The Eight Principles of the Classic

There's a lot of misunderstanding about the word 'classic'. And for such a controversial word, petrol heads and general lovers of cars and bikes use the word perhaps more than any other. In a noble attempt to clarify our terms at the start of our 'classic' feature thread, we thought we'd consult the good book: and find examples out there in the real world that exemplify the various definitions of the 'C' word. Tell us what you think of our choices, and please, feel free to suggest your alternatives.

Classic (adj) (as defined by Collins Dictionary 1991)
1 'of the highest class' : The Rolls Royce Phantom Coupé

rolls-phantom-coupe

Synonymous with the highest possible ideals of motoring perfection, many believe that Rolls Royce has reached new heights with the latest range of models. Combining as it does superlative performance with bespoke tailoring, could the Phantom Coupé be the most classic Rolls ever?

2 'serving as a standard model of its kind': The Honda Civic Type R

civic-typer2

In its many and various manifestations the Civic Type R has set the standard by which all hot hatches are measured. They are engineered with the perfect balance of fun-focused emotion and workaday reliability – and that's what Hot Hatches – the icon of the everyman – are all about.

3 'adhering to an established set of principles': The Morgan Plus Four

morgan-plus42

Sticking with a formula of hand-wrought production values in a self consciously retrospective style, a Morgan is instantly recognisable. Though that self-conscious styling plays on deep-lying popular ideas of what constitutes a classic (falling perhaps into cliché), it achieves its aim every time.

4 'characterised by simplicity, balance, regularity or purity of form': Harley Davidson Sportster

harley-davidson-sportster

Love them or hate them, the perennial popularity of the simple but burly V-Twin form is the core of one of the strongest brands mankind has ever known. As such, the consistently pure idea that is the Harley will continue to rumble into legend.

5 'of lasting significance or interest': McLaren F1

mclaren-f1

In 1998 the McLaren F1, setting a still rarely matched top speed of 243 MPH, almost single-handedly ushered in the era of the road going hypercar. Representing the boomtime economics of GP-roadcar crossover it remains a totemically significant classic – even in a world where the Bugatti Veyron exists.

6 'continuously in fashion because of a simplicity of style': The Mini

mini

Despite the current mania generated by the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Alex Issigonis's Mini design, the little cars never really went out of fashion. Devastatingly simple, accessible and fun, the design will be forever associated with a time and a place in when Britain was at the centre of style.

new-mini

And it's difficult to argue that the new Mini doesn't carry on many of the traditions initiated by the BMC version. Loved particularly by women of a certain age, and an ongoing exemplar of the British thing (ok, we know they're German, but still...) their stratospheric sales figures are testament to the brand's ongoing appeal.

7 'of the highest excellence': The Land Rover Discovery 3

land-rover-discovery3

With its ability to range deep into the most inhospitable terrain imaginable as well as being the perfect luxury long-distant ride for a family of six (or a handful of outdoor adventurers), the Disco 3 is the apogee of a much-maligned form.

8 'regarded as definitive': The Lamborghini Countach LP400

lamborghini-countach1

If you were a man-child of the seventies or early eighties, the Countach will always be the definitive dream car. The Gandini designed shell, the scissor doors and its multilayered hooligan chic remains unsurpassed. Hats off to Bertone.

  • Bazzer

    Pretty spot on list, but I don't agree with the parameters. Classic cars are all about emotion rather than rational criteria. And the new Mini can't even be compared to the original. They're like sitting in any other motor. Step into a proper mini and you're intantly excited.

  • ronjon

    Not sure about the morganbeing a real classic. It pretends to be and some of themare nice but I'd rather have a bristol in there in that slot anyday.

  • Fi

    I agree, a good list. couldn't have said it better myself.

  • Roger Williams

    A good list but I would prefer to have included the Jaguar E Type, the original gullwing Mercedes, the original Honda Civic R, certainly the Bugatti Beyron and perhaps the original Audi Quattro Rally car. I am not sure whether the Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, Morgan 2 +2 , Discovery and new style mini are classics in the making.

