What kind of car do I have?
- Brass Era Car
- Vintage Car
- Antique Car
- Classic Car
- Milestone Car
- Pony Car
- Muscle Car
- Sports Car
- Custom Car
- Hot rod
The automotive Brass Era is the first period of automotive manufacturing, named for the prominent brass fittings used during this time for such things as lights and radiators. It extends from the first commercial automobiles marketed in the 1890s until about World War I. The term "Brass Era automobile" is a retronym for "horseless carriage," the original name for such vehicles, which is still in use today. The Brass Era closely followed the Veteran Era.
A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930. There is little debate about the start date of the vintage period—the end of World War I is a nicely defined marker there—but the end date is a matter of a little more debate. The British definition is strict about 1930 being the cut-off, while some American sources prefer 1925 since it is the pre-classic car period as defined by the Classic Car Club of America. Others see the classic period as overlapping the vintage period, especially since the vintage designation covers all vehicles produced in the period while the official classic definition does not, only including high-end vehicles of the period. Some consider the start of World War II to be the end date of the vintage period.
In the United States, an antique car is generally defined as a car over 25 years of age, this being the definition used by the Antique Automobile Club of America. However, the legal definition for the purpose of antique vehicle registration varies widely. The term classic car is often used synonymously with antique car, but (in the United States) the formal definition of that term has it as applying only to certain specific high-quality vehicles from the pre-World War II era. In the UK, the term is not used: antique often refers to an item over 100 years old and cars of this age are termed Vintage.
Classic car is a term used to describe an older car, but the exact meaning is subject to differences in opinion.
The Classic Car Club of America defines a CCCA Classic or is as a fine or distinctive automobile, either American or foreign built, produced prior to 1948. Generally, a Classic was high-priced when new and was built in limited quantities. Other factors, including engine displacement, custom coachwork and luxury accessories, such as power brakes, power clutch, and "one-shot" or automatic lubrication systems, help determine whether a car is considered to be a Classic.
There are 5 Criteria for acceptance of a car as a Certified Milestone Car. The model should be distinctive because of Styling, Engineering, Performance, Innovation, and/or Craftsmanship-relative to their contemporaries. A Blue Ribbon Panel reviews all cars/models nominated by a member in good standing.
Pony car is an American class of automobile launched and inspired by the Ford Mustang in 1964. The term describes an affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image. "It was small by Detroit standards, with sporty styling... [a]nd the rear wheels were driven by an engine — ideally a big V8 — mounted up front..." Pony cars were "relatively small, relatively light and often absurdly powerful."
Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high performance automobiles. At its most widely accepted the term refers to American 2-door rear wheel drive, mid-size cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s equipped with large, powerful V8s and sold at an affordable price for street use and drag racing, formally and informally. As such, they are distinct from two-seat sports cars and expensive 2+2 GTs intended for high-speed touring and road racing.
The term sports car has been defined as "an open, low-built, fast motor car." The term describes a class of automobile with two seats, two doors, precise handling, brisk acceleration, and sharp braking — trading practical considerations such as passenger space, comfort, and cargo capacity — for driving enjoyment.
A custom car is a passenger vehicle that has been modified in either of the following two ways. First, a custom car may be altered to improve its performance, often by altering or replacing the engine and transmission. Second, a custom car may be a personal "styling" statement by the re-styler/re-builder, making the car look "unique" and unlike any car that might have been factory finished. Customs are distinct from hot rods; exactly where the difference lies has been the subject of debate among customizers and rodders for decades.
Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term "hot rod" is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of "hot roadster," meaning a roadster that was modified for speed. Another explanation is that the mufflers were exposed and thus there was a "hot rod" or hot muffler neck when the vehicle was running. Open roadsters were the cars of choice to modify because they were light. Hot Rod may also refer to the connecting rods, cam, or pushrods inside the engine or to the exposed frame rails of such an automobile.
Supercar is a term used most often to describe an ultra-high-end "exotic" automobile, whose performance is superior to that of its contemporaries. It has been defined specifically as "a very expensive, fast or powerful car", and stated in more general terms: "it must be very fast, with sporting handling to match," "it should be sleek and eye-catching" and its price should be "one in a rarefied atmosphere of its own"; however, the proper application of the term is subjective and disputed, especially among enthusiasts. So-called vehicles are typically out of the ordinary and are marketed by automakers to be perceived by the public as unusual. The supercar can take many forms including limited production specials from an "elite" automaker, standard looking cars made mainstream companies that hide massive power and performance, as well as models that appeal to "hardcore enthusiasts" from "manufacturers on the fringe of the car industry."