The 25 Best Vintage Cars of All Time

The best vintage cars to restore are coming back in style, and there’s a model out there to admire whether you’re just an everyday commuter or a car enthusiast.

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 23, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Vintage cars aren’t just a hobby, they’re cool again
  • Vintage refers to automobiles that were manufactured between 1919 and 1930
  • If you own a classic car, you might want to invest in a special type of car insurance to add extra protection to your investment

For those who aren’t that into cars, vintage and classic cars seem synonymous. While they’re both old, the term “classic” is used to define cars that are at least 20 years old. The Classic Car Club of America defines classic vehicles as those built between the years of 1925 to 1948, American or foreign.

Vintage refers to automobiles that were manufactured between 1919 and 1930.

By some definitions, even cars that just aren’t in a showroom anymore are considered “classics.” There is even a difference between classic and standard car insurance. For this article, we will be showing 25 of the coolest vintage cars of all time that are still worth owning today.

Many people think that the older a car is, the less sense there is in driving it, but that isn’t the case. Classy old cars have proven their worth time and again through shows and collections.

We’ve come together and chosen this list of the best vintage cars based on their age (at least 20 years old), durability, and cost.

There are a few collector cars featured, but we wanted to compile a list that was rooted in practicality so people who might like the look of an old car could find a model that they could realistically own. Some of the best vintage cars can be enjoyed by just about anyone.

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What are the ultimate vintage cars?

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#25 – 1976 Triumph TR6

A beloved British gem. The old-fashioned TR6 is a perfect example of the British automotive industry’s crown jewel: the roadster. The TR6 is filled with grace and practical charm. As far as old cars that are cool are concerned, this British sports car was wildly successful in America, even more so than in its native country. Out of the 91,850 TR6s produced, only 8,370 were actually sold in the UK.

#24 – 1967 Chevy Impala

A prime example of American car design, now one of TV’s most recognizable rides.

The 1967 Chevy Impala isn’t just instantly identifiable as Dean Winchester’s “Baby” from the hit TV show Supernatural, it’s a pristine example of everything a muscle car should be. The ’67 version features enhanced Coke bottle styling, better safety features thanks to new federal regulations, and a powerful 327-cubic-inch V8 engine with a max of 275 hp.

#23 – 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible

An American classic with refined elegance and muscle car power.

The Oldsmobile is one of General Motors’ crowning achievements. The 1960’s iterations featured the world’s first turbocharged engine, the Oldsmobile Jetfire. The Rocket V8 engine was introduced in the 1960s models,

The 1962 Starfire is a consumer favorite as it served as the Oldsmobile’s introduction to the luxury market while still packing power in its 394 CID V8, 345 hp engine.

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#22 – 1963 Corvette Sting Ray

A striking new update, the Sting Ray makes an excellent choice for our list of the coolest, vintage cars.

Chevrolet revamped their iconic Corvette model in 1963 with the lightweight, easy-to-handle Sting Ray. The sleek design wasn’t just for looks; the power brakes and steering turned this model into a reflection of the time and an introduction of the future sports cars that would feature greater accessibility and handling for everyday drivers.

The Sting Ray is one of the collector’s cars that you’ll do better admiring than buying nowadays. Unless you have a very generous budget like Jay Leno in the video above, scoring one of these in 2018 won’t come cheap.

#21 – Datsun 240Z

A Nissan masterpiece revered for its smart design and affordability.

The Datsun 240Z, also known as the Nissan N30 in some markets, was the company’s first line of Z GT two-seaters from 1969 to 1978. The long nose and sleek, two-door design are reminiscent of popular American sports cars, but there are a distinct sharpness and sophistication to the design that is unmistakably Japanese.

#20 – The Volkswagen GTI MK1

A cheap and trustworthy family car.

The GTI models of the 80s made Volkswagens popular among American families. The MK1 and 2 are both lightweight and compact, and they feature the rounded headlights and quintessential VW boxy shape fans love.

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#19 – 1961 Jaguar E-Type

Smooth, seamless style, the E-Type certainly has a place in the category of best, old cars to own.

Jaguar is a luxury car brand synonymous with style. Since the British manufacturer debuted its first model in 1935,  it has maintained its classic elegance through a variety of different renditions. The 1961 E-Type is our choice for a preferred vintage model due to its refined, distinctly European flair and well-esteemed place in automotive history.

#18 – 1971 Ford Thunderbird

A competitor who made a name all its own, this car absolutely belongs on any list of coolest old cars that a person should drool over.

