The word "classic" is one that gets thrown around a lot these days, especially among discerning automobile collectors. Almost everyone would jump at the chance to buy a classic car, but it takes a very keen eye and a well-informed mind to be able to identify one on sight.

First, it is necessary to become educated about the commonly agreed upon criteria for what gives a classic car such a status. Next, it is necessary to do some research and go deeper into it to learn the finer points and characteristics of classic cars. After that, search the internet for the greatest selection and most reasonable prices for classic cars; it is not outside the realm of possibility to find a diamond in the rough.

What Makes a Car "Classic"

Some may argue over specifics, but it is most commonly agreed that for a car to be a classic, it must be at least 20 years old and still in good working condition on the inside and outside. Still, there is disagreement and debate about that. One organization, the Classic Car Club of America, maintains a strict definition of "classic":

  • A high-quality car built between 1915 and 1948
  • Features technology that was advanced for the era

Even those were considered "too modern" for some when the organization came into existence in 1952. Today, it organizes events and Grand Classic car shows where owners can compete to see whose car has aged the best. Another organization, the Antique Automobile Club of America, is less stringent in its standards and accepts any well-maintained automobile over 25 years of age. Most collectors agree that a classic car can be either foreign or domestic.

What to Look For in a Classic Car

There are certain qualities discerning automobile purchasers always seek out when purchasing a classic car. Aside from the most obvious factors such as its age and overall condition, the technology used in the car must have been advanced at the time of its manufacture. Every classic car was a new car once upon a time, but not every old car is a classic. Cars that have fallen into complete disrepair and have reached the point of no return do not count.

Keep in mind that some states require special registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to own and drive a classic car.

Websites to Find Classic Cars

While there is nothing that will ever take the place of face-to-face, in-person, on-site interaction when purchasing a classic car, there are still some valuable websites that offer impressive selections of classic cars virtually at the touch of a button.

  • The first website to look for classic cars is one of the most obvious, but it is also one of the most varied: This website allows users to search for all sorts of cars from the 1930s to the 1980s. With over 28,000 cars to choose from, it has almost all the leading manufacturers from Alfa Romeo to Willys, and it has separate sections for trucks, motorcycles, and pre-war automobiles. There are even automobiles under $5,000 and over $250,000, so there is something to suit almost every budget.
  • The next website to go to look for classic cars is a place that is usually associated with buying new cars: With this website, users can search by year, going from the present day to as far back as 1885 when the automobile was first invented. The function makes it possible to search for almost every car manufacturer that ever existed, and if there is a model of that particular make for sale, then the site is sure to find it.
  • Another website with a sizable selection of classic cars for sale is With offerings from as little as $1,000 to $50,000 and up, this site has a sizable selection of classic, vintage, and exotic cars for sale. It also features a classified advertising section that allows classic car owners to sell the cars themselves or post wanted ads. The site also has steps in place to protect both consumers and dealers from fraudulent claims as well as articles and links to events, museums, and clubs for classic car aficionados.
  • Yet another website that offers a large number of classic cars is The site's interface is simple and easy to use; the search engine shows how many cars of a certain make are available for sale, while the front page shows pictures of some of the best selections of classic cars that are currently available for sale all over the United States. There is even an option to search within a certain mileage radius in order to find a classic car for sale closer to home.
  • Finally, classic car enthusiasts can find a great deal to be glad about when looking for one to buy on It is located in Cadillac, Michigan, but they are willing to ship to outside areas in the US for a price. The site's website is simple, straightforward, and easy to use with pictures of current inventory on the top and a list of manufacturers on the bottom. They purchase cars on consignment, but they also have a much greater selection than a dealer of new cars.

Collecting classic cars can be a rewarding hobby and investment for those who know what to look for. If a very old car still runs and features technology that was advanced in its time, then it is very likely a classic. The internet has made it easier not only to learn what makes a classic car a classic, but to actually find and purchase one.