Is your car an antique or just old? Is it a classic or is it a muscle car? This debate can only be answered, depending on what source you are checking with. Each club has its own list of cars that they have designated to one of these categories. The Classic Car Club of America claims to have compiled the true list of cars that are designated as classics. Car owners and clubs alike tend to disagree with them.
Difference of Opinions
Even states and insurance companies have gotten into the confusion by having their own rules, guidelines and lists as to what is designated antique, classic or a muscle car. To be able to get antique designation on license plates, the car must be at least 25 years old. To be insured as antique or classic, the car must meet the individual insurance company’s requirements.
If one were to believe the Classic Car Club of America standards for designation then the car must have been manufactured between 1925 and 1948. It must also be a limited manufactured vehicle of extremely high quality. Other car buffs will state that this is the description of an antique vehicle.
Those who prefer the use of the term muscle car are referring to cars that sport a high performance engine. So what if you have an old car that has a high performance engine? Is it a muscle car or a classic car? That depends on what car club you ask, and to your own thoughts on the matter.
Trust Your Insurance
The only true designation you may get that your car is a classic may come through your insurance. If your car meets the guidelines that your agent specifies to insure it as a classic, then you entitled to the term. Though some insurance companies will follow their own guidelines, most adhere to a few basic rules to determine a classic.
The insurance company will require that the vehicle be at least 15 years old. The amount of mileage per year is limited as well. The vehicle must be in original condition, or has been restored to its original state. The car must have been a high quality vehicle when it was new, and will preferably have been manufactured on a limited basis. States may differ on some of these rules, but if your car meets the state insurance guidelines of a classic car, you will be able to insure it as such.
Ask your local insurance agency (here is what i use locally in oakland, california) what other guidelines they may have for a car to be insured as a classic. They may require it to be garaged when not in use. They may also require you to photograph the car, or bring it to them for an inspection. If your vehicle meets all of their guidelines and requirements, that will give it the designation of being a classic car, whether the local car club agrees or not.