  • Dave Barraclough

    I'd have put a Landrover 90 or Series in there for completeness a classic without doubt. Of the highest class? yes, for what it does offroad and still raises emotion in enough people to see it still in production.

  • Bryan Martin

    Certainly the new mini is not a classic and the Honda civic neather is the Landrover sa yet.
    To me you could say the Ford Fiesta SUPERSPORT the for runner of the XR range of cars what about the SIERRA XR4i a true rally car the FORD COSWORTH'S nearly all the XR range plus the RS range Fiesta XR 2 MkII is a classic certainly not the new MINI the might be in 30 years time.

    The FORD ESCORT MK i Mexico and the RS 2000 MK I are classic's now.

    VW GOLF MK i GTI another classic.

  • James Underwood

    Not bad, but I would have put the defender insteed of a disco.

  • Tim Hunt

    Discovery 'of the highest excellence'? Take a look at the M5 on a Friday evening and you will see more Discos in the care of the RAC than on the road.

  • Neil

    What about the best selling car of all time...... ?
    The VW Beetle !!

  • Crouchie

    Fairly good setpoints to describe classics, but surely rarety would also be a considering factor? Age? I'm sure there are owners of all marques that would consider at least one model of their favourite car to be of significance or "Special" in some way, would these also not be considered "Classic" :)

  • Steve

    I only agree with 2 cars on the list ( The Lamborghini and the old Mini ) To me a classic is in the design just like the Countach,Diablo,Capri etc and a car that most people would want to own, I never thought I would dislike Rolls Royce but it has turned into a real ugly monster since the germans got it, so has the Discovery and the Mini (Must be a German fashion thing because they have now done the same to Lamborghini).

  • Martin Bown

    What's all this about the Landrover Discovery being a classic? Yes, the new ones are far better than the old ones, but come on, it's the Range Rover that should be there not the Disco!

  • Martint7

    Caterham 7 has to be a classic!!

  • milddavids

    only one i would have from above is original mini.

    Citroen sm, DS ami, xm cx
    Renault Espace first series
    Rover 2000
    Bristol 60s 70s models
    Amc Pacer
    Austin Princess

  • Robert Vipan

    Surely the Porsche 911 must go in. Anyway I thought a classic should have some age say at least 10 years plus?

  • http://www.autosasart.com James Clay

    Interesting choices. I would suggest that a car has to have been around for sometime before it can truly be called "classic". It's not just a matter of age, but it needs to have proved itself as exemplary in a number of areas, for example styling, performance, practicality or perhaps association with film or music. It needs to be instantly recognisable. I wouldnt consider the Rolls, Honda,Disco or new mini as classics...yet. Give them time to earn that status. Is it me or is the Rolls just a tad too ugly?

  • Anonymous

    Well although not a big fan the original Issigonis mini is the only one in that lot that's a classic with possibly the Countach. Hard to claim any current production car to be classic in my opinion.

    Conspicuous by their absence. E type or 246 Dino or Muira, Series Land Rover, VW Beetle, Model T, Morris Minor/Traveller. In fact too many to think of but definitely not the one's above.

    Just for the record the McClaren F1 is the car I'd most like to own but I wouldn't describe it as a classic as such.

  • Bill Merchant

    Come on chaps ! Surely beauty is in the eye of the beholder ?
    For me as a young moterist of the 60'70s the BMW coupe had all the street cred necessary. So its the 635 csi that needs to there.
    It looked good, went good, and by golly did you good !!

  • Geoff Fry

    Whoa... not sure about this at all... surely a classic has to have age and soul. It has to have pushed boundaries, redefined definitions and stirred the emotions. So, somewhere in that list should be the MG T Types, the Triumph TR2, 3, 4, 5, 6, the MGB, certainly the E-type, Mr. Shelby's Cobra, the 4.5 litre blower Bentley, the original mini Cooper S, The GT40 Ford, The Lamborghini Muira (?),
    If you want to get a little 'newer', the Landrover series 2, the Alfa GTV, the Audi Quattro. And for the future, well, love it or hate it, the MX5 will have to be there. I've just bought my 56th. car, so I pobably have a few prejudices!!!

