Want to Be High Class? Classic Cars Are All the Rage

Some things are just true, like, The sun is hot, water is wet, and classic cars are cool. Although car dorks have known this forever, it seems the vintage car market is starting to believe it, too. The pandemic has given many people a fresh look at how they want to spend their time. This hobby renaissance has brought camper vans to the forefront, baking bread is hot like its 1820, and fancy people are spending crazy money on classy classic car sales. 

1958 Ford Fairlane, a beautiful classic car, driving down the road with the top down.
1958 Ford Fairlane Sunliner | Getty Images

Antique and classic car dealers say they are in a sales boom

Two girls talking from their vintage Fords
Neve Campbell in a vintage Chevy | Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal

According to Axios, classic car dealers around the globe have reported record sales for antique and classic cars from the days of Henry Ford through the 1980s. Starting with the lockdowns of 2020, this classic car sales boom has yet to slow down. 

Wayne Carini, host of the longtime TV series “Chasing Classic Cars,” tells Axios, “Vintage car culture has exploded during COVID because people had time on their hands, they weren’t traveling … and they had extra money that they weren’t spending on other things.” 

“Our sales just quadrupled overnight,” says Carini, who owns F40 Motorsports in Portland, Connecticut. “It was unbelievable: Where we normally sell seven to eight cars a month, we were selling ten cars a week.” 

This boom is happening across many markets. The additional time spent at home and not going out, traveling, and other social activities left wealthier Americans with more time and money in their pockets than ever before. Of course, while the richest Americans thrived during the lockdowns, many others struggled to work forward-facing jobs for minimal pay and an ongoing battle with mental health and anxiety of potentially getting sick. It worked out for folks who own vintage cars, though. 

Why have classic cars become so stylish lately? 

a classic Bentley drives along a river
A vintage car Bentley Mk VI Graber Coupe | Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

RELATED: More Women Are Getting Behind the Wheel of Vintage Cars

People have been interested in classic cars for as long as cars were old enough to be considered classic. The advent of popular online car auctions like Bring a Trailer has brought classic car sales to more people’s homes. 

It used to be that you had to know where and when to go to find decent classics. That, or at least be willing to hunt Craigslist. Even Sotheby’s online auctions saw a massive jump in popularity. The legendary auction house regularly sells seven-figure classic cars online without the buyer ever seeing the car in person. 

Driving a classic car during the comings and goings of every day can be a pain, but if you have the time to go on pleasure drives, why wouldn’t you do it in a classic? Having a classic car reserved for only leisure driving is a pretty serious status symbol for some and a source of real, hard-earned joy for others. Hagerty calls this a “reviving of the culture of driving.” I like the sound of that. 

Classic car sales prove their chicness

Hagerty says that more than half of their classic car insurance customers are people born after 1965 buying their first classic car. If more people are entering the market, then that means more people want these old cars. The style has been set, and people with money are joining in as fast as possible. 

It may drive up the prices, but hell, it’s better than Crocs or whatever else is fashionable these days. 

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