Antique Car Classification Requirements

January 27, 2012

When you have an antique car that you are considering restoring or registering as a classic car in your state, there can be some important questions about what makes a vehicle qualify as an antique car. This guide makes use of the standards employed by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), the largest antique auto club in the United States. The following list will help you determine if you vehicle is an antique car by AACA standards.

  1. Antique cars are those older than 20 years of age. In order to be considered an antique car, a vehicle must be over 20 years of age. However, the requirements to register a vehicle as an antique vary by state, so specific questions should be geared to your state's department of motor vehicles.
  2. Antique car classification is subjective. The classification of antique cars is a subjective art at best, with the term broadly meaning any vehicle that is older than 20 years of age. While the term is normally connected with speciality vehicles or those that have a special place in American history or culture, any 20 year old vehicle is technically an antique. Joining or contacting a group like the AACA can put you in touch with experts who will help you classify your vehicle. 
  3. A vehicle need not be restored to be an antique. Although a vehicle classified as an antique will be worth more if it is restored, an expensive restoration is not a requirement for classification as an antique. Similarly, if you choose to register your vehicle as an antique in your state, there are no requirements for the vehicle to be restored.

The term antique car is very ambiguous, and the requirements for a vehicle to qualify as an antique are very lax. Completing research on the Internet or joining an organization like the AACA can help you get more specific information on classifying your vehicle or restoring your vehicle if you choose.

Related Questions and Answers

How much does it Cost to Join the Antique Automobile Club of America?

Antique Auto Club of America dues are standardized at $35 per year, and that fee gets you a whole range of features that not only include meetings of your particular antique car group, but the shows, meets and other items you can purchase through the AACA. A life membership is available for $600, while a student membership is available for $12. Anyone whose age is 18 or above can join the Antique Automobile Club of America. Another compulsion is that the applicant must be an American resident.

Does the AACA Provide Antique Car Appraisal Opportunities?

In general, you will find that when the AACA holds its meets during the spring, summer and fall, you will have more than ample antique car appraisal opportunities for your antique cars. As an appraisal organization itself, the AACA does not provide direct car appraisal services. However, it may be noted that their comprehensive membership guide may lead you to an expert or two in antique car appraisal. This is especially true, if they have served in a judging role at meets or shows organized by an Antique car appraisal group.

Can You Buy Used Antique Cars from the AACA?

Used antique cars are usually available through the AACA when they are left to the club as part of an estate bequest. At some times of the year, you may find several cars listed for sale by the AACA as part of its fiduciary duty to the member who has left the car to the group. AACA is not a car sales group in itself, but it does host such shows as the major Hershey show and others on the West Coast where cars are bought and sold. You may also find listings on a specific website, so it pays to explore the membership resources area.

Does Being Part of the AACA Provide Discounts on Parts for Old Antique Cars?

Old antique cars are appreciated by AACA. In the strictest terms, being a member of the AACA is being a member of the AACA. However, there multiple brands represented, and each one has its own website, so it is quite possible that your membership to the AACA can result in tremendous savings and discounts on some hard-to-find old car parts. You just have to do the work and find out what is available on a specific website or you may also find discounts on the main group website. It can sometimes be a hit or miss proposition.

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