SEMA News—June 2022

MARKET RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

Classic Cars Are Adapting to Modern Markets

By SEMA Market Research

Top Classic Vehicle Segments for the Specialty-Equipment Industry

Classic Cars

While the classic-vehicle market has historically been driven by Baby Boomers and the vehicles they care about, young consumers are bringing with them a growing interest in ‘70s and ‘80s vehicles. These emerging markets are growing in importance for industry companies.

Vehicles from the early ’70s and later have traditionally been considered “classics,” with the idea of ’73 (pre-gas crisis, pre-catalytic converters) as reasonable cutoffs. However, the landscape has changed. More and more, classics have expanded to include vehicles from the ’70s and ’80s. These emerging classics are sparking the same nostalgic feelings among drivers looking to recapture a piece of their youth as they did to consumers a generation earlier. While the traditional areas of the classic vehicle space aren’t going anywhere, newer classic models are becoming more important for the industry.

Ultimate Consumer Goal for Their Classic

Classic Cars

Most classic owners have a defined vision for their vehicle, but many don’t have a grand strategy and just want to keep it driving. Pre-’74 vehicles are commonly accessorized for pure restoration, while late ‘80s vehicles are more commonly worked on to ultimately just be a driver.

How Industry Sees Classic Segments Changing in the Future

Classic Car

While numbers-match restoration and hot-rodding are not going away, businesses are seeing a growth in retromodding and flexibility in terms of what goes under the hood of an older vehicle.

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