Classic, Not Carbon: The Different Kinds of Classic Cars

Classic, Not Carbon: The Different Kinds of Classic Cars

Whether you’re looking to buy or are just an admirer, understanding the different kinds of classic cars can be valuable.

Many people revere classic cars—defined as vehicles 25 years or older—for their sleek, classy style and historical charm. All classic cars share a few core features, such as their age, but they aren’t carbon copies of each other. These vehicles come in all kinds of capabilities, colors, shapes, and sizes.

Want to learn more about the different kinds of classic cars? Here’s what you need to know about four of the most popular types.

Sports Cars

Sport cars are classics built for performance. Featuring sleek, aerodynamic designs and high-performance engines, these cars look cool and pack a punch on the road. Most sports cars are either two-seat roadsters—which are ideal for long-distance driving—or two-seat grand tourers, which are ideal for cruising. Some classic car enthusiasts argue that any model with a small body and powerful engine meets the criteria of a sports car, while others remain adamant that only roadsters and GTs should fall under this term.

Muscle Cars

Muscle cars, like sports cars, are built for performance on the road. They feature high-performance transmissions, powerful V8 engines, and dual exhaust pipes. Originally, most muscle cars were rear-wheel drive, but more recent models lack this feature.

Unlike sports cars, however—which traditionally only seat two—muscle cars have four seats. Muscle cars are also larger than sports cars, typically the same size as your average modern vehicle.


Coupes, also known as Coupe Utility Vehicles (CUVs), are cars that serve a dual purpose. Built to handle regular day-to-day driving in addition to grueling farm work, these classics are strong and sturdy. They have two-door passenger areas with two seats and an integrated cargo tray for storage.

Station Wagons

Station wagons aren’t as strong, sturdy, or as powerful as other classics, but they’re some of the best cars for daily commutes and road trips with the family. These classic vehicles feature long frames and wood paneling—which give them their unique, iconic appearance—and a generous amount of seating and storage.

Now that you know about the different kinds of classic cars, you can better appreciate them for their individuality. And if you’re looking to buy, you can check out classic car showrooms with a much better idea of the kind of classic you need.