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What is a Classic Porsche?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Classic Porsche 911 Carrera
A Classic Porsche versus a Classic Buick; What is the definition?

The Air Brigade definition of a Classic Porsche is any Porsche that is air-cooled. This includes the Porsche 356, Porsche 911, 912 and 914. Within the Air-Cooled Porsche 911 all models are included from the initial model 901 up through the final 1998 model 993.

The Porsche factory itself takes a different definition based on manufacturing requirements. Porsche Classic is defined as any Porsche that is 10 years since its last date of manufacture. As of 2019 this includes Porsche 911.996 (1998 – 2005) and the first series of Boxster, model 986 (1997 – 2004).

Ray Shafffer, Porsche Classic Market Development Manager, provided this input on how and why Porsche defines a Classic Porsche: "Thanks for taking the time to define the differences. As for the Porsche Classic definition of a classic Porsche, this is based around the goal to help keep the more than 70% of all Porsche vehicles ever built on the road today. The production and supply of Porsche Classic Genuine Parts allows us to ensure that these and other legends (currently, from 356 to Carrera GT) remain on the road even longer."

States look at the definition of Classic/Vintage/Historical from a different perspective since it impacts revenue for the state in the form of sales tax, and license fees. In Air Brigade’s home state of North Carolina, a change in the law just lowered the definition of a historical car from a 35-year old vehicle to a 30-year old vehicle. The big advantage for North Carolina historical car owners is that annual safety and emissions’ testing is no longer required.

Many states use 25 years as the cut-off for historical car classification including Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Florida. South Carolina shares the 30-year cut-off with its northern cousin, North Carolina. In many states there are also tax advantages to a historical classification in addition to the annual testing.

In looking at the broader market, the appears to be definitions for a Classic Car, Antique Car and a Vintage Car.

  • Classic Car: 20 years or older

  • Antique Car: 45 years or older

  • Vintage Car: 1919 – 1930 model years

The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) provides another look at what years a classic car is defined by: 1915-1948.

Insurance companies such as Haggerty have a different definition by saying models from the years of 1900-1979 are classic or antique while later model years are considered collector cars.

The other definition of what is a classic Porsche comes from the world of rallies and car tours. The famous Texas Hill Country Rally only allows air-cooled Porsches from 1949-1989. The famous R Gruppe in California provides membership to air-cooled Porsche 911’s from 1965-1973 that are sports purpose built.

Some of the famous tours such as the Millie California says it only accepts Porsches of 1957 and earlier while the Colorado Grand accepts Porsches 1960 and earlier. This basically only allows for 356’s. Some of the commercial tours such as Sports Car Market (SCM), Classic Motorsports and Vintage rallies will allow Classic Porsche 911’s with 1974 or earlier for SCM and 1990 or earlier for Vintage Rallies.

So, what is a Classic Porsche? The answer: it varies depending on the organization. What is clear for Air Brigade is that a Classic Porsche is an air-cooled Porsche that includes the Porsche 911 up through 1998, the Porsche 356, Porsche 912 and Porsche 914. An air-cooled Porsche is a different experience in driving and ownership; so enjoy the camaraderie with other owners through Air Brigade membership.

183 views2 comments


Nov 03, 2019

You're right Craig about the sales tax. Thanks for the catch. I have corrected the article.


I believe 3% is the tax rate for all vehicle purchases in North Carolina. (We have a fairly strong dealer organization in NC.)

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