Is it Worth Keeping a Classic Car? (+Best Cars to Keep)

Classic cars are known for their extravagant price tags. A 1962 Ferrari GTO is the most expensive classic car sold at an auction. It was sold for a whopping price of $48.4 million. These soaring prices of classic cars are often justified with their antique and heritage value.

Many issues are linked with the ownership of highly expensive vehicles. So, the question that arises: is it worth keeping a classic car or is it going to be a waste of money?

Is it Worth Keeping a Classic Car?

As a car lover, it is definitely worth keeping a classic car. Apart from the heritage value of vintage cars, they have a number of advantages. Their construction is very solid, and they offer premium luxury. The maintenance and insurance costs of classic cars are actually lower than contemporary vehicles.

All these advantages aside, one can only understand the emotion of owning a classic car by actually having one. The feel and aura of a classic car can take you to an ecstatic state of joy. You can make your vintage car a source of earning. By displaying it in auto shows, you can manage to gather a hefty sum.

Also read: Is it Safe to Drive a 20-Year-Old Car? The Facts

What Cars are Considered Classic?

Multiple definitions and criteria have been developed to determine which car is classic and which isn’t. Britain’s HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) states that any 15-year-old car with a value over £15,000 ($20,445) is considered to be a classic car. But for a car to be tax-exempt it must be at least 40 years old.

Another widely accepted definition is that of the Antique Automobile Club of America. It states that classic cars must be more than 25 years old and for a car to be considered antique it should have seen 45 summers at least.

Apart from these two definitions, the criteria used by insurance firms to determine that which cars are classic and which ones are not, differ from company to company. Some of the most common requirements of insurance companies are:

  1. Your car must be 25 years old.
  2. Your car should be out of production.
  3. Your car should have collectible value.
  4. You store your car in a fully closed garage.
  5. You only drive your car a specific number of miles.
  6. You have a clean driving record.
  7. Your classic car is not used for racing.
  8. You have another car for regular commute and travel.

What are the Costs of Keeping a Classic Car?

The overall costs of keeping a classic car are actually lower than a contemporary car. With maintenance costs around $600-700 and insurance costing $500, it is really worth it to keep a classic car. Though classic cars require more maintenance but since they are driven less so collective problem frequency is lower than usual.

Insurance of classic cars is a lot cheaper than contemporary cars. The cost of insurance for a classic car can vary between $550 and $600. In comparison to the regular car insurance which can cost you around $1,000. However, things might change dramatically if you own a multi-million dollar vintage car.

Restoration costs are entirely a matter of choice. If you choose gold-coated rims for your classic car, then obviously it is going to cost you a fortune. But you can add value to your decades-old classic car by spending $2,000 to 3,000. Most common restorations are made to the engine to amplify its performance.

Also read: Do Classic Cars Have Airbags? Can You Install Them?

Do Classic Cars Gain Value?

It might come off as a surprise to many, but if you invest in classic cars, the return on investment can be more than stocks, art pieces, and even gold. The value of classic cars can double over a decade. If you lightly drive your classic car and maintain it well, then it is set to sell with considerable profits.

Classic cars do gain value, but it isn’t true in all cases. The taste and rarity of vehicles can change dramatically. A $14,500 Ferrari Dino 246 GT purchased in the early ’90s would have sold for a whopping $500,000 today. But the same model 308 GT4 purchased for $22,000 around the same time is priced today at $40,000 only.

Also read: 1974 VW Beetle: What Oil Type is Recommended?

Is it Fun to Own a Classic Car?

It is definitely a fun experience to own a classic car. The wow factor of antique cars can make anyone fall in love with them. Classic cars are marvels of engineering and style. In general, they have lower maintenance costs and lesser insurance premiums. With the right kind of emotions, classic cars can be the ultimate source of joy.

For most owners, it is fun to have a classic car. But it is a subjective matter. So, some owners might tell you otherwise. The reason is the expectations attached to the car. For some people, a car is a need and for some, it is the purpose of their life.

