Classic Cars 101

Written by Bonnie Gringer

What Is a Classic Car?

  • Why We Define Classics as We Do (PDF): The Classic Car Club of America outlines their definition of classic cars as well as a rough estimate of their numbers in this short informational document.
  • Why Do People Still Love Classic Cars? Is it nostalgia or beauty that attracts so many to the classic car? Petrolicious examines the classic car and why it has such a hold on us.

Tips for Buying a Classic Car

  • How to Buy a Classic Car: Find a great article here with practical advice for those looking to purchase a classic car.
  • Classic Car Auctions Buying Guide: This website outlines protocols for purchasing your car at auction. Though specific to classic car auctions, it is a good guide to what to expect from most auctions and how to make the best purchase.
  • Buying a Classic Car: Read this in-depth article to learn what to expect when purchasing your classic car and about the realities of upkeep for your vehicle.
  • How to Buy a Classic Car at Auction: Another excellent guide on what to expect when buying a classic car at auction is available here, along with information on common pitfalls to avoid.
  • How to Buy a Classic Car for the Lowest Price Possible: Negotiation Tips: Want to buy your classic at the best price without needing a car title loan quote to afford it? Follow the tips in this short guide to get the car of your dreams.
  • Speed Demon: How to Buy a Classic Car: The BBC shares information on how to purchase and maintain your classic car as well as information on how to rent a classic car before you decide if it’s the model for you.
  • Ten Tips on Buying Classic Cars: Jeff Allen from CNBC’s “The Car Chasers” gives ten pieces of advice everyone buying a classic car should follow in this article from Men’s Journal.

Resources for Restoring a Classic Car

Classic Car Maintenance for Owners

Classic Car Shows

  • Carlisle Events: Some of the biggest car shows in the country are held every year in Carlisle, PA.
  • Rétromobile: Discover classic cars, vendors, restorers, and more at the largest classic car expo in Paris.
  • Pomona Swap Meet: Since 1975, this event in Pomona, California, has been the place to buy, sell, and view classic cars from all over the country.
  • Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: The Concours d’Elegance is the most famous antique and classic car show and competition, drawing contestants and owners from all over the world. Discover the timelessness of the classic car at this one-of-a-kind car show.
  • Woodward Dream Cruise: The largest single-day car show in the world, the Woodward Dream Cruise draws 40,000 vehicles and more than one million visitors annually.
  • Charlotte Autofair: This four-day event brings together more than 10,000 vendors and classic car owners as well as tens of thousands of car enthusiasts.
  • Cruisin’ the Coast: The car show of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, this seven-day car show is held at multiple sites along the coast. View some of the best classic cars from the southern United States and enjoy the local food and culture.
  • Syracuse Nationals Car Show: The Syracuse Nationals is one of the largest car shows in the country. Explore what draws collectors and vendors from across the country and the world to this show every year!
  • Salzburg Classic Expo: Enjoy rare and classic cars from around the world at the Salzburg Classic Expo, the largest car show in Austria.
  • MSRA Back to the ’50s: Since 1972, the Minnesota Street Rod Association has been hosting car shows. Discover why “Back to the ’50s” has been rated the top car show in the country twice by USA Today.
  • Hot August Nights: A celebration of the culture, music, and cars of the 1950s and 1960s, Reno Nevada’s Hot August Nights is a car show for everyone, complete with drag races, burnouts, car auctions, and live performances.

Classic Car Museums

  • Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum: Octane’s 2017 Museum of the Year winner, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is dedicated to the history and preservation of classic racing and sports cars.
  • Gilmore Car Museum: America’s largest classic automobile museum, the Gilmore Car Museum covers 90 acres and contains replicas of classic buildings such as filling stations and diners as well as more than 400 vehicles.
  • Marconi Automotive Museum: A museum that started as a private collection, the Marconi Automotive Museum houses both classic and modern racing cars.
  • Northeast Classic Car Museum: With more than 170 cars from the earliest models to the 1960s, including one of the largest Franklin collections in the world, the Northeast Classic Car museum is a great place to learn more about the history of auto manufacturing in the United States.
  • Petersen Automotive Museum: The Petersen Automotive Museum houses a rotating collection of classic and antique cars as well as modern sports and racing vehicles, including the first truly practical car, the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen.
  • Malta Classic Car Museum: The collection at the Malta Classic Car Museum spans 50 years of automotive innovation.
  • Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum: For more than 30 years, the Browning-Kimball classic car collection has allowed the public to learn more about classic automobiles. Displays at the museum include a 1937 Packard 115c business coupe, antique gas pumps, and a collection of original Utah license plates from 1915-1970.
  • Dick’s Classic Car Garage: Since 1980, Dick’s Classic Car Garage has been a part of the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History. The museum is dedicated to automobiles built between 1901 and the 1950s.
  • Mullin Automotive Museum: The Mullin Automotive Museum examines the effects that European artistry and design, especially French aesthetics, had on the styling of automobiles, both in the past and today.

Miscellaneous Classic Car Resources