How Can I Tell if My Used Car is a Classic?

By Tara Baukus MelloRetirement

Dear Driving for Dollars,

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I recently inherited a 1991 car from my grandmother. She was the only owner. It has low mileage, has never been in an accident and is in almost new condition. How do I find out if it is worth anything? -- Matt

Dear Matt, First, I'm sorry for your loss. How nice that your grandmother left you with something to remember her by that you have the potential to drive and enjoy. You might consider keeping the used car regardless of its value as a family keepsake.

To your question, cars are considered classics in most states when they are 20 years old or older, so the used car you inherited just crossed into that classic category. That said, most cars that are around this age generally aren't perceived as collector cars by most auto enthusiasts. Notable exceptions would be cars that had a very low production run, those of high value initially and sporty cars, though even those categories don't guarantee an increase in value. To find the value of your grandmother's car, check the car valuation tools at NADAguides or

If you think your used car will appreciate in value and you decide to drive it, you'll run the risk of affecting its value should it be in an accident or neglected. Take care to keep it in top-notch condition, while still enjoying your inheritance.

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