Also read: Do Newer Cars Last Longer than Older Ones? The Facts

Is it Safe to Drive a Classic Car?

Unfortunately for many, classic cars are not the safest vehicles to drive. Due to their primitive safety tech and absence of high-end features, drivers and passengers are more likely to have an accident. Unlike modern cars where even in the case of worst crashes, rider safety is ensured. Classic car crashes can cause fatal injuries.

The main reason behind this is the old-aged chassis design and the inability of the body to absorb momentum during a collision. Contemporary cars employ features like pedestrian safety, lane assist, brake assist, multiple airbags, and many more to avoid accidents. Most of these features are missing in classic cars.

Pros and Cons of Keeping a Classic Car

The historical value of classic cars can turn them into a valuable commodity. It can be your earning source as well. But due to compromised safety, low fuel mileage, and older tech-based construction of classic cars people seem to avoid them. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of keeping a classic car.


  1. Historical Value

You cannot put a price tag on the historical value of classic cars. They have a certain value that is directly linked with the emotions of the owner. You can leave people awestruck by a mere glimpse of your car.

  1. Lottery Ticket

If you invest wisely enough, your classic car can pay you like a lottery ticket. We have seen what classic cars can do at auctions. When everyone wants a similar car, the prices skyrocket to unimaginable limits.

  1. Earning Source

By presenting your car at different auto shows and races, you can turn your classic car into an earning source. Many people get hefty sums of money by doing so.

  1. Low Insurance Premiums

You don’t have to worry about extravagant premiums with your classic cars. Because once your car qualifies as classic or vintage, the insurance rates drop drastically.

  1. Long-Lasting

If a car has lasted 20-30 years or more, it means that it was built solid. And chances are that it is not going to go anywhere in the near future. You can drive it without any fear of failure.


  1. Primitive Technology

Altogether, classic cars are made using older tech. This makes them inefficient. Their comfort levels are low, and their ride quality is also compromised.

  1. Poor Safety

Older cars are not laced with modern safety features. This makes them unsafe for on-road driving. It is best to avoid classic cars on highways and long routes.

  1. Low Fuel Economy

Due to aged engines, classic cars offer lesser fuel economy. Also, the engines of classic cars are designed to give high performance rather than high mileage. So it is another con of owning a classic car.

Also read: Is it Safe to Drive a 20-Year-Old Car? The Facts

When is it Worth Keeping a Classic Car, and When it isn’t?

Keeping a classic car is only worth it if you feel emotionally for a car. If you are into cars big time and consider them no less than humans, then vintage cars can make a place in your heart. Otherwise, if you are purchasing them from an investment point of view to make money, you are in the wrong boat.

The worth of a classic car is a relative matter. For most car owners, their vehicle is just their need. They aren’t looking beyond day-to-day usage. They’re happy with a reliable & affordable car that can do the job for them. For such people, a classic car might not carry much value. Because they are unreliable and costlier.

What are the Best Classic Cars to Keep?

From a sentimental point of view, many cars can be included in this list. But to us, the best classic cars are those which retain their value and are set to make big profits in the coming years. Such cars include Mercedes SL500, Volkswagen Beetle, and Ford Mustang.

  1. 1989 Mercedes SL500: German cars produced before the 2000s were strong, reliable, and long-lasting. The first generation of Mercedes SL500 produced in 1989 is a great investment. You can find this car for as cheap as $20,000, and it will pay you off well in the years to come.
  2. 1967 Volkswagen Beetle: Volkswagen Beetle has marked its golden jubilee. This car has all the ingredients to become the next big thing on the classic car market. You can find them cheap now because they are readily available. But with every passing year, Beetles are becoming rarer and rarer, hence their price is set to hike exponentially.
  3. 1965 Ford Mustang: The decision of buying American Mustangs can never go wrong. These cars have the admirable build quality and powerful engines. Although Ford Mustangs are not quite as cheap, still it is a worthy investment. It will give you good returns.