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How to define a collector's vehicle?

We tend to define a car as an old car and vice versa. And yet there are technical differences between the two, both administratively and passionately.

Administratively, to begin with, you have to know that each country is free to define the characteristics for a vehicle to be a collector's item.

Unfortunately in Algeria there is no recognition of this status, but elsewhere, starting with our neighbors, the collector car status exists and is given a particular status, which opens rights to advantages and constraints.

In Morocco, there are laws that allow the importation of vintage cars quite easily, this is due to the Moroccan monarchy has always been passionate about cars. In Tunisia, this is also possible, but the steps are taken by the combatants and some must go through the Tunisian Association of Classic and Historic Automobiles to receive an import certificate for a Classic Car, but it can be counted at the fingertips .

In France for example, since 2014, this requires that “collector's vehicle” be a vehicle over 30 years old, which is no longer produced and whose characteristics have not been modified, that is to say that all that is chassis and main parts have not been modified or if they have been the replacement has been done with original parts.

There is an administrative tolerance: if the vehicle has been used exclusively for competitions or sporting events, it will also be considered a collector's vehicle, even if it has not been thirty years old. If you apply, you can request a Collection Certificate of Registration (which since 1984 has replaced the CGC Carte Grise de Collection) which is not a title deed, but a document allowing the use of an old vehicle. It’s a traffic ticket. Note that it is the vehicle and not its registration card that is collector's item.

Another example, Quebec gives right to old automobiles can be registered as antique vehicle, but they cannot circulate on highway.

In Switzerland, a vehicle can obtain the status of veteran vehicle if it is over 30 years old, that its safety and body parts are free from any corrosion, that all repairs have been made according to the rules of the art established by the Automobile Services Association, that its mechanical components correspond to the original ones and comply with the manufacturer's recommendations, that the bodywork and upholstery are in good condition or have been restored to conformance with the origin, and if all its equipment meets the Swiss regulations in force on the date of first entry into service or during the year of construction. Veteran vehicles are subject to several restrictions: annual mileage is limited to 2 or 3,000 km, or 50 to 60 hours of operation, and they must only be used for private use, excluding any for-profit activity. . In addition, the licensing authority may add additional restrictions to the travel permit, such as a restriction on the number of passengers. In return, the inspection by the automobile services should only be carried out every 6 years. In addition, a person who owns more than three ancestor vehicles can request to have the status of vehicle collector, offering specific registration conditions, registration as a collector's vehicle, which allows in particular to have a single plate Swiss registration for three to twelve different vehicles.

Regarding tax regime, technical control, insurance, collection vehicles benefit from special status.

In general, countries that offer a special status to the collector's vehicle, their attributes have specific number plates.

In terms of enthusiasts and collectors, the criteria are more suggestible.

Having a vintage car is always a story

There is no exact age required before a car becomes a collector's vehicle. In general, a car that is 25 years of age or older is considered a vintage car and a car that is 15 years old a "youngtimer". A pre-war car is considered "antique". Cars that are very special, extremely expensive, and have very limited production almost instantly become collector's vehicles.

Matching Numbers is an English word that we hear more and more in the world of vintage cars. It would be a sort of modern day holy grail, a sort of ultimate achievement if not a cornucopia for any classic car owner.

A collector's car is a vehicle whose historical, technical, aesthetic, sporting, elitist or popular interest constitutes one or more of its main characteristics.

The 1st criterion of a vintage car is its age. The so-called classic collector cars are generally estimated in a period going from 1885 to 1974 and the Youngtimers from 1975.

A number of other criteria are considered:

scarcity due to low production at the time due to the prestige of the vehicle or to a historic commercial failure; cars produced by vanished brands, preferably prestigious or very popular in their time; those with bodywork made by craftsmen by great bodybuilders of their time; the rarity of certain types of bodywork on production models; models inaugurating new technologies, or marking a new stage in bodywork design; competition cars with or without a sporting record as well as sports or grand touring cars; the extreme popularity of some models.


They were collected in the 1930s and passionate clubs quickly sprang up in England and France. The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain (1930) is probably one of the oldest collectors' clubs

Different types of vintage cars

Collector cars are commonly listed and referenced according to their era of production:

Popular, mass-market cars that were successful in their country of production, and even international success in their day, are a type of collector's car.

