10 facts about classic cars you didn’t know

While the automotive industry is constantly working on technical innovations, the classic car fan community is also growing unceasingly. No wonder: The old vehicles do not only remind of former times with their individual appearance, but also offer an extremely high driving pleasure.

1. The restoration of a classic car costs on average 11.986€

A 2014 Europe-wide study found that the complete restoration of a classic car on average 11.986€ costs. This includes both technical work and conversions to the interior of the vehicle.

This quite respectable price is probably also the reason why, in the period from 2004 to 2014, in Europe Only 1.1 cars restored per classic car owner have been – 11.986€ are after all 16.7% of the average household income of a classic car owner.

According to the BBE study published in 2020, the average total value of a classic car in Germany is 22.882€.

A good way to save money on spare parts is to compare prices on the Internet. However, the quality of the parts ordered must always be kept in mind in order not to save money in the wrong place in the end. As one of the largest online dealers for young and oldtimer spare parts, we at Retromotion have made it our goal to make every part available in the best quality at an unbeatable price. For this purpose, we cooperate directly with many original equipment manufacturers and brand-name manufacturers and even remanufacture parts as needed.

Car restoration

2. An earlier designation for oldtimer was “Schnauferl”

Around the middle of the 20th century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, classic cars were also referred to as colloquially known as “Schnauferl. However, this expression is not meant to be as trivializing as it sounds: it refers to the characteristic sounds of the sniffer valve, which was used in the early four-stroke engines.

At the beginning of the 20th century. At the end of the 19th century, the sniffing valve was superseded by other types of valve control – it was used for the not suitable for the high speeds of modern engines.


Find out how the typical four-stroke engine works in the following video.

3. Germany’s first classic car club had an asparagus as its coat of arms

We write the 25. May 1900. Meeting at the Hotel Victoria 5 automobile enthusiasts met to eat asparagus together. Not even a month later, at the General Motor Vehicle Exhibition, Germany’s first vintage car club is proclaimed: the internal. Auto-Spargel-Club, short ASC.

Relatively quickly, the founders renamed the ASC the General-Schnauferl-Club around. The upright asparagus as heraldic symbol but remained with the club until 1901. After that, the asparagus symbol was replaced by a De Bion-Bouton single-cylinder engine.

4. Every 100th car in Europe is a classic car

Away from exhibitions and rallies, you have to take a closer look if you want to recognize a classic car in road traffic: according to a 2014 FIVA study, only about Every 100th car in Europe a classic car. But this number might have changed in the past years. For this reason, the FIVA (Federation International Vehicule Anciens), the world federation of classic car clubs, conducted a new survey in 2020, the results of which can be expected in the spring of 2021.

Also very interesting: the 2020 BBE study found that a classic car has an average life of only 1.700 km is moved annually. The sighting of a historic vehicle is thus something special.

Many classic cars find their place in Europe

5. Crossing the English Channel by car took just under 6 hours

In 1961, the amphicar was intended to make it possible for private users to get around on land as well as in the water for the first time. Two propellers were attached to the stern of the floating car body. Thus the Amphicar in the water a speed of 12 km/h reach.

The Amphicar

Not really fast, but pretty fun.

In 1962, two brave Frenchmen succeeded in crossing the English Channel in an amphicar. It took them 5 hours and 50 minutes to cover the 34-kilometer route. A minor miracle, considering that the Amphicar was not designed for use in salt water.

However, due to low demand, production of the floatable vehicles was discontinued after 3.878 copies set. Today only about 1.000 examples of the iconic classic cars, which is why they are in such high demand on the scene.

More information about the Amphicar can be found on spiegel.en.

6. The largest car graveyard in the world covers over 4.000 vehicles

“Dont cry becus it over – Smile becus it happened.” These are the words used to welcome visitors to the world’s largest car graveyard. More than 4.000 vehicles rotting in the 13.75 hectare forest in the American state of Georgia.

Georgia Car Yard

The wrecked cars are partly overgrown with moss, partly penetrated by roots or even tree trunks. Old Car City” is a paradise for car enthusiasts and photographers.

The following video offers some impressions:

Also in Germany there is such a car graveyard. Read more about it on lokalkompass.de.

7. The world’s longest classic car rally went once around the globe

From London to London in 80 days – that was the motto of the Endurance Rally Association when it called for the world’s longest classic car rally in 2000, in which 43 vehicles took part.

The route first led across Europe to Istanbul, and from there across the Silk Road toward Beijing. Vehicles were transported to Alaska by airplane and traveled from there to New York City. After another air transport, the last stage led from Marrakech over the Pyrenees back to London. This is so far the longest classic car rally in the world, concerning both the distance and the duration of 80 days.

8. The oldest still running vehicles in the world are powered by steam

The De Dion Bouton Et Trepardoux Dos-A-Dos Steam Rounabout of 1884 – or “La Marquise” for short – is one of the oldest still functioning motor vehicles in the world. It is powered by 2 steam engines with 2 hp each. With one tank you can drive 32 kilometers, but before the car starts to move, the boiler must be heated for about 45 minutes.

Steam vehicles have been around since 1769; there were the first motor vehicle ever. It wasn’t until 1914 that gasoline- and gas-powered vehicles had completely replaced their steam-powered predecessors. But exotics like “La Marquise” or the even older “Greenville Steam Car” from 1875 remain with us functional to this day preserved.

9. 5.23 million. Miles with only 3 engines: The Volvo P1800 S is the record holder

When Irv Gordon started the engine of his Volvo P1800 S for the first time in 1966, he certainly wouldn’t have believed that he would be able to drive this car for the first time in his life set a world record would. Since 1987, Gordon’s Volvo has held the mileage record for passenger cars – without requiring any extraordinary repairs to the car.

In 2013, Gordon cracked the 3 million mile mark, the equivalent of about 4.8 million kilometers. The P1800 S only needed 2 engine changes to cover this admirable distance. Gordon’s last engine change was in 2009, and not even out of necessity, but only because his engine was having trouble coping with the steep high roads of the Rocky Mountains. In an interview, Irv Gordon said of his Volvo: “Whether I make the 4 million miles depends more on me than on the car. The car might make it through, but I’m not sure about me.”

Unfortunately, Gordon died in 2018 at the age of 77 years. His Volvo P1800S had accompanied him almost all his life, namely 3.250.257 miles far (5.23 million km). He and his car are forever memorialized in the Guinness Book of Records.

If the engine of your oldtimer or youngtimer should go on strike, you will find the right spare parts with us.

Volvo P1800

10. Since 2001, the number of registered H-plates/emission class 0098 has increased by 709.23

Since the H license plate was introduced in 1997, take more and more car fans the advantages a classic car registration claim. Were 2001 still just under 65.000 vehicles with H license plates were registered, the number increased sevenfold in the years that followed: in 2020, 526 vehicles with H license plates were on the road in Germany.002 Classic cars with the H license plate resp. the registration of the emission class 0098.

In 2020, it accounted for 857.044 classic cars in the total number of 47 million of all registered vehicles in Germany 1.8%. 200.000 more classic cars are in collections, museums, are being restored or are decommissioned.

More information about the advantages of the H license plate and what you have to consider when registering your car, you can find out in our article “The classic car license plate – everything you need to know”

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