Nothing triggers the senses quite like the classic car. That unmistakable smell: A blend of old leather and motor oil. That recognizable sound: The husky roar of a straight-four engine. These vehicles have left an indelible stamp on American popular culture. Think James Bond's DB5. Or the Blues Brothers' Dodge Monaco.

Proud petrol heads like you might know nearly everything about vintage vehicles, but this blog post has 15 classic car statistics that could surprise you.

#1. More People are Purchasing Classic Cars Than Ever Before

2021 could be the most successful year for the classic car market ever, with more people purchasing vintage vehicles at auction (both online and in-person) than any other time in history. The COVID-19 pandemic crippled U.S. auto sales in 2020, but the classic car sector is still booming, and experts predict that success will continue for the rest of the decade.

#2. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is the Most Expensive Classic Car Sold at Auction Ever

A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO is the most expensive classic car purchased at an auction in history. The vehicle sold for an eye-watering $70 million in 2018, beating the previous world record holder — a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for $48 million that same year.

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#3. The 2011 Lexus LFA is Among the 10 Most Desirable Classic Cars of 2021

The 2011 Lexus LFA, with its 552-horsepower V10 engine, and 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 are among the ten most desirable classic cars of 2021, according to a survey by industry analysts. Older vehicles that made the list include the 1948 Jaguar XK120 and 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia. Experts predict all these cars will generate the most value this year.

#4. The First "Classic Car" Came Out in 1769

The first full-scale self-propelled vehicle came out in 1769, making it the world's original "classic car." A military engineer called Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the automobile after experimenting with steam engines used by the French army.

#5. The Global Classic Car Market Totaled $30 Billion+ in 2020

Despite the pandemic, the classic car market experienced enormous growth in 2020, reaching over $30 billion. Experts think the sector will grow by almost 9 percent every year until 2024, making vintage vehicles one of the best automobile investments around.

Black vintage car on asphalt road

#6. There are 5 Million Classic Cars in the U.S. Alone

There are five million classic cars in the United States, and most of these vehicles belong to "baby boomers" — those born between 1946 and 1964. The average age of the classic car owner? Fifty-six! Another fact: Older vintage vehicle owners are more likely to sell their cars or give them to their children than younger owners.

#7. The U.S. Boasts the Largest Classic Car Market in the World

The U.S. is the world's biggest market for classic vehicles, generating revenues of $11-12 billion in 2019 alone. Experts predict the American vintage car market will grow to $15.5 billion by 2023.

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#8. 97% of Classic Car Owners are Male

Nearly all classic car owners in the U.S. — an eye-watering 97 percent — are male. Ninety-five percent of people with classic cars own their own home, and the average household income of the vintage vehicle owner is around $140,000 per year. Interestingly, 98 percent of owners prefer American classic cars to international ones, and most of these vehicles are originals or accurate restorations.

#9. Post-WWII Classic Cars are the Most Popular

Despite some incredible classic cars from the 1920s and '30s, most classic car enthusiasts in the U.S. favor models manufactured after World War II. Classic European cars generate the least interest!

#10. The 2019 Bentley EXP 100 GT is One of the Coolest Classic Cars Ever

The 2019 Bentley EXP 100 GT, 2016 Bugatti Chiron, and 1975 Jaguar XJS are among the "coolest" cars of all time, according to a list by Popular Mechanics. Other vehicles that made the countdown include the 2005 Ford GT, 1959 Cadillac, and 1934 Bugatti Type 57.

#11. Summer is the Best Time to Sell a Classic Car

Research suggests summer is the best time of the year to sell a classic car. That's because the warm weather entices more car enthusiasts, according to industry experts. Convertible and sports classic cars likely sell better in the spring and summer months, while all-wheel drive classic cars generate the most interest in the fall and winter.

Black vintage car in front of brick building

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#12. Demand for Classic Cars in North America Has Increased for 4 Straight Months

Demand for classic vehicles in the U.S. and Canada has grown for the last four months, according to the Hagerty Market Rating, which measures vintage car trends. Ferrari vehicles, muscle cars, British automobiles, German cars, and American classic cars from the '50s were among the most highly desirable vintage vehicles in July 2021.

#13. The Classic Car Market Remains Healthy Worldwide

It's not just the U.S. The classic vehicle sector continues to experience growth worldwide. The average mean value for classic cars in the United Kingdom, for example, has risen 0.85 percent since May 2020, and only nine cars tracked by the Hagarty Price Guide dropped in value.

#14. Bond's Aston Martin is the Most Famous Classic Car in Movie History

James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is the most famous classic car in the movies, according to Business Insider. This vehicle first appeared on screens in "Goldfinger" and has become a cultural phenomenon. Other instantly recognizable vehicles from the world of entertainment include the 1981 Delorean DMC-12, from "Back to the Future" and the 2004 Pontiac Aztek from "Breaking Bad."

Before You Drive Off

The classic car has never been so desirable by motorists. These vehicles evoke a bygone era, making them valuable collectibles the world over. From the first full-scale self-propelled automobile in 1769 to the muscle cars of the '70s, '80s, and beyond, these classic car statistics prove the enduring allure of vintage vehicles.

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