Vintage vs. Used: What’s the Difference?

Posted by

Vintage; used—isn’t that the same thing? The short answer is no. The long answer is a little more complicated. There are a lot of terms that get applied to older vehicles, especially those that are considered “collectible”. Here’s what these different classifications mean and how you can differentiate one from the other.

Vintage vs. Used: What’s the Difference?

If you’re thinking about buying a car, then there are plenty of options available to you. Newer cars have updated systems and features to provide you with lots of comfort and modernity.

But we would never want to knock older vehicles. There are lots of reasons why you might be looking at older cars instead of new ones. But looking into older vehicles opens up a whole new world—a world that might be confusing at first. You’ve probably already heard the terms “antique” and “pre-owned” before. But what exactly makes a car something special versus something that’s just old? Well, there are a few differences.

What Is a Pre-Owned Car?

Let’s start with what exactly a used car is. This is a vehicle that has had one or more retail owners. There are lots of benefits to buying a pre-owned car over a brand-new one, including a lower sticker price and a lower cost for insurance. For example, you’ll spend less on a 2013 Mazda3 than you would on a 2018 Mazda3.

For savvy shoppers who don’t need the latest tech features, pre-owned vehicles are an excellent value buy. And if you’re worried about reliability, a certified pre-owned vehicle can put your mind at ease. Here are some tips to get you started.

What Is a Vintage Car?

Now we start getting into more complexities. This type of car is one that’s likely been pre-owned, but there are a few things that will differentiate it from an ordinary used vehicle.

The main factor is the year the car was built. To fit into the true vintage category, the vehicle needs to have been built between the years 1919 and 1930. It was during this period in US history that there were many major changes to the car market, so vehicles made in those years hold a certain level of significance.

Other Classifications

While these two classifications are important to know and understand if you’re interested in looking at older vehicles or gathering collectibles and other rare vehicles, there are other classifications you should be aware of as well.

Classic Car

Many people mistakenly confuse this term with “antique,” but there is a difference between the two types of cars. Generally, a vehicle is considered classic if it’s over 20 years old. However, there is a lot of disagreement among state DMVs, insurance companies, and even enthusiast groups. For example, the Classic Car Club of America defines a “Full Classic” as “a ‘Fine’ or ‘Distinctive’ automobile. American or foreign built, produced only between 1915 and 1948.”

Where there is more agreement is on the other factors that determine whether a car fits this category. It must have enough historical significance and desirability to make it worth maintaining rather than scrapping. Rareness plays a huge role. The more difficult a car is to find, the more desirable it is. Also playing a role is how iconic the vehicle is. For example, if a particular model appeared in a famous film, that would make it extremely desirable.

Antique Car

There’s a third classification for older cars that comes into the mix. An antique vehicle is one that was manufactured more than 45 years ago. As mentioned before, the specific requirements for a car to fit this classification for registration and insurance purposes can vary from state to state. But generally speaking, for a car to be considered for this category, it must fit this age range with its mechanical and aesthetic conditions as close to the original as possible. If any parts need to be replaced, then you might need to special order them or find parts from another vehicle of around the same year as many of these parts may no longer be produced.

Keep in mind that because the rules for a car to fit in this classification will differ depending on the state you’re in, it’s a good idea to check with your state’s specific regulations to see if your vehicle might fit into this category and what the best ways to maintain it are.

What Is a Replica Car?

If you’re interested in older vehicles or collectibles but your budget can’t handle the cost of the real thing, then looking into a replica car might be the perfect solution. Replicas are cars built to resemble and function to the manufacturer specifications of an older model vehicle.

You can get replicas ready-made from some retailers, or you can build your own from a kit if you’re a particularly handy person. While replica cars may not have the same manufacturer specifications since technology changes with time, they’re still a great way to get a unique and stylish car.

How Do You Take Care of Older Cars?

Whether you’re getting a pre-owned vehicle or something from a more specific era, keeping your vehicle in good shape is the most important thing you can do. The best way to do that is to keep up with your car’s regular maintenance to ensure everything stays in good working order.

The other important thing you need to do is look for quality car insurance from a reliable company, especially if you’re purchasing a difficult-to-find vehicle.

Getting a new (or new to you) car is an exciting thing. But if you’re looking at older vehicles, then knowing the different ways they’re classified will help you determine what type of car you’re looking for. You’ll find the best new and used vehicles for your daily drives, road trips, and more right here at BestRide.

Antique Cars | Buyer's Guide | Classic Cars | Entertainment | History | Used Car | used car buying | Vintage Cars

Leave a Reply