Think vintage cars and an image of a really old but exclusive, aesthetically crafted car will show up in the recesses of your mind. A regal air surrounds these ornamental beauties. Maintaining or reviving an old car is a painstaking but rewarding process. At times, a lot of time, effort and money can go into only making a car functional. It is no easy job. It demands perseverance and patience; only a true blue-blooded aficionado can cut the line.
However, there is more to a vintage car than structure and style. A certain pedigree is awarded to every old car only after taking into account a few aspects such as year of manufacture, price and make.
A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1900 and the end of 1940. In automotive world history the vintage period is designated as a time of transition. It was during this period that cars gained popularity as the preferred mode of transport. People began accepting the automobile as part of their life and most industrialised states built nationwide road systems.
Vintage cars were built by would-be inventors in barns and backyards. Henry Ford kicked off the industrial revolution with his assembly line, but the automotive industry was truly born after World War I, during the Antique Car Era, when entrepreneurs like Ford, Daimler, Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Studebaker, Olds and Hudson were household names. In the same period of time period cars had become much more practical, convenient and comfortable. Car heating was introduced, as was the in-car radio. Antifreeze and four-wheel braking from a common foot pedal was introduced, as was the use of hydraulically actuated brakes. Power steering was also an innovation of this era.
There has been a constant indecisiveness over the definition and era of classic cars. The Classic Car Club of America defines a CCCA Classic car as a fine or distinctive automobile, either American or foreign built, produced between 1946 and 1985. But the Classic Car Era does not necessarily define classic cars. A classic car can loosely be defined as any vehicle over 15-25 years old.
There was a worldwide change in styling trends in the immediate years after the end of World War II. Classic cars tended to have removable fenders, trunk, headlights, and a usual vertical grill treatment, for example, large vehicles such as a Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, or smaller vehicles such as the MG TC. Generally, a Classic was high-priced when new and was built in limited quantities. Other factors, including engine displacement, custom coachwork and luxury accessories, such as power brakes, power clutch, and automatic lubrication systems, help determine whether a car is considered to be a Classic.