Classic cars, antique cars, and vintage cars. What actually is considered a classic car though? According to most sources, a classic car is considered anything that is 20 years or older. An antique car is a vehicle that is 45-years-old or older. Finally, a vintage car is classified as a vehicle that was built between 1919 and 1930. These definitions vary depending on who you talk to; but, for the sake of this article, we will follow the 20-year rule for classic car classification.
Purchasing any vehicle is a major decision that requires thought, research, and time. So, of course, this also applies to classic cars. However, there are a few things that are different when purchasing a classic car.
This article will share some key things to know when purchasing a classic car. Smoky Mountain Traders take great pride in all of their vehicles and want every customer to be completely satisfied with their purchase. Here are some things to think about when purchasing a class car.
Get a Professional Inspection
Unless you know the ins and outs of automobiles, this can save you both money and time. It also helps the dealership because it is usually a third party or someone the buyer personally trusts to inspect the vehicle.
An inspector will look over the entire car – top to bottom and inside out. Following the results of their inspection, you can either decide to move further with the purchase or keep looking. It is important to go with an inspector that is knowledgeable and you trust – so research is important. The dealership might be able to help you find some that they know as well.
Major rust is a no go. If there is an abundance of rust on the car’s body, chances are it would not be possible to restore to its original state.
Something to keep in mind though is that there might be some rust in some sports because, after all, it is a classic car! Just be sure to check the extent of it and where it is. Additionally, some classic car dealerships, like Smoky Mountain Traders, sell cars that have already been restored so you can just enjoy the ride.
Check with your Insurance
Like with any new (to you) vehicle purchase, check with your insurance to see how much it will cost to have that particular car on your insurance.
Shop various policies because you could be getting charged more on one policy than on another for having the classic car on it. There is no sense in paying more than you have to for auto insurance.
Figure Out the Cost of Upkeep
After the inspection, if there is anything wrong with the car, you will know, and either the dealership will fix it or you will have to (depending on specific circumstances). Also, speak with the inspector or the dealership about the costs of parts and upkeep so you can have a good idea of what the vehicle will cost you to own.
Keep in mind that some of the classic car parts are hard to find and possibly expensive because they are not always being made anymore. Additionally, most classic cars require special gas and or oil, so that also should be accounted for when determining the cost of upkeep.
Find a Mechanic
Finding a mechanic beforehand can save you time and stress later down the road. Classic cars are different from today's cars so some mechanics cannot nor will not work on them. Or the ones that specialize in classics, charge more.
Run the Part Numbers
There are three numbers that are important and should be ran to make sure they match up with the VIN. The engine, transmission, and rear axle are all stamped with specific numbers that will match up with the VIN. You can learn a lot by just researching the VIN.
In case you did not know, in 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States required all vehicles to contain a 17-character VIN, which does not include the letters O, I, and Q. So, if the vehicle is made after 1981, a carfax can be found with the VIN. However, it is a bit trickier if it is pre ‘81.
There are more things to consider when purchasing a classic car like what car you want, if you want to buy it already restored or if you want to personally restore it, if you will drive it and how much, and personal preferences. One thing is certain, make sure you will be happy with your purchase.
Feel free to call or email Smoky Mountain Traders with any questions you have. We will help you find the classic car of your dreams!
Taking a Look Back: American SuperCars
Four supercars. One place. Smoky Mountain Traders is currently the proud owner and home of these four supercars: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO 427, 1970 Plymouth Superbird, 1969 Chevrolet Nova L78 Super Sport, and a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro originally modified by Bill Thomas.
Back when these cars were introduced, Americans called them supercars. This was because they were more than a sports car. According to a variety of automobile experts, a supercar is typically a powerful car that is designed with performance being the main focus versus cost and accommodation.
Let’s take a look at these four classics and see what they are really made of.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO 427
This Camaro COPO was once in Reggie Jackson’s personal automobile collection. The history of this car goes back about 40 years. Brand new, the COPO was sold at Queen City Chevrolet in Ohio. In 1982, Jay Nixon restored it. This car was featured in Super Chevy 1984 along with being owned by multiple collectors like Reggie Jackson and Cecil Fielder. It comes with the MacNeish Certification of Authenticity.
Originally, the car was the true “Hugger Orange;” however, Nixon changed the color to Tuxedo Black – which has been buffed and polished so immaculately one can see their reflection. This just shows how sleek the body of the car really is. Looking down the side, one can see how perfect the body lines and gaps are.
The heartbeat of this Chevrolet is nothing short of impressive. It is powered by the MN coded 427-425 HP L72 Engine that is mated to the Matching Numbers M21 Muncie 4 Speed Trans and the 12 Bolt Posi Rear with 4.56 Gears. The engine is set up with the correct Winters Rectangle Port Intake 3933163 Casting and the Holley 3959164-GE Carburetor. For exhaust, it has the 3909879 and 3916178 manifolds with dual pipes and the Cross-Flow Muffler. To keep it cool it has the Correct 00 Coded Harrison Radiator that is dated C 1969. The floor pans and frame are also in excellent condition.
