Antique car

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1916 Ford Model T 1916 Ford Model T touring car.JPG
1916 Ford Model T

An antique car is an automobile that is an antique. Narrower definitions vary based on how old a car must be to qualify. The Antique Automobile Club of America defines an antique car as over 25 years of age. [1] However, the legal definitions for the purpose of antique vehicle registration vary widely. The antique car era includes the Veteran era, the Brass era, and the Vintage era, which range from the beginning of the automobile up to the 1930s. Later cars are often described as classic cars. In original or originally restored condition antiques are very valuable and are usually either protected and stored or exhibited in car shows but are very rarely driven.



The Veteran car era, Brass car era, and the Vintage car era, are part of the Antique car classification as all automobiles produced prior to World War I are considered to be antiques.


On Christmas Eve in 1801 Richard Trevithick of England demonstrated a steam-powered carriage, the Puffing Devil, that is considered the first horseless carriage, but Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot has the claim of the first steam-powered vehicle with the Fardier à vapeur in 1770. The first production of automobiles was by Karl Benz in 1888 in Germany and, under licence from Benz, in France by Emile Roger.

The time line is not exact but Thomas Davenport as well as Robert Anderson (of Scotland) built a battery electric car between 1832 and 1839. [2]

United States

The era of automobiles began in the U.S. when George Selden of Rochester, NY filed a patent on May 8, 1879, but the patent was not approved until November 5, 1895. This was the first U.S. patent for an automobile. By the time a patent was approved many automobiles were in production. Charles Duryea built a three-wheeled, gasoline-powered vehicle in 1893, and his company built 13 cars of the same design in 1896. Gasoline automobiles were produced by Elwood Haynes in 1894, by Ransom Olds in 1895, Charles King and Henry Ford in 1896. Automobile races stirred the public interest and bicycle and buggy manufacturers began to convert to making automobiles. [3]

An antique car on a poster advertising a race in Makarska, Croatia Plakat za 6. makarski oldtimer rally.jpg
An antique car on a poster advertising a race in Makarska, Croatia


Racing began shortly after the production of the automobile. The first official auto race in the world was a 732-mile, round trip race, in the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race. The first race in the U.S. was the six car, 54.36 mile race, from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois and back. Racing helped spur inventions that assisted in improvements to the automotive industry. [4]

Automobile production eras

United States

Veteran Era

The Veteran era began with the invention of the automobile and continued up to 1896.

Brass Era

The Brass Era is considered from 1890 to 1919. [5] Periods of the Brass Era are referred to as the Horseless carriage era. [6] The Horseless Carriage Club of America (HCCA) defines this era as "any pioneer gas, steam and electric motor vehicle built or manufactured prior to January 1, 1916". [7]

Antique era (before 1920)

The era of antique cars actually covers a specific time period from the beginning up to 1920 or prior to World War I. [8] The time period for antique cars includes the Veteran Era as well as the Brass era.

Vintage Era

The vintage era followed World War I from 1920 to 1930. There were over 500 automotive companies in 1910 but by the time of the Great Depression of 1929 only 60 had survived, and twelve years later there were fewer than 20. [9]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Brass era is split into two eras; the Veteran era and the Edwardian era. [10]

Veteran Era

The veteran era includes cars produced before 1905. [10]

Edwardian Era

The Edwardian era includes cars produced between 1 January 1905 and 31 December 1918. This is considered pre-World War One cars in the United States. [10]

Vintage Era

The Vintage era is considered to cover cars made between 1918-1930. [10]

Post Vintage Era

Post vintage cars are those made from 1 January 1931 to the start of World War II (September 1939). [10]

Antique Era

Antique cars are all cars made up to September 1939 which marked the beginning of World War II. [10]

Modern Era

Modern cars were made after 31 December 1959. [10]

Considered to be investments

First issue Alberta Antique Auto license plate. First issued from 1963 until 1975 Alberta Antique Auto license plate 1963-1975 427.jpg
First issue Alberta Antique Auto license plate. First issued from 1963 until 1975

Some consider such collectibles be a form of investment. Buying a particular antique car is then done primarily in view of profit in a future sale and not of enjoying a drive or taking pleasure in restoration work. The market for antique cars fluctuates wildly over the years. There have been periods, like the 1980s, which have seen strong and continued increase in price, but other periods (e.g. the early 1990s, and 2008–2009) which saw precipitous declines.

Some famous classic car: [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

Vintage car

A vintage car is, in the most general sense, an old automobile, and in the narrower senses of car enthusiasts and collectors, it is a car from the period of 1919 to 1930. Such enthusiasts have categorization schemes for ages of cars that enforce distinctions between antique cars, vintage cars, classic cars, and so on. The classification criteria vary, but consensus within any country is often maintained by major car clubs, for example the Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) in the UK.

A classic car is an older car, typically 20 years or older, though definitions vary. The common theme is of an older car of sufficient historical interest to be collectible and worth preserving or restoring rather than scrapping. Classic cars are a subset of a broader category of "collector cars". A subset of what is considered classic cars are known as antique cars or vintage cars (manufactured pre-World War II.

Hiram Percy Maxim American inventor

Hiram Percy Maxim was an American radio pioneer and inventor, and co-founder of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Hiram Percy Maxim is credited with inventing and selling the first commercially successful firearm silencer, and also with developing mufflers for internal combustion engines.