Ford manufactured 11 models of the Thunderbird between 1955 and 2005. The first generation that debuted in the 50s was a direct competitor of Chevrolet’s Corvettes. Rather than emphasizing sports performance, Ford marketed the Thunderbird as a “personal car,” drawing emphasis toward its comfort and useful features.

While the ’50s and ’60s models are marvels, they’re not easily affordable for the average buyer. That’s why we chose to feature the 1971 model. This fifth-generation Thunderbird boasts angular lines and a distinctive, aggressive bird beak projecting from the grill.

Fun car fact: Speaking of vintage cars produced by Ford, the Lincoln Continental can find its origins with the automaker. Though its origins predate the Thunderbird, the Continental’s sleek design has been known to catch the eye of car lovers for decades, dating back to its first-generation model in the 1940s.

#17 – 1969 Volkswagen Beetle

One of the world’s favorite cars full of charm and innovative design.

This rendition of the VW Beetle doesn’t have the high-tech features of contemporary models, but it’s packed with plenty of charm. Similar to the “personal cars” that swept the American market, the first Volkswagen was conceptualized by Adolf Hitler. The BBC states that this happened because it was believed Germany’s people needed cheap, simple vehicles for the country’s new roads.

The unique style and detailed engineering of the Beetle have earned it a place in history; it is the first car model to ever sell 20 million units and sits at #2 on the list of the world’s best-selling cars of all time.

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#16 – 1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS

Pure American muscle. Nothing says cool and classic much like an El Camino.

Originally adapted from a station wagon, the El Camino is a coupé utility vehicle by Chevrolet. Referred to by many as “the world’s most loved car-truck”, this crossover design lasted from 1948 to 1987.

The most famed part of its history is in 1968 when GM introduced the SS model that boasted a 396 V-8 engine. A year later, the 1970 El Camino was able to be purchased with a 54 V-8, 450 horsepower engine, and 500 pound-feet of torque.

The 1970s model showcases some of the most distinguishable features of America’s muscle car era alongside the size strength of the nation’s beloved pickups.

#15 – 1957 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

A glimpse into the future

The 300SL Gullwing was ahead of its time. While most of us still don’t have rising doors, the original 1957 two-door coupe featured impressive gull-wing doors and other advanced tech that made it the fasted car in production as well as one of the earliest automobiles to ever use fuel injection.

#14 – 1969 Dodge Charger

Bo and Duke’s ride still packs a punch.

The Dukes of Hazzard immortalized the Charger’s spot in TV history, and it has continued to reside in the hearts of fans for decades. Over 89,000 units were sold, and the option for a 2 or 4-barrel 383 engine that could reach up to 330 hp was exclusive to the ’69 models.

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#13 – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Old school and effortless.

The Camaro is one of those names quintessential to the American automotive industry. Anyone who grew up in the ’70s and beyond has heard the name and probably known someone who owned a Camaro at some point.

First-generation Camaros featured a bold racing-inspired exterior design and were available as a two-door hardtop or convertible. There were plenty of customization options that really helped the Camaro stand out against its competitor, the Ford Mustang, and solidified its status as an icon in the American car industry.

#12 – 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE

A Ferrari for the family.

Usually, when you hear the name “Ferrari”, you think billionaire car collector or celebrity. But in 1962, Ferrari released the 250 GTE, a model that was designed with commuting and convenience in mind. It was the first four-door Ferrari manufactured and boasted a bigger interior with a backseat suitable for children.

No longer would people have to swap style for function when it came to raising a family. The Ferrari 250 GTE was a model designed for the sports car-lover with an office job and mouths to feed. It was also an affordable option, with the original MRSP at $11,500.

#11 – 1976 Porsche 914

The lovechild of Porsche and Volkswagen.

In the late 1960s, Volkswagen and Porsche were looking to spice up their offerings and dominate the market. Joint design, development, and marketing efforts resulted in the Porsche 914, a two-seat roadster that was dubbed Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” in 1970.

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#10 – 1957 Chevrolet Nomad

Chevrolet’s take on the family station wagon.

The Nomad was one of Chevrolet’s more unique models. It was based on the station wagons of the time, but changes to the exterior made it resemble a hard-top sedan more than a wagon.

The car wasn’t well-received and went out of production after just three years, but now, it’s remembered fondly for its crossover features and versatility.

#9 – 1957 Chevrolet Corvette

A piece of American history.

You can’t talk classic cars without mentioning the Corvette. The model has been in production since 1953 and spans seven generations. The 1957 model is one of the earliest and extremely rare in today’s market. It’s a beautiful car with a powerful engine, and now it serves as a historical marker of the American automotive industry’s golden years.