  • A J Webb

    Each to his own, is perhaps the defining reality of a classic vehicle and enthusiast. What to one enthusiast/petrolhead the BSA winged wheel or NSU quickly is cherished above all others, moves on to an A35 or Ford pop equally loved by another.
    And so the defintion of a classic is in the eye and often the heart of the beholder.For many of us the Bentley Blower and Bugati's are way beyond our reach so MG's, Triumphs and so many others take their place. All these vehicles where new once and occationally an Icon emerges. We all aspire to these, so with relish and enthusiasim we take our own pride and joy, our classic's and mingle with the greats on weekends throughout the year. So a classic is not really about how much it costs or what time it came from. Its about us the individual and our own perception the beauty the engineering and what that vehicle means to us.

  • Kevin Carter

    Have to agree with those who said the Discovery should be replaced with an older landie, whilst the series and 90's are great contenders surely it has to be the 110 that combine all the good of the other two but took it to the final all functional practical icon that it still remains. And yes Harley's are a "classic" brand but shouldn't it be a brit bike that holds the accolade? A triumph bonnie the "classic" Brit bike or a Vincent Black Shadow, the true first superbike.

  • Peter Revesz

    I'm not intereseted in cars as such, but I would have had the Fiat 500 and the Ford Capri on your list! And how about the Reliant?

  • David Tucker

    What makes a great classic?

    I would suggest the following criteria

    1. Stood the test of time - so not a new model 20+ years old
    2. Good Looks - maybe in the eye of the beholder
    3. Great Performance - for its time
    4. Racing or rallying Pedigree - what better demonstration of pedigree than to have been raced or rallied successfully?

    I guess I've owned some 70+ cars, so yes I'm a petrolhead. At one time I somehoe even managed to accumulate 11 cars apart from the main 'everyday' cars some of the others included:

    Bentley T1
    XJS Convertible (V12)
    Rover 110
    Mini
    Range Rover (series 1 rubber mat floor)
    Beach Buggy

    I have recently sold a 'one owner' 1967 Mini Countryman all bills from new. Currently I own a 1979 Mercedes 450 SLC that finished 3rd in the South African Rally (2006) retracing Anrew Cowans and and Vic Preston who came 2nd and 6th driving Mercedes 450 SLC in 1980. In fact all three 450s finished this car-destroying rally.
    They don't build them like that anymore.

    I guess that would be my take on what makes a classic

  • Over40

    I would agree that a classic cannot be a car that is in current production - age must be a criteria - which of the above could you get a classic car insurance quote for? Disco 3, New Rolls, New Mini - I don't think so.

  • Chris

    What about the daddy of all 4 x 4's The 1940's Willys Jeep ?

  • Jonathan Ayles

    Most of these responses have more credible choices than these 10. I would say 2 major qualities of a "classic" would be innovation and style (or preferably beauty, but difficult to define). Innovation may be defined as something that started a trend, or just outsold everything else. A classic should have purity of design, without compromise (financial or fashion).
    The new Mini, and other "lookalikes" (Jag, Beetle, Fiat 500, even the Morgan Aero etc) are copying older designs. (surprised no-one has copied the Morris Minor!) Of course the designers hands are fettered by emissions, efficiency and safety and profit. No bumpers, hubcaps, or real chrome to play with. Extravagance is usually nice.
    The Range Rover, Miura, Countach, Gullwing, Model T, Mini, 900 Turbo, VW GTi, Beetle & 911 were real leaders of design or trends.
    That hideous Rolls Royce, well, Charles and Henry would turn in their graves! The Morgan is a classic, but isn't it now just copying itself?
    For my choice, Cooper S, almost any pre 70s British or Italian sports/GT, BMW CSL or M6, Miura, Gullwing, Countach, WO Bentley, Bugatti, Lexus Soarer, and perhaps any fifties Buick or Packard.
    This subject needs to be discussed in the pub on a Friday night to do it justice! Sweet dreams....

