What's a Classic?

What criteria would we use to name cars as classics? Have there been any inexpensive production classics since 1980?

I have a dog in this race as you might expect; (not too much of a dog I duly hope.) I may reveal its pedigree at some future time but for now perhaps we could generalize ad nauseam about what denotes a (post 1980) classic car. Clearly we have irrational and exuberant passions about classics, particularly older, really expensive and exotic types. In spite of that, certain relatively cheap production models have also made the cut. Why? In the era of “tinfoil bodies”, urethane welds and CAD-generated components, does any ride rise to the level of the classics of yore? As we near the hoped-for threshold of the demise of the personal I.C.E. what constitutes a keeper, eh?

“Classic” is a term used by sellers and owners of any old beater that’s slowly sinking into the ground behind their house. Anything newer than 1975 is just “smog junk” and 1981-1988 carburetted are low value scrap metal.

Cars are just disposable consumer products. Don’t ever fall in love with one because they can’t love you back…

Also, you can buy a completely restored “Classic” MUCH cheaper than you can possibly restore one yourself…

There are a variety of definitions. The Classic Car Club of America says it has to be over 25 years old.

A Buick Grand National is all I can think of.

This old chestnut has been doing the rounds for several years.

The best defintion I have heard of a true classic was a vehicle that was :

a) Representative of its design and manufacturing period.


b) Innovative in some manner as to either design or engineering.

These attributes refer to mass production vehicles, not specialized one offs.

The reality of course is somewhat different, these days any old tat is badged as ‘classic’.

So according to those rules above the first 4 wheel disc brake car might qualify, but a Ferrari 250 GTO wouldn’t…hmmmmm…

Roger that. I would add to that the late model GTO, possibly the Marauder, Z06 Corvettes, things of that ilk. Not exactly inexpensive, but affordable and built in low enough numbers that they could become collectors. You might be able to sneak the late model Thunderbird in there, too.

I wouldn’t pass up RWD Impala SS derived from the Caprice

Since 1980 I would consider the Buick Grand National the top dog. Other somewhat desireable and collectible cars since then are the Mustang SVO, Monte Carlo Aerocoupe, Mustang GTs/Cobras, '96 Impala SS, Mercury Maruader, etc., and limited production, optioned vehicles such as the Saleen Mustangs and Callaway Twin-Turbo Corvette, although the latter were usually production vehicles that were outsourced.

I don’t think any of them are cheap anymore. It seems like any decent Buick GN or Impala SS is bringing 15 grand at a minimum.
My idea of a desireable classic is limited production and performance.

And you guys are going to laugh at me but I am adding two cars that I think will someday get the recognition that they deserve:

'81 - '83 DeLorean DMC-12
'80 - '85 Chevy Citation X-11

Any old car that catches your eye can be a classic. I like all the Studie Hawks, and the 41 Lincoln Continental coupe was also good. Most restoring projects end when the owner realizes he’s working with pure rust and can’t find spart sheet metal and such. LEE

A Citation X-11? Now we are scraping the bottom of the Barrel. I would Build a Horizon GLH or a Daytona before a Citation.

Chop the front chassis of the Citation, and stick it in back, add some spare parts from a Chevette, and we got are selfs a sports car. AKA Pontiac Fiero.
Cant fault Pontiac for trying A+++ for effort.

A vehicle becomes a “classic” when it reaches the age of 20 years and an "antique when it reaches the age of 30 years. The only difference between the 1957 Chevy 283c.i.d. powerglide two door hard top and the rusted old beater is the DEMAND for it.