#8 –1983 DeLorean DMC-12

The original time machine. Cool, vintage cars don’t get much cooler than an actual time-traveling ride.

Just about everyone will recognize the DeLorean from its appearance in the 1980s Back to the Future movie trilogy. The DeLorean was the only model ever produced by the DeLorean Motor Company. As of 2007, it was believed that around 6,500 DeLoreans still existed.

From its futuristic stainless steel finish to the gull-wing doors and turbo rear-engine design, the DeLorean wasn’t around for long, but it made enough of an impact to still be an automotive icon over 30 years after its debut.

#7 – 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra

A record-breaking, thrill-inducing ride.

In 2007, a Cobra made history when a 427 Super Snake sold for a record $5.5 million at auction. The price was the highest an American car ever fetched, and the 800-horsepower sports car was one of the two ever produced. This isn’t a model any of us will ever find in our garages, but it’s such a noteworthy ride that we couldn’t leave it off our list.

#6 – 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle

A classic that withstands the test of time.

Another one of Chevrolet’s most successful models, the Chevelle ran for three generations from 1964 to 1978. Although it wasn’t manufactured for even an entire decade, the car secured its place in the hearts of auto enthusiasts and is still a popular name at classic car shows and events today.

#5 – 1964 Pontiac GTO Tri-power

Performance and power.

The Pontiac GTO is one of the first true American muscle cars. Its name was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, and although it may not actually be a race car, its high-performance-focused engineering makes it one of the fasted models ever produced by Pontiac.

#4 – 1966 Subaru 360

The Japanese Beetle.

It might look like a Volkswagen Bug, but the Subaru 360 can hold its own. It was actually the company’s first ever automobile released in 1958 and ran until 1971. Affectionately nicknamed “ladybug” in Japan, this cute, compact car was the Asian market equivalent of the Bettle that was dominating the European and American markets.

#3 – 1984 Mercedes-Benz W123

Well-engineered and reliable.

The Mercedes-Benz name is associated with durability and top engineering. That reputation holds true with the W123; parts of it today are still used in Africa and the Middle East. The car hosts a bright metallic finish, tailored interior, and a four-cylinder engine with fuel injection that is made for a smooth ride.

#2 – 1989 Jaguar XJS

In production for over two decades, the XJS is one of Jaguar’s most cherished and recognizable models. According to Autocar, the 2019 Jaguar XJ was set to release around the 50th anniversary of the first model. It’s a high-tech electric vehicle that positions innovative design alongside the opulent luxury and style associated with the brand.

The 1989 XJS was chosen for our list thanks to its updated design. It was the first Jaguar model to feature a 6-liter V12 engine. Today, the XJ line is still one of Jaguar’s most popular, and it was thanks to the success of the earlier models like the XJS that the line is still in production today.

#1 – 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500

Made from 1965 to 1973, the first-generation Ford Mustang was (and still is) the embodiment of “cool”.

Ford debuted the first Mustang in late 1965 and was available as a coupe or convertible. The “it” car of its time, the Mustang was a marvel of design and grew increasingly powerful over the years.

The 66′ model that sold over one million units was enhanced in ’67 with the introduction of the Shelby GT500, which sported a bigger grille, larger nose, triple tail lamps, and sported a 428-cubic inch V-8 engine that could reach 355 hp.

What else do you need to know about classic vehicles?

Though it didn’t make our list, we have to give a shoutout to the Aston Martin DB5, made popular by the James Bond films, as well.

As mentioned above, if you’re a classic car owner, you should be thinking carefully about your insurance needs. While there are plenty of cool, old cars out there, they’re going to be just that – old. They’re going to need quite a bit of TLC. A classic car insurance policy can give you the extra protection you need for your vehicle.

Even if your vehicle is vintage, it may still be possible to get classic car coverage. There are some companies, like Hagerty Insurance and American Collectors Insurance, that specialize in this type of coverage.

Classic car insurance is usually cheaper than standard car insurance, primarily because you probably don’t take your classic car out for daily use. Because of this, there may be mileage restrictions built into your classic car insurance policy, as well as specific requirements for how the vehicle must be stored.

Classic car insurance usually comes with, or features add-ons, that offer things like spare parts coverage, coverage for theft or vandalism, and coverage during the restoration process.

You can get a quote from Hagerty Insurance, but many other insurance providers offer classic car coverage as well, so make sure to shop around and compare prices from classic car insurance companies and the standard providers like Allstate, GEICO, and State Farm.

Get the right insurance info to make the best decision for your vintage car and your wallet. Enter your zip code below and we’ll match you with quotes from the top local providers in your area.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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