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Is My Old Car a Classic?

You have an old car lying around - how do you know if it’s a valuable classic or worthy of the junkyard?

The term classic car can mean several things. Car clubs have very precise definitions of what can and cannot be called a classic. When it comes to registering your car as a classic, the definition is not as strict. Read on to learn to more.

What Is a Classic Car?

The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) defines a classic car as a “fine” or “distinctive” automobile, American or foreign, built between 1925 and 1948. Generally, CCCA-approved classics were expensive when new and limited in quantity. Other factors, such as engine displacement, luxury accessories and custom coachwork, go into determining whether the car is considered a classic.

Click here for a complete list of CCCA-approved classic cars. If your car is on the list, chances are it is valuable.

Even if your car is not a classic, it might be considered an antique. According to the Antique Automobile Club of America, another well-known car club, any car that is 25 years old or older is considered an antique. Antiques can be very valuable, or they can be practically worthless. The value varies dramatically based on make, model, condition, popularity of the vehicle and how many vehicles were produced.

If you suspect your old car might be valuable, do some research before you get rid of it. Get a professional appraisal to determine fair market value or consult the National Auto Dealers Association. NADA has a guide on its website that helps determine value.

State and Insurance Classifications

For registration purposes, every state has a legal definition of what constitutes a classic or antique car. Typically, the car has to be of a certain age - say 25 or 30 years. Sometimes there are also restrictions on the type of engine.

Registering your car as a classic or antique doesn’t make it more valuable, but there are some benefits. Typically, the registration fee is waived or reduced and the car is exempt from vehicle inspections.

Insurance companies also have restrictions on what can be considered antique or classic. Generally, it is less expensive to insure a classic car because they’re not driven often and the owners tend to take very good care of them.

By: Ryan Maguire

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