vintage and classic cars on display

veteran, vintage and classic cars

What’s the difference between veteran, vintage and classic cars? In simple terms, veteran cars are the oldest; vintage cars are those made between the two world wars, and classic cars are post-war and more than 40 years old.

a pre-1905 veteran car in the annual UK London-Brighton veteran car run
a pre-1905 veteran car in the UK

Veteran – generally means a car made up to and including December 1918, but this period is sometimes divided as follows:
pre-1905: veteran (UK) or antique (Ireland)
1905 – 1918: Edwardian (UK) or veteran (Ireland)
Only pre-1905 cars may take part in the famous annual London-Brighton run.

vintage car 1929 - a blue Salmson GS Torpedo
vintage car – a 1929 Salmson GS Torpedo

Vintage – a car made between 1919 and 1925, according to the Classic Car Club of America, but 1919-1930 in the UK, or sometimes between 1919 and World War 2 (1939). There was a decline in quality from 1930, so post-1930 cars do not officially qualify. These may be described as post-vintage thoroughbreds if they are of a high standard e.g. Rolls Royce.

classic car: a Wolseley 15/60 c.1960
classic car: a Wolseley 15/60 c.1960

Classic – a less precise term, generally meaning a post-war car that is popular, desirable or interesting but no longer in production. In the UK, the government considers all cars more than 40 years old to qualify as ‘classic cars’ and allows them to be driven free of road tax.