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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-24-02, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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what makes a classic car?

at what point of a cars life does it become a classic? the Phase 3 GTHO, Morris Minor, E-Type Jag and Audi Quattro are all classics, but share little in common. some are older than others, and some are faster than others.

does age determine a classic? most would agree that the XR6T is probably destined to become a classic, and some would probably think it is a classic already. is an XD Falcon a classic yet? maybe not, but, if you are like me, you will look twice at one that is in good condition. in the UK, cars are seen as classics a lot sooner than they appear to be here, simply because cars over there disappear into piles of rust a lot sooner. it is rare to see a car over 15 years old on the road, yet in Oz, 20+ year old cars are everywhere.

does a car have to be rare to be a classic? you dont see any Lada Cevaros around any more, but is it a classic?in fact, it would probably be easier to locate a phase 3 than a Brock Lada, but which would you rather have? also, XR6Ts are still in production, and probably will be as long as there is a demand, so rarity doesnt enter the picture with this car.

what about significance? the (original) mini is definitley a classic. this was the first car to cram so much into such a small package, the first front wheel drive car to really become popular and defined the small car market from then on. the XR6T is also a milestone in Ford Australia as it is the first (that i know of) widely available turbo 6 cylinder that they made.

reliability is NOT a factor...try driving a Mini in the rain. Ferraris are cranky as well, but everyone wants one.

what about opinion? if i think a car, lets say an RS2000 is a classic, but others dont, does that mean it isnt? do you need consensus to say a car is classic?

and what about dumbing down certain cars? the original Golf Gti is a classic, however, later models removed the factors that made the original so popular. the car became softer, safer and more comfortable. does this make the original Golf more or less desirable?

why do certain variations become classics so much faster? is it a rarity thing? eg, the XE ESP 351 is a classic. but is an XE GL?

what about performance? the Cooper S ate everything in its day, but you could argue that all Minis are now classics, and they werent fast. Morris Minors could never be accused of being overpowered, but these are also classics.

i find it a bit funny that we would mostly agree on what is and isnt a classic car, but we do so without any real guidelines about what makes a car classic. IMO, the XR6T is going to be a classic. i dont know if that fact means that it is already a classic...does this destiny make an instant classic? i dont think the destiny itself makes it a classic, but in the XR6Ts case, it is a classic already.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-24-02, 06:25 PM
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Personally i believe if you feel that a car is a classic in your mind, then that car is a classic. As you've said there no general concensus about what is and is not a classic motor vehicle.

Generally a classic car was a milestone of that era. It created new boundaries for the industry, stepped up a level from everything else and can be remembered as being quick, luxurious, sexy body styling, a mean engine or in some cases very rare. Note they didnt fullfil all those 'criteria' but excelled in one or another.

Another thing to point out is that a classic from say America isnt nessecarily going to be a class in Australia or vice versa. An XR GT in my opinion is a classic, it got the ball rolling and would be the reason for what Ford have in their stables now. Tough cars of late. The Model name XR is from the 1960's yet it is widely known to be the 'codename' of tough cars of the 1990's to early 2000's. GT is recognised throughout the world as being a quick car. Grand Turismo/Grand Touring and Ford have now decided to bring the GT label back as they did originally, all models from now on will have a GT to be played with.

It all comes down to what you think is a classic, im sure many nights around the table with the lads could be had debating what is and is not. But then thats the whole fun of things.

By the way, what makes a car PRE-VINTAGE? why do cars get labeled that, my 1994 Fairmont is pre-vintage for all i care... That one has racked my brains for a long time

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-26-02, 09:56 AM
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IMO a classic car is one that was widely popular at one time or another, or caught the general public's imagination by whatever means. For instance, the Ford Mustang was an instant classic the day it hit showrooms, much like the Dodge Viper. But a 1952 Vauxhall? not really... a 1960 VW Beetle, yes, but a 1982 BMW? I don't think so. BMWs are only cool when they're brand new.