How can one not be impressed with this Camaro COPO? It is a true collector's item.
1970 Plymouth Superbird
What a rarity. This particular car is the 178th to be produced out of only 2,000. Today, only half of those produced are on the road.
This Superbird is painted in the original factory option of Lemon Twist with “Road Runner” decals. Plymouth designed these cars specifically for Nascar. They were made with emphasis put on aerodynamics in the wind tunnel and computer data. Because of these reasons, Richard Petty made the switch from Ford to Plymouth. Our Superbird features the King's signature on the front driver side – which makes this car even more special.
Under the hood, it's powered by the Matching Numbers 440 Engine that's set up with the correct 2951736 Intake with a Holley 750 Carb. It has the stock style valve covers and air cleaner. It has the fender tag, radiator support stamping, and trunk lip stamping. The 440 V8 is mated to the Matching Numbers 727 Trans that goes out back to the Sure-Grip 8 ¾” rear end with a 3.55 gear. For exhaust, it has the correct 2899879 and 2951865 Manifolds with dual pipes and Turbo Mufflers. This Superbird comes with power steering and power brakes with discs on the front and drums on the rear. When you look under it, you will notice it has the factory undercoating and that everything looks to be solid and in great condition.
Take flight in this Superbird and ride like a king (or queen).
1969 Chevrolet Nova SS 396
Painted in Olympic Gold, this 1969 Chevrolet Nova SS 396 is a true beauty. This car was once designed to be the “baddest beast” on the road. This Nova has an impeccable photo-documented rotisserie restoration. It offers a Numbers Matching L78 396 engine and comes with the original Fisher Build Sheet showing it to be a COPO ordered vehicle.
This car has been completely restored and no detail was left behind. The interior was redone in the factory black option. It also comes with a custom bench seat that matches the rear seat. This 4-speed manual only shows eight miles since the restoration.
The heartbeat of this Chevy was not forgotten in the restoration. The correct GM stamped hoses were used and the work was done as close to original as possible. It features the Matching Number L78 396 375 HP engine with JH Suffix Code. The Nova is set up with the correct 3933163 Winters Intake and Holley Carb 3959164-GE 4346 Carb. The L78 Engine is Mated to a Counter Case Muncie Four Speed Trans that runs back to the 12 Bolt Posi rear with 3.55 Gears. For exhaust, it has the correct 3909879 and 3916178 Manifolds with 2 ½” Dual Exhaust and Factory Style Muffler.
This ‘69 Nova SS will make any driver feel like they have won the gold.
1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396
A true piece of muscle car history, this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 has a rich story to tell. Designed as a true supersport, this car was then taken to Bill Thomas of Bill Thomas Races Cars in Anaheim, California, where he professionally prepared the engine and transformed it into a racecar.
The previous owner, Troy, closely worked with Thomas and the original owner while restoring the Camaro. He wanted to keep it as true to its originality as possible. This restoration is what we see in the car today. It is covered in Seafrost Green paint that is accented by black. The entire vehicle has been buffed and polished to a mirror finish. This really shows off the arrow-straight body lines of the Camaro.
Taking a look under the hood is a Matching Numbers 396 block – which is rare for a Bill Thomas car because most of his builds had the 427 transplant. The original owner wanted to stay with the 396 and Thomas transformed Chevrolet's 396 into a sleeper big block that could terrorize any 427 on the street in '68.
Troy made sure to keep everything as close to original as possible, and he did just that - even under the hood. It's set up with the Offenhauser Intake and Two Carter AFB Four Barrel Carbs, and a Comp Cams solid-lifter set up like what was used in '68 was installed. The engine is mated to the Turbo 400 Trans and the 12 Bolt Posi Rear with Bill Thomas traction bars. For Exhaust, it has Coated Hooker Headers with dual pipes and the stock style dual muffler.
A true piece of muscle car history is right here in East Tennessee.
Unlike its sleek body, the Chevrolet Corvette has had a bumpy history since it’s beginning in the 1950s. The Corvette – also referred to as America’s sports car – has come a long way since it’s beginning in 1953.
General Motors wanted something more. Using the British-era sports car as a base, GM’s Chevrolet came up with the Corvette (or the Vette) and originally produced 300 of them. Unfortunately, they only sold 183 cars out of their first run; so, back to the drawing board they went.
In 1955, Chevrolet added a V-8 engine to the Corvette and it is finally considered to be up to the sports car standards as far as performance goes. In the coming years, it kept improving – more colors were made available, faster and stronger engines, and a new sleeker look.
The Corvette continued to change slightly over the next few years. Perhaps the biggest change came in 1965 when Chevrolet introduced it’s big-block V-8 engine and offered four-wheel disc brakes instead of the customary drum-brakes. This engine produced 425 gross horsepower.
