Owning and maintaining a classic car

Sheen Panel Service on 19 June 2019

Casablanca, The Beatles, To Kill A Mockingbird—everyone has their own definition of a 'classic'. You might consider your original 1997 Commodore to be an absolute classic, but by definition, that's not entirely accurate.

Owning a classic car is more than just enjoying a stylish relic of days gone by. Depending on the age, make and model of your vehicle, it will require its own classification, safety measures, maintenance standards, and insurance.

At Sheen Panel Service, we repair all kinds of cars, old and new. If you own a classic car or are in the market for one, we can help you get back on the road after an accident.


There is no set classification for what defines a classic car. The general consensus among Australian classic car clubs is that classic cars are vehicles built before 1990, in the following five categories.

  • Veteran: manufactured prior to 1918.

  • Vintage: manufactured between 1919 and 1930.

  • Post Vintage: manufactured between 1931 and 1949.

  • Classic Acceptance: manufactured between 1950 and 1969.

  • Modern Classic: manufactured between 1970 and 1989.

There are some overlaps between these categories. Some post-1990 cars may also be considered classics, especially if they were considered the best of their time, like the Ferrari 550 Maranello or the Porsche 911 GT2.


internal view of vintage car2Classic cars need to be driven carefully. Due to their place in history, a classic car will not have the more advanced safety measures that are common in modern automobiles. Depending on its age, a classic car may lack airbags, crumple zones, roll protection, and in some cases, even seat belts.

Fortunately, classic cars can be modified without too much trouble. It may take a bit of work to get your classic car up to current standards, but it's well worth it in the long run. Here are some common modifications that will make any car safer:

  • Three point seat belts are the safest measures that you can easily add to your car.
  • Disc brakes make stopping at speed much easier, and are far more advanced than original drum brakes.
  • Power steering increases the manoeuvrability of older, heavier vehicles.
  • Dashboard gauges allow for accurate monitoring of the car's mechanical elements.
  • Electric radiator fans reduce the potential for an overheating engine.

Be sure to routinely check your classic car for rust and damage. Old parts don't last forever, and their decline will lead to a significant drop in the quality of your drive.


man checking vintage car frontIf safety is first, then maintenance is second. Caring for a classic car is a labour of love—one that requires excellent attention to detail. Proper care and maintenance will increase the value of your car as it ages.

  • Change the oil regularly to ensure that the motor always runs smoothly.

  • Clean the exterior and apply wax to remove impurities from the paint.

  • Protect the interior with detailing, vinyl and leather creams, and UV protection.

  • Check the lubrication of your drive line components regularly.

  • Flush your cooling systems and transmission fluid at least once a year.

You can perform these maintenance checks yourself, or you can outsource the work to a mechanic that specialises servicing classic cars.


It doesn't matter if you drive your classic car to work every day, or to shows on the weekend—insurance is a big ticket item for car lovers. Due to their rarity and value, insuring a classic car will often cost more than insuring a newer vehicle. Classic car insurance covers:

  • Regular car insurance policy elements, like property damage and theft.

  • Storm, flood or fires that damage or completely write off the vehicle.

  • Hire and replacement cars in the event of accidents that require extensive repairs.

  • Emergency repair budgets up to a defined limit.

  • Vandalism or malicious acts resulting in damage to interior, exterior and glass.

  • Laid up cover if your car is in the process of restoration and is not being driven.

  • Salvage costs, where you take ownership of the wreck in the event of a write off.

Certain insurance policies may also offer additional add ons, including no-fault excess, accommodation, towing, storage, and choice of repairer.


Prestige vehicles require the prestige touch. When it comes to fixing classic cars, standard mechanics and panel beaters just don't cut the mustard.

As classic car experts, Sheen Panel Service can offer you a huge range of quality services for your vehicle:

  • Expert colour matching returns your vehicle to its original vibrancy.

  • Genuine parts ensure that your classic car retains its authenticity.

  • Unseen damage must be addressed before the vehicle is driven.

  • Cutting edge digital technology produces the highest standard of repair.

Need to repair or salvage material from your classic car? Get in touch with Sheen Panel Service. We have extensive experience working with classic cars, and will ensure that your prized possession receives the careful treatment that it deserves.

Trust Sheen with classic car smash repairs. Make a claim through our website to get your classic car back to pre-accident condition.