  • Jim |Chadwick

    Engineering excellence? Disco?
    I test drove one a while ago and they couldn't find one with a working handbrake for me.
    It's these little touches that put people off committing to an otherwise brilliant car.

  • Dave Cooley

    Upset not to see the Mazda Mx5 mk1!

    Correct that classic status should not simply be decided upon age, but by a "fan" basis and the emotional responce to the car, i disagree with some of the choices on the list but they are the cars that personally don't interest me, so i suppose the term "Classic" is one that is personal to the individual.

  • graeme walker

    having read your list/oppinions of what makes a classic car or motorcycle & not nessisarily agreeing with you on some of your listed vehicles a couple of things i do agree with you on are that the definition of classic cars has become a grey area over the last 10years or so & that classic car appreciation does varie alot depending on your age/the generation of motoring history that intrests you the most but i dont see any mention of any of the classic american cars that you seem to highly rate/want to insure when you advertise your insurance services in the american car magazines.you haven't mentioned any of the classic american sports coupe/muscle cars to the cruisers from ford,chevrolet,pontiac,cadilac,chrysler/dodge & many more.
    we all know that classic car beauty is in the eye of the beholder but my questions to you are; for insurance purposes what age does a vehicle(car,motorcycle,ect) have to be before it is regarded as a classic??? is it 10years+,20years+,25years+??? i ask this because i own a 22year old chevrolet camaro that's insured with yourselves & i'd like to know if it comes under the criteria(for insurance purposes)of a classic car???

    • http://www.adrianflux.co.uk David Wilson

      @ Graeme Walker

      In terms of insurance, defining a classic is every bit as difficult as what Mike has tried to do here. Age of a car is a factor, but it is certainly not the only one, and just as important would be how the car is treated. If the car is the kind of car that is looked after carefully, has a relatively low annual mileage, not the daily driver, etc. then a classic-type scheme will probably be available - other cars have a long wait before they become recognised as a classic, just through having survived into old age!

      As regards American motoring experience, we have covered a few on influx, such as the Phantom Corsair and Steve McQueen's automotive legacy, as well as our series of posts on Californian motors. But rest assured that we will be covering many more American cars over the coming months.

      And, yes, your Camaro is definitely a classic.

  • http://gambiagoes.blogspot.com Tom Ireland

    1) Honda C90; bomb-proof transport all over the world.
    2) Morris Minor estate; everlasting motor for the masses.
    3) Citroen 2CV; Ditto
    4) V.W. Beetle; Ditto.
    5) V.W. Type 2 van/campervan; transport for ist & 3rd world.
    6) Trabant; as a lesson to us all.
    7) Austin A35; basic motoering - fool proof.
    8) Triumph TR7; to show how it can all go wrong.
    9) BMW R80: how a bike should be.
    10) Bentley 3 litre; to please my dad.

  • Russ

    Cooper S
    Datsun 240Z
    RS2000 Mk1 & Mk2 Custom
    RS2000 Mexico
    RS200
    Lotus Sunbeam
    Lotus Carlton
    MR2 Mk1B T-Bar
    Lancia Delta Itegrali
    Golf Mk1 GTI

  • Russ

    Any of the above mint would be nice!

  • Craig Harrison

    Peugeot 205 GTi is a definite classic.

    The hot hatch of the 80's along side the Volkswagen Golf GTi.

    Volkswagen started the GTi but Peugeot ran it.

  • http://www.golfcabrio.co.uk Kev

    Surely when a vehicle depreciates as far as it can and then starts to appreciate in value then I would class this as a classic (modern classic in some respects).

