Pros And Cons Of Owning A Classic Car: What You Need To Know

If you’re thinking about buying a classic car and wondering what the benefits as well as the disadvantages are of owning such a vehicle, you’ve come to the right place. While there are so many perks to owning a classic car, there are also some things to think about that aren’t so glamorous about owning a classic car.

I have owned several classic cars and know exactly what it’s like owning one. The pros and cons of owning a classic car are ideas that shouldn’t be ignored and should be considered when thinking about purchasing one. So what are the pros and cons of owning a classic car? Pros:

  • Being a part of a community
  • Easy to work on
  • They’re worth more
  • Easy registration
  • Inexpensive insurance
  • Interchangeable parts
  • Inexpensive to fix
  • It’s a beautiful prop


  • More maintenance
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Less safe
  • Less reliable
  • Driving restrictions
  • Need space for it
  • Not as comfortable

Each pro and con will be examined in further detail and can better explain why it’s an advantage or disadvantage to owning a classic car.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: Being Part Of A Community

If you’ve ever owned a classic car before, you know exactly what it feels like being a part of the classic car community. For those of you who don’t understand, know that once you get a classic car you instantly become a part of a community that’s fun to be in.

When you go to car shows or gatherings, you feel a sense of belonging and you feel you’re in a place where you share a common hobby with everyone around you. That sense of belonging is worth a lot and it’ll be sure to give you a higher sense of pride.

The really great thing about this is that there are sub communities withing the classic car community. For example, if you own an older mustang, there are usually mustang clubs that you can join and get to know other mustang enthusiasts. It’s a great way to become acquainted with people who have similar interests and it gives you an opportunity to ask questions to knowledgeable people about your car.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: They’re Easy To Work On

Though classic cars are considered to be “old,” that’s actually something you can use to your advantage. Classic cars don’t have a lot of complicated systems, in fact, a lot of the way a classic car functions is pretty basic. Cars nowadays have a lot of electrical components so they’re a lot more difficult to work on. If you have a basic knowledge of mechanics, fixes and repairs will be a breeze on your classic car.

If you don’t have any mechanical knowledge, the good news is that there is a slew of information on the internet that can teach you anything you’d ever want to know. YouTube is a great resource to look at for more hands-on information. Owning a classic car provides a great opportunity to learn how cars work and learn how to get your hands a little dirty while fixing a few parts.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: They’re Worth More

In case you haven’t noticed, classic cars are worth a lot. Which in hindsight doesn’t really make sense. Shouldn’t old cars be worth less? You can thank the process of appreciation for that. Appreciation happens when the worth of a vehicle has reached the peak of depreciation and slowly begins to gain value over time. Cars generally start to appreciate in value when they’re older than 20 – 30 years. This is especially relevant if a classic car has some sort of rare specialty or only a few were produced.

You can increase your chances of getting your money back, if you ever sell, by restoring a classic car. Doing most of the work means you don’t have to pay for someone else’s time to do it for you. A lot of sweat equity can go a long way in the world of cars.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: Easy Registration

There are several ways to approach the registration process for your classic car. The first route would be to register it like you would with any other car. The difficult thing about this, though, is your classic car has to have all the updated features a regular would have in order to be considered “road safe” and pass inspection. The second route would be to register your classic car with antique plates. Though there are a few restrictions with this route, a lot of people favor this way.

When you register your car under antique plates, rules are a little more relaxed when it comes to deadlines and fees. Each state is a little different with their rules and fees on antique plates. Generally though, if you register your car under the antique status, you only have to pay a one-time fee (or some states require a fee every five or so years) of around $50 – $100. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about inspection and emissions testing as that is waved under the antique status.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: Inexpensive Insurance

A lot of people may argue the fact that classic car insurance is less expensive than regular insurance. It all really depends on how you go about doing it, but there is a way to get insurance for your classic car that is much cheaper.

If you simply call up your auto insurance company and add your classic car to your insurance, you may notice that it’s not any cheaper than insurance for your regular daily driver. In fact, it may be more expensive if you do it that way. Many people make that mistake and wonder how other people are getting better insurance rates than they are.

Inexpensive car insurance for your classic is available, you just have to look in the right place. First, you’ll need to register your car under antique plates. Once you do that, you need to contact an insurance agency that you know holds special classic car policies (usually the bigger companies are the ones that have them, but check with your agency first).

Be specific about the type of insurance you want and make sure to inform them that your classic car has antique plates. Because of the limited mileage that comes with antique plates, insurance rates are lower. It also helps to get a better insurance policy rate if you keep your classic car locked up in a garage when it’s not in use.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: Interchangeable Parts

One beautiful part about owning a classic car is the fact that you can use donor parts from other cars that will fit nicely. Of course this doesn’t go with all the parts, but there are a large part of them where you can do that and it’s absolutely awesome.

Because of the basic technology classic cars have, you don’t have to worry about compatibility on some of the parts. For example, I have a 1966 Bronco that I’m restoring. It came stock with a certain type of engine, however that engine was completely unusable. So I got a donor engine from a Ford Escape, a 302 V8. While you can still do some things like this in modern cars, it’s a lot more of a possibility for older classic cars.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: Inexpensive To Fix

Though you may have more frequent fixes to your classic car, the nice thing is that parts are generally inexpensive. That is, if you don’t have some type of rare or international car.

