A classic car is any car that is considered venerable a number of years after its production. Good examples include the 57 Chevy , the Model T, or any Duesenberg. Some cars, like the Dodge Viper or any Ferrari are considered instant classics.

This is because a classic car is considered to have some form of collectability. In a historical sense, any restorable automobile more than 20 years old is a classic, as is any muscle car or a car with a racing history. Higher status is given to cars of exceptional design, like the 1929 Pierce Arrow, the 1969 Dodge Charger or those with a particularly great feature such as the DeDion, because it introduced the DeDion suspension an early form of independent suspension. Rareness adds to desirabilty, such as classic Mustangs equipped with the 289 K-code engine or Mopars equipped with the 426 Hemi. But any car more than 20 years old, in excellent condition is considered a classic.

Classic cars are almost exclusively luxury or performance cars. This is because most cars go through an almost valueless stage before they become old enough that their retail value begins to rise again. Most 'ordinary' or base model cars deteriorate during the time when it is uneconomic to perform more than routine maintenance. More deluxe or sporting models are seen as more than mere applances and thus are often better maintained, improving longevity.; For example Chrysler built zillions of slant six Plymouth Valiants during the sixties and early seventies, only a few remain today despite engine's famed durability. During the same period Chrysler built only a few thousand cars powered by the monstorous 426 Hemi engine. Today hemis are more common than Valiants at car shows, because the engine made the car stand out, made it worthy of the extra effort to keep it in shape.

Concours events are car shows that compare current cars to how they would have looked new. The judging is very close, no car that is driven, or contains the tiniest flaws can win a large competition. Modified automobiles generally lose value, though some hot rods are well recieved, if well done. In general, value is derived from scarcity and quaility of condition.

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