You'll find a wide variety of classic cars for sale that date from the pre 1940s to the 1980s and every decade has it's own dedicated page.
Prior to the 1940s, the car manufacturing industry was incredibly diverse with relatively low production figures. For example, in 1901, Oldsmobile, who later became one of the most prolific manufacturers in the USA, produced just 425 vehicles. Although it must be said, this low figure was partly due to a factory fire that delayed production. At this time, the cars were officially known as Olds Automobiles and only became Oldsmobile after the successful song of the time My Merry Oldsmobile. Classic cars for sale from this period are relatively rare and better suited to collectors than for regular use.
In the early 1930s, Oldsmobile started numbering their cars with a two digit designation where the first number referred to the size of the vehicle and the second referred to the number of cylinders. Thus the famous 66 & 88 etc designations were created.
In 1940, Oldsmobile developed the very first automatic transmission they dubbed the Hydramatic. This brilliant piece of engineering innovation had four forward gears even way back then.
By the time the 1950s arrived, the world economy was recovering from the Second World War especially in the USA. Fuel was ridiculously cheap and technology had moved forward to allow for new models every year and very fast vehicle construction, which in turn led to the era of big engines, big wings, low prices, big empty highways and of course, ROCK N ROLL!!! Dang what a time to be a teenager!
Classic car fans and the classic vehicle industry owe an awful lot to this decade as an immense number of al types of wonderful future classic vehicles were exported all over the world and due to the good build quality, many still survive. Classic cars for sale from the 1950s and 1960s are rapidly appreciating in value now and are still very easy to use as daily drivers.
By 1960, things had changed dramatically. Hippies and the Beatles were arriving, labour relations in western world industry were changing and the rotary engine had been invented by that clever Mr. Wankel, independent suspension, fuel injection, gas turbines and turbo chargers. It was also the beginning of the Japanese car industry that seemed to hit the motoring world like a hurricane.
This decade also saw the arrival of the E Type Jaguar and my all time favourite 4x4, the Jeep Wagoneer. All great, and now very collectable vehicles but each at very different ends of the classic car collectors spectrum. General Motors, Chrysler and Ford all introduced compact models to try to compete with the Japanese compact cars, but none were particularly successful. The most really groundbreaking compact car design of this time was the Mini Minor and its variants such as the Mini Cooper and Cooper S which all came from the British Motor Company or BMC which was actually introduced in late 1959. Classic cars for sale from this era are still relatively inexpensive but dont expect them to stay that way. In another 10 years they will have at least doubled in price.
The 1960s did however produce some memorable muscle cars that have now become highly collectable to us classic car nuts. In 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang and in 1967, Chevrolet introduced the Camero. Those two designs really did change the world and even now, all you have to do to gather a crowd, anywhere in the world, is to park either at the side of the road! Probably the most famous British sports car manufacturer of the era was Aston Martin who had the DB4 GT Zagato, DB5 and DB6 during these times. Finding such a classic car for sale nowadays is about as likely as winning the lottery and you would probably have to have done so to afford buying such a wonderful piece of automotive history.
Then the 1970s arrived and how things changed. The British car industry for the mass market was going to hell in a handcart and having to be given massive Government support, their designers were being recruited from a madhouse and inventing such wonders of technological improvement such as the square steering wheel they fitted to the Austin All Agro, sorry, that should have read, Allegro and the 1973 oil crisis arrived with a bang. We saw queues at filling stations, oil prices going through the roof and an immense slowdown in the world economy. The first emission regulations were introduced and suddenly a large part of the world population decided that the big old gas guzzlers of yesteryear were no longer chic. Compact cars and small family carriers were suddenly fashionable. Going against the flow as is their wont, Land Rover introduced their first Range Rovers which took the off road market by storm. It must be said that at least part of this success was courtesy of Jeeps poor marketing policies. Jeep had had launched the Wagoneer model in 1963 and it was bigger, faster, more powerful, more comfortable and its famously unburstable Quadratrac 4x4 system made it at least as capable off road as the Range Rover but the waggy was rarely marketed with any dedication outside the USA.
The 1970s did however see some stunningly good supercars enter the arena. The De Tomaso Pantera, the Ferrari F512, Lamborghini Countach and the Maserati Bora all arrived on the scene. Posters of all of these cars decorated every teenager of the periods walls and all of these cars, although not great daily drivers are all very collectable nowadays. It's now relatively unusual to find these types of classic cars for sale on the open market and values are going absolutely through the roof!
The arrival of the 1980s saw yet more unexpected changes in the automotive world. The Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant, otherwise known as the Chrysler K cars with good fuel economy and front wheel drive arrived to save Chrysler from bankruptcy, but even so, the American car industry saw approximately 66% of its auto industry lost. Things werent much better across the pond at British Leyland and the other car manufacturing companies. Build standards were appallingly low and many British models were simply not up to scratch. The good news was that there were still some brilliant cars being made. Ones that spring to mind are the Ferrari 288 GTO (remember the song about that one? I think it was called My Little GTO and was recorded by Ronny and the Daytonas) the Ferrari Testarossa , Ferrari F40 and the Porche 959. Its still more than possible to find such classic cars for sale but good ones are relatively rare and values are climbing on a daily basis and these classic cars are a wonderful investment when compared to the money markets.
I've never owned or restored a pre 1940s car but have owned and restored a number of classics from all the other decades youll find for sale here. If I had to choose the one car I enjoyed the most, itd be my Ford Zodiac with the straight six engine and column change. I loved that car but sadly, my brother managed to write it off when he had a collision with an (occupied!) hearse when he was on the way to the pub. The car was only insured third party, fire and theft, so I guess you might call it a dead loss!
My current daily ride is a 1980 Jeep Wagoneer with 5.7 V8 AMC engine and quadratrac 4x4 and in honour of that famous author Robert Ruark, shes named Jessica the Jeep. Cunningly, Ive fitted her with Old Man Emu suspension etc underneath and despite her being over 30 years old, she still takes us all the way to Botswana every year and once there, crashes through the bush on those stunningly bad Botswana roads and even dodges the odd elephant without batting an eyelid or a headlamp.
How's that for a working classic!