It happens all the time. Driving along, and your attention gets drawn to someone driving a gorgeous vehicle—chrome gleaming, unique lines, and smiling drivers proud of their car. What is that? we wonder, or at least those of us who can’t immediately identify a car’s make, model, and year. But it’s got that special something, and you just know it’s from a bygone era.

Even the experts may not always know the difference between a classic, an antique, or an exotic car. Never fear, we are here to find the answer for you. Different groups define the terms differently, and some states have different rules as well. Still, the most accepted definition is as follows, shown for your convenience in this chart.

Exotic vs classic vs antique car infographic

Antique Cars

In order to be an antique, a car must have been manufactured at least 45 years ago (1976 or earlier). There is another category in here as well, a vintage car—or a car that was built between 1919 and 1930. Some states require a special historic status for a car to be considered an antique. Complicated, isn’t it?

Here are some examples of drool-worthy cars that would be considered either antique or vintage:

  • Vintage: Ford Model T (1908), Rolls Royce Phantom (1925)
  • Antique: Alfa Romeo 8C (1938), Mercedes Benz 300 SL (1957), Cadillac Eldorado (1959), Jaguar E-Type (1961), Aston Martin DB5 (1964), Ford Shelby G T 350 Mustang (1965), Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS (1969)

Classic Cars

In order to be considered a classic car, the vehicle must be between 20 and 45 years old (although some places say 40 years old)—thus manufactured between 1977 and 2001. (Is anyone else starting to feel a little uncomfortable with these labels)? In order to be registered and insured as a classic, it needs to be maintained to its original design and specifications—this means original parts and materials. Don’t add any modern touches like a GPS or an MP3 player or the car will no longer be considered a classic.

Exotic Cars

Another category that adds to the complexity is the designation of a car as exotic. Unlike antique or classic cars, this category seems to fluctuate based on culture and the times, and doesn’t depend on the date of manufacture. Classic and antique cars can sometimes be considered exotic as well. Generally, exotic cars are:

  • Exclusive and limited: They are produced in small numbers or with such a high price tag that only the elite can afford to buy it. For example, the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, that had a price tag of $4.5 million, with only 9 vehicles built.

To Ship your Antique, Classic, or Exotic Cars—Hire the Best

As you can tell, these vehicles are special. Whether you are maintaining it yourself, or have hired the best exclusive mechanics to service your exotic vehicle, these cars need care. That includes transporting the vehicle from one location to another, and hiring the best shippers to get it where it needs to go. How do you choose the best shipping company for your vehicle?

Research, of course.

You want a company who sees antique car ownership as a way of life, and hires skilled handlers experienced with their special needs. You want a company who recognizes the rarity, beauty, and style of a classic vehicle, and treats every vehicle with respect. You want a company that personalizes the experience to ship your exotic vehicle, listening to you and taking care of all your concerns and needs.

In other words, you want a company like ShipLux. We celebrate every time we get an opportunity to ship a unique vehicle, and we would be thrilled to help you move yours. Reach out today for a transparent price quote. Talk to us about your questions and concerns. Tell us what you need, and allow us to treat you and your car as part of our family.