    A classic in my view is a vehicle that fits the above and or has a limited number left in existance.

    I've listed a few later vehicles I would consider to be classics and future classics.

    Late Rover Cooper and other mini's pre-BMW (modern classic),
    cooper 998, coopers S 1275, 1275gt, Mini Special (classic)

    The BMW Mini Cooper S (Future Classic)

    mk2 xr2, XR3i (Modern Classic)
    Ford MK1 Mexico, Capri Lazer, mk1 XR2/Supersport,S1 RST, rs500 (Classic)

    Focus RS (Future classic)
    mk1 Golf (pre 1980)swallowtail etc (classic)
    MK1 Golf incl. GTI, Cabriolet ( modern classic)

    Just a quick list and by no means complete (we all know of the true classic/vintage vehicles in existance).

  • John Nicholl

    How on earth does the BMW 'Bini' carry on with the Classic Mini's values?!? The original was affordable, very economical for it's time, SMALL, cheap to run/maintain.
    The BMW one is hardly affordable, with average economy, it's massive in size (compare it to other modern small cars a la Fiats 500, or VWs Lupo) and as far as I know, BMW parts and labour are fairly expaensive!

    If you haven't already guessed, I'm a Classic Mini owner and nutcase, and like the rest of the Mini scene, I don't much care for the souless plastic-fest that is Bini....Rant over.

  • Guillaume

    Not sure with some choice (New Mini, Disco 3?) and I would add:
    _Porsche 911 (993 model) instead of the Countach
    _Nissan 350z instead of the Type R

  • Paul Phelan

    Where is the VW karman Ghia?

  • Jon

    I would say a classic car has to have an aspect of design or engineering that lifts it above it's peers during it's production life. I don't count unreliabilty so that's the Discovery out. Sure old Ferraris were unreliable but it's the other stuff that counts.

    This is why when someone tells me thay have a classic Austin Allegro the word oxymoron springs to mind. Closely followed by the word moron.

  • grahamwh

    My definition of a classic is easy.

    Classic cars are the ones who's owners wave at each other. I have a Subaru Impreza, an MG Midget, a Skoda Estelle, A land Rover 90 and a Nissan Micra. There only one that I never get waved at in.

  • Richard Drew

    This is easy, classics are cars that most people aspire and were ground breaking at their time. There isn't really any need to be specific but generic references are usually sufficient.They are the original versions of the marque not recreations and age has a direct bearing on this: hence the New Mini isn't a classic but the original Mini is. Likewise the New Beetle isn't, the original beetle is.

    In my list there would be the original versions of the Mini; Beetle; Golf; Ford Capri; Mercedes Gullwing, BMW CSL, Ur Quattro, Citroen DS; Range Rover; Dino 246GTS; Fiat 500, Lancia Integrale; Escort RS 1600; E type Jaguar; Lotus Elan etc. All of these have been copied or relaunched in later years with mixed results, some better, most worse but they were instrumental in provoking thought.

    Even the Trabant, but only so we don't make the same mistake again!

  • Paul Rowland

    In my veiw and I know I am going to upset a few people here, but in this line up you have a few super cars,a motor bike, a four by four thats two a penny,(sorry thats a bit harsh but true) a look a like thats nothing like its predecessor the classic mini, and then the British hand built morgan manafactured since about 1910.
    I think the only two real classic in this pack are the original mini and the morgan.

    My idea of a classic car is, my 36 year old grand tourer convertible with its original 3lt v8 engine, spacious four seats and truly beautiful lines, yes the TRIUMPH STAG.
    A few other favorites of mine would be:

    Aston Martin v8 Vantage.
    E Type Jaguar.
    Rover P5B Coupe.
    Vauxhall PA Velox.
    Triumph TR6.
    And the Morris 1000 a car which took the shape of a saloon, convertible, van, pickup, and the traveller.

  • Matt Taylor

    Surely the 1970s Range Rover, latter even termed the "Classic", should be on there. It is the only vehicle design ever to have been exhibited in the Louvre, was ground breaking in many areas and its shape remained essentially the same well into the 90s.

