Mechanic's Guide to Classic Cars

Classic Chevrolet Bel Air
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Cars have been serving our transportation needs for more than 100 years, and there is no sign that we will find a replacement anytime soon. The long history of the automotive industry means that there are many older models that have become collectibles or seen as classics. Whether you are a mechanic or a car enthusiast, chances are good that you have some idea of what makes a car a classic car, but did you know that there is no set definition of what a classic car actually is? Definitions of what makes a car a classic car vary from state to state and even from country to country. Your mechanic may have one definition, those who hold automotive technician jobs may have another definition, and you may have your own definition of what makes a car a classic.

Regardless of these differences, there are some similarities between the various definitions. For example, most people would require a car to be at least 20 years old before they would begin to ask the question of whether it is a classic. No matter your definition, learning about or collecting classic cars can certainly be a fulfilling hobby. Of course, certain classic cars stand out for their popularity, but even if you prefer less-popular classic car models, there is a place for you as a classic car enthusiast.

Ford Model T

Perhaps the most famous of all classic cars, the Ford Model T was groundbreaking for the fact that it enabled many Americans to own a vehicle for the first time. The Model T was manufactured from 1908 to 1927, and Henry Ford's use of the moving assembly line to build these cars reduced costs significantly, bringing car ownership within the reach of many Americans. More than 15 million Model T's were built during its years of production, testifying to its popularity. Although it was not the sleekest car ever built, it got the job done inexpensively, and so it became an indelible part of U.S. history.

1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK

One of the earliest sports cars, the 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK was well-received by car lovers when it first rolled off the assembly line. The car was designed specifically for improved racing on hill climbs, and although very few were actually produced, they became well-known because many celebrities owned them. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who would go on to found the Porsche company and brand, designed the SSK. Many future mechanics developed their love for automobiles by becoming acquainted with the SSK.

1950 Bel-Air Hardtop

Introduced at the beginning of the 1950s, the Chevrolet Bel-Air's solid construction and innovative features soon made it an industry leader. Originally introduced as the Styleline Bel-Air, the addition of chrome details made it a standout. By 1953, it featured one of the most luxurious interiors of any automobile created up to that point. The car also had a three-speed automatic or manual transmission.

Aston Martin DB4

Because of the frequent use of Aston Martin models in the James Bond movie franchise, many vehicles from the famed Aston Martin brand have become classic cars. Of these, the beautiful Aston Martin DB4 certainly stands out. It set many records, including being the very first car to accelerate from 0 to 100 mph in 21 seconds. With a top speed of 140 mph, this was certainly a car that could get drivers moving fast.

Ferrari 250 GT Series

The Ferrari label is synonymous with speed and style, and the 250 GT series is a standout in Ferrari's history of producing extraordinary cars. The model became known in the mid-1950s for its excellent performance during the Tour de France auto race. Its great handling and stunning speed made it prized among racers and non-racers alike. The Ferrari GT series was produced from 1955 to 1964, with various enhancements introduced over its production life.

Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger has been in production off and on since 1964, which means that your mechanic has likely worked on more than one version of this enduring model. Initially the car was not very popular, but with changes introduced in 1968 the vehicle enjoyed greater popularity and sales increased significantly. With its distinctive grille, the Dodge Charger is easily recognizable on the road, and many drivers enjoy its size and safety. Dodge revived the Charger nameplate in 2011 with a performance-focused sedan. That car is not yet a classic, but it has continued the tradition of appealing to car enthusiasts and includes many modern fuel-efficiency features.

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