There are 6 categories of Elders:

A– The ancestors (Before January 1, 1905), are also called Antique Cars

B– The Veterans (January 1, 1905 to December 31, 1918), are also called the Edwardiennes

C- Les Vintages (January 1, 1919-to December 31, 1929)

D– The Post Vintages (January 1, 1930 to December 31, 1945), also called Elegant Classic Cars

E - The Post-War (January 1, 1946 to December 31, 1960), are also called Post War cars or Post War Classics

F– Vehicles put into service between January 1, 1961 and December 31, 1970

G– The most recent cars (after January 1, 1971), and having at least 30 years fall into this category, they are the Youngtimers. The term Youngtimers is mainly used for cars from the 80s and 90s prized by young collectors who saw the future potential of certain models.

Depending on the country, there is a tax charge at different ages for vintage cars, but this does not define its category.

The value of a collector's vehicle depends on its condition, the quality of its maintenance, its history, its commercial glory, etc.

A multitude of names

"Ancestors", "veterans", "Edwardian", "vintage" for cars dating before 1920; “Pre-war” for those prior to 1950; “Post-vintage”, “thoroughbred” or “thoroughbred post vintage” for those prior to 1960; later “classic car”, “old car”, “historic”, “vintage car” when the nostalgic for old brands decided to create a new form of leisure which is the collection. In short, there are many qualifiers that are missing.

As the exact meaning of vintage or collector's car is still subject to differences of opinion, the attribution of qualifying criteria was necessary.

Drifts …

The greed has no limits ... you'd rather keep a warped crankcase with the correct numbers on it rather than replace it with another. Supercharged engines are presented as "matching" with the right numbers but no longer have much of the origin, several cars are found to have the same serial number, some professionals seem to have the re-striking of numbers a bit easy ... so good let's start talking about counterfeits!

Aware of these problems, some manufacturers now refuse to disclose their records. For example, Volkswagen no longer provides engine numbers but only the type on its "Birth certificates". One way to desecrate the importance of these numbers ...

The term “matching numbers” literally means “matching numbers”. In French, this means that all of the elements of the car identifiable by a number are indeed those present when leaving the factory, so at least for the trio of chassis, engine and gearbox, the whole being generally attested by a "certificate of authenticity" issued by the manufacturer. But for some, the challenge goes further. For example, Porsche 356 enthusiasts are inspired by the fact that the manufacturer stamped certain other elements of the serial number: front axle, suspension arms, sashes….

Criteria for choosing a vintage car

The most common selection criteria are home condition, nostalgia, fashion, restoration and investment.

State of origin

Whether the collector's item is restored or not, the main criterion in purchasing a collector's car is its original condition. The ideal is to find a car that has never been restored and is in the best possible condition, mechanical and aesthetic. A car restored to new to its factory condition is also more sought after.


Many collectors choose their car based on memories of their childhood or youth.


Even in the world of vintage cars, there are fads. Since the 70s, many fashions have hatched the collector car market.

While sports cars and prestige cars from the pre-war years were already the subject of a small market for connoisseurs, older models began their careers around this time. These fashions saw the development of new markets for VW Beetles and their derivatives, American models of the 1950s and pony and muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s, Porsches as well as Italian and British GTs.


For amateur mechanics or bodybuilders, bringing back to life an old car that has deteriorated more or less over time is a hobby in which they do not hesitate to invest time and money.


It is no longer a question of buying a car for the purpose of using it, but of hoping to realize a capital gain on resale. Knowing that a car is perishable and deteriorates further when standing still, the choice of an investment car is limited to a limited number of models that can be sold anywhere in the world.

Classic car prices

The price of a vintage car depends on the interest it arouses among collectors when it is put on sale, but also on its condition. A wreck will never be able to claim a high price, unless it is an exceptional model that is very old and of which very few copies remain.

The main price criteria remain its state of presentation and functioning and its rarity on the market.

Knowing that it will need maintenance to keep it in working and presentation condition, don't think of making a real investment in buying a stock classic car. Its rating, however, can only rise, even if it never reaches stratospheric heights. This will allow you, in the worst case, not to lose too much money on reselling it, and in the best case to make some!

Click on the photo to read the story of this exceptional collector's car


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