Could That Used Car Be a Classic Car?

1994 Dodge Viper

When listening to the classic rock station, I’m accustomed to hearing music from Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. So when a Metallica song came on the other day, I thought the station switched without my consent. When I realized the channel was still locked firmly on classic rock, I had a small tantrum.

“Metallica is NOT classic rock,” I said to myself. “I listened to Metallica as a teenager, just a few short… umm… oh man, 15-20 years ago.”

Holy moly, it’s true. Metallica are now considered a classic rock band.

Today I’m having the same realization about cars.

What constitutes a classic car? There’s no official definition, but in my mind a classic a car has to be at least a decade old, have proven itself in at least one specific niche and be slowly rising in value. The car was probably produced in low numbers, or the design was especially beautiful, or it performed like no other car prior.

As we progress deeper into 2014, the cars that could be classified as classics are suddenly rather new. Rather than lumping all classic cars into the era up to the 1960s or 1970s, we have to consider all the way up to the turn of the century. Cars from the ’80s and ’90s can easily be considered classics now.

Take the Honda CRX and Dodge Viper.

1989 Honda CRX

Both cars have become classics for very different reasons. The Honda is the epitome of 1980’s fuel efficiency and performance. In recent years it has become something of a legend, and used ones are very difficult to find. If there’s any doubt that the CRX has become a classic, I saw one listed for $16,000 this week.

At its inception in the early ’90s, the Viper became the center of attention for nearly every die-hard car fan. Brutish, fast, untamed and beautiful, the car re-invented the idea of an American supercar. Today’s SRT Viper owes its DNA to the original, and Vipers from those early days are gaining steam as collectible.

What “modern” cars would you classify as classics?


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Honda CRX
Used Dodge Viper
Used SRT Viper


  1. Your classic rock observation is right on (a classic expression). One of the sadder days of a life when your music is “classics of the 70’s”. It’s just not right. As time goes on, my eyes for “classics” seems to be quite keen. I know of a 1976 Cordoba just sittin’ there. I won’t see an old survivor for days, then “Hey look! There’s a 1975 Roadrunner!” Just kidding. My old car. Sold it during the energy crisis of $375. I was thinking my 2003 Marquis was getting to be a classic, I mean 14 years old, running great. Maybe classic is just my yearning for the past. Metallica! Steve

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