  • pete

    Best selling car is actually the toyota corolla, by name anyway, then beetle then model T ford

  • pete

    I would have to agree about the RR classic, all others were copies....

  • karen

    Hey for me the MK1 Ford Capri has to be on the classic list and I agree with the Caterham 7 too. Some of theses modern cars are so boring I feel like sleeping when I see them, especially the Ford Focus Yawn..

  • MarkyMorgan

    All look ok with the exeptions of:

    Phantom
    Civic Type R
    BMW Mini
    Discovery

    Ooops that's 4 out of your 9 :o(

    Interestingly the Jaguar XK (96-05) never disappeared outside of the 5 most beautiful cars in the world until 2001. Same for Mazda MX-5 (89-95) with pop-up lights that effectively kick-started the cabrio market (the rear lights are still considered a classic and are in the Guggenheim.

    Capri is iconic and so is the Bentley Continental (even if it represents a footballing accessory of the noughties.

    Regs

    Mark

  • David Harmon

    So where does my Hillman Avenger fit in with all of that?

  • Graham (MrT)

    I reckon my Jaguar XK8 4.2 V8 300BHP in silver is a true classic waiting to be fully "appreciated" by those in the know...

  • pip

    Dont forget the Austin Healey 100/4,100/6 and 3000.What about the AH "Frogeye" Sprite,Triumph Herald and its various derivatives (e.g.Spitfire,Vitesse and GT6)or the old "Sit up and beg" Ford Popular? Then of course there is the quirky Amphicar,the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (the poor mans Roller),Jaguar XK 120,140 & 150.The Jaguar Mk 2 (favoured by villains as a good "getaway" car in so many "Classic" films etc.The list could go on and on.

  • CS

    I've admired the BMW Z1 ever since they were new. They stopped depreciating about 12 years ago and I hope they don't start again now because I've just bought one. It's as good to drive as it looks. The high sills make it feel very rigid and that gives some justification of the unique door mechanism. The road handling is excellent as long as it hasn't been given big wheels and low profile tyres and the ride is surprisingly good. With good brakes and ABS, it feels modern, but there are no airbags and no trip computer. Of course, if it was designed now, the door gear would be electronically controlled. The interior is a work of art, with bespoke leather trimming where a larger production model would have had injection mouldings. Its character stems from making best use of available technology at the time it was made, and that makes it a classic.

  • Chips

    OK,OK,enough!

    The smart Brabus roadster was a classic when launched. It fits the green ethos with 55mpg, while being an absolute hoot to drive. It wont rust away while you watch, and is tending to retain its value already. Best part is, owners really cherish them, so buying one is fun, but still relatively cheap. It is a car with tremendous character, in the same way as Frogeye Sprites have, but with clever modern features that provide a variety of driving styles to meet your mood. Out of production now, it is already a Classic.

    The original MX5 is also a fine Classic. Everyone should own one at some time in their lives.

  • David Erskine

    I can not believe this!! Why has no one said the Lotus Cortina? I would agree with the trend here that it should be older and wanted, even craved for, by many. It must be interesting and distinguished so a V8 Daimler SP250 must also appear. On to Jaguar now and I's think the Mk2 is the one that Morse had so we all should want one. VW, No, they aren't what people want though they sold well as they were cheap and made in Mexico, Ii agree Morris 1000. If there has to be a Gerry it should be 911 without question. Blower Bentley can't be missed thoough some would say too old, Reliant Scimitar for it's style {and Royal connections] and I suppose an American in there... Waht about a Firebird Whor Yes! The Mini can not be left out as that leaves only One space If I have to chose 10. I agree the Land Rover Series 2 and also think the Range Rover to be equal, you chooooose.