Horseless carriage

Horseless carriage is an early name for the motor car or automobile. Prior to the invention of the motor car, carriages were usually pulled by animals, typically horses. The term can be compared to other transitional terms, such as wireless phone. These are cases in which a new technology is compared to an older one by describing what the new one does not have.

Brass Era car

The Brass Era is an American term for the early period of automotive manufacturing, named for the prominent brass fittings used during this time for such things as lights and radiators. It is generally considered to encompass 1896 through 1915, a time when these vehicles were often referred to as horseless carriages.

Quadricycle small motorized four wheeled vehicle

Quadricycle refers to vehicles with four wheels.

Benz Velo Motor vehicle

The Benz Velo was one of the first cars, introduced by Karl Benz in 1894 as the followup to the Patent Motorwagen. 67 Benz Velos were built in 1894 and 134 in 1895. The early Velo had a 1L 1.5-metric-horsepower engine, and later a 3-metric-horsepower engine. giving a top speed of 19 km/h (12 mph). The Velo was officially introduced by Karl Benz as the Velocipede, and became the world's first large-scale production car. The Velocipede remained in production between 1894 and 1902, with a final count of over 1,200 produced.

Steam car Automobile powered by a steam engine

A steam car is a car (automobile) propelled by a steam engine. A steam engine is an external combustion engine (ECE) in which the fuel is combusted outside of the engine, unlike an internal combustion engine (ICE) in which fuel is combusted inside the engine. ECEs have a lower thermal efficiency, but carbon monoxide production is more readily regulated.

Charles Duryea American automobile manufacturer

Charles Edgar Duryea was an American engineer. He was the engineer of the first-ever working American gasoline-powered car and co-founder of Duryea Motor Wagon Company. He was born near Canton, Illinois, a son of George Washington Duryea and Louisa Melvina Turner, and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spent most of his life working in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was in Springfield that Charles and his brother, Frank, produced and road-tested America’s first gasoline-powered car.

Glidden Tour

The Glidden Tours, also known as the National Reliability Runs, were promotional events held during the automotive Brass Era by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and organized by the group's chairman, Augustus Post. The AAA, a proponent for safer roads, acceptance of the automobile and automotive-friendly legislation, started the tour to promote public acceptance and bring awareness of their goals.

History of the automobile Aspect of history

Development started as early as the 17th century with the invention of the first steam-powered vehicle, which led to the creation of the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation, built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769. Inventors began to branch out at the start of the 19th century, creating the de Rivas engine, one of the first internal combustion engines, and an early electric motor. Samuel Brown later tested the first industrially applied internal combustion engine in 1826.

Columbia (automobile brand)

Columbia was an American brand of automobiles produced by a group of companies in the United States. They included the Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, the Electric Vehicle Company, and an entity of brief existence in 1899, the Columbia Automobile Company.

Hemmings Motor News (HMN) is a monthly magazine catering to traders and collectors of antique, classic, and exotic sports cars. It is the largest and oldest publication of its type in the United States, with sales of 215,000 copies per month, and is best known for its large classified advertising sections. The magazine counts as subscribers and advertisers practically every notable seller and collector of classic cars, including Jay Leno and his Big Dog Garage, and most collector car clubs are included in its directory.

Selden Motor Vehicle Company

The Selden Motor Vehicle Company was an early American manufacturer of automobiles. The Company, founded in 1905, was based in Rochester, New York.

Riker Electric Vehicle Company

The Riker was a veteran and brass era electric car founded in 1898 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Car Motorized passenger road vehicle

A car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of cars say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport people rather than goods.

Charles Brady King

Charles Brady King was an American engineer and entrepreneur remembered as an automotive pioneer, artist, etcher, musician, poet, architect, mystic, industrialist and inventor.

George Nicholas "Nick" Georgano was a British author, specialising in motoring history. His most notable work is The Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars, first published in 1968.

William Morrison (chemist) Scottish chemist, developer of early electric automobile

William Morrison was a Scottish chemist. His background in chemistry piqued his interest in improving storage batteries. He concentrated on how to produce the most available energy for a unit of weight for efficiency in the working of an individual battery cell. Eventually, he developed storage batteries far more powerful than what had then been available. To demonstrate his batteries, Morrison installed 24 of them on a common horse-drawn carriage and attached an electric motor to the rear axle to be powered by them. Through various innovations, he developed the controls for the power used and the vehicle's steering so that the driver had complete control. Morrison invented the first practical self-powered four-wheeled electric carriage in the United States. His electric vehicle was the first to be driven in Chicago and in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. This electric horseless buggy of the late 19th century helped pave the way for the hybrid electric automobile of the 21st century.


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  2. "Electric Vehicle History". Electric Auto Association. US. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03.
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  4. "American Motorsports Timeline". US. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  5. "Brass Era". US. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  6. "Brass era". US. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
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  8. "Antique era". US. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  9. "Vintage era". US. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Definition of the Motor Car / Automobile (UK and USA)". Car History 4U. UK. Archived from the original on 2017-05-14. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  11. "Top 10 Classic Cars Of All Time | Heritage Classic Car Insurance". Heritage Motor Insurance. Retrieved 2021-06-10.