Aaron Widmar
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Why Are Only Some Old Cars Considered Classic Cars?

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Classic cars show cruise in a row at street meet
Photo: The News Wheel

Some folks have the luck of buying a car that increases in value as the years pass, while others spend their hard-earned money on potential classics that wind up being considered outdated beaters. If you’ve been driving the same car for a while, you’re probably wondering what the chances are that your vehicle will become more valuable with age. Maybe one day it could even gain the status of being a classic car!

Why do some cars reach “classic” status in their old age while other old cars are simply considered junk?

Read More: Which Porsche models are considered classics?

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
Photo: The News Wheel

Reasons why select models become valuable classic cars with age

Multiple factors can influence whether a car will become a classic as it ages or will simply be cheap, undesirable transportation. Qualification isn’t based on one lone aspect. Three primary factors are popularity, rarity, and quality.

To become a classic car, a model usually needs to have been praised and desired upon its release. Vehicles that are flops or ridiculed upon release don’t amass the fanbase or high regard needed for long-term appeal. Higher demand will increase the price people are willing to pay for the car, especially if only a set quantity are available after production of it ceases.

Most of the time, these in-demand vehicles are luxury or performance models. Economy cars might be popular and in-demand now, but their widespread availability and MSRP don’t contribute to their long-term appeal or rarity. Plus, average-quality models rarely become classics, unless they’re regarded as a novelty or unique collector’s item.

Not all high-end cars will see their Kelley Blue Book value increase as it ages and becomes rarer, though. That’s because its popularity needs to be high. The Chrysler Crossfire, for instance, still has a relatively low resale value considering its low production quantity, luxury status, and original price tag. That’s because it’s not as in demand as other retired RWD luxury coupes.

If you want to ensure you purchase a car that’s destined to increase in value by becoming a classic model, your best bet is to pick a limited-production edition of a luxury or performance model that’s currently popular and has a track record of being in-demand. However, there’s no guarantee; predicting what will become a classic is rarely a certainty.

In-Demand Brand: A list of the most “classic” Maserati cars