The L78 engine required more space under the hood so GM came up with a custom scoop specifically to fit this engine. The engine package also included the 4-speed manual transmission and a K66 Transistor Ignition System. Additionally, it featured heavier front coil springs, larger stabilizers, and better rear suspension mounts.
Each Vette got new rocker panels, a blacked-out grille with horizontal bars, function vertical louvers behind the front wheels. Small upgrades included a power antenna, redesigned seats, standard disc brakes, a telescoping steering wheel, new dashboard gauges, and optional side exhausts, along with more color options.
For racing, there were even more options made available as far as upgrades go such as a larger gas tank. Standard upgrades included an automatic transmission, AM/FM radio, and genuine leather seats.
In 1965, over eight-thousand Corvettes were produced but less than 14% featured the new L78 engine.
Jumping forward 55 years. The Vette has undergone even more changes – both physical and mechanical. The 2020 Corvette C8 is also a first of its kind. It is the first mid-engine Corvette in history. The engine is now behind the passenger seat instead of in front of it – hence the term “mid-engine.” The engine is still a 6.2-liter V-8, making 490 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque.
Another first for the Corvette is the fact that only an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is available – no manual transmissions are offered for the 2020 C8 model. However, the two-seat set up is still the custom for the vehicle. The difference here is that the cab is moved closer to the front of the car because of the engine. There is also both front and rear trunk space.
Unlike the ‘65 Vette, the ‘20 Vette features many technological upgrades as well. There is a touch screen radio system, the ability to have a mobile hotspot, and has Bluetooth capabilities.
While there are some major differences between the two models of the Corvette, one thing still remains true – it still is and has been a real beauty over the years. It has not been the smoothest ride for the Corvette, as GM has considered stopping production due to the lack of interest at time; but, they kept it going and it has become known as America’s Sports Car.
Amazon carries just about anything and everything. It is no surprise that they have products that you never knew you needed for your car - whether it be organizational or just luxurious.
We’ve compiled a shortlist of 10 things you need for your car! (They are not arranged in any particular order.)
In today's world, where everyone is constantly connected to their handheld devices but the roads are handsfree, Bluetooth comes in handy. Not all cars are Bluetooth capable so a simple FM Transmitter is a quick and cost-effective way to make your car handsfree.
This particular transmitter just plugs into the car socket (or cigarette lighter) and then, once a station is picked, the radio just needs to be tuned to that station and the phone connected to the equipment via Bluetooth and it will create a hands-free environment.
Although no one hopes for a car accident, things happen and it is better to prepare for the worst and not have it happen than not be prepared at all.
This multi-tool is a definite must-have in every car. It features an end is a seat belt cutter for cutting a seat belt if stuck; and, the other end is the window breaker tool with two hardened sharp and heavy carbon steel points.
Basic jumper cables are an essential tool to have in a vehicle. Whether you or someone around you needs them, they are great to have in emergencies (or even just for convenience). If you’re looking for something that costs a little more, they have more advanced options for jumper cables.
This kit includes a variety of items that are helpful when roadside emergencies happen. While this kit includes some of the objects we’ve previously mentioned, it also includes others we have not like a first aid kit, road signals, and mini took kit.
These are an inexpensive way to make it safer to drive your car. They just stick onto your side-view mirrors and allow both blindspots to be seen better while looking back. (You should still always look over your shoulder, but these are helpful!)
Blindspot mirrors come in a variety of shapes and sizes so there is one for every type of vehicle.
With today’s society being so intertwined and involved with their cell phones, having a USB charger is a must so the phone never loses its charge completely.
It is also great to have a charger for other items that you might need to plug in - laptop, camera batteries, oil diffuser, or a heated thermos.
How many times have you lost something in the gap between your seat and your center console? Probably enough times to get frustrated just reading that question.
This nifty Amazon find is here to solve all of your seat gap nightmares. It sits down in the gap and so anything that falls, will fall into its pocket or stay on the seat. This particular one also comes with a cup holder and two USB ports.
This item is a little higher priced but it adds a nice luxury to any vehicle. Turn your rearview into a camera screen so you can see what is behind you even clearer.
It has night vision and can also help with parking. It is not a necessity but it is nice to have and can make your driving experience more enjoyable.
Ever feel like you are constantly filling your car with trash or keep trying to remember to throw empty water bottles or cups away? Having a small car trash can help solve that problem!
This one just clips around the back of your seats or center console and can hold the daily pieces of trash you accumulate in your car.
Keeping a car clean is like keeping your house clean - it requires time and effort. Often, car cleanings are left on the back burner because of the time or tools it might require.
This detailing putty makes cleaning your car a breeze because it sticks to the little crumbs or dust particles as you wipe it over everything. It’s quick and simple and takes no time at all so keeping your car clean has never been easier.