Classic Car Demographics: 64 Owner Facts & Numbers [2023]

Classic car owners are a unique group of people who share a passion for preserving these vehicles’ history and beauty.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at classic car owners and their demographics.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Demographic Facts About Classic Car Buyers

Most classic car owners are white males aged 35 and above, with the majority in the 55-64 (250) and 45-54 (200) age range. Education-wise, many have a bachelor’s degree (400) or some college education (300). Income-wise, 600 owners have an income of $50,000-$149,999, while 200 have an income below $50,000 and 200 have an income of $150,000 or above.

Let’s dive a bit deeper in the data.

Age Demographics Classic Car Buyers

Age Classic car owners
Under 25 5%
25-34 10%
35-44 15%
45-54 20%
55-64 25%
65 and over 25%

According to Statista, in 2021, Baby Boomers were the primary new car buyers in the United States, accounting for approximately 36% of new car sales.

  • In contrast, Generation X constituted the majority of used car buyers.
  • Classic Auto Insurance reports the average age of today’s classic and collector vehicle owner is 54 years old.
  • Interestingly, more women are becoming involved in classic car ownership, with the typical female collector being 52 years old.
  • Auction house Barrett-Jackson has experienced a 48% increase in the number of Millennial buyers every year since 2009.

The observed shift in age demographics of classic car buyers, especially the growing involvement of women and younger enthusiasts, highlights the evolving trends within the classic car market.

Check also: Typical problems with buying classic cars.

colorful cars at cars show in Islanders Classic Car Club

Gender Demographics Classic Car Buyers

Gender Classic car owners
Male 80%
Female 20%
  • Over 60 percent of ALL new car buyers in the United States between September 2020 and August 2021 identified as men.
  • Women represented 40 percent of new car buyers during the same period.

The data shows a predominantly male demographic for classic car owners and new car buyers, with various motivations and interests. Age distribution patterns suggest that older individuals are more likely to invest in classics and specific brands.

Here are some popular nicknames for classic cars.

Ethnicity Demographics of Classic Car Owners

Ethnicity Classic car owners
White 78.9%
African American 4.4%
Hispanic 4.4%
Other 12.3%

Some insight into other aspects of classic car owner demographics:

  • Car owners make up the bulk of the classic-vehicle audience at 71%.
  • Vintage trucks are increasingly gaining popularity, especially among younger enthusiasts.
  • Classic car owners who rent out their cars are typically between 25 and 45 years old.
  • Renters of classic cars are mostly in the 19 to 40 age group.
  • Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) are the ones driving the growth of vintage car collecting.

From the data collected, it can be inferred that the classic car community is diverse, encompassing various generations, with younger individuals driving the industry’s growth.

Education Level Demographics of Classic Car Buyers

Education Level Classic car owners
High School or less 13.6%
Some College 27.3%
Bachelor’s Degree 36.4%
Master’s Degree 9.1%
Doctorate 4.5%
  • This indicates a high level of formal education among those involved in the classic car community
  • College degrees could impact the financial means to collect and maintain classic vehicles

In light of this data, it’s apparent that a significant portion of classic car collectors possess a college education, potentially affecting their ability to engage in the hobby both financially and from a knowledge standpoint.

Classic car ownership demographics offer additional insights:

  • 67% of classic car owners have always loved cars.
  • More than 50% have been collecting for 20 years or more.

Classic car owners’ motivations vary:

  • 52% collect because they love to drive their vehicles.
  • 38.7% appreciate the sound of an engine.

Average Income Level of Classic Car Owners

Income Level Classic car owners
Under $50,000 20%
$50,000 – $99,999 30%
$100,000 – $149,999 30%
$150,000 – $199,999 10%
$200,000 and over 10%

Classic car collectors have been found to spend an average of $12,000 on their hobby, indicating a relatively high income level to support this expenditure.

A sharp increase in vehicle ownership is observed when income surpasses $50,000, suggesting that classic car owners are more likely to fall into this income bracket or higher.

It is important to note that while statistically, classic car ownership appears to correlate with higher income levels, there is still a diverse market of enthusiasts and collectors from varying financial backgrounds.

Other Interesting Facts About Classic Car Buyers

  • Classic cars have experienced a significant increase in prices in recent years, with some models from the 1950s becoming cultural icons of America’s post-war golden era.
  • During the post-war period, one in six jobs in the U.S. was tied to the automobile industry.
  • The global classic car market is projected to grow steadily from approximately 30.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 to around 43.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2024.
  • Auction houses specializing in classic and antique cars, like Barrett-Jackson, have seen the number of Millennial buyers increase by an average of 48 percent every year since 2009.
  • The most expensive car ever sold at auction was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold for $48.4 million in 2018.
  • The most expensive car ever sold privately was a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold for $70 million in 2018.
  • The average price of a classic car sold at auction in the U.S. was $74,000 in 2020.
  • The most popular classic car color is red.
  • The most popular classic car make is Ford.
  • The most popular classic car model is the Chevrolet Corvette.
  • The most popular classic car year is 1969.
  • The classic car market is dominated by baby boomers, with 70 percent of classic car owners over the age of 50.
  • Classic cars are often considered a good investment, with an average annual return of 5-10 percent.
  • The most expensive classic car ever sold in the U.S. was a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, which sold for $40 million in 2010.
  • The most expensive classic car ever sold in Europe was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold for $70 million in 2018.
  • The most expensive classic car ever sold in the UK was a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, which sold for $22.5 million in 2017.
  • The classic car market is largely unregulated, which can lead to fraud and misrepresentation.
  • The most popular classic car event in the U.S. is the Woodward Dream Cruise, which attracts over 1 million visitors every year.
  • The most popular classic car event in Europe is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which attracts over 150,000 visitors every year.
  • The Classic car market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.64% during the period 2021-2025.
  • The classic car market is fragmented, with numerous small and large players operating in the market.
  • The United States is the largest market for classic cars, followed by Europe and Japan.
  • Classic cars are often used for investment purposes, but they are also used for racing, touring, and showing.
  • The classic car market is impacted by factors such as economic conditions, interest rates, and government regulations.
  • The most expensive classic car ever restored was a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 car, which cost $35 million to restore.
  • The classic car market is driven by nostalgia, with many buyers seeking to relive their youth or connect with a bygone era.
  • The classic car market is also driven by rarity, with many buyers seeking out unique or limited-edition models.
  • The classic car market is impacted by advancements in technology, with some classic car owners incorporating modern features like GPS, air conditioning, and sound systems into their vehicles.
  • The classic car market is impacted by environmental concerns, with some buyers shifting towards electric or hybrid classic cars.
  • The classic car market is impacted by changing tastes and trends, with some models falling out of favor while others rise in popularity.
  • The classic car market is impacted by celebrity ownership, with some cars previously owned by famous individuals selling for higher prices.
  • The classic car market is impacted by the condition of the vehicle, with well-maintained or restored cars selling for higher prices than those in poor condition.

These facts highlight the significant interest and potential growth in the classic car market, with a noticeable increase in younger buyers entering the market.


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