  • http://www.familywest.co.uk Rapid BLue

    Not a bad list but of those how many would get a classic insurance? A list of nice cars BUT most of them are new. And what about a classic bike like a Royal Enfield or Triumph? The only classics I can see in the list are the REAL mini, the Lambo and the Maclaren. Everything else is a current model.

    There are other lovely and far rarer pieces of autotive art out there that can be described as classic. So what are you describing as Classic? The design, age, rarity, desirability or what would be covered by a Classic policy?

    I drive a classic but not many people see it as such!

  • Simon

    In my opinion, any car is classic if someone wants to restore it when it is worn out.
    Toyota may have sold billions of corollas but you rarely see one over 15 years old. They are made to a budget not to last forever. when they get old they are scrapped not restored therefore not classic.
    I suspect most of the cars in current production will suffer the same fate.
    Many of our grandparents have owned their Morris Minor or Ford Anglia since new.
    Do you really think people who buy brand new Civic type R's and Landrovers will keep their car more than a few years?

  • Sam

    What about the Morris Minor?

    It is instantly recognisable by almost anyone, has proven its reliability, has great style, loads still going today.

    The ultimate classic....?

  • http://www.ylroc.co.uk Mick Moses

    Nope I can't agree on the Discover III either. It's way too NEW to be a classic. But I would tender an original Discover, Defender/Series Land Rover and even the classic RR. They defined a sector of the market, generated copies and saved the company that built them. People aspire to own them. Original mini, Beetle etc all meet this criterior. To be a true classic the vehicle must have made a reputation to be lived UP TO and not living OFF a reputation.

  • Geoff Smith

    To be a classic any vehicle needs to stand the test of time,
    compared to earlier models the Roller is plain ugly,
    the old mini definitely classic, the new one is just a tarted up overweight parody of everything the old one represented,
    Disco is great for taking kids to school in London, but for classic it must be the basic early models (preferably with canvas hood) or for even more fun the willys jeep. Honda is just too new Golf GTi was the original hot hatch and set the standard for all that followed, has earned its' place as a classic, Countach possibly but a bit posey, Dino 246 is one of the best looking cars ever made, although I don't like Porche the early 911 should be in there somewhere. Save the worst 'til last the Harley rates along with Honda lead wing etc. as overweight two wheel cars (the only reason you see so many shiny chromed examples is Harley owners obsession with disproving the saying that you can't polish a t**d). A bike should be quick and go round corners neither of which applies to the Harley. British cafe racers, Hailwood Replica,or Guzzi Le Mans are real classics.

  • Graham Kempton-Johnson

    A classic car should be at least 25 years old, a standard or model of it's class and time, also be of lasting interest or significance.

    Many people mistake "Classic" for "Iconic" the latter being inaccessable or unaffordable to the common man, he/her who gives labour of love for many hours, to keep his/her bit of motoring history alive.

    Most "iconic" cars are "bunged" into garages for servicing or "fixing".

  • Graham Kempton-Johnson

    P.S. If mike looks in the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus 2007 - classic car - n Chiefly Brit, a car that is more than twenty five years old. Cf. veteran car, vintage car.

    • http://www.influx.co.uk mike

      Thanks for the heads up on the updated definition from Collins. I think the important thing to remember here is that 'the classic' is an idea that defies absolute definition. And that's why the term is worth consideration.

  • Karl Hammond

    I love iconic cars, some may call them classics? I own the following, and the only one to cost me much more than a couple of thousand is the Porsche.
    1987 XR3i cabrio
    1986 Audi quattro ( yes it was that cheap but I had to spend thousands, should have bought a good one to start with)
    1976 Porsche 911 (mint!)
    1986 Capri 2.8i
    1991 Range Rover 3.9
    1995 Ford Mustang ( could not afford 1966)
    1974 M.G.B. roadster
    The list goes on, I have over 20 cars, but you get my drift. There are a lot of affordable "classic cars" out there!

