Official Vehicle Definitions

Saying you have a classic or collector car is just a fancy way of saying it’s really old, right? Not even close! Like fine wines, classic cars have much more to them than age alone. We’ll differentiate between several makes and models and serve up insurance tips unique to your automotive palette.

Brass-era Cars

Manufactured prior to roughly 1915 and feature a whole lot of brass. Prominent uses of this namesake metal range from horseless-carriage lanterns to giant radiators to headlight trim. Early brass-era cars feature steam engines or electric motors, while later models have large internal combustion engines mounted right on the front. Owning one, it’s safe to say, is a thrilling way to feel the initial pulse of the car industry itself.

Insurance tip:

Brass-era cars epitomize elegance – but not convenience. They don’t accelerate, brake, or handle normally, which makes driving them a challenge. Make sure to have high liability insurance limits to help keep at-fault accidents from jeopardizing your savings.

Antique Cars

Can be similar to brass-era cars, but with some key differences. Though the Antique Automobile Club of America classifies any car over 45 years old as an antique, popular usage hews to a narrower definition. To most collectors, an antique is any car built between the beginnings of car manufacturing up to the end of World War I in 1918. Antique vehicles are also usually mass-produced and use gasoline-powered engines (whereas brass-era cars are artisan products usually with steam or electric motors).

Vintage Cars

Broadly speaking, vintage cars are from 1919 to 1925. This is the period just after WWI, when the U.S. produced more automobiles than it would again for roughly 30 years. Naturally, part of what makes owning vintage cars special is that you have an artifact from such a major cultural shift.

Classic Cars

A classic car is commonly used as a generic term that can cover many genres of vehicles that are considered collectable. But, for aficionados, actual classics typically date from 1925 to 1948 and display some extra importance or distinction. This is wide open to interpretation – meaning anything from luxury accessories to high price tags to historical singularity.

Post-Classic Cars

Innovative car production certainly didn’t stop when the classic era did.
There’s a bevy of other vehicles that can enjoy collector car status, including:

Modified Cars

Vehicles whose appearance you drastically altered. Includes replicas, low riders and more.

Modern Classics

Limited-edition or distinctive cars from 1990 or later.

Racing Cars

Vehicles equipped for use on the track.

Muscle Cars

Rides primarily from the 1960s and 1970s that juxtapose light, 2-door frames with the largest engines that can possibly fit in the engine bay.

Utility Vehicles

The road’s more rustic gems, such as classic trailers, military vehicles and tractors.