Vintage car, historic car and “old car”…what’s the difference?

F_8V 1952-1954

Fiat 8V

For those who approach the historic automotive field not everything is easy to understand.

According to the common sense you may thing that a Fiat Uno thirty year-old will always be only an old car, a Lancia Aurelia B20 or a Jaguar E type (the one of Diabolik) are, instead, collector’s cars.
But it’s not so simple!

To face the complex world of the historic motoring it’s better to start from motorists and collectors.

There are motorists that aren’t real collectors, even occadionally or daily using “vintage” cars or better “dated“; but there are even real collectors who maintain, buy and take care of their cars no matter with the age, rarity and the price of the vehicle.

Each of us is free to use, for pleasure or necessity, an “old” car. Not necessarily an old car is also of historical interest.

Fiat 1500

Fiat 1500

In Italy there are over 4 million cars with an aging over twenty years; before the 2015 Stability Law (Italian Tax Law), any car with the aging of at least twenty years but registered in a Historical Brand Register or A.S.I. (Automotoclub Storico Italiano -Italian Historic Automobile Club) could benefit from the tax and insurance benefits for historic cars.

This definition included Fiat Panda, Punto, Ford Fiesta, VW Golf and many other popular models.

It is easy to understand how the conditions for an anomalous diffusion of vehicles registered as “of historical interest” have been created for the only purpose of receiving tax and insurance benefits, but in reality cars of daily use.


Fiat DinoSpider 1969-1972

Needless to say that the importance of a historic car depends on the rarity, age and fame or knowledge of the model, the brand as well as the original price: a Fiat”Mickey Mouse” (In Italian: Fiat Topolino) of the 50’s or a Citroen 2 CV are beautiful collectible cars with their dignity, even if they have a different value from a Fiat 8V produced in little more than 120 specimens or a Jaguar E-type.

All cars with over thirty year-old, maybe even forty years and so certainly classifiable between vintage cars and ones of historical interest.

Citroen 2CV

Citroen 2CV

The situation is different for vehicles with lower age, between the twenty and thirty years that we have seen there are so many exemplars.

Among these, there are cars of great historical and collecting interest, and other of much less. How to define, for example, a Fiat Punto, produced since 1993 in over 8.5 million specimens?

About the real historical interest of large production models it is necessary to make at least one distinction between the versions.

The quantity of cars produced is generally determinant: cabriolet, 4×4, special versions are, in general, more difficult to find because they are produced in a limited number of specimens and therefore can be more easily assimilated to the concept of car of historical interest.

Fiat 8V e Fiat 2400 Dino Coupè

Fiat 8V e Fiat 2400 Dino Coupè

It isn’t a coincidence that in the “closed list“, which the Brand register and ACI (Italian Automobile Club) update every year, we find – in the case of the Punto – the only Cabriole and GT versions.

Today the tax legislation for vehicles produced between twenty and thirty years ago is still confused and often the topic of controversy because differently applied in the various regions.

Moreover, the debate on how to consider the twenty-year-old “normal” cars, such as Punto or Fiesta, is extremely open and couldn’t be so considering the amount of the numbers and consequently the economic interests.
Trivially, restricting the field means fewer certificates and registrations … and not all the subjects, with the power to register and certify the historical interest of the cars, have a vision of the historical collecting which is purist and not commercial.

Fiat 600 trasformabile

Fiat 600 trasformabile

Insurance companies, on the contrary, tend to ensure fewer and fewer, at discounted fares, those vehicles which should ride only in rallies or at Sunday trips and, instead, are daily used.

Translated by Federica Izzo

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