The price of classic cars is a complex issue. Some legendary automobiles are among the most expensive and sought-after cars in the world, despite being relatively common when new.

The price of classic cars is often determined by the car's condition and how original it remains. Restoration costs can sometimes reach thousands of dollars per hour. Even a small scratch or dent can lower the value of a classic car.

There are many factors that affect price and you can determine this by using the Kelley Blue Book Classic Car Value guide. Check out our list of reasons of why are classic cars so expensive:


In a market with limited supply, buyers always have to bid the price to get a piece of history. So, it is not that historic cars are rare. It's just that they are in such high demand.

In earlier decades, cars were built by hand, and manufacturers often produced only one or two models yearly. They were either a limited production model like the classic Mercedes 300SL or Jaguar XK-E, and in the case of sports cars like the D-Type, there was very little excess stock to go around.

Today, car companies routinely produce tens of thousands of vehicles yearly as a business strategy. And with such large volumes, supply becomes plentiful, and demand drops. This makes vintage car prices escalate.


A classic car's value comes from its history, whether it was owned by a famous person or has some kind of racing heritage. Even if it was originally built as a tow truck and raced on the local drag strip, its former life as a workhorse becomes part of its history and adds to the value. History often contributes to the price of the classic car. And who knows, maybe classic cars will be banned in the future making them even pricer.


In the 1960s and 1970s, manufacturers made American automobiles cheaply with poor-quality parts. Many were bought new and quickly discarded by careless owners. With little demand, these cars were forgotten by the time they reached 20 years old, and they fell into disrepair while in storage yards.

The ones that survived became rare and fetch a very high price today. There are some very unique classic cars that are rare. This is why even an average model car will fetch a higher price than a desirable one, as it is getting harder to find.

Through years of neglect or deliberate destruction, countless automobiles have become scrap metal. And with every new restoration, another example becomes lost to time. It is not just about originality; it's also about what's left. They manufactured some cars in such limited numbers that they could become impossible to find.


The condition of a classic car is a big factor in determining its value and price, as just one small scratch or dent can lower its value by thousands of dollars.

Even a car with a pristine appearance can suffer an unexpected decline in value if there is any mechanical problem. The more original the car, the higher its value. But when is a car "original?" That depends on who you ask.

Some enthusiasts say that even the slightest deviation from original specifications - like using modern replacement parts or installing upgrades - can dramatically lower its value. This can be particularly challenging to assess for cars produced in limited numbers, as replacement parts might have been made in small batches for decades after being discontinued.

This is perhaps the most important performance factor to consider since people often buy classic cars for the way they look, not just for their function. The external appearance of a car is an important factor in determining its value and in influencing whether one should buy such a car or not. If you are unsure, you can always get a classic car appraisal done.

Condition of the leather

The condition of leather upholstery is also a very important factor. A car with a mint leather interior can easily fetch $20,000 to $50,000 more than the same car with worn-out seats and carpeting.

Insurance, registration, and taxes

An owner of one of these cars will incur additional costs that include insurance and registering the car in his or her name. The higher the value of a classic car, the higher the cost of insuring it. More expensive cars require specially coded insurance that is only available for this type of car. Even towing a classic car will cost more due to insurance on it.

Expected future value

Besides the physical condition and rarity of a classic car, another factor that determines its worth is its expected current or future value. Experts on classic cars have provided their opinions about the values of various models.

An example is the 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, considered by many collectors to be the most valuable car in the world and by others to be worthless because it lacks any real value because it has been around for over 50 years.

It is very hard to determine the ultimate value or price of a classic car because it depends on many factors that vary from one buyer to another. The future value or price of a classic car will never rise indefinitely; it will eventually reach a steady state.

The prices of classic cars are rising because there are fewer and fewer of them, and therefore, the demand outstrips the supply. As a result, future values or prices can only be estimated based on current market trends.

Repair costs

Each classic car has an associated cost that needs to be budgeted and calculated into its purchase price. The cost of maintenance and repair is one of the most important factors to consider before buying a car, as it can drastically increase or decrease the value of a vehicle.

This all depends on what type of maintenance and repairs are required to keep the car in good condition. For example, since cars were manufactured with replacement parts by the dozen, many discounts are offered for purchasing vintage cars with their original parts.

Engine replacement may be necessary if you want to drive your classic car on public roads or if you want to sell it at a later date.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is also considered to be an important performance factor when considering a classic car. Fuel efficiency can determine whether or not it would be profitable for someone to buy fuel for their vehicle. It's also necessary for one to consider whether or not he would want to spend money on fuel for the classic car because it has been designed specifically for this purpose. Classic cars often have an average fuel efficiency of 20 miles to the gallon. A person has to consider that fuel prices keep on rising, and the more a classic car consumes, the higher the risk of loss for its owner due to ever increasing fuel costs.


Safety is a factor when determining the price of a classic car. Even though classic cars are not considered as safe as modern cars, people want to know they aren't going to put their lives at extreme risk. The more safety additions that can be made, the more a classic car can fetch.


The performance of the classic car has a lot to do with the type of engine it uses. As well as looking at how fast the car can go, an important factor to consider is whether it can provide enough power for your specific needs. Although some people do not care about performance when purchasing a classic car, what is important to remember is that the engine and its functioning have much to say about how efficient and reliable your vehicle will be.