Summertime does something magical to car enthusiasts. Maybe it’s all those hometown classic car shows, the shined-up beauties rolling up and down the street kicking up memories, or fantasies, of days gone by. American-made hot rods rev their engines next to European sports cars and suddenly everyone starts wondering where they can find the right classic car restoration parts to put their dream machine together.
What Makes a Car a Classic?
With more than 100 years of auto-making history to draw from, there are thousands of car models to choose as a “favorite,” Which traits technically define a car as a classic differ depending on each collector's preferences. Even two of the most well-known American car clubs don’t exactly agree. The Antique Automobile Club of America defines classic cars as those over 25-years old, while The Classic Car Club of America limits the distinction to cars built between 1915 and 1948.
Whether vintage, antique, or just plain old, most enthusiasts agree that a car that has stood the test of time in the hearts and minds of collectors earns the title “classic.”
When restoring or buying a classic car because you want to create an instant heirloom for your family to enjoy, it’s okay to go with your heart. But if you consider classic cars to be an investment and want one with the best potential for resale, it’s worth knowing which models are considered most collectible.
Of course, collectible cars will be easier to sell and are more likely to fetch a higher price than a lesser-known vehicle. Just because you love it doesn’t mean anyone else will! But another important point to consider is the availability of classic car restoration parts. If you can’t restore a non-op vehicle or make routine repairs because parts are difficult to find or too expensive, it’s not much of an investment.
Most Enduring Classics
Popularity goes in and out of style. The car that everyone wants this year might be next year’s dog. But some classic cars truly have remained through the decades. Their visual appeal, power, history, and romance keep them high on every collector’s list.
Has any car ever caught the attention of America the way the Ford Mustang has? Even people who don’t know cars know a Mustang when they see one. Mustangs rank at the top of sales lists in 14 states. All Mustangs are collectible, but the 65-66 K Fastback, the 65 Shelby GT350, the 66 Mustang GT Convertible, and the 71 429 Cobra Jet earn top honors.
Based on sales, Vettes are one of the most popular classic cars in America, perhaps coming in second only to the beloved Mustang. The 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 2 Door Coupe, the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible, and the 1969 Corvette Rebel Convertible Race Car are three of the most expensive sellers.
Classic Mercedes epitomize the sleek style and gorgeous details collectors love. No model highlights the speed and power of a vintage Mercedes like the 1957 300SL GullWing.
Few cars are as iconic as the Ford Thunderbird. It’s hard to think about drive-in movies, taking your friends to the soda shop, or cruising the drag without imagining this auto’s beefy yet still graceful profile. T-Birds made in 1958 and later are the most popular thanks to the addition of a set of seats in the back. Before then, it was a car made for two.
Considered one of the most beautiful cars ever designed, the Jaguar E-Type is a staple of British automobile history. A fully restored Jaguar E-Type can hit speeds of up to 150 and still stop on a dime. Any year is a good year for a Jag, but the 1960s E-Type is highly sought after.
Another win for Chevrolet! The Chevy Camaro was first introduced in 1967 to give the Ford Mustang some competition. It has remained one of the most collectible muscle cars on the market. The 1969 Camaro with more responsive steering, hot racing stripes, and modern-looking rims is a favorite.
Yes, the Beetle is back! Did it ever really go away? The Beetle's inexplicable appeal is owed to a happy, friendly exterior that just can’t be denied. Any collector who considers themselves part of the counter-culture must have a Beetle in the garage. Look for the split-window model introduced in 1952 or the 1977 convertible.
About those Classic Car Restoration Parts
Don’t spin your wheels searching through classified ads or salvage yards for the classic car restoration parts you need. Anderson Restoration makes it easy to find everything in one place. No matter what decade your car is from--the 50s, 60s, or 70s--or what stage your project is in, we’ve got you covered. Contact us for a single part or the kit you need to get cruising this summer.