Beauty, old and rare, are in the eye of the beholder when it come to any classic car. But, what exact definition about classic car ? With so many societies, dealers and informal associations dedicated to the love of classic vehicles, it’s perhaps unsurprising that there are many different opinions about what constitutes a classic. Definitions vary from association to association, country to country and often from person to person.
Here in the US, state governments typically define a classic car as any car over a certain age, normally 20 years from now. It should again have been repaired and maintained in a way that keeps it true to its original design and specifications. In other words it should not be modified or altered.
The Classic Car Club of America only consider cars between the years 1915 and 1948 to be classic. The CCCA goes another step further, and only includes vehicles “distinguished by their respective fine design, high engineering standards and superior workmanship .While most US states the legal definition is 20 years or older.
Generally in Britain and perhaps some of Europe, the definition of what is a classic car can be very subjective. Some fairly recent production cars are considered by some as “modern classics”, especially some of the very expensive low volume production cars. You can be assured that some current exotica such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis will be guaranteed classic status in a very short space of time.
But whatever they say, driving an older car is a great driving experience. Classic cars still offer that authentic hands-on experience, with every texture change of the road surface coming through to the hands of the driver. You can’t this experience in the modern cars with power steering to turn corners, cruise control to stop you speeding and a host of other built-in features that insulate the driver from the feel of the road.
In 1808 François Isaac de Rivaz designed the machine powered by an internal combustion engine fueled by hydrogen. And then 76 years later, in 1886 the first car vehicle was invented by Karl Benz.
On January 29, 1886, Karl Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle powered by a gas engine.” The patent – number 37435 – maybe regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile. The text of the patent specification begins with the words: “The present construction is intended mainly for the operation of light carts and small boats, such as are used to transport one to four persons. The driving power is provided by a small gas engine, of any system. The latter is supplied with its gas from an accompanying apparatus, in which gas is made from ligroin or some other gasifying substance. The engine cylinder is kept at a steady temperature by the evaporation of water.” The filing of the patent in France followed on 25 March of the same year.
The original first car, his three-wheeled Motorwagen, first ran in 1886. In July 1886 the newspapers reported on the first public outing of the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car, model no. 1. Then in 1887 the first vehicle to have an internal combustion engine fueled by gas. Soon Benz developed a better model running on gasoline. Benz’s car specification :
Cylinder : one cylinder four stroke
Output : 2 HP
weight : 100 kg
max speed : 16 km/hr
Fuel : gasoline
The vehicle hit the market next year and was an instant hit. In 1988, Benz’s wife travelled 65 mile in the car to see her ailing father. It drew public attention and soon Benz’s car began to be sold in Germany and France. His company produced its first four-wheeled car in 1893. Through a succession of companies launched during the early 1900s, Benz remained the leading automobile producer in Europe for decades. Innovations in racing car design, automobile mass production, and novel engine design continued under Benz’s leadership during this period. And the first of its series of racing cars in 1900. He left the company in 1906 to form another group with his sons.
Karl Benz died in April 1929, and Bertha followed in 1944. Their respective contributions to the history of the automobile mirror the vital relationship between innovation and marketing that continues to drive the industry today.