  • AdrianC

    One man's classic is another man's dog! But above all else its is about emotion and the car's effect on your senses, This is the defining principle! Whether it is the curve of the bonnet, rumble of the exhaust note, smell of the hot engine, feel of the leather bucket seats. The best classics are timeless and evoke an appreciation in none petrolheads too!

  • James cooper

    How about the Mitsubishi starion guys???
    They are quite rare now

  • Paul Handley

    The article proves that there are different definitions of 'classic'; also, everybody has their own favourites for a 'top 10' list. In any event, to miss the E-Type from any list is something of a major omission!

  • CS

    BMW Z1 anyone? I admired it when it was new and have just bought one. So far, it lives up to its looks. The high sills give it a remarkably stiff chassis so the handling is precise and it's very comfortable for long trips. Trouble is I don't want to put too many miles onto this classic. It's strange that the later Z3 and Z4 didn't continue the styling thems of this remarkable car.

  • Mark Renner

    Surely for any car to become a classic it must have stood the test of time. It must have iconic looks and inovative design. That still inspires not only car enthusiasts but car designers today.
    Though some premium brands have these qualities they will always be niche cars, and because of their price tags should be expected to be at the cutting edge. So therefore not classics. Where as the Mk I Mustang, 240Z and 300ZX, E type, original Mini, Mk I Escort, Saab 900 turbo, Mk I Range Rover and such like vehicles still look like there modern counterparts, shook the motor industry and general public at the time of their launch and still lend their basic genotype to modern cars.

    That to me is what a classic car or bike is.

  • Paul David

    I think most classics are the sport varients of your fathers car when you were a child, like my father drove a cortina thus the lotus cortina was one of mine and still is, he was a Ford mechanic so the Mk1 and Mk2 escort RS and Mexico also a classic. Age also had to be taken into hand, How can a Type R be a Classic and not the Daddy of all hatches the Golf GTI??

  • Tony Ballard

    There are many classics but the one that catches the imagination and stirs the soul is a TVR Tuscan

  • Dazzle 58

    how many of us should have had the forethought of using ,abusing and then storing (the old banger) rather than scrapping it, would have a fair array of classics ?.isnt that is what its all about? I now proudly own a 53 prefect,a 55 100e prefect ,a57 100e prefect ,and my son a 1990 estelle ,surely all classics?

  • adrianrhocar

    What is going to happen to the CLASSICS of the future.
    With the onset of the scrappage Scheme, to many cars are no longer going to been seen on the road, love em or hate em, many cars of today could be the classics of tomorow, well in 20 years to come.
    What would happen to the MINI if so many enthusiasts didn't keep them going?
    If you like your car, keep it, store it, i wished i hade with many of my past motors.

  • http://www.influx.co.uk david

    Funnily enough, we have been contemplating this very topic, and Ben has just done a blog post over at the Flux site about the future classics you can buy now that are worth more as scrap.

  • Tony Woods

    No one has mentioned the Citroen Traction , first massed produced front wheel drive car which was in production from 1934 till 1957. Also the later ones introduced the floating suspension used on the D S.

  • engelburta

    The harley sporster was designed as a drag bike they do not have to go around corners and actualy mine is a rubber mount one and it does go fast and around corners quite well and I ride it in all weathers, I liked it because it was just a plain simple solid motorcycle with no frippery, I used to own an royal enfield bullet 500 which I modifyed but it was still too slow for my journey to work,I nearly didnt buy it because of the Harley poseur image but Im glad I did because the sporster is a good bike :-)

  • julian

    dat thang is bangin da mclauren f1

  • George Toplis

    I think that the Daimler Double Six 1996 is one of the nicest looking cars around ,sleek ,low ,powerful but extremely quiet, the best looking Jaguar/Daimler ever made.

  • Graham K J

    I have a 1985 Toyota Carina Executive II with a full history from day 1, one family owner from new, full service record, 49,900miles (authenticated), garaged every night of it's life and as far as we can remember (partners mother's) no one sat in the back seats - ever. It is immaculate!

    That is a "classic" just! .......... Yes it will be preserved!