they can't actually tell you what makes a car a "classic". Most people associate advancing age with classic credentials, but that ignores the existence of "living classics" and future classics.
"Without a certain amount of snobbery, efforts would be hopeless... A motor car must be designed and built that is a little different from and a little better than the product of the big quantity manufacturer."
1961 Aston Martin DB4
Cecil Kimber, founder of MG, had it right. He sensed a need and virtually invented the concept of the classic - but MGs have never been particularly special or mechanically innovative. What they do have, however, is that little extra desirability, so that owners and onlookers alike see them as classics. MG's are instantly recognizable, even to many non-enthusiasts, in much the same way that Jaguars, Ferraris and Bentleys are - all of them true classics.
Most enthusiasts would categorise a classic car as one whose design is inalienably right: it must look good, handle well, probably be possessed of higher performance or equipment levels than were normal for its day - but overall it must be desirable.
Age alone cannot make a classic, even though a common definition given today is "any car more than 20 years old". Those who use that definition would say that Avengers and Marinas are classics; most enthusiasts with other criteria would not.
1973 Aston Martin V8
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is no disputing the beauty of a real classic. Who cannot be moved by the shape and form of a Bugatti Type 35, Alfa Monza, Duesenberg, Jaguar XK120 or an early E-Type, Ferrari 2250 GT, AC Ace, Citroën DS and Mercedes Gullwing, by the stark efficiency of an early Porsche 911 or the simplicity of the Austin Seven or Mini?
Then there were the "firsts", each with its claim to classicdom: Colin Chapman's Lotus Seven, a racer for the road; the Mini Cooper 'S', which further defined the small car and was the first "pocket rocket"; the Hispano-Suiza and Pegaso, Spain's only, exquisitely made super cars from the 20's and 50's respectively; the Reliant Scimitar GTE which introduced a new concept - the sporting estate car; the Golf Gti, which spawned a whole new breed of enthusiasts' car.
Each of these counts as a classic for defining a new niche in car-lovers' hearts. That each of these cars - and many more like them - is notable in its own field helps reinforce its claim to be a true classic.
- Excerpt from "The World Encyclopedia of Cars" by Martin Buckley and Chris Rees
Austin Healey and Triumph TR2
Class A Veteran -- Built prior to December 31, 1904
Class B Edwardian -- Built between January 1905 & December 31, 1918 Generally the above classes are rallied together under the banner of Veteran
Class C Vintage -- Built between January 1919 & December 31, 1930
Class D Post Vintage -- Built between January 1931 & December 31, 1945
Class E Post '45 -- Built between January 1946 & December 31, 1960
Class F Post 1960 -- Built between January 1961 & December 31, 1980
Info from SAVVA
Antique -- Prior to December 31st 1904
Veteran -- Between January 1905 & December 31st 1918
Vintage -- Between January 1919 & December 31st 1930
Post Vintage -- Between January 1931 & December 31st 1945
Post 1945 -- Between January 1946 & December 31st 1960
Post 1960 -- Between January 1961 & December 31st 1980