Like by popular belief, Edgar Allen Poe was a fantastic poet and short story writer but the other side of his story is that he was a hopeless drug addict who died of alcohol poisoning.

What I'm getting at is that the car doesn't have to be fantastically engineered or exceptionally fast, it might be an electrician's worst nightmare (Austin Healy anyone??) but if it catches the public's imagination at one point or another, most people will look back at it with fond regards, and there inlies the making of a "Classic".

A VT Commodore is already an Australian classic. A good looking, well thought out car that inspired the Australian public.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-26-02, 04:16 PM
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i think a classic becomes a classic when it is accepted by more than , say, two generations. generally i think a classic is the rarest of a certain shape or incarnation. eg: phase 3 .
another form of opinion is from people who arn't necessarily interested in that marque but still believe it to be "classic". eg: the transam used in the "smokey and the bandit" movie.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-04, 06:13 AM
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Re: what makes a classic car?

I'd say that something become "classic" when it is remembered by that generation, as something that stood out among everything else.

For the younger generation it might be the XR6T. But when i think classic, i think old, something classic has character. For me personally a classic car would be any car about the 1970's era, it doesnt matter on the brand, whether it be a HT prem, a Dodge Cuda, or the mid X-series (XR-XY). But i dont see XL an or similar because they just dont do it for me.

But if you go into computers, and computer game consoles, what do you see as a classic? The one that sticks in my mind is the Commodore 64... or the Atari 2600. And im only 19!

I grew up with the Commodore 64, and Atari so they stick in my mind. When i think of early gaming, i think of these consoloes.

So a classic to me, is something that can be associated with a particular time period.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-04, 06:19 AM
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Re: what makes a classic car?

I knew the lack of mining had to come to and end soon

For me a classic is any car from the 70's or before whether it be an 1100 Escort or a Phase 3 HO

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-04, 07:08 AM
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Re: what makes a classic car?

To my mind the following criteria would apply to a classic:
- Desirability. Is it a car that people aspired to own? Did/does it turn heads when it drives down the road? Did it capture the imagination?
- Rarity. Is/was it a limited numbers build? Old school GT's didn't sell in the numbers newies are because not as many people could get their hands on the money to buy one. New GT's etc are being sold as quickly as Ford can make them so they're unlikely to be "classics" as we know it IMHO.
- Cult following? Impossible to predict, some cars don't become classics until they're nearly all gone. Could the AU1 Forte become such a car?? You never know.
- Comfort zone? As someone said earlier can a car be a nostalgia trip back to happier times?

My prediction of a late model to become a classic is the AU3 XR8 Pursuit 250 Ute. Seems to have all the ingredients including a limited number build of 250 (is that right?).

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-04, 07:42 AM
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Re: what makes a classic car?

Nice thread mining! Hehe!

Interesting question... Personally I don't see the XR6T as a "classic". That's not to say it won't be one - maybe in decades to come. More of a cult car like the VL Turbo and the WRX.

I think a "classic" is a car that set a bench-mark in a particular area. Whether that be looks, performance, reliability, or character, etc. I also think a lot has to do with how you personally define a classic...

I see classics as much older cars, a la Mustangs and Mercurys, older GTs, early Porsches and Aston Martins, the Model T, etc. etc.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-04, 04:10 AM
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biggrin Re: what makes a classic car?

My HQ Kingswood will be a classic car next month, 30 years old..woo hoo

Does that count ???

Last edited by HQV8; 04-28-04 at 04:11 AM. Reason: missed out a line
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-04, 06:43 PM
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Re: what makes a classic car?

From the Birdwood Classic website ... (http://www.baytobirdwood.com.au/the_classic.html)

The Classic invites entries from vehicles manufactured post 1945 up to 1973
I always thought the age was 30 years for a Classic? (50 years for Vintage?)

Anyway ... my 1962 Chrysler SV1 fits in there whichever way you cut it

I don't think a car can be a classic if it is relatively new though - hasn't had the test of time. If a car still has appeal after 30 years - I think it qualifies.
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