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What Is A Classic Car?

Date: 29 August 2019
Author: John Penney

What is a classic car?

That term means different things to different people. Does it mean traditional hot rods; the classic rides based on cars from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s that became hot rods and customs of the 50’s? Or are they the period perfect reproductions of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s?

Do resto-mods count? Gassers? Rails? The more you ask, the more expansive the category becomes. If you look at classic cars the same way you look at “classic rock”, then there is room for expansion. When the label classic rock came about it included music from the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s. As younger radio listeners grew up, a broadcast market expanded to include recycled music from the 80’s, 90’s and into this century. The comparison here reveals that “classic” is something that struck you personally, in a previous time period, that made an indelible impact on you and every time you heard your classic rock song or saw your favorite classic car, it put a smile on your face. Oh, and more than likely, either one would be very, very cool.


I just went a long way around a point to relate a very simple thing, “Classic is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder”. It’s not not as important as to how perfect a representation the car is. It’s more important as to how it impacts you, the beholder. As any classic car enthusiast understands, it all boils down to personal style. Is a ’32 high boy roadster any more valid than a Buick Grand National? One could argue no. The deuce is iconic but the Grand National was a hot rod straight from it’s birth at the factory! So in that light the only rule is, there are no rules. You can build and personalize a car to your own individual taste. It’s your vision and desire that will be on display, on the street, or at the show. Or if you’re so inclined, it might be the vision of the builder you hired.


I’m sure there are those out there that have a way more rigid and particular take on this topic than what’s being relayed here. If that makes them happy, then more power to them! They feel that a rod or custom should represent (to a tee) the era they’re going for. Or a muscle car should be numbers matching. Or that all of the original inspector’s chalk marks should be in the engine bay. Or that a Ford should be in a Ford, etc. You get the picture. You’ve heard it all before. I respect that kind of discipline and there’s no doubt that some stellar rides have come out of that approach. That being said, being the rebel that I am, I can’t get too hung up on that. There is just too much freedom and too many options out there to be hampered by restrictions, imposed by somebody else’s taste or ideals. Ultimately, you like what you like and not everyone can be pleased. I’m not a huge fan of “hot wheel” like big rims but if you do, that doesn’t make your choice invalid, it’s just your choice.


I like to think that here at Clasiq, we embrace the freer approach, while still paying respect to the more traditional or categorical approach, for building cars. For example I love the ’41 Willys and I am actually partial to all the fat fender cars of that similar era. And for as much as I love the old gassers of the 60’s, if I had a Willys, I wouldn’t go for the nose high stance and leaf spring, straight axle front end. I would be more inclined to have the nose down look, with a sleek, aggressive stance, ala street rod. Kind of like Stone, Woods and Cook out on a date as opposed to the strip. I see the value of investing in all original cars, because there are only so many of them left but I would be more “bent” toward the resto-mod concept. I like classic style coupled with  modern technology. If you think about it, that has been the essence of hot rodding ever since it’s inception; installing up-to-date improvements in an older vehicle. They did it back in the day, why not now? The bottom line is, whatever you do with your ride, it is your decision to make.You’re the one who’s going to have to be happy with it. The owner’s style and personality will come out in the final example and ultimately it will be his (or her’s) example of cool and by the way, Clasiq equals cool!  


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