Enthusiasts differ about the definition of exactly what vintage a car has to be to qualify as a classic car. Classic in the USA is defined as a motor vehicle, but not a reproduction thereof, manufactured at least 20 years prior to the current year and in the UK there are two definitions. Some say it is cars built before January 1, 1973, all of which are exempt from paying the annual road tax vehicle excise duty, while others say that any car more than 15 years old qualifies car protection.
Anything from the iconic small three-wheeler bubble car that was seen on UK roads in the 1960s to the mini to the many low-slung sports cars from the Austin Healey to the Aston Martin driven by the fictional secret service agent James Bond in the movies about his exploits can be a classic car. The most ordinary of family cars like the early Ford Cortina and the Morris Minor also have their own enthusiastic clubs and rallies. Whichever definition is chosen there is no doubt that enthusiasts are passionate about finding them, restoring them, meeting other enthusiasts, displaying them at shows and exhibitions and taking them on rallies.
Consequently, there are more than 800 annual classic car shows in the UK of which one of the biggest is held at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, in November and attracts more than 1000 models for display each year. It can be an all-absorbing passion to restore a classic car and many people who have done it, often over many years, take particular satisfaction from returning an old wreck that has been unearthed, rusting and neglected, from the depths of an old barn or outbuilding to its former gleaming and roadworthy glory.
However, completing the restoration is not the end of the story. Most enthusiasts will then want to enjoy driving the car and sharing it with other enthusiasts interested in that particular make or model at a specific rally or show. For some this is likely to be a summertime or weekend activity because as motor technology has developed and changed some of the drawbacks of earlier models can be an issue, such as whether the car has heating and how efficient it is.
A classic car beautifully restored can also be worth a significant amount of money, particularly if it is a rare model of which many were not originally manufactured. It is likely that the car is less fuel efficient than modern vehicles so it can also be an expensive pursuit to drive any distance. There are also safety considerations as most older cars were not fitted with the now-compulsory seat belts, which may restrict where and when it can be driven on public roads.
It is also possible that the owner of a classic car does not want to risk any damage by exposing it to everyday traffic on today’s busy roads after the many hours spent on restoring the vehicle. Owning a classic car is, however, a sociable pursuit and most owners will want others to see the results of all their hard work by exhibiting it at a classic car show.
To get the car to a show if it is not going to be driven will mean using some form of the transporter and for a particularly rare model, the owner might prefer to keep the car protected by using enclosed transport. Enclosed, or covered transport also has the advantage that it can protect a rare and valuable model from the possibility of theft and from being seen before it takes pride of place at the show or exhibition where it is to be revealed in all its glory.