This, of course, means it’s less expensive if you can fix it yourself. Like I mentioned before, classic cars are easy to work on and with that comes a lot faster fixes and repairs. If you can learn how to do it yourself, the fixes your classic car will need will be much cheaper than similar fixes needed on a modern car.

Pro To Owning A Classic Car: It’s A Beautiful Prop

I could go on and on about the pride you feel when you own a beautiful classic car. It really deserves to be proud of because it’s a beautiful piece of history.

But having a classic car means a lot more than just feeling happy that you own it. Classic cars can also be a nice prop in your driveway that everyone can enjoy. The look of a restored car can make your home environment more appealing and actually make a neighborhood look more desirable.

When I first purchased my 1966 Bronco, it was in really rough shape. I could sense my neighbors not being too happy that I bought it because it really was such an eye sore. Now that I’ve been fixing it up and making it look much better, my neighbors have commented about how they love seeing such a beautiful machine inside their neighborhood

Con To Owning A Classic Car: More Maintenance

There’s really no way of getting around it, if you’re going to own an old classic car, you will have a lot more maintenance that’s required compared to a modern car.

As beautiful as classic cars are, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken in order to keep up with them and their maintenance, more so than modern cars. There are several things you should be aware of. Using gas with ethanol isn’t good for carbureted cars; ethanol in gas is a water-attractant and has the potential of clogging up your carburetor.

You’ll also need to change your oil more frequently to maintain optimal engine function. You can’t leave your classic car sitting for long periods of time because that will cause break down of certain parts pretty quickly.

If you’re going to own a classic car, you’ll need to have the time it’s takes to care for it properly, otherwise it will break down much more quickly and cause further problems within itself.

Con To Owning A Classic Car: Not Environmentally Friendly

You may have heard before that owning a classic car isn’t necessarily bad for the environment, but it’s really not that good for it either. Why? Because older cars emit higher emissions than new cars. This means older cars emit more exhaust compared to cars nowadays.

It’s no secret that exhaust isn’t good for the environment, and our classic cars are adding to that exhaust count. Classic cars also have lower gas mileage; It’s not uncommon for a classic car to get an average of 10 – 15 miles per gallon. This can be a pain when you’re driving on fumes trying to find an ethanol-free gas station.

Classic cars also have a tendency to leak in several places. That’s simply the nature of old cars. Unless you’ve examined every gasket and bolt, chances are you’ll get a leak somewhere which isn’t necessarily good for the environment either.

Con To Owning A Classic Car: Less Safe

Cars have come a long way with their safety features which have ended up saving countless peoples’ lives. Unfortunately, these safety features didn’t really start coming out until the late 60’s and early 70’s, and those safety features weren’t required to be built into cars until the late 90’s.

Classic cars lack airbags, anti lock brakes, disc brakes, and often times seat belts. These are basic features that end up saving lives. It is possible to install seat belts, disc brakes, and anti lock brakes into your classic car, but it is often very expensive to do so. It’s also not really possible to install airbags.

Con To Owning A Classic Car: Less Reliable

As it was mentioned before, classic cars are old and will break down a lot more frequently. This also means that they are less reliable cars and shouldn’t be depended on as daily drivers.

I have owned several classic cars and while I have loved every minute of it, I often ran into problems with them that left me stranded. It was common to experience overheating issues, battery issues, and starting issues. It can be an incredibly frustrating thing to have to go through, so make sure you have a back up plan when this happens. There’re also some tools you can keep handy that will help out a lot in these situations, you can see that list of tools by clicking here.

Con To Owning A Classic Car: Driving Restrictions

If you are planning on registering your car the standard way, then this doesn’t apply. If you register your car with antique plates, then you will have to deal with driving restrictions.

Though the perks to registering your classic car under antique plates are enticing, the restrictions may be a bit of a turn off for some. There is a reason it is cheaper to go this route. Most states restrict cars with antique plates to drive no more than 3,000 – 5,000 miles per year. If a cop notices you’re driving your car a lot more than you should, you can get pulled over and given a ticket.

Con To Owning A Classic Car: Need Space For It

If you’re going to own a classic car, you need to have the proper space to store it. If you live in an apartment or have a house without a garage, that can be problematic for some people as they don’t have a place to work on it when it breaks down.

If you want to keep your classic car maintained and in optimal condition, giving it the right amount of space to store it is ideal. This means you might have to kick one of your cars out to the driveway so your classic car can take it’s place in the garage. And if you have classic car insurance, they often require you have a place to store it other than outside and provide proof that you have such a place.

A classic car can make space a little tight because you probably don’t want to place heavy garden equipment close by in case they damage your car, so you’ll have to find somewhere else to put such equipment.

Con To Owning A Classic Car: Not As Comfortable

As cool as a classic car looks both on the outside and on the inside, classic cars are usually not as luxurious or comfortable to ride in. Seats do have cushions, but they’re often flattened from years of someone sitting on them and they don’t have the best support.

Classic cars often don’t have updated heaters, air conditioners, and all the other bells and whistles that come with other modern cars. Suspension is another factor to consider; unless you’ve already updated the suspension, bumps and turns can be a little stiff and uncomfortable to experience.

You can add most of these things to classic cars, however it can be a little tricky depending on the make and model of your vehicle. It can also be very expensive.

Related Question:

What is the most popular classic car? There are several classic cars that could win the title of America’s favorite classic car, however the early ford mustang ranks the highest in popularity and is frequently seen at any car show that you attend.

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