Since they were invented, cars have held a special place in society, as they not only are the means by which many people travel, but are also (some of them at least) wonderful designs that represent the time period in which they were made. To many, classic cars are a look back into a different time period, such as the 1950s diner era, as represented in a film like American Graffti.
Despite their historical value, classic cars don't have the recognition and protection that they deserve from a legal standpoint. There are some positive signs though in development, as many automobile groups are trying to have classic cars become officially recognized. In particular, these groups are targeting the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, for them to begin selecting some classic cars to be deemed worthy of their World Heritage Status.
What's Being Done
FIVA is the more influential out of the two organizations since it has over 85 member organizations that are active in around 62 countries. In terms of actual classic car owners, they have over 1,500,000 members. This list is growing.
Both groups are working for UNESCO to begin granting these vehicles the very same protection and status that many parks, buildings, monuments, and natural wonders are given throughout the world.
It would be unrealistic, not to mention also silly, for all cars to be granted this status. Instead, it will pertain to only cars that are at least 30 years old.
You can visit the websites of each of these respective organizations at http://www.fbhvc.co.uk/ and http://www.fiva.org.
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The Benefits to Classic Cars
If a car is granted this status by UNESCO, it would be illegal to destroy them in any way. In addition, the owners of them would be given money to ensure that they are maintained and that any small restorations can be made, similar to how monuments and natural wonders are maintained.
The Turin Charter
FIVA has created a charter that is designed to try and set some standards of authenticity that have to be followed by the owners of any historic vehicles in order to ensure authenticity. Some of the categories that it focuses on are guidelines related to their:
The actual Turin Charter is really detailed on all of these matters. Interestingly, it does allow for these classic cars to be driven for personal enjoyment, but it does not allow any classic cars to be entered into any races, such as ones that are historical.
Time will tell if UNESCO grants classic cars this status, but they certainly deserve it. Classic cars are absolutely beautiful if they're preserved right. All one has to do is to Google images of a city like Havana, which is littered with classic cars on their streets, partly out of economic necessity.
Read also our article on the cheapest way to ship a classic car.