Vehicles - Data - People - Policy
Vehicles - Data - People - Policy

Defining the classic car – today and tomorrow

Illustration for article titled Defining the classic car – today and tomorrow

‘Classic car’ - what does that really mean? For me it's chrome, tailfins, white walled tires. But it’s also Shelby badges, 1980s turbo engines and anything with T-Tops.


Is our definition of ‘classic’ based on our generation, our personal preferences, what our parents drove, where we lived or a combination of all the above? How do you define classic?

How will they define it?

While at the grocery yesterday I saw a teenage girl get into a red Dodge Stratus SXT coupe. Was this her car? Did she go to a used lot and make the conscious decision to buy this car? If so why? Is this the type of car her generation considers classic?


Maybe it was her parent’s car or a family hand-me-down; either way it made me ask a very important question - How will the next generation, and the generation after that, define classic for the purpose of automotive?

Today, when I see a 50 year old Chevrolet Bel Air, I immediately think classic. Sharp tailfins, non-metallic paint, white walled tires and all that chrome – it is a classic by my definition. But I share the same classic feelings for a Grand National or Shelby Daytona. They sit on different shelves in my 'bookcase of classics.'


Remember an Era

Classic cars are a living Polaroid. A visual reminder of an era preserved and brought to you by Car Lovers Everywhere Inc. To preserve and present cars of yesterday, whether defined as classic or not, is a deed humanity should acknowledge and appreciate.


Owners and restores may do it for the love of car, but in a way they are mechanical archeologists constructing one mobile museum at a time. In the fast moving world of always-on their work encourages us to stop, slow down and reflect.

Will it be the same in 50 years?

Chevrolet produced 700,000 Bel Air models in 1957 and in 2012 produced 210,000 Malibus.


I provide that piece of data as something to consider for the next question:

In 50 years, when a well-preserved 2013 Malibu LTZ drives by, will it conjure the same emotional response that a 1957 Bel Air commands today?

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