You might’ve seen them on the sets of Downton Abbey or big movie scenes. You probably have gawked over a few at a car auction or two. And it’s more than likely that you dreamed of having one of these classic car types in your possession. Today, we constantly look back at automotive production with both admiration and inspiration for the future. These classic vehicles not only shaped the way we approach transportation, they remain a static reminder of all that’s good (and perhaps bad) in automotive history. So, let’s take a look!
Here’s your first guide to classic car types:
The oldest and rarest of the bunch, antique cars are the quintessence of automotive production. From humble beginnings to roaring engines, these period pieces are simply one of kind. Generally speaking, a vehicle must be around for more than 45 years to reach this status level. However, many of the antique cars collectors have come to cherish are matured well behind this time frame — mostly before 1918. From the St. Louis Gasoline Buggy to the Mercer Raceabout to the iconic Ford Model T, these antique cars take you back in time to the infamous Brass Era. This is when artistry and engineering laid the foundation for mass production. While today antique models are more of a showpiece, some collectors are lucky to find originals in pristine condition.
Vintage is always in, and these momentous models never fail to remind us of a transitionary period in automotive production. Manufactured between 1919 and 1930, these distinct models boosted bigger engines, grander body styles, and more comfortable features compared to previous model years. Around this time, in-car radio and heating were first being introduced as well. These days, collectors can’t wait to find a rare vintage model in good working condition. Although car parts are difficult to track down, we can’t help but think a Ford Model A, Nash Touring, or Rolls Royce Phantom Limousine are well worth the investment.
Every collector’s dream — a classic car. Mistakenly, many drivers lump antique, vintage, and classic cars into one category, but that’s just doing automotive innovation an injustice. From the 1957 Cadillac Coupe de Ville to the 1961 Jaguar E-Type, these models represent a historic moment for automotive production. We can mostly credit baby boomers for creating such a strong market for classic engines. In fact, nearly 80% of classic car owners are from this generation. It’s safe to say the framework of these classic models is most comparable to the types of vehicles we drive in modern times (at least until electric mobility came around).
Among the classic car types, the sport car era really took off around the late 1960s even though it had been around as early as the 1920s. Its popularity grew around this time because speed and performance were driving the automotive industry. While automakers pushed for better safety, hence the introduction of seat belts and headlight restrictions, automakers focused on fine-tuning engines to reach maximum speed and handling. On top of that, they were progressing toward more compact body styles that could maneuver the road more eloquently. Immediately we think of the Porsche 911, Dodge Viper, and Chevrolet Corvette. To this day, drivers, collectors, and auto enthusiasts worldwide cannot get enough of these classic sports cars (and modern ones too!).
We end our list with the most notorious of the group and everyones favorite, the muscle car. These models are known for their V8 engines, dual exhaust pipes, and rear wheel drive. Which makes them more than capable of reaching 0 to 60 mph faster than racing components. When looking back on the muscle car era, we can’t help but think of ground-breaking models like the Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454, Pontiac GTO, and Shelby Mustang. It’d be impossible to name a favorite, and we assume most car enthusiasts would agree!
We hope you enjoyed our list of classic car types! Keep an eye out for Part 2 later this week. We’re ready to reminisce on other enigmatic car types, such as the station wagon and coupe utility vehicle.